All these countries had different agenda with regards to colonization, and it affected how they colonised other lands.
The Portuguese were the first European country to start the colonization process. Their main obsession was protecting their trade route to India and the Indies. Most of the first settlements were forts and supply points along the coast of Africa for ships from Portugal to the East Indies.The first settlers were therefore mostly merchants, sailors and soldiers. From Africa to India, there were only ever no more than 25,000 Portuguese settlers. Later, the African colonies became a source for slaves.The Portuguese colonisation in the east remained a military and male dominated affair.
Brazil was a different case. As a rich source of gold, wood, agricultural goods, it attracted a large number of settlers.supported by slave labour, it became the richest Portuguese colony. The Portugeuse government were anxious to expand teh colony in Brazil. Many convicts, craftsmen and other persons were forced to go to Brazil. There many married African and Indian women creating the large population of mullatos and mesticos we see today.
For the Spaniards, colonization in the Americas was just an extension of the reconquista. Gold and God was the main objective, there they conquered Indian empires and simply supplanted Indian nobles with Spanish settlers.Catholicism was imposed on the population. similarly to the Portuguese, it was a male dominated , military affair. The soldiers,sailors and adventurers married native women, creating the large mestizo population we see in Latin America. White European Spaniards remains the colonial elite. The colony gradually developed into a purely commercial enterprise.
the Dutch colonization process was almost a purely commercial venture, compared to the crown led ventures of the Spanish and Portuguese. The Dutch East India Company ( VOC) completely ran the colonises as property of the company. The dutch had little interest in investing in the local population. for example in Indonesia, the dutch made little effort to introduce the dutch language and their religion. It is only in south Africa that there were large settlements ( around the Cape)
The French started as the dutch with only a commercial interest. In French America, the french colonist made up only 1 fiftieth of the British colonist ( 55,000 Frenchmen to 600,000 British ). Like their Latin cousins, it was a male dominated manner , with soldiers and tradesmen outnumbering women 6 to 1. Its no surprise that marriage to Indian women was encouraged. The french government did little to encourage settlement. Most Frenchmen went to the colonies to make their fortunes and then come back. Because of France's feudal system, their status in the colonies remained unchanged, so there was little incentive to migrate. In the Caribbean and Indian ocean, however , a plantation system dominated. Later, in the 19th century, nationalism meant that France wanted to gain prestige in empire and transform 'inferior peoples' into Frenchmen.
They started the same as the Dutch. for example, the British East India Company conquered India, rather than the government. So it was run as a cash cow for the empire. It is in America and Australasia that British colonization took a whole new characteristic. Instead of soldiers and traders, British colonization composed of whole families. They were out to create a new society. The colonies were basically a blank slate to start over again. There was no need to accommodate the Indians or intermarry. If they were in the way, they were wiped out. The same situation happened in Australia and New Zealand. Later in America , when the British tried to enforce the government, the Americans revolted.
later, the British would conquer the rest of the Globe to build up an empire. unlike the rest and similarly to the dutch, there was little intermarriage between the settlers and teh natives. however, they did, unlike the dutch impose their language and institutions.
the great migrations by John Haywood (2008)
· 10 years ago