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The Invasion and Settlement of North America, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 828

Essay

Introduction

This paper addresses the history that records the invasion of North America and subsequent settlement of a new colony.  It was the desire of France and Great Britain to conquer and create settlements in North America. Spain did not challenge this because it was pre-occupied with its conquest of South America and the lure of gold and wealth in that continent. So in the late 16th Century both Britain and France saw this opportunity as an international law of conquest. Neither the French or the British were too concerned about the rights of the Native North American people, whom they viewed as little more than savages.  This in essence became a land grab for new riches and wealth for Europe. (Theda Perdue 2010).

Early Colonization

The early colonization of the America’s began with the English King James 1st in 1606 granting the rights to establish a colony in what is now known as Virginia. In 1606 the first three ships sailed into Chesapeake Bay in order to establish a trading company and exploit the wealth of the new world. They established the first English settlement called Jamestown. This was a hard time for the new colonists and many fell ill with malaria because of the swampland and abundance of mosquitoes in the area. The English colonists also had difficult times with the local Indians who did not like them and perceived them as both a threat and invaders to their land. Despite the setbacks the early colonists managed to persevere and things improved for them when they started to grow tobacco, which proved to be a valuable trading commodity. This new wealth promoted the need for additional workers and this created the birth of the slave trade industry that lasted 200 years.  Native black people were abducted from their homeland in Africa and put to work in the plantations where they had to endure terrible conditions and harsh treatment from their European masters.

In 1620 the Mayflower (British Ship) landed in Massachusetts Bay and brought a new breed of puritans who arrived seeking freedom of religion from England. They were keen on developing religious rules for their settlements around Plymouth and this included the conversion of natives. This was the establishment of the New England colonies. It was a troubled time with the native Indians  but they managed to hold and consolidate their position. In 1718 the French had much of their interest contained in Quebec (Canada) and in the southern states of Louisiana and New Mexico. Quebec fell to the British Army in 1759 along with Nova Scotia. British sea power was dominant at the time. (Brody 2009)

The War Of 1812

The war of 1812 was a conflict between America and Britain. It came about as a period of great stress and tension  between both countries. Britain had been pre-occupied with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars in Europe. This spilled over into naval warfare between the French and British with the British having naval supremacy. The cause was brought about by American shippers taking advantage of the situation in Europe and interfering with trade in the West Indies. Most of the action of this war took place at sea and was between the American and British ships.

The action lasted from 1812 to the spring of 1815 and mainly consisted of skirmishes along the Canadian border, the Chesapeake Bay region and along the Gulf of Mexico. The peace treaty ending this war was signed in Europe in December 1814. During this period France became dominant in most part of Europe through the Emperor Napoleon. Britain remained dominant at Sea and as such the two powers waged a commercial battle. Britain provided blockades in Europe and the French tried to prevent the sale of  British goods abroad. This in turn created several crises with the Americans until it reached a tipping point in 1803.

The American (US) was angry because they felt violated by both the French and British. They were being denied their neutrality on the seas. The anger and resentment being stronger against the British who dominated the seas. Equally the British boarded American ships and press ganged any British sailors into service. They were equally taking Americans into forced service and the Americans viewed this almost an act of piracy.  American felt the British hold on the war at sea. The British naval forces started to enforce  a blockade around America’s coasts; this ruined American trade, impacted financing and exposed  the  entire coastline to British attack.  In 1814 the situation deteriorated after the British beat the French and started to transfer battle hardened troops to the US.  The British planned a further attack on the US and a re-engagement of hostilities.

References

Brody, James A. Henretta and David. America: A Concise History, 4th edition . New York: Bedford St. Martins, 2009.

Theda Perdue, Michael D. Green. “North American Indians: A short introduction.” In North American Indians: A short introduction, by Michael D. Green Theda Perdue, 22-23. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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