Chapter 2

The Contest for North America



The Spanish were at Santa Fe in 1610.

The French were at Quebec in 1608.

The English were at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

France Finds a Foothold in Canada
France issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which provided tolerance for French Protestants, who had been persecuted in France up to that point. After this, France transformed into a strong European power and began exploration of the New World.
Quebec was where France established their foothold in the New World (in 1608).
Samuel de Champlain was considered the “Father of New France” (present-day Canada).

New France Fans Out
French trappers in New France spread out in search of beavers for their fur.
French explorers spread south into the New World in attempt to limit Spanish expansion. Antoine Cadillac founded Detroit in 1701. Robert de La Salle named the basin along the Mississippi River “Louisiana”.

The Spanish in North America
The Spanish founded St. Augustine (in present-day Florida) in 1565, making it the first permanent European settlement in North America. The Spanish also spread into the west of North America, expanding north from Mexico.

England's Imperial Stirrings

King Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church in the 1530s, launching the English Protestant Reformation, and intensifying the rivalry with Catholic Spain.


Elizabeth Energizes England

In 1580, Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe, plundering and returning with his ship loaded with Spanish booty.  He had a profit of about 4,600%. 

When the English fleet defeated the Spanish Armada, Spain's empirical dreams and fighting spirit had been weakened - helping to ensure the English's naval dominance over the North Atlantic.


England on the Eve of an Empire

An economic depression that hit England in the later part of the 1500s caused many people to lose their homes. This, coupled with peace with the Spanish, set the stage for the English to start moving to North America.


England Plants the Jamestown Seedling

In 1606, a joint-stock company, known as the Virginia Company of London, received a charter from King James I of England for a settlement in the New World.  The company landed in Jamestown on May 24, 1607.

In 1608, Captain John Smith took over the town and forced the settlers into line.

By 1609, of the 400 settlers who came to Virginia, only 60 survived the "starving winter" of 1609-1610.


Cultural Clashes in the Chesapeake

Lord De La Warr reached Jamestown in 1610 with supplies and military.  He started the First Anglo-Powhatan War when he started raiding and burning Indian villages.

The Indians were again defeated in the Second Anglo-Powhatan War in 1644.

By 1685, the English considered the Powhatan people to be extinct.


Old Netherlands at New Netherland

Late in the 16th Century, the Netherlands fought for and won its independence from Catholic Spain with the help of England.

In the 17th Century, the Dutch (the Netherlands) became a power.  Golden Age.  It fought 3 great Anglo-Dutch naval battles.  The Dutch Republic became a leading colonial power, with by far its greatest activity in the East Indies. 

The Dutch East India Company was nearly a state within a state and at one time supported an army of 10,000 men and a fleet of 190 ships, 40 of them men-of-war.

This company hired an English explorer, Henry Hudson, to seek great riches.  He sailed into the Delaware Bay and New York Bay in 1609 and then ascended the Hudson River.  He filed a Dutch claim to a wooded and watered area.  The Dutch West India Company was less powerful than the Dutch East India Company, and was based in the Caribbean.  It was more interested in raiding than trading. 

In 1628, in raided a fleet of Spanish treasure ships and stole $15 million.

The company established outposts in Africa and Brazil.

In 1623-1624, the Dutch West India Company established New Netherland in the Hudson River area.  It was made for its quick-profit fur trade.  The company also purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians for worthless trinkets. The island encompassed 22,000 acres.

New Amsterdam, later New York City, was a company town.  The Quakers were savagely abused.


Friction with English and Swedish Neighbors

New England was hostile to the growth of its Dutch neighbor, and the people of Connecticut finally ejected intruding Hollanders from their verdant valley.  3 of the 4 member colonies of the New England Confederation were eager to wipe out New Netherland with military force.  Massachusetts, providing most of the troops, rejected this.

From 1638-1655, the Swedish trespassed on Dutch preserves by planting the anemic colony of New Sweden on the Delaware River.

The Golden Age for Sweden was during and following the Thirty Years' War of 1618-1648, in which its brilliant King Gustavus Adolphus had carried the torch for Protestantism.

Resenting the Swedish intrusion, the Dutch dispatched a small military expedition in 1655.  It was led by the able of the directors-general, Peter Stuyvesant, who had lost a leg while soldiering in the West Indies and was dubbed "Father Wooden Leg" by the Indians.  The main fort fell after a bloodless siege, whereupon Swedish rule came to an abrupt end.


Dutch Residues in New York

In 1664, the Dutch were forced to surrender their territory (New Netherland) to the English when a strong English squadron appeared off the coast of New Amsterdam.  New Amsterdam was named New York, after the Duke of York.


The Indian's New World

Disease was the biggest killer of Indians and their cultures. It took a particularly high tool on elderly Indians, which led to the extinction of cultures.



1534-1542: Jacques Cartier explores the Canadian cost

1558: Elizabeth I becomes queen of England

1565-1590: English crush Irish uprising

1577: Drake circumnavigates the globe

1585: Raleigh founds Roanoke colony

1588: England defeats Spanish Armada

1598: Edict of Nantes

1603: James I becomes king of England

1604: Spain and England sign peace treaty

1607: Virginia colony founded at Jamestown

1610: Spain established Santa Fe, New Mexico

1612: Rolfe perfects tobacco culture in Virginia

1614: First Anglo-Powhatan War ends

1619: First Africans arrive in Jamestown.  Virginia House of Burgesses established

1624: Virginia becomes a royal colony

1634: Maryland colony founded

1640s: Large-scale slave-labor system established in English West Indies

1644: Second Anglo-Powhatan War

1655: New Netherland conquers New Sweden

1664: England seizes New Netherland


The Thirteen Original Colonies



Founded By



London Co.


New Hampshire

John Mason and Others









F. Gorges



Lord Baltimore



Mass. Emigrants


New Haven

Mass. Emigrants


Rhode Island

R. Williams





North Carolina



New York

Duke of York


New Jersey

Berkeley and Carteret



Eight Nobles



William Penn



Oglethorpe and others



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