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Though they were all designed for the purpose of establishing and controlling massive colonization the imperial systems of France Spain and England in the 16th and 17th centuries were vastly different There were many reasons for these differences These reasons range from the philosophy of the countrys rulers to purely geographic purposes to the personalities of the settlers themselves The colonial systems also had different reasons for their existence based on the political situation in the countries Like most other things in life the push towards colonial empires was powered by a greed for wealth During the timeframe of this paper mercantilism was the predominant economic theory This theory states that the power of a country is directly proportional to the amount of wealth stored within its treasury This wealth was acquired through trade Towards the end of the 15th century Spain was searching for a way to replentish its treasury which had been wiped out by war In an attempt to recover this wealth through expanded trade Spain sent an expedition to find a fast trade route to the far east where Marco Polo had encountered miraculous items of wealth one hundred years before Unlike previous explorers who had searched for faster trade routes the leader of this expedition would head West In the process he would stumble upon what would become the Americas and lay the groundwork for permanent European settlement It is important to keep in mind that the Spanish did not see the American Colonies as the future home for many of its citizens they were simply there to extract wealth and ship it home to fill the Spanish treasuries This fact is what allowed the Spanish to get along with the locals They had no desire to flush the natives out to clear room for more settlers from Europe In fact the Spanish practiced Encomienda in which all natives in their colonies were considered full and equal citizens of the
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