Spanish Settlement of the West

Essay by Rodney OnjayUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, January 1997

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International borders have always been centers of conflict, and the

U.S.-Mexican border is no exception. With the European colonizing the New

World, it was a matter of time before the powers collided. The Spanish

settled what is today Mexico, while the English settled what is to day the

United States. When the two colonial powers did meet what is today the

United States¹ Southwest, it was not England and Spain. Rather the two

powers were the United States and Mexico. Both Counties had broken off from

their mother countries. The conflict that erupted between the two countries

where a direct result of different nation policies. The United States had a

policy of westward expansion, while Mexico had a policy of self protection.

The Americans never had a written policy of expansion. What they had was

the idea of 'Manifest Destiny.' Manifest Destiny was the belief that the

United States had the right to expand westward to the Pacific ocean.

On the

other hand, Mexico was a new country wanting to protect itself from outside

powers. Evidence of U.S. expansion is seen with the independence of Texas

from Mexico. The strongest evidence of U.S. expansion goals is with the

Mexican-American War. From the beginning, the war was conceived as an

opportunity for land expansion. Mexico feared the United States expansion


During the 16th century, the Spanish began to settle the region. The

Spanish had all ready conquered and settled Central Mexico. Now they wanted

to expand their land holdings north. The first expedition into the region,

that is today the United States Southwest, was with Corando. Corando

reported a region rich in resources, soon after people started to settle the

region. The driving force behind the settlement was silver in the region.

The Spanish settled the region through three major...