Spanish Settlement Of The West Essay

This essay has a total of 1530 words and 13 pages.

Spanish Settlement Of The West


International borders have always been centers of conflict, and the

U.S.-Mexican border is no exception. With the European colonizing the New

World, it was a matter of time before the powers collided. The Spanish

settled what is today Mexico, while the English settled what is to day the

United States. When the two colonial powers did meet what is today the

United States' Southwest, it was not England and Spain. Rather the two

powers were the United States and Mexico. Both Counties had broken off from

their mother countries. The conflict that erupted between the two countries

where a direct result of different nation policies. The United States had a

policy of westward expansion, while Mexico had a policy of self protection.

The Americans never had a written policy of expansion. What they had was

the idea of "Manifest Destiny." Manifest Destiny was the belief that the

United States had the right to expand westward to the Pacific ocean. On the

other hand, Mexico was a new country wanting to protect itself from outside

powers. Evidence of U.S. expansion is seen with the independence of Texas

from Mexico. The strongest evidence of U.S. expansion goals is with the

Mexican-American War. From the beginning, the war was conceived as an

opportunity for land expansion. Mexico feared the United States expansion

goals.

During the 16th century, the Spanish began to settle the region. The

Spanish had all ready conquered and settled Central Mexico. Now they wanted

to expand their land holdings north. The first expedition into the region,

that is today the United States Southwest, was with Corando. Corando

reported a region rich in resources, soon after people started to settle the

region. The driving force behind the settlement was silver in the region.

The Spanish settled the region through three major corridors; central,

western and eastern. The first settlements were mainly through the central

corridor. The Spanish went thorough what is now the modern Mexican state of

Chihuahua into the U.S. state of New Mexico. Eventually the Spanish

established the city of Santa Fe in 1689. The eastern corridor was through

modern day Texas and led to the establishment of San Antonio. The eastern

expansion was caused by the French expansion into modern day Louisiana. The

Spanish crown wanted a buffer between the French in Louisiana and central

Mexico. The last corridor of expansion was in the west, through the sea,

which led to the establishment of San Diego in 1769 and Los Angles in 1781.

The Spanish were not the only European power to colonize the new world;

French, English and the Dutch also settled North and South America. The

Spanish and the French settled what is present day U.S.-Mexico border region.

The French settled modern day U.S. midwest, while the Spanish settled

present day Mexico and U.S. southwest. As time went on, European influence

in the region diminished.. The French sold there claims to the United

States, in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Mexico gained independence

from Spain in 1821. Once the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase,

western expansion began. This set the stage for major conflict in the

region.

The United States gained independence from England in 1775. After 1775, the

Americans started to expand west. By the time Mexico gained independence,

the United States had reached the Mexican frontier. Mexico needed to protect

its northern borders. To protect the border region, Mexico needed to

populate the area. Mexico continued the policy started by Spain of allowing

Americans to settle Texas. The Americans had to follow Mexican law, religion

and customs. The settlement of Texas played into the United States'

expansion plans.

Eventually Mexico City closed Texas from more Americans from entering.

This angered the Americans wanting to enter and Americans already living in

Texas. Texas revolted from Mexico in 1833. Mexicans did live in Texas, and

fought for the independence of Texas. The majority of Texans were Americans

and fought for their independence. After the war the Americans intentionally

or non-intentionally forced most Mexicans out of Texas. The ones that stayed

faced racial tensions that continue to today.

After gaining independence from Mexico, Texas wanted to join the United

States immediately. The U.S. Congress voted against Texas from joining the

Union. Congress was worried that annexation of Texas would anger Mexico.

Mexico had never officially recognized Texas as independent. Congress was

concerned that annexation would start a war with Mexico. Mexico's repose to

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