Spain colonized America because the Spanish wanted to build their empire, create additional trading ports and routes, expand their military control and convert the native peoples to their religious beliefs. The Spanish followed the mercantilism economic method in its American colonies and damaged local industry, restricted trade, prohibited manufacturing and slowed town growth in order to create an economic environment where the Spanish manufacturers were at a huge advantage.
Christopher Columbus was the first to sail for the Spanish and discover hints of a new world. Soon after, more explorers were flocking to the new world in order to find land to claim for Spain. Juan Ponce de Leon was one such explorer. He discovered the Florida coasts in 1513 shortly followed by the Pacific Ocean. In 1539 to 1542, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado found the Grand Canyon and claimed it for the Spanish people. He also explored other parts of the southern America including areas around the Mississippi River.
The Spanish influence on the American people can be found in some of the customs such as the rodeo, the cowboy and names of cities such as San Antonia, Tucson, Los Angeles and Santa Fe. The Spanish influence also appears in some architectural work, including tile roofs, detailed mosaics, wooden beams and adobe walls.