Europeans in the New World, 1600–1700
In the desert Southwest, in the grasslands of Texas, in the tropical beach lands of Florida, and in scattered settlements on the rivers and in the dense forests along the Atlantic seacoast, European newcomers struggled to recapture a bit of home. Both the Spanish and Portuguese had made numerous voyages to the New World in the two decades after Columbus stumbled onto the Bahamas Islands in 1492, hoping to find an easy sea route to the Spice Islands and China. The Spanish readily employed local construction adobe because it was so similar to familiar vernacular traditions at home. During the eighteenth century, expanding Spanish colonization resulted in the building of presidios, rancheros, and churches in new territories. The house is a mixture of European traditions: "a transplanted cultural symbol," as William Pierson put it, "which took nothing architectural from its environment except its materials.".