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Document-Based Question Why did European nations explore and colonize the “New World”?

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Document-Based Question

Why did European nations explore and colonize the “New World”?

Using the following documents and your knowledge of American history, write a well-organized essay answering the question above.

Document A

Landing of Columbus by John Vanderlyn. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Landing_of_Columbus_%282%29.jpg


1. Who is the man holding the large flag?

2. What do you think all these men are doing?
3. Why did these men come to the Americas?

Document B

“…and myself gave them [the Native Americans] many beautiful and acceptable articles which I had brought with me, taking nothing from them in return; I did this in order that I might the more easily conciliate them [win them over], that they might be led to become Christians, and be inclined to entertain a regard for the King and Queen, our Princes and all Spaniards, and that I might induce [persuade] them to take an interest in seeking out, and collecting, and delivering to us such things as they possessed in abundance, but which we greatly needed.”

--Christopher Columbus

Letter from Christopher Columbus to the Sovereigns of Spain, http://gilderlehrman.pastperfect-online.com/33267cgi/mweb.exe?request=record;id=D7331543-DD74-4D6C-9734-625542862574;type=301


1. What did Columbus ask in return for his gifts?

2. Why did Columbus want to “win over” the Native Americans?
3. What goals did Columbus & the Spanish probably have in his explorations?

Document C

Nystrom Atlas of Our Country’s History, Page 12.

1. What are some of the “Treasures” of the Indies?
2. Do you think it would be easier to get here by land or by sea?
3. How would these “Treasures” have impacted European explorations?

Document D

"Fray Bartolomé de las Casas" by Felix Parra (1845-1919) done in 1875 on display at the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DelasCasasParraDF.JPG


1. What job does the man in white have?

2. How does the Native American woman at his feet seem to feel about him?
3. Why would Europeans like this man have wanted to explore and colonize the Americas?

Document E

Map showing the European colonization of the Americas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Colonization_of_the_Americas_1750.PNG


1. Which part of the world does this map show?

2. How many European countries had claimed land there?
3. Why did these European nations explore and colonize?

 2012 Tara Chase

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