by Scott De Warren
If we disambiguate the mediterranean from the northern Atlantic worlds we will find different, though related motivations for colonization.
For the Iberian peninsula it was a matter of national survival.
As the Atlantic opened up to the world the Netherlands, followed by England set up global trade networks (inspired by previous Portuguese and Spanish success) to build up their national wealth so as to resist Catholic domination (Netherlands eventually split) made possible by Spanish gold and silver from the colonies.
Resisting Catholic domination required rapid expansion of mercantilist trade (raw material inputs are imported, high value added outputs are exported) making bases in North America ideal.