Why The Spanish Came To The New World

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The background of the Spanish?s journey to the new world is one of personal gain, exploration, and religious conversion of the natives. In the 1500?s the first Spanish settlers set sail for the New World in search of the opportunity to start a new life. What they encountered was a friendly welcoming from the natives. Amongst the reasons Spanish settlers left their own country to go to a foreign land was in search of treasure, expansion of their empire and conversion of the natives to the Spanish version of Roman Catholicism.

The Spanish were in a race with the English, French and Dutch to claim the New World and extend their empire. As it is, the Spanish landed first because Christopher Columbus discovered the New World whilst searching for a westward passage to India on behalf of the Spanish Crown. The first permanent settlement in the present day United States was St Augustine, Florida, founded by the Spanish in 1565.

It is the oldest city in the United States of America.

The Spanish sent anyone who wanted to go to the New World, but mainly soldiers of fortune looking for gold or any money making activity and missionaries initially went. The Spanish were also accompanied by many members of the clergy intent on converting the natives to Spanish Catholicism.

A centaury after Columbus?s landing some 200,000 Europeans, mainly Spaniards had settled in the New World, and another 125,000 Africans had been forced to travel from their homeland to work on Spanish plantations. This dreadful act of disrespect for human life and freedom was the slave trade. This non-selective process which the Spanish used was probably to their advantage, but also came with disadvantages. The main one being with all the soldiers of fortune and clergy present, there was...