inability to have peaceful relations

As brought up in the previous blog post, the main reason for expansion into the new world was for economic gains. In both main areas of conquest talked about in the reading there was a struggle to keep relations favorable. The Spanish took the approach of brutal force and torture to get the desirable trade, which obviously cannot allow for peaceful transactions. The economic gains of the Spanish created a desire for the rest of Europe to try and gain riches from the Americas. They however were able to do this through the piracy of Spanish ships, which created dissension in Europe. In Canada, the French may have initially been peaceful, but their trade only further hurt relations amongst native Americans. The draw of economic gains made all parties fight to get the most favorable goods, which meant there could be no peaceful relations.

The Spanish conquistadors conquered native Americans relentlessly. It is obvious that they did not care for peaceful relations and only wanted to maximize their own profit. They even destroyed Tenochtitlan, a city the conquistador Hernan Cortes admitted had no comparable Spanish counterpart, “In Spain there is nothing to compare with it.”(53) What could have been a great acquisition was destroyed so that Cortes could get his loot as quickly as possible. Fear spread through the tribes and destroyed Spain’s chance at prolonged trade. The lack of stability required that Spain import slaves for the fallen native Americans.

The French at least were able to begin with peaceful trade among the native tribes in the north. The French did not have to means to conquer and destroy as the Spanish had, and so were at the mercy of the natives trading terms. This peaceful transaction was good for both parties, until other native tribes learned of the items to be gained by trading with the french, and later other European traders desire to trade with the northern natives. The competition for furs led to an exhaustion of animals to hunt, forcing the tribes to hunt elsewhere, usually in rival tribe lands. This led to conflicts between tribes. Other European nations saw the wealth to be had in the North and began to compete with the French. This competition in some cases meant giving guns and other weapons to the tribes to be used as they pleased. All this fighting and hostility was caused by the desire for wealth. The way that the different nations went about fulfilling their desires led to many problems and a complete lack of peaceful interaction.

The new world was full of potential for trade and prosperity for all parties, but the greed of the parties led to unequal trading, infighting, and fighting amongst economic rivals. All parties at one point manipulated another and this lead to hostility.  The Spanish killed and instilled fear, the French tried to rip off the native people whenever they could, other European nations tried to steal goods and trade routes, and the native Americans fought to get the best items for their goods. The riches to be had caused too much greed and this ultimately destroyed any chances for peaceful interaction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.