This is a fairly vague question. I would think that more pointed analysis could be offered with a better and more specific wording of the question. In my mind, the presence of wealth and the understanding that it was untapped wealth played a major role in the colonization of the new world as a result of the age of exploration. Once explorers like Columbus landed in the new world and were able to bring back wealth in the form of resources and products that resulted in greater material acquisition foe the parent nation, I think that one saw these economic realities play a instigating role in the plan of colonizers. At that moment, explorers understood that fame and riches awaited them, and nations who might have been guided by mercantilism policies understood the importance of holding colonies as wealth producing regions all over the world.