Compare and Contrast the Early Colonial Empires of Portugal, Spain, and England

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Chapter 2

The early colonial empires of Portugal, Spain, and England varied from one another through their motives, both economically and spiritually. These varying motivating factors led each colony to possess different relations with the Africans and the Indians. However their different intricacies of the relationships between all the colonies and the Indians and Africans, each shared the view of a superior culture to the Africans and Indians. The Africans were viewed by all empires as a source of labor. Also, despite the initial intentions of neutrality between the Indians and some early colonizing empires, eventually, if not initially, all colonies came to believe that the Indians posed a problem for attempt at expansion.

In 1450, Portugal created a new ship that was able to travel to the southern parts of Africa, which were previously unattainable by means of the sea to Europeans. Once they accomplished this feat, they were able to set up trading posts in Africa, primarily trading gold and slaves. Also in Africa, plantations were created on some of the islands, where African slaves did the labor. Portugal was also able to find a quicker route to India, or the Indies, because of there superior ships. This gave the Portuguese a great amount of wealth, which was allowed them to colonize in the Americas.

Spain soon realized that they too needed a fast route to the Indies in order to attain some of the wealth of that land. This desire along with the recent unification of Spain, were the motives of the Spanish to look towards the west. Once in the Americas, Spain was on the search for gold. In 1494 Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, splitting a part of the Americas between the two. Here Spanish conquistadors explored throughout South America and up through Mexico. Many of the Indians living throughout the Americas had vast quantities of gold and other valuable items. The Spanish, hungry for wealth and power, used...