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Describe the goals and extent of the Dutch settlement in New York, the French settlements in Canada, and the Spanish settlements in Florida, the Southwest, and California.

Topics on the Page

Dutch Settlements in New York
French Settlements in Canada
Spanish Settlements in Florida, the Southwest and California
Spain Lasting Influence in the Americas
Comparison of Dutch, French and Spanish Goals

Focus Question: What were the goals of the Dutch in New York, the French in Canada, and the Spanish in Florida, the Southwest, and California.

Dutch Settlements in New York

external image Allard_-Totius_Neobelgii_Nova_et_Accuratissima_Tabula_%28Detail%29.png
rotating gif.gifSee Dutch in New York for more information-

Multimedia.pngThe History Channel provides a brief yet informative intro to Henry Hudson's explorations in what is now New York.

Click here for an overview of colonial New York and beyond.

timeline2_rus.svg.pngClick here for a timeline of Dutch settlement in New York.

Map icon.png

Explore the beginnings of Dutch colonization in New York after Henry Hudson's voyage led him to modern day New York Harbor for the Dutch-East India Company in 1609 with this interactive map.

  • Watch this video on how the Dutch and French established trading relationships with the Native Americans

Read this article and learn why the Dutch were slow to colonize New York due to the Dutch East India Company's focus on eastern trade.


The New Amsterdam Company was not created until 1614 when Dutch Merchants were granted permission to form a monopoly over New York's fur trade.
New Amsterdam: The Oldest Picture of New York
New Amsterdam: The Oldest Picture of New York

  • Read this article to find out about the formation of the Dutch West India Company and its decision to form permanent settlements in New York.
  • Watch this video for a short explanation of the West India Company's decision to colonize.

Click here to view the agreement that allowed the West India Company to expand its control to Manhattan island in 1626 by purchasing the land from the Lenape Indians.
  • The Dutch founded many settlements in present day New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania
  • After almost 60 years in these areas, the Dutch lost control over the region to the English. However Dutch settlers continued to make up the majority of the population within these colonies.

primary_sources.PNGView the Articles of Capitulation that ended Dutch control in New Amsterdam in 1664 and established English control in the area renamed New York.

See a predecessor to freedom of religion in The Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.

French Settlements in Canada

See also French in Canada for more information

1608, Samuel de Champlain establishes Quebec City
1608, Samuel de Champlain establishes Quebec City

Click here for an overview of French colonial history in North America

Click here for an interactive timeline of the founding of New France.
  • Settlers created colonies throughout Quebec, Montreal and all of central and eastern Canada along with several territories along the Mississippi River.

Read about how the search for a Northwest passage led to the French settling in what is now Canada.


Watch this video to discover how the fur trade and its trading posts led to the first French settlements in Canada.
  • Colonial government attempted to monopolize the fur trade but French trappers mostly engaged in small-scale trapping not connected with the colonial center.
  • French trappers relied on nearby Native Americans for support in the harsh, Canadian wilderness.

Click here to learn more about French relations with the natives in comparison to other colonies.
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia gives a detailed history of French-Native relations and explains the interdependent trade relationship and how that affected French Colonialism of America moving forward.
  • The Voyageurs were French trappers who intermarried with the Native Americans and formed a mixed race culture.

Map icon.pngClick here for a map showing the extent of French colonialism in North America

primary_sources.PNGIn 1763, France surrendered all claims to New France in The Treaty of Paris after their loss to the British in the Seven Years War.

Spanish Settlements in Florida, the Southwest and California

Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto.  William H. Powell, 1853
Discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto. William H. Powell, 1853

See Christopher Columbus and the Rise of the Spanish Empire, 1492-1821 from PBS.

See also, A Brief History of Spanish Language in the United States

timeline2_rus.svg.pngClick here for a timeline of early Spanish expansion in the New World.

Multimedia.pngClick here for a brief video history of Spanish colonization.

Click here for an overview of Christopher Columbus' voyage to find new trade routes.
  • Christopher Columbus, who under-estimated the distance from Europe to Asia, landed in the Caribbean in 1492, ushering in the start of European Colonization. Unlike the Dutch and French, the Spanish did not colonize as a business venture.
  • The History Chanel provides an overview on Christopher Columbus' on the negative aspects of Columbus' interactions with native groups.

Multimedia.pngWatch this video on Spanish settlers' motivations for colonizing North and South America; "God, Glory and Gold."

  • Starting with the conquest of the Aztecs in 1521 and the conquest of the Incas in 1572, Spain carved out an empire throughout South America. Spanish expansion continued till the Hopi Uprising of 1680, whereby Spanish expansion slowed out of a fear of future Indian rebellions.

  • Racial hierarchy was much more complex in Spanish colonies than in their British counterparts. The Spanish mixed extensively with the Indians, producing what became known as a **mestizo** class. The mestizos fit into the lower rungs of society.
  • A timeline on the Native Americans been "westernized" by the Spanish with the use of Education. i,e; "Kill The Indian, Save the Man"

Multimedia.pngWatch this video from Crash Course on Spain's primary export from its colonies, and the backbone of its wealth in the 16th century; silver.
  • By way of the Colombian Exchange, the Spanish introduced new diseases to the Western Hemisphere . Between 50 and 90 percent of the native population was wiped out by deadly pathogens like smallpox.

St. Augustine (earliest engraving of a U.S. locality), John White, 1589
St. Augustine (earliest engraving of a U.S. locality), John White, 1589


Read about Spanish exploration and settlement in Florida. Settlers established Missions in order to convert the native populations.

Spanish Colonization of Florida, Historical Museum of Southern Florida

primary_sources.PNGClick here for the account of Hernando de Soto and his exploration of the Southeast.

The Southwest

See Dramatic Event page on The Pueblo Revolt of 1680

Read about Spanish explorations in what is now the Southwestern United States. In the Southwestern United States, towns and agriculture were small-scale. In South America, slavery and inhuman working conditions defined daily life.
  • Under the system of mercantilism, Spain inhibited the growth of local businesses and towns within colonies in order to funnel all resources and profits back to the mother country. The colonies in present-day Southwestern United States were to exist solely for the benefit of Spain.

Indian petroglyphs, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado.
Indian petroglyphs, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado.

The West: Episode 1 (The People) from PBS.

Rotating_globe-small.gifUte Indians of Colorado from the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum.

History of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe from the tribal website.

Native American History in Colorado from YouTube.

Horse Racing of Sioux Indians.  Karl Bodmer (early 1840s)
Horse Racing of Sioux Indians. Karl Bodmer (early 1840s)

Rotating_globe-small.gifWatch this video to learn about Esteban the Moor, an African slave who played a significant role in Spain's exploration of the Southwest.


Read this article from the University of California on Spanish settlement in California and the consequences of it.

Click here for an overview of California's history and discover why it was not until the Seven Years War that SPain began to settle in California.

1768-1820s: Exploration and Colonial California

external image Vancouver-Carlos-mission.jpg

Spain's Lasting Influence in the Americas

Read about how Spanish colonization continued to influence these regions into the modern day from Digital History.

Rotating_globe-small.gifClick here for the history of New Orleans, a virtual melting pot of Spanish, French, and American culture. The city is reflective of all these influences and continues to demonstrate the blending that has occurred over the centuries since its founding in the early 18th century.

map_icon.jpegClick here for an interactive map of different European colonial holdings.


http://www.nnp.org/vtour/regions/Albany/rensselaerswijck.html# (use as link to patroonship)

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/westind.asp link for Dutch WIC

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/exploration/efishery.html link for French fishing

Focus Question: How did the goals of the Dutch, the French and the Spanish differ, and how were they the same?

While the British settlements ultimately dominated North America, the colonies of the Dutch, French, and Spanish set the standard of colonization throughout the Americas. All three sought wealth, power, and a place to draw upon new or "unexploited" resources. However, the Dutch focused on a business model; the French sought to administer a new France through trade and ; and the Spanish sought to forge an empire in slavery and blood.

For a comprehensive (and engaging) summary of early colonization, please review the following videos:
Multimedia.png Crash Course: US History #1 (For Spanish)
Multimedia.png Crash Course: US History #4 (For the Dutch)


[2] The Contemplator's Short History of the Anglo-Dutch Wars . Retrieved April 10, 2007, from Contemplations Web site: http://www.contemplator.com/history/dutchwar.html
[4] New France. Retrieved April 10, 2007, from Chez Couture Web site: http://www.republiquelibre.org/cousture/NVFR2.HTM
[5] (2007). Seven Years War Timeline. Retrieved April 10, 2007, Web site: http://ns1763.ca/remem/7yw-timeline-w.html


Jordan, Louis (Date Unknown). A Brief Outline of Dutch History and . Retrieved April 1, 2007, from Coin and Currency Collections Web site: http://www.coins.nd.edu/ColCoin/ColCoinIntros/Netherlands.html

Valentine, David T. (Copyright 1995-2006, Updated January, 2007). Dutch Settlement Of New York. Retrieved April 1, 2007, from International World History Project Web site: http://history-world.org/dutch_settlement.htm

Auther Unknown, (Date Unknown). Pioneers and Immigrants. Retrieved April 2, 2007, from Canada in the Making Web site: http://www.canadiana.org/citm/themes/pioneers/pioneers2_e.html#acadia

Janzen, Olaf (1998). French Presence in Newfoundland. Retrieved April 5, 2007, from Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web site: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/exploration/early_ex.html

Image IDs from left to right

1. New Amsterdam Wikimedia Commons, "Allad-Totius Neobelgii Nova et Accuratissima Tabula (Detail)".
2. Governor of New France Wikimedia Commons, "Marquis de Vaudreuil".
3. Dutch East India Company ship Wikimedia Commons, "VOC ship Amsterdam3".
4. Mission of St. Carlos Wikimedia Commons, "Vancouver-Carlos-mission".