From Hobson's Choice
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A continent of the Americas which lies mostly north of the Tropic of Cancer, and hence is conveniently situated for settlement by inhabitants of Europe: the ocean currents and modest distances involved are more conducive to travel from Europe than is the case with either South America, Australia, or much of Asia. Additionally, the Atlantic seaboard of North America was extraordinarily attractive to Europeans, since it was quite similar to Europe itself; or, in the case of the Caribbean Sea islands, included a large archipelago of islands that could be readily conquered and cultivated for cash crops.
From the perspective of European exploration and conquest of the Americas, the Caribbean was to prove invaluable as a base for launching expeditions into the lands bordering the Gulf of Mexico. For various historical reasons, the Iberian wave of European invaders was not interested in availing themselves of the eastern part of the continent; hence, several centuries passed before large numbers of Europeans settled the temperate zone of North America and began to cultivate it themselves.
There are essentially three parallel stories to North American conquest.
- The physical destruction of the indigenous human population
- The political partition of the continent among European invaders and settlers
- The industrial transformation of the continent into a resource for European industry.
These stories must be narrated in parallel also, since the primary instrument of genocide against the Native Americans was the industrial transformation of North America; and the political partition of the continent allowed the industrial transformation.