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Spain and the Founding of Jamestown

In 1606, King James I granted the Virginia Company a charter to settle and civilize America. Virginia Company was a joint-stock company with a group of wealthy investors and shares holder. The Virginia Company planned to establish settlements in America and make a profit. Jamestown island was selected as a site for several reasons. It was far enough inland to hide from possible Spanish attacks. The island also had deep waters for the anchorage of their ships. The presence of swamps and rivers made it easily defensible against the local native Americans who had not yet inhabited the island, such as the Powhatan Indians. The island was a triangle in shape, with a wall at each corner offering protection to its settlers. Jamestown Island was established by the Virginia Company as a settlement and became the first English colony in North America.

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Some years before the establishment of the Jamestown, the Spanish ambassador in London informed the Council of State about the English plans in Virginia. The Spanish ambassador in London, Pedro de Zuniga, wrote a letter to Madrid, his capital addressing the issue (Goldman 435). Goldman (435) says the Spanish government sent an operation to overpower the project in North America. The Council of State concluded giving diplomacy a chance to work (Goldman 435). At that time, Spain was in an ongoing peace negotiation with the Dutch.

The Virginia Company moved to Jamestown and started establishing settlements. Spain was filled with uncertainty after being informed that English troops had sent forces to settle in Virginia (Goldman 436). The Junta de Guerra de Indies were commanded to reinforce the Spanish points in North America. Some members of the Council of war and the Council of the Indies formed the Junta de Guerra who was a group that was only necessary when military actions were required (Goldman 436). The Council of war and the junta could not stop the English plans (Goldman 436). They were unable to maintain the entire empire across about three thousand miles.

In the article, the author says that a Spanish military group led by their leader Diego de Molina landed in the English settlement at Jamestown. They were captured by the English armed men and served in captivity for several years (Goldman 63). Goldman (63) states that two Spanish militants died in detention while Molina, their leader, regained his freedom after seven years. It is believed that Jamestown was situated to prevent attacks from Spain. There was controversy in the Spanish government on whether to attack the English settlement or not. The Spanish protection of Catholicism was arguing that an immediate attack towards the English settlement should be conducted (Goldman 429). The other argument used the new political theory of reason of state, which was against the attack on the English settlement. Spain was the main stumbling block in the new English settlement but never responded in anger as expected (Goldman 429). The Spanish government was significantly affected in its finance and strategic positions in the leadership of King Philip III (Goldman 429). Spain could not respond in war towards the English settlement or rescuing its militants.

According to the author, the Spanish government decided to let the settlement survive without causing conflicts. The state theory facilitated the choice of not attacking the English settlement at Jamestown following the meetings of the Spanish council debates (Goldman 429). Through this, the English men were guaranteed eventual colonization and accommodation in North America. Spain had claimed the region earlier in the fifteenth century, but they never responded in safeguarding it (Elliott 541). Alternatively, they contented themselves with diplomatic protests and powerless warnings (Goldman 428). The Spanish government was confused and were not able to come up with a strategy to help win their long-claimed region.

Spain seemed to be responding to how they were expected to react during the establishments of settlements in North America. The Spanish government had dominion over several parties, such as the Indies (Elliott 541). Under the reign of King Philip III, the Spanish government consciously left its domination over the Indies, where the Spanish government used to make a lot of its wealth and power (Elliott 541). The choice of Spain to let the English settlement survive led to North America speaking English and South America speaking Spanish (Goldman 428). Spain’s decision was one of a kind having no disturbances or conflict.

A few months later, after the English settlement in Virginia, the Spanish ambassador in London, Zuniga, was invited by King James I to talk about the new colony. Ambassador Zuniga expressed King’s Philip distress on the English settlement in “Indies of Castile”, which according to the treaty of 1604, belonged to the Spanish government (Goldman 438). Goldman (438) indicates that Zuniga reported to King Philip what they had discussed with King James I. Zuniga told Philip that James said he was not aware of what was happening in Virginia (Goldman 438). King James also noted that those in Jamestown had travelled to the place at their own risk. Towards the end of the interview, King James placed the fault on the parliament for the settlement in the foreign lands (Goldman 438). However, the Spaniards were so insightful to believe the talk of King James I.

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As an ambassador, Zuniga was much occupied with intelligence, in many cases to an expansive impact. The Spanish ambassador gathered together English undertakings in Virginia, having a map of the region showing its accurate location and the sum of people in the area (Goldman 439). Goldman (439) argues that Zuniga was so passionate about destroying Jamestown since it had threatened Spain’s empire and because it was a pirate base making it extremely risky. Zuniga’s research about the land of Jamestown was fundamental to Spain if it had the idea of conquering Virginia (Goldman 439). Zuniga was ready to help his country get all that it needed showing his patriotism to his nation. In the article, “Spain and the Founding of Jamestown,” Goldman clearly views Spain as wise for its considerations on how to respond to harsh situations.

I strongly agree with the author of this article, Spain and the Founding of Jamestown. Goldman, the author, explains every detail about Jamestown in Virginia in an understandable manner. The book’s organization makes it easy for learners to grasp every critical point on the first English settlement in North America. In the article, the author answers every question the learner carries in mind after studying the topic. Spain and the Foundation of Jamestown are exciting to learn since it offers an excellent history of the ancient days.

Spain and the Founding of Jamestown effectively link with the standard narrative in the textbook. Both teach the history of establishing the new English settlement in the river banks of James by the Virginia company. The response of Spain towards the territory of the English people in the long-claimed land is also well explained in both the textbook and the article. Goldman’s report goes much into details about the history of the founding of Jamestown and the response between the English and Spanish people. The article is brief and precise, making it easily understandable for learners. Spain and the Founding of Jamestown is an educative topic or lesson in history.

Works Cited

Goldman, William S. “Spain and the Founding of Jamestown.” The William and Mary Quarterly 68.3 (2011): 427-450. Web.

Elliott, J. H. “The Iberian Atlantic and Virginia.” The Atlantic World and Virginia, 1550 1624 (2007): 541-57.

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