The Spanish and New England Colonies Over the course of the 15th century, European colonization swept the continent of North America. In spite of the fact the Spanish and the English were located within the same vicinity of the globe, their approaches towards successfully colonizing North America stood apart. The processes of development for the Spanish and New England colonies differentiated significantly because of key elements such as the role of religion, control of the European government, and the treatment of indigenous people.
Distinct ideologies amongst the Spanish colonies and the New England colonies regarding the control of salvation through leadership significantly affected the development of their societies. Beliefs about salvation between the Spanish and the New England colonies prominently differentiated. Spaniards exclusively practiced Roman Catholicism. The religious intolerance of the Spanish was severe in terms of banning Protestants and forcing conversions of indigenous people through missions.
Followers of the Catholic faith believed their salvation lied in the hands of the Church and of priests who led sacraments. Catholics obeyed the Pope unconditionally due to is definitive position of power regarding salvation and the Catholic church. Before migrating to North America, Puritans vigorously desired to reform the Anglican Church, more commonly known as the Church of England. Priests of the Church of England determined the salvation of its followers. Alternately, the Puritans believed predestination determined their salvation at birth.
Amidst their ideologies, Puritans believed that their behavior on Earth had no effect on the fate of their afterlives. Furthermore, leadership by European Church officials differed between the Spanish and New England olonies. Within the Catholic faith, which was closely followed by the Spanish, it was believed that the Roman Catholic Church should have complete control over the colonies. Spaniards were expected to completely obey the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church officials. The church operated through European leaders.
To carry out the will of the church, the Spanish government commissioned soldiers, Catholic priests (also known as Franciscan Friars) to conquer land, accumulate bullion and gold, and convert natives to Catholicism through missions on behalf of the church. These conversions resulted in the stablishment of the encomienda system in which new converts were expected to work on farms and plantations or collect raw materials in return for salvation and protection. Meanwhile the predominant reasoning of Puritan migration was due to their desire for complete separation from the Anglican Church.
After settling in New England, the Puritans had no ties to their mother country and decided to control their own governments. Congregational churches were established to be self-governed. Church decisions were primarily determined by “the Elect”, or Puritans whom were believed to be chosen by God to go to Heaven. In regards to religion, the Spanish and New England colonies were vastly different due to their beliefs of whom controlled their salvation. The Spanish believed the Pope had control over their salvation, but Puritans believed in predestination.
Additionally, leaders from Europe significantly influenced the decisions of Catholic churches in Spanish colonies. The Puritan churches operated independently as opposed to depending on European leadership. In regards to government, the way Spanish and New England colonies functioned was significantly different due to opposing practices of republicanism and monarchy. The Spanish and New England colonies had opposite views of how their governments should be composed. The Spaniards were led by their mother country through monarchs.
The Spanish government set up the viceroyalty system to govern the new territory. The Spanish monarch would appoint a viceroy who was expected to be the governor and fulfill the orders of the Spanish government. The power of the viceroy was maintained by staying loyal to the Spanish king. The viceroys served as agents to the throne. Meanwhile, the English practiced representation through the idea of republicanism, a representative government which provides protection, rivileges, and peace in return for surrendering some natural rights..
The first representative legislature in the North American colonies was the House of Burgesses. The members of the House of Burgesses consisted mostly of white men from the wealthy gentry class. A key factor in becoming a representative was owning land. The House of Burgesses was a representative legislature, but the poor yeoman farmers were not respectfully represented. The Spanish and New England colonies significantly differed in terms of government.
In the New England colonies there were no ties to the English monarchy in he House of Burgesses, but in the viceroyalty system, viceroys acted as a substitution for the king by carrying out laws of the Spanish government. The king appointed viceroys, but in New England society, landowners were able to vote to elect members of the House of Burgesses. The treatment of indigenous people significantly differed between the Spanish and the English in concerns to buying land, establishing trade networks, and forcing conversions. In regards to buying land the Spanish and New England colonies differentiated greatly.
The Spanish proved to be much more aggressive and brutal than the English in terms of stealing land nd religious conversions . The Spanish brutally forced the natives to work on labor intensive plantations whilst conquering their land. The Spanish went as far as mutilating and dismembering Native Americans that disobeyed their instructions. Not only were the natives expected to legally work for the Spanish under the encomienda system, but the indigenous people were expected to pay tribute to the Spanish for protection and shelter.
The English and the Natives did not completely peacefully coexist, but the English tended to purchase land from the Natives more often than stealing it, disregarding occasions such as “The Walking Purchase” where atives were cheated out of a legal agreement to sell as much land that could be walked in the matter of a few days, In particular locations such as the colony of Pennsylvania, it was illegal to harm Native Americans. The most emphasized assertion for English migration was religious freedom from the Anglican Church, not to set up missions like the Spanish Friars.
Trade networks between the colonies and the natives were crucial for the English settlers, but not so much for the Spanish conquistadors. The relationships with the Natives was important in the New England colonies, because essential trade networks ere established between the natives and the English. Without the native people, the English would not have survived their first winter in the colonies, often called “The Starving Times” in which poor English leadership led to rampant starvation among the settlers resulting in many fatalities.
Nevertheless, the Spanish conquistadors never established an official trade network to benefit themselves and their economy. Instead the Spaniards forced the natives to participate in the encomienda system where the indigenous people were expected to pay tribute through presents for their oppressors, and were given brutal punishments if insubordinate. With reference to the treatment of indigenous people, the Spanish and English were considerably different. In comparison to the Spanish, the English treated the Natives with much more fairness and respect.
Dissimilar to the Spanish, English colonists entrenched trade relations with the indigenous people. In addition to establishing adequate relations with the natives, the English did not set up missions or forced religious conversions upon the Indians like the Spanish did. The English did not excessively attempt to reprehend native culture, unlike the Spanish who severely penalized disobedient natives, and claimed that native culture as savage and uncivilized.
The processes of development between the Spanish and the English were significantly different due to key elements such as relations with indigenous people regarding concepts such as stealing land, forced conversions, and brutal treatment. Pertaining to elements such as religion, control of government, and treatment of natives, the Spanish and New England colonies had many factors that set them apart from one another, These vast differences lead to distinct advancements of each of the Spanish and English colonies. For the English these advancements eventually would result in independence from Great Britain.