Compare and contrast the British, French and Spanish imperial goals in North America between 1580 and 1763


The period of 1580 to 1763, marked a rich American history as the peak of scramble for colonialism hit the bar in the country. The era has been the basis to what the current America today is. Various religions and races expanded so rapidly and thus there was need to look for new and better ways to live (Hatfield 145). A number of these races and religions roamed around similar idea, that the best and the only way to look for better survival means was to impose their imperial rule on the North America.There was a massive boom in the interests to colonize America by the British, Spanish and French for a number of reasons.


The Western Hemisphere was dominated by the Spain as the most influential colonial power. The Spanish initial goals were to conduct an exploration of the New World, find and extract the mineral wealth. The Spanish hung on the Columbus’s goal of looking for a passage to the Far East.

Read Also The Rise of Colonialism in North America

It is deduced in a research by Grossberg and Christopher that by the time 1580 the Spain’s major goal was the establishment and provide defense to the mercantilist policy which would reserve the rewards the New World would offer to Spain (p. 301). They concentrated in the extraction of the Peruvian and Mexica mineral wealth and shipping it back to Europe.


The English sailed into the New World in search of a shorter route to Asia. According to Gillon and Carthy , a part from which the English wanted a way to generate benefits for their investors who underwrote joint-stock companies and settlement, in order to search for raw materials for the England’s growing industrial economy, and also mercantilism. As the English happen to be the first colonists to arrive in North America, they had competitive advantage over land, resources and power (p. 90). The process of mercantilism entailed accumulation of wealth in the form of valuable metals, establishment of colonies, and maintenance of a positive balance of trade between the colony and the home country. The England’s major imperial goal of spreading the English culture throughout the New World became a success as late 1600’s marked the time in which the England’s American colonies, as a result of years of salutary neglect, happen to have developed their own cultures and economies meanwhile retaining their basically character of English.


The imperial goal of the French was not much different from that of Spanish. Theirs was to explore as much land as they could, hoping to find mineral wealth, for example gold and also maneuver a shortcut to Asia. The French missionaries tried to convert Native Americans to Roman Catholicism (Matson 245). They also established permanent settlements, but unlike the Spanish they settled in the less hospitable northern climate of the New France. The result of the French government put initiative towards venturing in the New World, the French didn’t have greater impact on the natives like the Spanish.


The scramble for colonialism was not a smooth venture altogether (Hall 187). The process conquering and exercising of power in North America by the England, France and the Spain resulted to emergence of several wars as the nations had to use force in securing and conquering the massive wealth found in the rich New World.

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