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European Exploration The Story Begins . . . Christopher Columbus 1492 Christopher Columbus -In 1492, Columbus wanted to sail westward across the Atlantic Ocean to reach The Indies and China. This trade route was known as the Northwest Passage. -Trade with Asia was profitable, but difficult. Why sail west? Of course, Columbus wasn’t the first. . . This Chinese world map was made in the mid 1400’s. Leif Ericson (a Viking) settled the southern coast of Newfoundland in 1003. But he was the most significant • The voyage of Christopher Columbus put the Americas on the radar of all of Europe. • Europe had been establishing an empire all across the known world, and now there was new land to conquer. • There are three important European nations that settled North America. The Spanish The Spanish • Slow to start, but gained power quickly. • Discovery of America led to an incredible amount of gold in the royal treasury. • Went from the brink of bankruptcy to the richest nation in Europe. • Explored to spread their religion (Catholicism), gain wealth for the Empire, and spread the influence of Spain. The French The French • Had holdings in Africa, Asia and North America. • Controlled the Mississippi River and all its contributing rivers • Hunted beavers and sent their fur back to Europe. The British The British • Had built the largest global empire. “The Sun never sits upon the British Empire.” • Late to arrive at the Americas. Settled the Eastern Coast and Canada. • The first colonies were started by companies. Australia was the dumping ground for criminals. People came to America for religious freedom, jobs and cheap land. The Natives The Natives • Each European power had different ways of dealing with the natives. – The Spanish built missions to convert the natives to Catholicism. Natives lived under Spanish rule. – The French came to hunt, and the natives knew where the best game was. They made friends. – The British came to build new cities. The natives were in the way, and were pushed out or killed.