European Colonization of North America

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Why did Spain and France establish colonies in America?

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Spain and France established colonies in America for the same reasons that England did, namely wealth and prestige. France and Spain established their colonies before England as well. Spain saw the potential in North America after the voyage of Columbus. Spain founded colonies in Florida, the Caribbean, and South America in search of resources. High on that list were precious metals, like gold.

France established colonies in North America as a way to aid their trading with the Native Americans. French trading outposts had already been established in North America as a way to obtain furs and other resources for export. Establishing colonies such as New Orleans allowed for the consolidation of trading at a port.

Establishing colonies also allowed these powers to claim territorial boundaries that would hopefully exclude encroachment by other powers. In addition, adding to the number of recognized colonies was a way for the major powers to obtain prestige or recognition of their status.

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