European Exploration


Major European countries were in competition to extend their power into North America and claim the land as their own.

Motivations For Exploration

  • Economic - find gold and natural resources; trade

  • Religious - spread Christianity

  • To expand territory

Obstacles to Explorations

  • Poor maps and navigational tools

  • Disease and starvation

  • Fear of the unknown

  • Lack of supplies

Accomplishments of the Explorations

  • Exchanged goods and ideas

  • Improved navigational tools and ships

  • Claimed territories

Regions Explored by European Countries


  • Francisco Coronado claimed the Southwest of the present-day United States for Spain


  • Samuel de Champlain established the French settlement of QuĂ©bec

  • Robert La Salle claimed the Mississippi River Valley for France


  • John Cabot explored eastern Canada


  • The Portuguese made voyages along the coast of West Africa

Interactions between Natives and Europeans

The interactions between American Indians and Europeans sometimes led to cooperation and other times resulted in conflict.


  • Conquered and enslaved American Indians

  • Brought Christianity to the New World

  • Introduced European diseases to American Indians


  • Established trading posts

  • Spread Christian religion


  • Established settlements and claimed ownership of American Indian land

  • Learned farming techniques from American Indians

  • Traded with American Indians

American Indians

  • Taught farming techniques to European settlers

  • Believed that land was to be shared but not owned

Areas of Conflict Between Natives and Europeans

  • Land

  • Competition for trade

  • Differences in cultures

  • Diseases

  • Language differences

West African Societies

Europeans were interested in African people and African goods.

Ghana, Mali, and Songhai

  • The three main kingdoms that dominated West Africa during 300 to 1600 A.D.

  • Located in south of the Sahara Desert, near the Niger River

  • Controlled trade in West Africa

  • Traded gold to the Portuguese in exchange for metals, cloth, and manufactured goods

The Colonies

Colonies in North America were established for religious and economic reasons.

Colonies and the Reasons for Establishment

  • Roanoke Island (Lost Colony) was established as an economic venture

  • Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America (1607), was an economic venture by the Virginia Company

  • Plymouth Colony was settled by separatists from the Church of England who wanted to avoid religious persecution

  • Massachusetts Bay Colony was settled by the Puritans to avoid religious persecution

  • Pennsylvania was settled by the Quakers, who wanted freedom to practice their faith

Georgia was settled by English prisoners who hoped to start a new life in the New World