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European Expansionism

While Europe began colonizing in the 15th century it was until the late 1700’s that saw the successful establishment of overseas empires. Britain, France and the Netherlands established the empires, which rivaled and in some cases surpassed that of the Spanish empire of the prior century. This expansion bought many changes to the culture of Europe and caused old ways and thinking to give way to new. Commodities and Money New commodities such as sugar spices, silks and china entered the markets of Europe, bringing about a social change and a new definition of wealth.

Europeans started moving around old trade joints and new species of plants and animals, such as potatoes and maize from the America’s and cotton and coffee from Africa, all reorganized continental trade. Changes in financial organization also occurred due to expansionism. Bullion imports landed a large amount silver in the European markets, which dropped its exchange rate with gold. This caused a prices to rise and Spain to lose it’s grip on the bullion market. Colonialism

Colonization also brought new hope for those who were persecuted for their religious beliefs. In the British colonies, later to become the United States, Plymouth was founded as a colony for those of puritan beliefs or Pilgrims. Later, Maryland began as haven for Roman Catholics , Rhode Island as a colony tolerant to all religions and Connecticut was founded as a colony for congregationalists. Slave trade became a leading trade, with over 10 million slaves moved from Africa to America by the year 1870.

One third of them were bought and sold by the Royal African Company, which was given a monopoly by the king to supply slaves to the British colonies in the Caribbean. Expansionism also brought England and Scotland together. After a disastrous attempt by Scotland to settle the Isthmus of Panama – with the idea of building a canal there- and the political and economic fallout from this failure, England Scotland both agreed that there were merits to unionization.

This brought about the treaty of union in 1707, which established the United Kingdom of Great Britain. While England developed the largest colonial holdings, other countries had their strengths too. The Netherlands had a strong financial position and good ties with Asia. The ascent of William the Orange to the English throne brought about peace between the countries and they boned to form a strong alliance against the monopoly that Portugal had in Asian trade and soon they were the dominant importers in the spice and silks markets.

France was the main rival to Britain in this period but at the end of the Seven Years War, which had been fought in the Philippines, North America, India, Europe and Coastal Africa, found the French surrendering most of their colonies to Britain and in some areas leaving large populations of French speaking people under British rule. Conclusion The way Europeans thought about themselves and their world was changed by expansionism. Treaties that were never dreamed of were made and signed, new ideas and ways of doing things sprung up to conquer these new territories and a new feeling of exploration was born,

References Burke, Kathleen (2008). Old World, New World: Great Britain and America from the Beginning. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN 0871139715. Retrieved from http://books. google. com/books? id=SJA7OIinf4MC. On January 27 2009 Pagden, Anthony (2003). Peoples and Empires: A Short History of European Migration Exploration, and Conquest, from Greece to the Present. Modern Library. ISBN 0812967615. retrieved from http://books. google. com/books? id=-RCeAAAACAAJ. On January 27 2009

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