European colonization of the Americas
Overview
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 were the Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s during the 11th century
11th century
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 11th century is the period from 1001 to 1100 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian/Common Era....

, who established several colonies
Norse colonization of the Americas
The Norse colonization of the Americas began as early as the 10th century, when Norse sailors explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic, including the northeastern fringes of North America....

 in Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland. These small colonies died out and had no permanent impact.

In 1492, a Spanish expedition headed by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 sailed to the Americas and introduced the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 were the Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s during the 11th century
11th century
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 11th century is the period from 1001 to 1100 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian/Common Era....

, who established several colonies
Norse colonization of the Americas
The Norse colonization of the Americas began as early as the 10th century, when Norse sailors explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic, including the northeastern fringes of North America....

 in Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland. These small colonies died out and had no permanent impact.

In 1492, a Spanish expedition headed by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 sailed to the Americas and introduced the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 to Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. European conquest, exploration, and colonization soon followed and expanded. This first occurred along the Caribbean
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 coasts on the islands of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and since the early 16th century
16th century
As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century lasted from 1501 to 1600. It is regarded by historians as the century in which the rise of the West occurred....

, extended into the interiors of both North
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. In 1497, sailing from the north on behalf of the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

, John Cabot
John Cabot
John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century...

 landed on the North American coast, and a year later, Columbus's third voyage reached the South American coast. Eventually, the entire Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

 came under the control of European governments, leading to profound changes to its landscape, population, and plant and animal life. In the 19th century
19th century
The 19th century was a period in history marked by the collapse of the Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Holy Roman and Mughal empires...

 alone over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas. The post-1492 era is known as the period of the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

.

Early conquests, claims, and colonies

The first explorations and conquests were made by the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 and the Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

, immediately following their own final reconquest
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 of Iberia
Iberia
The name Iberia refers to three historical regions of the old world:* Iberian Peninsula, in Southwest Europe, location of modern-day Portugal and Spain** Prehistoric Iberia...

 in 1492. In the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

, ratified by the pope, these two kingdoms divided the entire non-European world between themselves, with an agreed boundary that would turn out to divide South America. Based on this Treaty and on the claims by Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.He traveled to the New World in...

 to all lands touching the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, and with help from their powerful Indian auxiliaries
Indian auxiliaries
Auxiliary Indians or indios auxiliares is the term used in old Spanish chronicles and historical texts for the indigenous peoples who were integrated into the armies of the Spanish conquerors with the purpose of supporting their advance and combat operations during the Conquest of America...

, the Spanish rapidly conquered territory with Hernan Cortes
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 overthrowing the Aztec and Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 conquering the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

. As a result, by the mid-16th century, they had gained control of much of western South America, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and southern North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, in addition to its earlier Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 conquests. Over this same timeframe, Portugal
History of Portugal
The history of Portugal, a European and an Atlantic nation, dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it ascended to the status of a world power during Europe's "Age of Discovery" as it built up a vast empire including possessions in South America, Africa, Asia and...

 colonized much of eastern South America, naming it Brazil
History of Brazil
The history of Brazil begins with the arrival of the first indigenous peoples, thousands of years ago by crossing the Bering land bridge into Alaska and then moving south....

.

Other Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an nations soon disputed the terms of the Treaty of Tordesillas, which they had not negotiated. England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and France
Ancien Régime in France
The Ancien Régime refers primarily to the aristocratic, social and political system established in France from the 15th century to the 18th century under the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties...

 attempted to plant colonies in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 in the 16th century, but these met with failure. However, in the following century, the two kingdoms, along with the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, succeeded in establishing permanent colonies. Some of these were on Caribbean islands, which had often already been conquered by the Spanish or depopulated by disease, while others were in eastern North America, which had not been colonized by Spain north of Florida
History of Florida
The history of Florida can be traced back to when the first Native Americans began to inhabit the peninsula as early as 14,000 years ago. Recorded history begins with the arrival of Europeans to Florida, beginning with the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who explored the area in 1513...

.

Early European possessions in North America included Spanish Florida
Spanish Florida
Spanish Florida refers to the Spanish territory of Florida, which formed part of the Captaincy General of Cuba, the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the Spanish Empire. Originally extending over what is now the southeastern United States, but with no defined boundaries, la Florida was a component of...

, Spanish New Mexico, the English colonies of Virginia (with its North Atlantic off-shoot, The Somers Isles
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

) and New England
New England Colonies
The New England Colonies of British America included the colonies of Massachusetts Bay Colony, Connecticut Colony, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and Province of New Hampshire. They were part of the Thirteen Colonies including the Middle Colonies and the Southern Colonies. These...

, the French colonies of Acadia
Acadia
Acadia was the name given to lands in a portion of the French colonial empire of New France, in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine. At the end of the 16th century, France claimed territory stretching as far south as...

 and Canada
Canada, New France
Canada was the name of the French colony that once stretched along the St. Lawrence River; the other colonies of New France were Acadia, Louisiana and Newfoundland. Canada, the most developed colony of New France, was divided into three districts, each with its own government: Quebec,...

, the Swedish colony of New Sweden
New Sweden
New Sweden was a Swedish colony along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first settlement. New Sweden included parts of the present-day American states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania....

, and the Dutch New Netherland
New Netherland
New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

. In the 18th century, Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway is the historiographical name for a former political entity consisting of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, including the originally Norwegian dependencies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands...

 revived its former colonies in Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, while the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 gained a foothold in Alaska.

As more nations gained an interest in the colonization of the Americas, competition for territory became increasingly fierce. Colonists often faced the threat of attacks from neighboring colonies, as well as from indigenous tribes and pirates
Piracy in the Caribbean
] The era of piracy in the Caribbean began in the 16th century and died out in the 1830s after the navies of the nations of Western Europe and North America with colonies in the Caribbean began combating pirates. The period during which pirates were most successful was from the 1690s until the 1720s...

.

Early state-sponsored colonists

The first phase of European activity in the Americas began with the Atlantic Ocean crossings of Christopher Columbus (1492–1504), sponsored by Spain, whose original attempt was to find a new route to India and China, known as "the Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

". He was followed by other explorers such as John Cabot
John Cabot
John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century...

, who reached Newfoundland and was sponsored by England. Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it...

 reached Brazil and claimed it for Portugal. Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

, working for Portugal in voyages from 1497 to 1513, established that Columbus had reached a new set of continents. Cartographers
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 still use a Latinized version of his first name, America, for the two continents. Other explorers included Giovanni da Verrazzano, sponsored by France; the Portuguese João Vaz Corte-Real in Newfoundland; and Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain , "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608....

 (1567–1635) who explored Canada. In 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.He traveled to the New World in...

 crossed the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

 and led the first European expedition to see the Pacific Ocean from the west coast of the New World
History of the west coast of North America
The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival...

. In an action with enduring historical import, Balboa claimed the Pacific Ocean and all the lands adjoining it for the Spanish Crown. It was 1517 before another expedition from Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 visited Central America, landing on the coast of Yucatán in search of slaves
Slavery in the Spanish New World colonies
Slavery in the Spanish colonies began with the enslavement of the local indigenous peoples in their homelands by Spanish settlers. Enslavement and production quotas were used to force the local labor to bring a return on the expedition and colonization investments...

.

These explorations were followed, notably in the case of Spain, by a phase of conquest: The Spaniards
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

, having just finished the Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

of Spain from Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 rule, were the first to colonize the Americas, applying the same model of governing to the former Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

as to their territories of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

. Ten years after Columbus's discovery, the administration of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 was given to Nicolás de Ovando
Nicolás de Ovando
Fray Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was a Spanish soldier from a noble family and a Knight of the Order of Alcántara. He was Governor of the Indies from 1502 until 1509...

 of the Order of Alcántara
Order of Alcántara
The Order of Alcántara , also called the Knights of St. Julian, was originally a military order of León, founded in 1166 and confirmed by Pope Alexander III in 1177.-Alcántara:...

, founded during the Reconquista. As in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, the inhabitants of Hispaniola
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 were given new landmasters, while religious orders
Roman Catholic religious order
Catholic religious orders are, historically, a category of Catholic religious institutes.Subcategories are canons regular ; monastics ; mendicants Catholic religious orders are, historically, a category of Catholic religious institutes.Subcategories are canons regular (canons and canonesses regular...

 handled the local administration. Progressively the encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

system, which granted tribute (access to indigneous labor and taxation) to European settlers, was set in place.

A relatively large misconception is that a small number of conquistadores conquered vast territories, aided only by disease epidemics and their powerful caballeros
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

. Recent archaeological excavations have induced the notion of a vast Spanish-Indian alliance numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Along with cavalry and the use of cannons as a siege weapon, the Spanish conquistadores were able to utilize the divisions among native ethnic groups and implement them with their own forces. Even with these reserves, the Europeans still had great difficulties in establishing colonies or even initiating peace treaties as seen in the Arauco War
Arauco War
The Arauco War was a conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people in what is now the Araucanía and Biobío regions of modern Chile...

, Chichimeca War
Chichimeca War
The Chichimeca War was a military conflict waged between Spanish colonizers and their Indian allies against a confederation of Chichimeca Indians. It was the longest and most expensive conflict between Spaniards and the indigenous peoples of New Spain in the history of the colony.The Chichimeca...

, Red Cloud's War
Red Cloud's War
Red Cloud's War was an armed conflict between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho and the United States in the Wyoming Territory and the Montana Territory from 1866 to 1868. The war was fought over control of the Powder River Country in north central present day Wyoming...

, the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

, and Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's Rebellion
Pontiac's War, Pontiac's Conspiracy, or Pontiac's Rebellion was a war that was launched in 1763 by a loose confederation of elements of Native American tribes primarily from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, and Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the...

. Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 eventually conquered Mexico
Spanish conquest of Mexico
The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The invasion began in February 1519 and was acclaimed victorious on August 13, 1521, by a coalition army of Spanish conquistadors and Tlaxcalan warriors led by Hernán Cortés...

 and the Tlaxcala
Tlaxcala
Tlaxcala officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Tlaxcala is one of the 31 states which along with the Federal District comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 60 municipalities and its capital city is Tlaxcala....

 in 1519-1521, while the conquest of the Inca
Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire
The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. This historic process of military conquest was made by Spanish conquistadores and their native allies....

 was carried out by some 40,000 Incan renegades led by Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 in between 1532 and 1535.

Over the first century and a half after Columbus's voyages, the native population of the Americas plummeted by an estimated 80% (from around 50 million in 1492 to eight million in 1650), mostly by outbreaks of Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 diseases but also by several massacres
Indian massacres
In the history of the European colonization of North America, the term "Indian massacre" was often used to describe either mass killings of Europeans by indigenous people of the North American continent or mass killings of indigenous people by the Europeans and by Americans of European origin.-...

 and forced labour (the mita
Mita (Inca)
Mit'a was mandatory public service in the society of the Inca Empire. Historians use the hispanicized term mita to distinguish the system as it was modified by the Spanish, under whom it became a form of legal servitude which in practise bordered slavery.Mit'a was effectively a form of tribute to...

was re-established in the old Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

, and the tequitl equivalent of the mita in the Aztec Empire). The conquistadores replaced the native American oligarchies, in part through miscegenation
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 with the local elites. In 1532, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 imposed a vice-king to Mexico, Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, Marquis of Mondéjar, Count of Tendilla , was the first viceroy of New Spain, serving from April 17, 1535 to November 25, 1550, and the second viceroy of Peru, from September 23, 1551 to July 21, 1552...

, in order to prevent Cortes' independantist drives, who definitively returned to Spain in 1540. Two years later, Charles V signed the New Laws
New Laws
The New Laws, in Spanish Leyes Nuevas, issued November 20, 1542 by King Charles V of Spain regarding the Spanish colonization of the Americas, are also known as the "New Laws of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians", and were created to prevent the exploitation of the...

 (which replaced the Laws of Burgos of 1512) prohibiting slavery and the repartimientos, but also claiming as his own all the American lands and all of the autochthonous people as his own subjects.

When in May 1493, the Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter caetera
Inter caetera
Inter caetera was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on , which granted to Spain all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a...

bull granting the new lands to the Kingdom of Spain, he requested in exchange an evangelization of the people. Thus, during Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

's second voyage, Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 friars accompanied him, along with twelve other priests. As slavery
Slavery in medieval Europe
Slavery in early medieval Europe was relatively common. It was widespread at the end of antiquity. The etymology of the word slave comes from this period, the word sklabos meaning Slav. Slavery declined in the Middle Ages in most parts of Europe as serfdom slowly rose, but it never completely...

 was prohibited between Christians, and could only be imposed in non-Christian prisoners of war or on men already sold as slaves, the debate on Christianization was particularly acute during the 16th century. In 1537, the papal bull Sublimis Deus recognized that Native Americans possessed souls, thus prohibiting their enslavement, without putting an end to the debate. Some claimed that a native who had rebelled and then been captured could be enslaved nonetheless. Later, the Valladolid controversy opposed the Dominican priest Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de las Casas O.P. was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians"...

 to another Dominican philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda was a Spanish humanist, philosopher and theologian. In 1533 and 1534 he wrote to Desiderius Erasmus from Rome concerning differences between Erasmus's Greek New Testament , and the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209...

, the first one arguing that Native Americans were beings doted with souls, as all other human beings, while the latter argued to the contrary and justified their enslavement. The process of Christianization was at first violent: when the first Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s arrived in Mexico in 1524, they burned the places dedicated to pagan cult, alienating much of the local population. In the 1530s, they began to adapt Christian practices to local customs, including the building of new churches on the sites of ancient places of worship, leading to a mix of Old World Christianity with local religions. The Spanish Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholicism in Spain
The Spanish Catholic Church, part of the global Roman Catholic Church, is under the spiritual leadership of the Pope, curia in Rome, and the Conference of Spanish Bishops.-Statistics:...

, needing the natives' labor and cooperation, evangelized in Quechua, Nahuatl, Guarani
Guaraní language
Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní , is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay , where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and half of...

 and other Native American languages, contributing to the expansion of these indigenous language
Indigenous languages of the Americas
Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families as well as many language...

s and equipping some of them with writing systems. One of the first primitive schools for Native Americans was founded by Fray Pedro de Gante
Pedro de Gante
Fray Pieter van der Moere, also known as Fray Pedro de Gante or Pedro de Mura was a Franciscan missionary in sixteenth century Mexico. Born in Geraardsbergen in present day Belgium, he was of Flemish descent...

 in 1523.

To reward their troops, the Conquistadores often allotted Indian towns to their troops and officers. Black African slave
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

s were introduced to substitute for Native American labor in some locations - most notably the West Indies, where the indigenous population was nearing extinction on many islands.

During this time, the Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 gradually switched from an initial plan of establishing trading post
Trading post
A trading post was a place or establishment in historic Northern America where the trading of goods took place. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts, was known as a trade route....

s to extensive colonization of what is now Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. They imported millions of slaves to run their plantations. The Portuguese and Spanish royal governments expected to rule these settlements and collect at least 20% of all treasure found (the Quinto Real
Quinto Real
The Quinto Real or the Quinto del rey, the "King's fifth", was a 20% tax established in 1504 that Spain levied on the mining of precious metals. The tax was a major source of revenue for the Spanish monarchy. In 1723 the tax was reduced to 10%....

collected by the Casa de Contratación
Casa de Contratación
La Casa de Contratación was a government agency under the Spanish Empire, existing from the 16th to the 18th centuries, which attempted to control all Spanish exploration and colonization...

), in addition to collecting all the taxes they could. By the late 16th century American silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 accounted for one-fifth of Spain's total budget. In the 16th century perhaps 240,000 Europeans entered American ports.

Economic immigrants

Inspired by the Spanish riches from colonies founded upon the conquest of the Aztecs, Incas, and other large Native American populations in the sixteenth century, the first Englishmen to settle permanently in America hoped for some of the same rich discoveries when they established their first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

. They were sponsored by common stock
Common stock
Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. It is called "common" to distinguish it from preferred stock. In the event of bankruptcy, common stock investors receive their funds after preferred stock holders, bondholders, creditors, etc...

 companies such as the chartered Virginia Company
London Company
The London Company was an English joint stock company established by royal charter by James I of England on April 10, 1606 with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.The territory granted to the London Company included the coast of North America from the 34th parallel ...

 (and its off-shoot, the Somers Isles Company
Somers Isles Company
The Somers Isles Company was formed in 1615 to operate the English colony of the Somers Isles, also known as Bermuda, as a commercial venture. It held a royal charter for Bermuda until 1684, when it was dissolved, and the Crown assumed responsibility for the administration of Bermuda as a royal...

) financed by wealthy Englishmen who understood the economic potential of this new land. The main purpose of this colony was the hope of finding gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 or the possibility (or impossibility) of finding a passage through the Americas to the Indies. It took strong leaders, like John Smith
John Smith of Jamestown
Captain John Smith Admiral of New England was an English soldier, explorer, and author. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania and friend Mózes Székely...

, to convince the colonists of Jamestown that searching for gold was not taking care of their immediate needs for food and shelter and that "he who shall not work shall not eat." (A direction based on text from the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

.) The extremely high mortality rate was quite distressing and cause for despair among the colonists. Tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 later became a cash crop, with the work of John Rolfe and others, for export and the sustaining economic driver of Virginia and nearby colonies like Maryland.

From the beginning of Virginia's settlements in 1587 until the 1680s, the main source of labour and a large portion of the immigrants were indentured servants looking for new life in the overseas colonies. During the 17th century, indentured servants constituted three-quarters of all European immigrants to the Chesapeake region. Most of the indentured servants were English farmers who had been pushed off their lands due to the expansion of livestock raising, the enclosure
Enclosure
Enclosure or inclosure is the process which ends traditional rights such as mowing meadows for hay, or grazing livestock on common land. Once enclosed, these uses of the land become restricted to the owner, and it ceases to be common land. In England and Wales the term is also used for the...

 of land, and overcrowding in the countryside. This unfortunate turn of events served as a push for thousands of people (mostly single men) away from their situation in England. There was hope, however, as American landowners were in need of labourers and were willing to pay for a labourer’s passage to America if they served them for several years. By selling passage for five to seven years worth of work they could hope to start out on their own in America.

In the French colonial regions, the focus of economy was the fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 with the natives. Farming was set up primarily to provide subsistence only, although cod
Cod
Cod is the common name for genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name for various other fishes. Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of...

 and other fish of the Grand Banks
Grand Banks
The Grand Banks of Newfoundland are a group of underwater plateaus southeast of Newfoundland on the North American continental shelf. These areas are relatively shallow, ranging from in depth. The cold Labrador Current mixes with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream here.The mixing of these waters...

 were a major export and source of income for the French and many other European nations. The fur trade was also practiced by the Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 on the northwest coast of North America. After the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

, the British were ceded all French possessions in North America east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, aside from the tiny islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon
Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France. It is the only remnant of the former colonial empire of New France that remains under French control....

.

Religious immigration

Roman Catholics were the first major religious group to immigrate to the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

, as settlers in the colonies of Portugal and Spain (and later, France) were required to belong to that faith. English and Dutch colonies, on the other hand, tended to be more religiously diverse. Settlers to these colonies included Anglicans, Dutch Calvinists, English Puritans, English Catholics
Maryland Toleration Act
The Maryland Toleration Act, also known as the Act Concerning Religion, was a law mandating religious tolerance for trinitarian Christians. Passed on April 21, 1649 by the assembly of the Maryland colony, it was the second law requiring religious tolerance in the British North American colonies and...

, Scottish Presbyterians, French Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s, German and Swedish Lutherans, as well as Quakers, Mennonites, Amish
Amish
The Amish , sometimes referred to as Amish Mennonites, are a group of Christian church fellowships that form a subgroup of the Mennonite churches...

, Moravians and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 of various nationalities.

Many groups of colonists came to the Americas searching for the right to practice their religion without persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

. The Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 of the sixteenth century broke the unity of Western Christendom and led to the formation of numerous new religious sects, which often faced persecution by governmental authorities. In England, many people came to question the organization of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 by the end of the sixteenth century. One of the primary manifestations of this was the Puritan movement, which sought to "purify" the existing Church of England of its many residual Catholic rites that they believed had no mention in the Bible.

A strong believer in the notion of rule by divine right
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, England's Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 persecuted religious dissenters. Waves of repression led to the migration of about 20,000 Puritans to New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 between 1629 and 1642, where they founded multiple colonies. Later in the century, the new Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 colony was given to William Penn
William Penn
William Penn was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful...

 in settlement of a debt the king owed his father. Its government was set up by William Penn in about 1682 to become primarily a refuge for persecuted English Quakers; but others were welcomed. Baptists, Quakers and German and Swiss Protestants flocked to Pennsylvania.

The lure of cheap land, religious freedom and the right to improve themselves with their own hand was very attractive to those who wished to escape from persecution and poverty.

Forced immigration

Slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 existed in the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, prior to the presence of European
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

s, as the Natives often captured and held other tribes' members as captives. Some of these captives were even forced to undergo human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 under some tribes, such as the Aztecs. The Spanish followed with the enslavement of local aborigine
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

s in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. As the native populations declined (mostly from European diseases, but also and significantly from forced exploitation and careless murder), they were often replaced by Africans imported through a large commercial slave trade. By the 18th century, the overwhelming number of black slaves was such that Native American slavery was less commonly used. Africans, who were taken aboard slave ships to the Americas, were primarily obtained from their African homelands by coastal tribes who captured and sold them. The high incidence of disease nearly always fatal to Europeans kept nearly all the slave capture activities confined to native African tribes. Rum, guns and gun powder were some of the major trade items exchanged for slaves. In all, approximately three to four hundred thousand black slaves streamed into the ports of Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

, South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 and Newport
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 until about 1810. The total slave trade to islands in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Mexico and to the United States is estimated to have involved 12 million Africans. Of these, 5.4% (645,000) were brought to what is now the United States. In addition to African slaves, poor Europeans were brought over in substantial numbers as indentured servant
Indentured servant
Indentured servitude refers to the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed...

s, particularly in the British Thirteen colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

.

Disease and indigenous population loss

The European and Asian lifestyle included a long history of sharing close quarters with domesticated animals such as cows, pigs
PIGS
PIGS is a four letter acronym that can stand for:* PIGS , Phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class S, a human gene* PIGS , the economies of Portugal, Italy , Greece and Spain...

, sheep, goats, horses, and various domesticated fowl
Fowl
Fowl is a word for birds in general but usually refers to birds belonging to one of two biological orders, namely the gamefowl or landfowl and the waterfowl...

, which had resulted in epidemic
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

 diseases unknown in the Americas. Thus the large-scale contact with Europeans after 1492 introduced novel germs to the indigenous people of the Americas. Epidemics of smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 (1518, 1521, 1525, 1558, 1589), typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 (1546), influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

 (1558), diphtheria
Diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

 (1614) and measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 (1618) swept ahead of initial European contact, killing between 10 million and 20 million people, up to 95% of the indigenous population
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of the Americas. The cultural and political instability attending these losses appears to have been of substantial aid in the efforts of various colonists to seize the great wealth in land and resources of which indigenous societies had customarily made use.

Such diseases yielded human mortality of an unquestionably enormous gravity and scale – and this has profoundly confused efforts to determine its full extent with any true precision. Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of the Americas
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

 vary tremendously.

Others have argued that significant variations in population size over pre-Columbian history are reason to view higher-end estimates with caution. Such estimates may reflect historical population maxima, while indigenous populations may have been at a level somewhat below these maxima or in a moment of decline in the period just prior to contact with Europeans. Indigenous populations hit their ultimate lows in most areas of the Americas in the early twentieth century; in a number of cases, growth has returned.

The Requerimiento
Requerimiento
The Requerimiento "requirement" as in "demand") was a written declaration of sovereignty and war, read by Spanish military forces to assert their sovereignty over the Americas...

: The proclamation sent by Spain to the Native Americans:


"We ask and require you to acknowledge the church as the ruler and
superior of the whole world and the high priest called pope and in his
name the king of Spain as lords of this land. If you submit we shall
receive you in all love and charity and shall leave you, your wives and
children and your lands free without servitude, but if you do not submit
we shall powerfully enter into your country and shall make war against
you, we shall take you and your wives and your children and shall make
slaves of them and we shall take away your goods and shall do you all
the harm and damage we can."

List of European colonies in the Americas

British
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

:
  • British America
    British America
    For American people of British descent, see British American.British America is the anachronistic term used to refer to the territories under the control of the Crown or Parliament in present day North America , Central America, the Caribbean, and Guyana...

     (1607– 1783)
    • Thirteen Colonies
      Thirteen Colonies
      The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

    • British North America
      British North America
      British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

       (1783 – 1907)
    • Indian Reserve
      Indian Reserve (1763)
      The Indian Reserve was a territory under British rule in North America set aside in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 for use by American Indians between 1763 and 1783....

       (1763–1783)
  • British West Indies
    British West Indies
    The British West Indies was a term used to describe the islands in and around the Caribbean that were part of the British Empire The term was sometimes used to include British Honduras and British Guiana, even though these territories are not geographically part of the Caribbean...



Courland
Courland colonization of the Americas
The Duchy of Courland was the smallest nation to colonize the Americas with a colony on the island of Tobago from 1654 to 1659, and intermittently from 1660 to 1689. -History:...

:
  • New Courland (Tobago
    Tobago
    Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt...

    ) (1654–1689)


Danish
Danish colonization of the Americas
Denmark and the former political union of Denmark–Norway had a colonial empire from the 17th through the 20th centuries, large portions of which were found in the Americas...

:
  • Danish West Indies
    Danish West Indies
    The Danish West Indies or "Danish Antilles", were a colony of Denmark-Norway and later Denmark in the Caribbean. They were sold to the United States in 1916 in the Treaty of the Danish West Indies and became the United States Virgin Islands in 1917...

     (1754–1917)
  • Greenland
    Greenland
    Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

     (1814 - today)


Dutch
Dutch colonization of the Americas
Dutch trading posts and plantations in the Americas precede the much wider known colonization activities of the Dutch in Asia. Whereas the first Dutch fort in Asia was built in 1600 , the first forts and settlements on the Essequibo river in Guyana and on the Amazon date from the 1590s...

:
  • Dutch Brazil
    Dutch Brazil
    Dutch Brazil, also known as New Holland, was the northern portion of Brazil, ruled by the Dutch during the Dutch colonization of the Americas between 1630 and 1654...

     (1630–1654)
  • Dutch Guiana
    Dutch Guiana
    Dutch Guiana, also known as Netherlands Guyana or Dutch Guyana , is the name given to various Dutch colonies on the northern coast of South America, created by the Dutch West India Company...

     (now Guyana
    Guyana
    Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

     and Suriname
    Suriname
    Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

    )
  • New Netherland
    New Netherland
    New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

     (1609–1667)
  • Dutch West Indies and Tobago
    Tobago
    Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt...

  • Virgin Islands
    History of the British Virgin Islands
    The History of the British Virgin Islands is usually, for convenience, broken up into five separate periods:* Pre-Columbian Amerindian settlement, up to an uncertain date* Nascent European settlement, from approximately 1612 until 1672...



French
French colonization of the Americas
The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued in the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America...

:
  • New France
    New France
    New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

     (1604–1763)
    • Acadia
      Acadia
      Acadia was the name given to lands in a portion of the French colonial empire of New France, in northeastern North America that included parts of eastern Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and modern-day Maine. At the end of the 16th century, France claimed territory stretching as far south as...

       (1604–1713)
    • Canada
      Canada, New France
      Canada was the name of the French colony that once stretched along the St. Lawrence River; the other colonies of New France were Acadia, Louisiana and Newfoundland. Canada, the most developed colony of New France, was divided into three districts, each with its own government: Quebec,...

       (1608–1763)
    • Louisiana
      Louisiana (New France)
      Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

       (1699–1763, 1800–1803)
    • Newfoundland (1662–1713)
    • Île Royale (1713–1763)
  • French Guiana
    French Guiana
    French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

     (1763-today)
  • French West Indies
    French West Indies
    The term French West Indies or French Antilles refers to the seven territories currently under French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean: the two overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the two overseas collectivities of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy, plus...

  • Saint-Domingue
    Saint-Domingue
    The labour for these plantations was provided by an estimated 790,000 African slaves . Between 1764 and 1771, the average annual importation of slaves varied between 10,000-15,000; by 1786 it was about 28,000, and from 1787 onward, the colony received more than 40,000 slaves a year...

     (1659–1804, now Haiti
    Haiti
    Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

    )
  • Tobago
    Tobago
    Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt...

  • Virgin Islands
    History of the British Virgin Islands
    The History of the British Virgin Islands is usually, for convenience, broken up into five separate periods:* Pre-Columbian Amerindian settlement, up to an uncertain date* Nascent European settlement, from approximately 1612 until 1672...

  • France Antarctique
    France Antarctique
    France Antarctique was a French colony south of the Equator, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which existed between 1555 and 1567, and had control over the coast from Rio de Janeiro to Cabo Frio...

     (1555–1567)
  • Equinoctial France (1612–1615)


Portuguese
Portuguese colonization of the Americas
Portugal was the leading country in the European exploration of the world in the 15th century. The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Earth, outside Europe, in 1494 into Spanish and Portuguese global territorial hemispheres for exclusive conquest and colonization...

  • Colonial Brazil
    Colonial Brazil
    In the history of Brazil, Colonial Brazil, officially the Viceroyalty of Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to kingdom alongside Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.During the over 300 years...

     (1500–1822)
  • Cisplatina
    Cisplatina
    The Cisplatina Province was a Portuguese and later a Brazilian province in existence from 1815 to 1828...

     (1808–1822, today Uruguay
    Uruguay
    Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

    )
  • Barbados
    Barbados
    Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

     (1536–1620)
  • French Guiana
    French Guiana
    French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

     (1809–1817)


Russian
Russian colonization of the Americas
The Russian colonization of the Americas covers the period, from 1732 to 1867, when the Tsarist Imperial Russian Empire laid claim to northern Pacific Coast territories in the Americas...

:
  • Russian America (now Alaska
    Alaska
    Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

    , 1799–1867)


Spanish
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

  • Cuba
    Cuba
    The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

     (until 1898)
  • New Granada
    Viceroyalty of New Granada
    The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to a Spanish colonial jurisdiction in northern South America, corresponding mainly to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739...

     (1717–1819)
    • Captaincy General of Venezuela
      Captaincy General of Venezuela
      The Captaincy General of Venezuela was an administrative district of colonial Spain, created in 1777 to provide more autonomy for the provinces of Venezuela, previously under the jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Granada and the Audiencia of Santo Domingo...

  • New Spain
    New Spain
    New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

     (1535–1821)
    • Nueva Extremadura
      Nueva Extremadura
      Nueva Extremadura could refer to* a region in the north of New Spain, in present day Texas, the United States of America, and northern Mexico.* the name given to Chile by Pedro de Valdivia...

    • Nueva Galicia
      Nueva Galicia
      El Nuevo Reino de Galicia or Nueva Galicia was an autonomous kingdom of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was named after Galicia in Spain...

    • Nuevo Reino de León
      New Kingdom of León
      The New Kingdom of León , was an administrative territory of the Spanish Empire, politically ruled by the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was located in an area corresponding generally to the present-day northeastern Mexican state of Nuevo León.-Origins:...

    • Nuevo Santander
      Nuevo Santander
      Nuevo Santander was a region of the Virreinato de Nueva España, corresponding generally to the modern Mexican state of Tamaulipas and southern Texas. Nuevo Santander was named after Santander, Spain, and settled by Spanish American colonists in a concerted settlement campaign peaking in 1748-1750...

    • Nueva Vizcaya
      Nueva Vizcaya, New Spain
      Nueva Vizcaya was the first province in the north of New Spain to be explored and settled by the Spanish. It consisted mostly of the area which is today the states of Chihuahua and Durango in Mexico.-Early exploration and the Viceroyalty:...

    • Las Californias
      Las Californias
      The Californias, or in — - was the name given by the Spanish to their northwestern territory of New Spain, comprising the present day states of Baja California and Baja California Sur on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico; and the present day U.S. state of California in the United States of...

    • Santa Fe de Nuevo México
      Santa Fe de Nuevo México
      Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

  • Peru
    Viceroyalty of Peru
    Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

     (1542–1824)
  • Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

     (until 1898)
  • Rio de la Plata
    Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
    The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America.The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day...

     (1776–1814)
  • Santo Domingo
    Santo Domingo
    Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

     (last Spanish rule 1861-1865)


Swedish
Swedish colonization of the Americas
The Swedish colonization of the Americas included a 17th-century colony on the Delaware River in what is now Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, as well as two possessions in the Caribbean during the 18th and 19th century....

  • New Sweden
    New Sweden
    New Sweden was a Swedish colony along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first settlement. New Sweden included parts of the present-day American states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania....

     (1638–1655)
  • Saint Barthélemy
    Saint Barthélemy
    Saint Barthélemy , officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint Barthélemy , is an overseas collectivity of France. Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, or St. Barts in English, the indigenous people called the island Ouanalao...

     (1785–1878)
  • Guadeloupe
    Guadeloupe
    Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

     (1813–1814)

See also

  • Martín de Argüelles
    Martin de Arguelles
    Martín de Argüelles, Jr. was the first known child of European descent born in what is now the continental United States. His birthplace in St. Augustine, Florida marks the oldest continuously occupied European-founded city anywhere in the continental United States.-Birth:Martín was born in 1566...

  • Atlantic world
    Atlantic world
    The Atlantic World is an organizing concept for the historical study of the Atlantic Ocean rim from the beginning of the Age of Exploration to the anad modern era. In many ways the history of the "Atlantic world" culminates in the "Atlantic Revolutions" of the late 18th century and early 19th century...

  • Bandeirantes
    Bandeirantes
    The bandeirantes were composed of Indians , caboclos , and some whites who were the captains of the Bandeiras. Members of the 16th–18th century South American slave-hunting expeditions called bandeiras...

  • Chronology of the colonization of North America
  • Colonialism
    Colonialism
    Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

  • Columbian Exchange
    Columbian Exchange
    The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

  • Conquistador
    Conquistador
    Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

  • Hernán Cortés
    Hernán Cortés
    Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

  • European colonization of the Southern United States
    European colonization of the Southern United States
    -European colonization:The predominant culture of the South was rooted in the settlement of the region by British colonists. In the seventeenth century, most voluntary immigrants were of English origins who settled chiefly along the coastal regions of the Eastern seaboard...

  • Former colonies and territories in Canada
    Former colonies and territories in Canada
    Former colonies, territories, boundaries, and claims in Canada prior to the current classification of provinces and territories. In North America, ethnographers commonly classify Aboriginals into ten geographical regions with shared cultural traits and by related linguistic dialects...

  • History of the west coast of North America
    History of the west coast of North America
    The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival...

  • History of Western civilization
    History of western civilization
    Roots of the Western civilization in its broader sense may be traced back to 9000 BC, when around the headwaters of the Euphrates, Tigris, and Jordan Rivers farming began, spreading outwards across Europe; the West thus produced the world's first cities, states, and empires. However, Western...

  • Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...


  • Influx of disease in the Caribbean
    Influx of disease in the Caribbean
    The European slave trade brought an influx of disease, particularly malaria and yellow fever, to the Caribbean. The arriving Europeans brought slaves to the new lands. Malaria and yellow fever were already rampant in Africa...

  • List of North American cities founded in chronological order
  • Norse colonization of the Americas
    Norse colonization of the Americas
    The Norse colonization of the Americas began as early as the 10th century, when Norse sailors explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic, including the northeastern fringes of North America....

  • Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

  • Population history of American indigenous peoples
    Population history of American indigenous peoples
    The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

  • Portuguese Empire
    Portuguese Empire
    The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

  • Romanus Pontifex
    Romanus Pontifex
    Romanus Pontifex is a papal bull written January 8, 1455 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands discovered or conquered during the Age of Discovery. Along with encouraging the seizure of the...

     and Inter caetera
    Inter caetera
    Inter caetera was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on , which granted to Spain all lands to the "west and south" of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde Islands.It remains unclear to the present whether the pope was issuing a...

  • Settler colonialism
    Settler colonialism
    Settler colonialism is a specific colonial formation whereby foreign family units move into a region and reproduce. Land is thus the key resource in settler colonies, whereas natural and human resources are the main motivation behind other forms of colonialism...

  • Spanish conquest of Yucatán
    Spanish conquest of Yucatán
    The Spanish conquest of Yucatán was the campaign undertaken by the Spanish conquistadores against the Late Postclassic Maya states and polities, particularly in the northern and central Yucatán Peninsula but also involving the Maya polities of the Guatemalan highlands region...

  • Spanish Empire
    Spanish Empire
    The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

  • Treaty of Alcáçovas
    Treaty of Alcaçovas
    The Treaty of Alcáçovas put an end to the War of the Castilian Succession in favor of Isabella I of Castile, and confirmed Castilian control of the Canary Islands and Portuguese control of the Madeira , Azores and Cape Verde islands , all in the Atlantic Ocean The Treaty of Alcáçovas (also known...

  • Treaty of Tordesillas
    Treaty of Tordesillas
    The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

  • Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
    Francisco Vásquez de Coronado
    Francisco Vásquez de Coronado y Luján was a Spanish conquistador, who visited New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542...

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