The colonization of America

The impulse to undertake the explorations that would lead to the discovery of America came from the fall of the Roman Empire of the east occurred in 1453.
Following this, the usual and old routes of communication that brought the goods of the Far East, of those “indies” or “Spice Islands” which were mainly China, the “Catai” of Marco Polo, were interrupted. In particular, the Ottoman Empire blocked both roads of land used for those trades: the path of the steppe of the nomads, which cut Asia in half following more or less always the same parallel and arriving at the Crimean peninsula, now in the hands of the Turks; And the Silk Road, which ran almost parallel to the previous, but further south, arriving in Lebanon, also occupied by the Turks.
There were also several maritime routes, but they all arrived in the Red Sea, with a last transport by land to Alexandria in Egypt. Even Egypt, like all of North Africa besides, had been swallowed up by the Ottoman Empire.
The merchants of Genoa and Venice thus had the monopoly of this traffic of spices and miscellaneous goods that became increasingly scarce. It was therefore necessary to find alternative routes to the Far East. The route had to be by sea.
Portugal began, with the idea of reaching the Orient constantly navigating to the east, circumnavigating namely Africa.
King Ferdinand of Spain instead financed the attempt of the route to the west that had come to propose Christopher Columbus a cartographer of the competition.
On October 12, 1492, the Genoese explorer landed on a Caribbean island called by the native Ganahani and that he renamed San Salvador, then, before returning back, he touched Cuba and Hispaniola.
The new continent had now a strategic commercial importance!
The drive to find a passage that would enter the Pacific, and then to the Indies, also brought France, England and Holland to familiarize themselves with the Americas.
In these situations, towards the year 1600, the French who were exploring eastern Canada to seek a passage to the Pacific made a discovery of exceptional importance: the area northeast of the Great Lakes was rich in beavers and fur animals In general. The discovery was very important because the furs were the most coveted exchange merchandise by the Chinese, whose goods in turn-the tea and the fabrics-were the most sought after by Europeans among the “spices” and “wonders” of the Orient.
Britain, France and the Netherlands were looking for all three to get fur in the northeast of the Great Lakes and then swap them in China with tea and textiles.
The colonisation of America was beginning.
Throughout the sixteenth century the British tried to fit into the American chess board, again for the Northwest Passage.
In the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), England had become a remarkable seafaring power, and she wanted at all costs to possess at least a part of the enormous riches she saw flowing into the coffers of the escoriai of Philip II. British pirates began attacking the Spanish galleons coming back from the Americas. Elizabeth repeatedly denied, and in writing, to King Philip that the English crown had to do with those pirates. Actually, she was the one who organized the shipments!
The Queen had in fact decided to try to create possessions in North America mainly for two reasons: on the domestic front she was able to quell the unrest followed by the Protestant Reformation (the Protestant groups continued to remain a Threat to the crown) and given what they wanted they would probably be the first to pursue colonial wealth; For foreign policy the eventual Northwest Passage could only be found with a systematic search, which needed an on-site presence.
To do this, the British merchant companies interested in the goods of the Orient were divided by the crown into two groups: they were both directed to the “Indies” but one tried to pass from the west and the other from the east. The first group was captained by the London company and the Massachusetts Bay Company, the second by the East India company.
The first group was to form colonies on the north-eastern American coast, cutting the way to the Spaniards; On the other side he had to find the most important fur in the Great Lakes area, contrasting the French and the Dutch as much as possible. Furs would have been used by the East India Company. In fact, the East India Company would immediately trade with China following the route of the circumnavigation of Africa and trying to make way for the large competition of Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch.
An ideal and necessary point of support to attack the Chinese market was the current India.
Britain, due to the presence of its many Calvinists, had begun to feel the influence of the new mentality: the economy was beginning to take the form of a free market economy.
The Crown gradually ceased to attempt to direct all aspects of citizens ‘ lives, starting with the economic one; He abandoned the traditional medieval concern that everyone had to eat and confined himself to presiding over the activism of individuals, and his role in the general economy became to facilitate as much as possible the affairs of those individuals who wanted to make them, and Which made them increase tax revenues. The Royal Navy became the armed arm of its mercantile bourgeoisie: The British Empire was being born, a commercial empire dictated by the desire to enrich its bourgeoisies even at the expense of other peoples.
The English colonization of America was according to this philosophy!
It is part of the American state rhetoric that the British colonizers were people seeking religious or political freedom, or people in desperate economic conditions. This was true of a small minority, which never had any influence in the course of colonial affairs. The common characteristic of the majority of the colonizers was the high economic level of which they enjoyed at home. In fact the cost per capita of the trip, which everyone had to bear in their own pocket, was very high.
They were generally traders, to whom were aggregates craftsmen, sharecroppers of vast farms, various professionals.
The few English emigrants of the time really poor, could not pay the ticket and were boarded with the qualification of indentured servant (“servant in Time”), according to a contract in which the individual undertook to work in the colony at the dependencies of the organizing society for a period of seven years.
The first colonizers were not too representative of the picture, now exhibited: they were a group of 107 men, transported on three vessels by Captain John Smith, landed in present-day Virginia, where in 1607 they founded the city of Jamestown, they thought of Follow in the footsteps of the Spaniards and sought the gold, which was not there. They were aided by Pocahontas (1595-1617), the daughter of an Indian chieftain who married a Settman and guaranteed peace after initial Dissapori. To cultivate it they first imported black slaves.
In the same year a load of women also came from England, and the Virginia colony (named after Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen) was beginning to be born in all respects.
Pilgrims arrive
In 1620 came the vanguard of the true founders of American civilization.
They, and not the Englishmen of Jamestown who were also the first, are called by the official American iconography the Founding fathers (Founding Fathers). The new settlers called themselves The Pilgrims (pylgrims). Destined by the London company to Virginia and embarked on the Mayflower sailing ship, due to a storm they landed in present-day Massachusetts, where the company granted them to wait to define the position with the crown.
On the fourth Thursday of November 1621, they organized a ceremony of thanksgiving to God, after which they had lunch with turkey meat; That day remained a U.S. national holiday, Thanksgiving Day (Thanksgiving Day). In the number of 100 ο 101 ο 102 Depending on the version, they all belonged to the English Presbyterian Church as the Puritani, but they were called separatists.
In spite of the iconography, this group had no relevance in setting the characteristics of colonization: There were already few, and moreover during the first winter half of them died of cold and hunger before the Indians could help them.


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