North America, currently comprising of Mexico, Canada, and the United States, takes the third place among the relatively small continents. It was discovered by Columbus who was on a sea venture and accidentally landed in America in 1962. Being an Italian sponsored by Portagese government, he began his exploration of America, and this opened a door for Britain, Spain, France, and Portugal to further their colonies in American soil. The main reason why European kingdoms were establishing colonies were to create new trade routes, to gain religious independence as well as to look for natural resources such as minerals and gold. In other words, colonization was a process aimed at attaining free global exchange among countries. The two native dwellers in America were the Arawokes and the red Indians.
Initially, the English colonies perceived America as a potential base for harassment and conspiracy against Spain. However, this perception changed by the end of sixteenth century when they began to reflect on North America as a colony. In other words, North America had been a potential source of raw materials and fur as well as a good market for their goods. North America offered numerous advantages to the English colonizers. America would also act as home to the poor English who would have immense impact on advancing the wealth of their nation. The first colony was established in Jamestown. However, the first settlers suffered many illnesses that left thousands of them dead. Jamestown was believed to host precious metals that could be of benefit to the English. Despite this, the English settlers were in continuous battle with Indians and diseases. One of the major sources of conflict in Jamestown was food. Since many settlers in Jamestown were more interested in gold and silver, they shied off from farming. Consequently, they started to use the Indians food stocks which in turn caused the supply to be cut off by the governing authorities of the native Indians, also known as Powhatan confederacy. The English people had no option but to feed on frogs, decaying corpses, and snakes. The conflict between Powhatan confederacy and the English intensified when the colonists began clearing land so as to plant tobacco.
After realizing that they would not gain wealth through gold and precious stones as they had earlier perceived, the English ventured into pieces of land that were cleared to allow tobacco plantation. However, they were too lazy to engage in hard labor and therefore resorted to import slaves from Africa. This was the onset of slavery in America which eventually lasted over 200 years later. They further advanced into rice and indigo and later on cotton. The puritan settled along the north of Massachusetts with the aim of advancing their religious independence. They were driven by the fact that England was overcrowded, and improper farming methods could not allow them to advance. They believed that settling in north of Massachusetts would grant a chance to gain greater wealth than they could acquire in England. The British gained much by colonizing America. However, some of the benefits were not realized until a long period of time.
One of the driving forces for European colonists was the vast land in America. As a result, they displaced the Indians and Arawokes that were staying in America and possessed their land. One long-term effect of this move of the colonists was the permanent change of culture in North America. It is worth noting that any area was always colonized forcefully and against the wishes of the actual dwellers. This was no different with North America. Spain, Britain, Portugal, and France utilized its massive weaponry, cavalry, iron, and gunpowder to threaten Indians who lacked the gunpowder.
Colonization of North America had detrimental effects on the native dwellers. Within a short span of time, their life was completely revolutionized in many ways. They lost their land to the colonists, and, at some point, they were forced to adhere to government laws that contradicted their cultural beliefs. The arrival of the colonists also brought diseases and illnesses that were not common to the natives. Since they lacked immunity, most native died because of diseases that were common to the European colonists. The Europeans also brought with them alcohol, horses, and guns. This altered the lifestyle of the natives who could now use horses and gun in their hunt for food. The native Indians were evicted from their lands and forced to live in reservation unless they forsook their cultural identity and become Americans. However, the French colonists dealt differently with the American Indians. They embraced their cultural practice.
The aspect of change brought about by colonization is the increase of trade, also known as Columbian exchange. This change had both negative and positive impacts. The arrival of alcohol was detrimental to the American Indians who had different internal resistance as well as immunities from the Europeans. As a result, the American Indians were severely affected by alcohol even more than they had supposed. Being addictives in nature, they ended up being dependent on alcohol which then caused health deterioration. Americans had no horses, sheep, and goats which were brought from the Old World into the New World (America). Similarly, the European settlers also brought Old World crops such as rice, tobacco, and wheat. For instance, the European settlers in the east coast of the US planted apples and wheat which they had brought from their motherland. Cattle and horses from European countries were very helpful to the Native Americans. However, smallpox was the worst catastrophe that ever hit native Americas and which was brought by the European settlers. The Native Americans could not withstand the settlement of Europeans in America. Some of the atrocities that Europeans did to the Native Americans include eviction from land, immense alcoholism, and brutality. In other words, the Columbian exchange was more beneficial to the European colonists than it was to the Native Americans.
The introduction of European animals revolutionized the New World to a greater extent. Columbian exchange also resulted into demographic explosion in America as well as other parts of the world. For instance, the arrival of rice and wheat into the world increased food production levels. Consequently, many people could easily access food, and hence, population exploded in the subsequent centuries. The American Indians had been adapted to a kind of environment which was quite different from the environment created by the European settlers. As a result, the American Indians were adversely affected by the new system which caused many of them to succumb to death. This explains why the demographic distribution in America favors European nationals but not the Native Americans. The reduced population can also be attributed to the fact that many American Indians died of diseases and alcoholism
Environment was adversely affected by the settlement of Europeans in North America. Colonization resulted into overpopulation and consequently destruction of vast land to provide the settlements. The settlers also engaged in destructive land use which led to land degradation. Environmental pollution destroyed the ozone layer, and, as a result, extinct animal species were endangered. The designed agricultural systems were more inclined to the yields produced with no regard to the enormous harm caused to the land. It is documented that American Indian were not civilized hence could not object the environmental degradation that was practiced by the European settlers.