Motives for European Colonization


Christopher Columbus, considered one of the greatest explorers 
of all time. Like every other explorer, Columbus had many reasons for 
his exploration. However, it is made obvious by studying the history 
of Columbus' explorations that his main motive for exploration was 
greed. Columbus had the same desires as many explorers both before and 
after him. He yearned for gold. He wanted land. He wanted power. The 
whole purpose for his first voyage to what he thought was India, but 
turned out to be Central America, was to gain land for Spain. It took 
quite a bit of sweet talking from Columbus to get the money and ships
needed for this voyage from Spain's Queen Isabella. But in the end, 
Columbus had the chance to reach a goal brought on by greed: to gain 
riches. Queen Isabella had the same motive. She wanted land for Spain, 
and that is the only reason that she ever gave him the money and ships 
to make his voyage. 

 The English, like other countries, voyaged to the Americas in 
search of riches. It wasn't until they got there that they realized
that people already lived there. It was at that point that greed took 
over the English. The English did something, that by today's standards 
would be considered inhuman. They used a method of mass murder called 
extermination. They used whatever it took to kill the most Native 
Americans possible in the smallest amount of time. The English would 
not have done this had it not been for extreme greed. They wanted the 
land that the Native Americans had and they wanted it as soon as 
possible. This greed among the English did accomplish their task of 
taking land quickly, but it also accomplished the murder of thousands 
of Native Americans. 

 Although it doesn't seem obvious at first thought, new laws in 
Europe helped with the effort in nation building. With the new laws 
were the guidelines as to were the laws were in effect. Often, a new 
law included a new area of land. This meant that with each new law a 
king put forth, theoretically, he could gain more land. A newer set of 
laws that were not made law by the king, took power from the king and 
said that he did not have total control. This set of laws, the Magna 
Carta, is perhaps the most famous set of written laws ever.

 With the decline of feudalism came the development of 
monarchies. A monarchy, form of government in which one person has
the hereditary right to rule as head of state during his or her 
lifetime, usually presents the chance for nation building. A greedy
king or queen can, if they have the forces needed, build their nation 
quickly and effectively. Just like everyone and everything else, the 
monarch always had a reason for nation building. Nine times out of 
ten, that reason was greed. The king wanted more people to tax. The 
king wanted more land. The king wanted more trade routes to tax. All 
of these are a part of greed. The king (or queen) wanted something 
that they didn't need and they were willing to do almost anything to 
get it. Fight a war. Kill a thousand people. The phrase 'Whatever it 
takes' meant the world to a monarch.

 Greed. Whether it was colonization, as with Queen Isabella and 
Christopher, or it was nation building, greed was the motive behind it 
nine times out of ten. Christopher Columbus tried for years to make a 
voyage to what he thought was India, and he was so diligent because he 
was greedy. The English murdered thousands upon thousands of people 
because they wanted the land belonging to the Native Americans all to 
themselves. These are two very good examples of greed within 
colonization. A king wants more land, but he doesn't want a war. How 
does he get it? Why, he just thinks of some new ridiculous law that 
will have no effect other than to give him more land. The end of 
the beginning to the major development of one of the most influential 
types of government ever: the monarchy. The monarchy would prove to be 
a major force behind the building of many nations for decades. Greed 
among rulers was the strongest relationship between colonization and 
nation building. Is this fact? No, but I would like to see someone 
effectively argue against it.


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