In 1494, Portugal and Spain agreed on the . This imaginary line divided the world in half. Territory west of the line was . Territory to the east was . Portugal claimed Brazil because an explorer named Pedro Cabral set sail for India in 1500, but a storm blew his ships to what is now Brazil.
The Spanish Conquests
Spanish conquistador, , kidnapped Aztec emperor, Moctezuma who was later killed. Spain took control of the empire. , another conquistador, conquered the Inca Empire and claimed it for the Spain. By the 1540s, Spain claimed land extending from Kansas to the tip of South America. This huge region was divided into two colonies, New Spain and Peru. Gold, silver, and other goods from these lands made the richest European country of its day.
Life in a Spanish Colony
Lima had Spanish-style churches and a university. People of Spanish descent who were born in the Americas were known as . Children of marriages between Creoles and Indians were called . Indians and enslaved Africans were at the lowest level of society. The Spanish used Indians to work the rich gold and silver mines of Mexico and Peru. Other Indians were forced to work on the haciendas owned by Spaniards or the Catholic Church. made Indians become Catholic. Indians died from European diseases.
Other Europeans in the Americas
The Dutch had settlements in New Netherland in the early 1600s. New Netherland became New York when it was taken by the English. France established a colony in what is now . Jamestown became the first permanent English colony in what is now Virgina. Within 100 years there were over 300,000 settlers in thirteen colonies that were part of the British Empire until 1776. The colonies revolted and became the independent country called the United States of America.