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Old 09-16-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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... if England, and not Spain, had colonized it?

The British landed in North America, and its influence is felt in both Canada and the USA to this day. But what if the Spaniard and Portuguese explorers who found Brazil and who established various "viceroyalties" had never set sail?

What if it had been English navigators who had found Brazil, Mexico, Central America... and what if these "viceroyalties" of the Spanish Empire of centuries ago had instead been colonies of the English King?

What would Central and South America look like today? Other than the obvious difference of the entire continent speaking English, what would we see? Would Brazil, or any former English colony in South America in its place, be as rich, powerful, and wealthy as the USA today, or at least, as advanced and stable as Canada is?
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Prior to about 1600, the claims in all the Americas were extremely tenuous, and the XVI Century British could have claimed pretty much anything they wanted. Unable to enforce a claim to all of it, the British chose the part of the new world that seemed most suitable to their interests. That did not happen to be South America, so the Portuguese and Spanish claims there remained unchallenged.

The relative power balance in Europe would have made it impossible for a single European nation to have every part of the new world, so they had to tacitly agree to spread it around.

So, if the British had laid claim to the entirety of the new world, the Spanish would have had nothing to do but sink British ships, and would wind up with a part of it anyway. History, as usual, devolved the way it should.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:40 PM
 
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Was there really that much difference in the political monarchies of England, Portugal, and Spain (and the French and the Dutch)during those times?

England (and certainly the Dutch) had the more progressive political systems, at least represented by a parliamanet. So that may be reflected in the independence and resourcefulness of the colonists of the 16th to the 18th century. While Spain and Portugal, and thus South America and Central America were stuck into the fiefdom cycle of rich land owners and poor serfs (something akin to the southern U.S. as well, pre-civil war).

But North America from the Rio Grande north, which was actually claimed and settled by not only England, but the French, and the Spanish (and Russians, etc) did indeed become the members of the rich and powerful while south and central America, shall we say, still struggle. Although just go to Sao Paulo and see that it's not all third world poverty down there - it's a metropolitan city that will rival LA or New York City in modernization and industry.

So I don't have an answer, except I for maybe these facts:
1.) U.S. has rich natural resources in one nation that no other single nation in S. America can match. S. American has how many different nations?
2.) U.S. had a head start - independent nation 50 to 100 years before the others.
3.) U.S. had the superior stable political system from the start (perhaps derived from the relatively progressive political system of England at the time) - Constitutional republic/democracy. While again south and central america were experimenting (still are) with various dictorships and government types that were overthrown every few years.
4.) Success feeds on itself. North America, not South America, became the great melting pot from the world in the 1800's. This back when we needed people to spread to the frontiers and produce, develop, and exploit our resources. S. America never had a chance to compete.
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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Sprawl

Such lands would have been converted into sugar factories, just like Jamaica.
Indians would have been exterminated.
The whole place would now be like Belize and Jamaica.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Was there really that much difference in the political monarchies of England, Portugal, and Spain (and the French and the Dutch)during those times?

England (and certainly the Dutch) had the more progressive political systems, at least represented by a parliamanet. So that may be reflected in the independence and resourcefulness of the colonists of the 16th to the 18th century. While Spain and Portugal, and thus South America and Central America were stuck into the fiefdom cycle of rich land owners and poor serfs (something akin to the southern U.S. as well, pre-civil war).

But North America from the Rio Grande north, which was actually claimed and settled by not only England, but the French, and the Spanish (and Russians, etc) did indeed become the members of the rich and powerful while south and central America, shall we say, still struggle. Although just go to Sao Paulo and see that it's not all third world poverty down there - it's a metropolitan city that will rival LA or New York City in modernization and industry.

So I don't have an answer, except I for maybe these facts:
1.) U.S. has rich natural resources in one nation that no other single nation in S. America can match. S. American has how many different nations?
2.) U.S. had a head start - independent nation 50 to 100 years before the others.
3.) U.S. had the superior stable political system from the start (perhaps derived from the relatively progressive political system of England at the time) - Constitutional republic/democracy. While again south and central america were experimenting (still are) with various dictorships and government types that were overthrown every few years.
4.) Success feeds on itself. North America, not South America, became the great melting pot from the world in the 1800's. This back when we needed people to spread to the frontiers and produce, develop, and exploit our resources. S. America never had a chance to compete.
Oh, absolutely. England was mostly a parliamentary democracy by the 17th Century. The English monarch's power was already waning, thanks to people such as Oliver Cromwell. This is in marked contrast to Louis XIV and the Hapsburgs who viewed the state as a centralized entity revolving around the monarch.

This difference had a profound effect on the institutions of England as opposed to those of Spain and France. There was a much more pronounced middle class, which in turn led to a more sophisticated banking system, more entrepreneurship, etc. That's why, in its colonies, the English had far more merchants go make their fortunes in the Caribbean and North America, whereas Spanish colonies tended to be run by patricians. As a result you had a more decentralized economy, a more egalitarian society, and more latitude for the average citizen to cross the Atlantic and make his fortune.

So, while there are certainly pockets of wealth in places such as Brazil, as you pointed out, there has also been far more economic dislocation, political unrest, and the whatnot. I would also want to offer some thoughts.

1) The U.S.'s major natural resources during the first 70 years of its history were not mineral wealth. While there was the occasional lode of gold discovered in the east, raw materials is really not what drove the country's economic growth. It was the availability of land and a government policy of low taxation and minimal intervention in the economy. Latin America had equivalent availability of land (In many cases, better land). However the governments were notoriously awful, brutal and corrupt.

2) The United States only had a 30-to-40 year head start. That being said, South America was actually more developed in terms of infrastructure, etc., the result of the Spanish and Portugese colonizing the New World a full century prior to the modest British effort at Jamestown and Plymouth.

Instead, I would say that the early success and economic expansion of the United States compared to its hemispheric neighbors was due largely to the Republic's founding principles.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprawling_Homeowner View Post
... if England, and not Spain, had colonized it?

The British landed in North America, and its influence is felt in both Canada and the USA to this day. But what if the Spaniard and Portuguese explorers who found Brazil and who established various "viceroyalties" had never set sail?

What if it had been English navigators who had found Brazil, Mexico, Central America... and what if these "viceroyalties" of the Spanish Empire of centuries ago had instead been colonies of the English King?

What would Central and South America look like today? Other than the obvious difference of the entire continent speaking English, what would we see? Would Brazil, or any former English colony in South America in its place, be as rich, powerful, and wealthy as the USA today, or at least, as advanced and stable as Canada is?
A few things.

1. There would have been 10-50 times the number of slaves imported to work the Amazon jungles.

2. There would not be any more rainforest.

3. Brasilian football would suck

4. Argentina would be among the top 10 wealthiest and most powerful countries today instead of the institutional laughing stock that it has been for the past 80 years.

5. The US would have been even more powerful with a free-market oriented South America.

6. Almost every single South American country would have been better off economically speaking.

S.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:16 PM
 
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You guys (most of you) gave thought-provoking replies.

I do think, however, that a major reason the United States (and Canada) became advanced, stable, democratic states with populations marked by literacy and education (sure, there are plenty of ignorant people in both of these countries) was the Puritan work ethic.

Let me focus strictly on the United States.

A unique argument I heard about why the USA developed so differently from its southern neighbors was the Protestant work ethic. Many of the early English arrivals were Protestants, and they believed what the Bible said, that hard work (tilling the land, etc) was noble, as the Bible exalted hard work.

The Catholic version thereof, however, was the opposite. Supposedly working the land meant you'd defile yourself and your body, so there was less of an emphasis on hard work.

Yes, I know this is a gross oversimplification... but it was a theory proffered by a Colombian scholar who taught advanced Spanish when I was an undergrad.

Another factor, however, is probably more relevant. The English came to what is now the USA looking to build a new country. The Spaniards and Portuguese came mainly to plunder, to get whatever gold and slaves they could, and to run back to Iberia. They did create colonies here, but the ultimate goal was plunder. It's interesting that the South American leaders who proclaimed independence and fought for freedom from the Spaniard and Portuguese crowns are known as "liberators" today ("Libertadores de America") whereas the Founding Fathers are called that - "founders" of a new country.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sandpointian View Post
A few things.

1. There would have been 10-50 times the number of slaves imported to work the Amazon jungles.

2. There would not be any more rainforest.

3. Brasilian football would suck

4. Argentina would be among the top 10 wealthiest and most powerful countries today instead of the institutional laughing stock that it has been for the past 80 years.

5. The US would have been even more powerful with a free-market oriented South America.

6. Almost every single South American country would have been better off economically speaking.

S.
The historical Brazil of today has the largest black community outside Africa, and its slave trade ended only 12 years before the 20th Century.

But I agree - Argentina, under English/Puritan/Protestant influences, wouldn't have succumbed to the Peronista government that tore down stable government institutions.
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:29 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprawling_Homeowner View Post
Many of the early English arrivals were Protestants, and they believed what the Bible said, that hard work (tilling the land, etc) was noble, as the Bible exalted hard work.

The Catholic version thereof, however, was the opposite. Supposedly working the land meant you'd defile yourself and your body, so there was less of an emphasis on hard work.

That is ridiculous. Nobody in The United States works harder than such Catholics as Poles, Bohemians, Irish, Italians, Lithuanians and Croatians. Not to mention the Mexicans, most of whom work like a set of twins. If the Spanish didn't like to work (which I'm not granting) it's a Spanish thing not a Catholic one. Not to mention that some the laziest and least enterprising people I've seen are Protestants who've been here God knows how long and still made nothing of themselves.
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
That is ridiculous. Nobody in The United States works harder than such Catholics as Poles, Bohemians, Irish, Italians, Lithuanians and Croatians. Not to mention the Mexicans, most of whom work like a set of twins. If the Spanish didn't like to work (which I'm not granting) it's a Spanish thing not a Catholic one. Not to mention that some the laziest and least enterprising people I've seen are Protestants who've been here God knows how long and still made nothing of themselves.
As I said - a gross oversimplification. But the stereotype of the "lazy Hispanic" which many in America hold does come from somewhere. Perhaps the Colombian professor spoke from what he saw in his own homeland or its neighbors?
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