why the europeans came to the americas

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Ok this is the essay i turned into my honors us history class about why the europeans colonized the americas and africa. the funny thing is, my teacher said i actually did pretty good. i think thats because i made my essay sound so original that she couldnt possobly blame me for plagerism, even if some of the stuff was wrong. i wrote the whole thing copletely out of order and she wuld have given me a b, except this essay was assigned so she culd see how good we were.

Some of the countries in Europe, didn't have enough space and natural resources. They traveled to distant lands in search of these things. Africa was one of the places they tried this with, even though it had people living there. They also went to the Americas, after it was discovered of course. There were people living here to, but that didn't matter because most of the Europeans thought of them as savages. These three places plus Asia and India all traded with each other.

for the most part the Europeans used something called feudalism. Feudalism is when peasants worked lands belonging to kings and give a percentage of their crops to their kings as payment for using their land. Peasants lived their lives by the seasons, during the winter a large percentage of them died. During the summer months a higher percentage of babies were born. There were only three major cities, Paris, London and Naples. That was because most people were living under some king and were peasants. Religion was very important to them; most of them were Roman Catholics. Religious freedom was another reason that Europeans wanted to find new land. Then the bubonic plague happened. It killed like 2/3rds of the population.

After the black plague, Europeans started accepting practices from other cultures, like Asia and India. A Portuguese prince, Henry, heard a rumor of good trading across the Sahara dessert from Arabian traders. He sent some of his men, by sea, to the southern part of Africa, where they started trading the Africans salt, wine and fish for African gold and ivory.

Most of the Africans lived in small villages, and had simple trading among their tribes. The Africans had multiple religions including Islam. Europeans brought coconuts, oranges, lemons and pigs to Africa. The Africans were already using and taking slaves when the Europeans came. Tribes would take slaves from enemy tribes. Arab traders started trading slaves to various countries. The Portuguese started making settlements in Africa, so that they would be able to trade more easily.

Some think that Native Americans came from Russia across an ice bridge, to Alaska. I personally think that they arrived by boats, because archeologists found what they believe is evidence of ancient humans in northern United States when Canada was still impassible. Mesoamericans such as the Incans, Mayans, and Aztecs had great cities.

The Mayans were highly advanced for their time. They built huge temples to their gods. Mayan astronomers created a calendar that predicted the phases of the moon and eclipses. The Mayans had a written language and tried to keep record of their history. The Mayans slowly declined until the Spanish came and they tried to fight them off.

The Aztecs in my opinion were kind of like the Vikings, because they went around conquering peoples brutally. The Aztecs conquered the people that lived around Lake Texaco. They built a city called Tenochtiton that was an island. The Aztecs traded with peoples all the way up near Rio Grande. The Aztecs were still around when the Spanish came.

The Native Americans in modern day United States lived in tribes. They worshiped spirits and their ancestors. Several of the tribes traded with each other. There were also some great tribes in this area. A tribe called the Hohokom had elaborate burial mounds that were formed in various shapes. The Anasazi tribe built pueblo houses in the side of cliff. They housed thousands of people and built like 400 miles of roads. The Mississippian people were made up of other broken cultures. They had like 15,000 people and 100 temples. They had class systems with rulers, nobles, priests and peasants. By the time the Spanish came most of these tribes had died out.

There were also simple eastern tribes who lived family groups, most of them were maternal. Maternal means that land and possessions passed from mother to daughter. Most of those tribes were farming people. The Spanish first came in the late 1400s. The native Americans started to die out from diseases brought over from not only the Spanish but also other Europeans. They also started dieing from all the fighting that happened when the Europeans tried to take their land.

The Europeans started setting up colonies and trading in the Americas. They brought over live stock and grain. They traded for tobacco, corn and cacao. The Europeans started bringing over slaves from Africa, because there weren't very many Native Americans left, and the Europeans couldn't use them as slaves. The Europeans also tried to force Christianity on the Native Americans.

The Europeans did learn some things from the Native Americans though. When settlers first came, the Native Americans showed them how to survive in their environment. And when the colonists tried to separate from England, some of their battles were fought using Native American techniques, such as hiding and ambushing or running and ducking while the British walked in straight columns. The African slaves brought pieces of their own cultures to America. Things like art, music, dances, and languages. The blending of all these cultures helped create the country we have today.


Text book

Class notes

Personal prior knowledge

An archeological segment on the channel 15 news at 6