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European Colonization Essay

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It was said in Romans 8:31 “If God is with us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” To any follower of Christ living in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe, the answer to this question was no one. Europe believed that God gave them superiority and aid in their conquests and colonization of both Native American and African land. The three key factors that secured Europe’s domination of the New World were their technological superiority, impact on the environment, and capitalist orientation.

One of the keys that led to European rule in the New World was their enormous impact on environment. When Europe exchanged its goods with the Native Americans and Africans, a significant change was made throughout the land. Indians “integrated European goods into their traditional practices, breaking up brass pots, for example, into small pieces that could be made into jewelry” (Of the People: A History of the United States Vol. 1). Diseases, such as smallpox and measles, were the results domestic trades and exposure among the Europeans. De Sahagun claims when “the Spaniards left Mexico, there came an illness of which many local people died; it was called “the great rash” (De Sahagun).

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These illnesses opened a door for the Europeans to conquer, since they were the carriers of these germs “Mrs. Cole lecture). Their strong sense of national competition (Of the People: A History of the United States Vol. 1) that came with mercantilism philosophy and their exposure to new diseases from different ethnic groups, Europeans held clear advantage over world trade (Mrs. Cole lecture) and different environments in the New World. Another key to Europe’s success in New World domination came from their technological superiority. Europe used advanced forms of weaponry, such as cannons, crossbows, and cannons, to destroy any forms of Indian opposition. From the journal of Spanish soldier Bernal Diaz, he claimed “with our muskets and crossbows and with good sword play we did not fail as stout fighters, and when they came to feel the edge of our swords little by little they fell back” (Diaz). A Spanish artilleryman could kill “many of [Indians] with his cannon, for they were formed in great squadrons” (Diaz), which allowed him to “fire at them as he pleased” (Diaz).

The Indians, who opposed his army, “retreated towards a swamp” (Diaz). Another Indian tribe in particular, the Otomis, were “destroyed completely” from “guns, iron bolts, and crossbows” of the Spanish army (De Sahagun). These victories were the cause of an Indian civilization’s submission to European nations. De Sahagun claimed that “Tlaxacan rulers went to meet [the Spanish army], taking along food … They said to them, “Welcome, our lords.”” (De Sehagun). Europe’s display of technological superiority through various battles struck fear and concerns for other nations in the New World. The final key securing Europe’s domination of the New World was through their capitalist orientation. Their orientation completely transformed Indian economy (Class notes). Before the Europeans came, Indians had a high value of wampum, but no means on how to use it more in political and social means.

The Dutch taught Indians how to mass-produce wampum (Of the People: A History of the United States Vol. 1), giving Indians a wider approach in storing wealth for exchange of European goods. This was another European strategy to expand their money supply,” widening who held wampum” (class notes). Such a logical approach allowed the Europeans to take advantage of the Indian’s newly found source of profit, and to expand their European influence over New World civilization. Overall, it was Europe’s display of technological superiority, impact on the environment, and capitalist orientation within the New World that made it possible for them to conquer. Without these three factors and their alleged confirmation of the “Most High” to dominate, Europe would of never been able to make the conquering of the New World a success.

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