European countries began to send more explorers to search for riches and claim territory for their respective countries. The quest for more territory quickly became a competition in North America. The map below illustrates the location of European settlements in North America around 1750. Using the map key, click on each country to locate where they colonized in North America.

Interactive exercise. Assistance may be required.

The competition between England and Spain was also especially fierce in North America. These two countries claimed territory and established colonies in close proximity to one another.

English Settlements:

The English began to consider North America as a valuable source of raw materials as well as a marketplace for English goods.

During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, colonization by the English rapidly increased, and soon the first permanent English colony was established at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Click on the link below to watch the video about life in Jamestown.

This activity might not be viewable on your mobile device.Video segment. Assistance may be required.Life in Jamestown

In your notes, complete the following activity:

Imagine that you are one of the first English settlers of Jamestown. Write a letter to a family member in England that describes what your life is like in Jamestown. Be sure to include two positive details and two negative details.

People moved into the colonies in great numbers because of the opportunities that the American colonies held. Many people left England to seek religious freedom and avoid persecution by the Church of England.

The people who moved into the American colonies were ethnically diverse, came from a variety of religions, and represented all social groups. By 1775, the English settlements expanded from one settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, to thirteen American colonies.

Spanish Settlements

Unlike Mexico and South America, Spain’s settlements to the north yielded little gold and silver. This fact, along with conflict with American Indians in the region, made it difficult to attract colonists. As a result, early Spanish settlements in Texas, New Mexico, and California were largely confined to religious missions focused on converting American Indians to Catholicism, a few small civilian towns, and military posts. It was not until 1749 that Spain established the first civilian town in Texas, a town that eventually became Laredo.

Like England, Spain followed an economic philosophy known as mercantilism. Spain sought colonies as sources of raw materials and markets for its manufactured goods. To protect its own manufacturers, Spain restricted colonial trade with other countries and limited colonial manufacturing. Colonies were governed by crown-appointed viceroys or governors. Unlike English colonists, Spanish colonists could not make any laws of their own. It is important to understand that attitudes toward class and race in Spanish territories differed from the attitudes in the English colonies. In the English colonies, there was less intermarriage between the English and the American Indians. The Spanish colonies were characterized by colonists of mixed racial backgrounds. Mestizos (people of mixed Indian and Spanish ancestry), American Indians, and Africans were concentrated at the lower levels of the social structure.