The “United” States: Deplorable Beginnings

The colonization of the Americas by Europeans was a significant event in world history that had far-reaching consequences for both the colonizers and the colonized. The Europeans, primarily from Spain, Portugal, France, and England, encountered native American societies with diverse cultures and societies, and over time, they established dominance over them. This paper explores how Europeans conquered native Americans, including the military, political, economic, and cultural factors that contributed to their success.

Military Factors

One of the primary factors that contributed to the Europeans’ success in conquering native Americans was their military superiority. The Europeans had access to advanced weapons, such as guns and cannons, which gave them a significant advantage over the native Americans, who mostly used spears, bows, and arrows. Additionally, the Europeans had a better understanding of military tactics, such as the use of cavalry and infantry, which enabled them to defeat larger native American armies.

Political Factors

Another critical factor that contributed to European success was their ability to exploit political divisions among native American societies. European colonizers were skilled at using diplomacy and alliances to pit one native American group against another, weakening their adversaries and strengthening their own position. For example, the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes was able to defeat the Aztec Empire in Mexico by enlisting the support of rival native American groups who were enemies of the Aztecs.

Economic Factors

The Europeans’ economic advantages also played a significant role in their conquest of native Americans. The Europeans had access to advanced technology and capital, which enabled them to establish profitable industries such as mining, agriculture, and trade. Additionally, the Europeans had a more developed economy and trade networks, which allowed them to establish colonies and dominate the native American economies.

Cultural Factors

Finally, cultural factors also contributed to European success. The Europeans saw themselves as superior to the native Americans, and they often viewed native American cultures and religions as primitive and barbaric. This perception allowed them to justify their conquest and to impose their own cultural and religious beliefs on native American societies. Additionally, the Europeans brought with them new technologies and ideas, such as the printing press, which helped them spread their ideas and culture more effectively.


The conquest of native Americans by Europeans was a complex process that involved military, political, economic, and cultural factors. The Europeans’ military superiority, political alliances, economic advantages, and cultural beliefs all played a role in their conquest of native American societies. The legacy of European colonization continues to impact native American communities today, highlighting the ongoing effects of conquest and the importance of understanding historical events and their consequences.

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