Compare and contrast the ways in which the Spanish and the French explored and settled the New World.

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jrwilliams4321 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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In short, there are many similarities in the way the French and Spanish approached the new world.  Both desired territory, wealth and power. However, the differences between the two are stark in two areas in particular.  First, the treatment of the native peoples.  The French by and large took a more friendly approach to Native Americans.  Many French frontiersmen married natives for example.  On the other hand, the Spanish took a "conquistodor" attitude toward the natives... enslaving, destroying, and imprisoning thousands.  Another standout difference between the French and Spanish was how they acquired their wealth... this is based largely on where they settled in the new world.  The spanish, of course, went after gold and other precious metals through mining in the vast territories they conquered.  The French, meanwhile, were in the northern territories (Canada) and enriched themselves in the fur trade.