British Conquest on British North America

Examine the impact of the British Conquest on British North America

The British Empire was the largest empire in history and it was made up of colonies, dominions, mandates, protectorates and others administered by the UK. By the year 1922, the British Empire had a population of 458 million people which was a quarter of the world's population at that time. It covered an area of about a quarter of the earth's land area. There was even a common saying that the sun did not set on the British Empire meaning that there was always sun shining on at least a territory of the British empire which were spread all over the world[1].

In the 15th and 16th centuries which are considered as the discovery age, Spain and Portugal initiated European exploration. This led to the establishment of great oversea kingdoms. England, Netherlands and France started to establish networks for trade and colonies. England was left as the dominant colonial power in North America following a series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries between France and Netherlands. A blow came upon Britain when it lost its thirteen colonies in North America in the year 1783. Despite of this challenge, British turned its focus to Africa, pacific and India. After the defeat of Napoleonic France in the year 1815, Britain was able to enjoy a century of dominance and it expanded its imperials across the globe. Germany and United States grew to challenge the economic lead by Britain during the end of the 19th century[2].

During the time, the population of Newfoundland was larger. The population consisted of mostly men. There was also a harsh division between the resident and overseas fishermen. The two rivals were rivals in cod fishery, and the residents were advantaged by earlier starts and seasons which were longer. They also had an advantage of selling their fish dried at the shore to trading ships which came from both old and New England. The visiting fishermen were advantaged by the support they got from the government. This British state was heavily dependent on seaborne commerce and naval power. The image of Newfoundland was that of a reservoir for trained, ocean-going seamen obtainable during war times. Newfoundland was under-governed and it had a senior naval officer as the governor and was the commander of the team that escorted the English fishing convoy meaning that he was not present during the winter during when only appointed justices carried on justice matters[3].

The power for these justices was weak and there was no general structure of the court. Newfoundland was thus a wild frontier and its fishing grew. St. John was a major town although it was not much organized. The French wars came and it met the visiting sailors and the war time dangers rose in the Atlantic. The fisheries were able to recover after the help from the government in the year 1763 but the position for this was not certain with regards to the political favors.

With regards to Nova Scotia, it also had strong interests on fishing. The people living here were however not transients but residents. They were able to develop farming shipping and lumbering and it traded through the sea with England, West Indies and Britain. New England settlers settled in vacant farmlands from the Acadians. The new Englanders were restrained from moving westward but they could go north. Seven thousand of the new Englanders came up to settle in Nova Scotia[4].

The colonization of the British led to dramatic commotion within the Native Americans and this was both directly and indirectly. It was indirect through the British military force and direct by the introduction of diseases and the disruption of the native's culture. The American fight for independence led to the granting of a government that was more responsible to the British territories before they were granted independence during the twentieth century.

Trade was often a driving force for colonization in many instances. The British kingdom was after trade and they were interested by several products from different areas. An example is India where they put up the East India Trading Company. In North America is the fur that was of interest which was very much demanded in Europe. The British Empire thus moved in search of fur in different parts of North America. This of course resulted in an effect that is felt up to today in that the economy was strengthened[5].

Although the British might have attempted to benefit itself through the colonization of North America, colonization was also seen as a way of spreading the gospel. This means that the religion or paganism in North America was affected as many people who did not believe in God changed into Christians. As a result of spread of gospel, the culture and the North American Economy were changed.

Another effect of colonization was the destruction of the power balance that existed between tribes. The tribes that had been living in the lands had a long-standing system of power that had been balanced before the colonization. The arrival of the British colonizers in the land upset everything. Every tribe related with the colonizers differently and some of them who were friendly and traded with them willingly mostly ended up being disadvantaged than those who were hostile to the colonizers. An example is that of the Iroquois Indians who related well to the settlers and ended up acquiring weapons from the Europeans. They used these weapons to slaughter their neighboring tribes[6].

Another effect on the colonization of the British ids the continuous ruinous effects on the environment because of the over-population and destructive land use rules. Pollution has led to the destruction of the ozone layer and extinction of animals. There is also destruction of land by systems which are poorly designed. Such problems would not have been faced by the American settlers were it not for the Europeans[7].

In Conclusion, The British colonized the British North America mainly to make themselves stronger. They however did not leave the place unchanged. The culture, religion and economy have changed in a great way because of the colonist. The British culture is still seen in this former colony of the British specifically Canada and USA. The economy of the country being colonized was however changed positively to be stronger together with those of the colonizing country. What is still more essential is the fact that this led to the spread of Christianity in different areas where no one was aware of Christ. This is why the country is mainly Christian.


Finlay, J. L. 1990. Pre-Confederation Canada: The Structure of Canadian History to 1867. Scarborough, ON: Prentice Hall.

Nash, G., et al, 2008. The American People, Creating a Nation and a Society Vol 1 to 1877. Concise sixth edition. New York: Pearson.

[1] Nash, G., et al, The American People, Creating a Nation and a Society Vol 1, 6th ed, (Pearson, New York, 2008), 277

[2] Nash, G., et al, 278

[3] Finlay, J, Pre-Confederation Canada: The Structure of Canadian History, (Prentice Hall, Scarborough, ON. 1990), 45

[4] Nash, G., et al, 279

[5] Finlay, 180

[6] Finlay, 182

[7] Nash, G., et al, 280

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