About 10 to 90 million Native Americans were believed to have inhabited America by the time Europeans first arrived in Europe. They had lived on the land for many years before the white man arrived. The Native Americans of the east coast met with eagerness the new European visitors in the 16th and 17th century. They found the white men with beards strange, but they were happy to receive the steel, knives, copper kettles, mirrors, and other interesting goods. The Native Americans were accommodating and welcoming to the settlers and this helped the initial wave of the settlers to survive since they knew little about the land. However, with time the Europeans became greedy and arrogant since they desired the valued land and resources that the local people owned. The Europeans, therefore, employed brutal attacks and invaded the land with a desire to conquer the continent. Initially, the Native Americans tried to live in harmony with the Europeans. However, they soon realized that the Europeans would arrive in their land in high numbers. Further, when the Europeans came, they brought with them diseases such as smallpox, cholera, measles, yellow fever and other diseases that killed the natives since they had no immunity. These diseases reduced the number of the Native American population.
The European settlers also brought with them their culture and religion as well as advanced technology. The world views of the natives and the English settlers differed greatly. Religious bias and mutual misunderstanding hardened their relationship. The settlers believed their culture was superior. They also had an attitude which was most aggressive and intolerant. The Native Americans did not have the technology for the military, and they were also not as united like the English people. As the number of Europeans settlers continued to increase, their hunger for land also rose which led to conflicts as well as the expansion of English settlement. The native warriors demonstrated courage, skill, and organization at first but they were defeated by the Europeans since they had superior weaponry. Between 1600 and 1754 the interaction between the European and the Native Americans was marked by a period of biological, material and cultural exchanges. Europeans brought presents such as beads, mirrors, kettles as well as hatchets during negotiation to represent their goodwill. Europeans came to believe that the Native Americans were evil monsters who needed to be destroyed by the white colonists.
The first attempts of the English colonists to conquer the Chesapeake tribe failed. However, they were assisted by the Powhatans to sustain the Jamestown colony. The Powhatan confederacy ensured there were peaceful negotiations until 1609. The English settlers tried to dictate unfavorable terms of trade, the chief hit back by withholding corn which resulted in war. The Native Americans had been forced out of their land by 1611, and by 1614 a truce was put in place. The Indian uprising that occurred in 1622 and 1644 did not prevent the English settlers from fulfilling their missions. The early colonial-Indian dealings were uneasy cooperation and conflict. There were good relations that existed for almost half the century when Pennsylvania existed. However, the colonists in the next decade attacked the Indians and destroyed the Indian villages, burned their crops. The two groups committed atrocities against each other up to the revolution.
The Europeans emerged with the most power since the diseases they came with to America significantly reduced the native Indian population thereby making the Europeans be the most powerful. Initially, the Europeans and the Native Americans such as the Iroquois lost and won power on each side. Peace treaties were written to ensure that these sides did not engage in war. The Europeans had advanced technology and weapons that helped them during wars. They, therefore, removed the Native Americans from their land which continued for hundreds of years.
The Spaniards were the most powerful monarchy in Europe as well as in America. They sought to become rich by exploiting the resources they found in America. They enslaved the Native Americans to grow crops and also mine different minerals such as gold, silver, and others. The Catholic missionaries tried to convert the locals to become Christians. However, even the most devoted of the converts still maintained their religious and cultural beliefs. The French did not enslave the natives, but they took advantage of the conflicts that existed among the tribes to trade with them. They were able to convert the natives to become Christians due to having learned the local language. The French brought weapons, textiles, metal goods in return for furs of animals. The Dutch and the English began to compete with each other for trade and territory in the eighteenth century which helped the locals to gain, economic, military and diplomatic power. The Dutch were more concerned with trading with the Iroquois Confederacy which was the most influential Native American empire.
On the other hand, the Native Americans benefited from the rivalries that existed between the colonists to maintain their political and economic positions. The Europeans were the most powerful in New England since they had the technological equipment and they also viewed their culture to be superior. The issue of color became important during this time and led to discrimination. During the revolution, the Native Americans were divided where some supported the British, some were neutral, and some supported the French.
I would have liked to be a European since they had more weapons which allowed them to have power over the natives. The Europeans also benefited a lot from the trade since they were able to use the slaves to grow different crops. On the contrary, the Native Americans had less technology to fight, and that is why they were easily pushed from their ancestral land by the colonists. Most of them were also killed in battle, and many of them died due to diseases which decreased their population.
According to the early English settlers, the Native American women lived a slavish life where they did most of the jobs such as setting and dressing corn, harvesting it, preparing it for food and carried out all the household chores. Women had no time for recreation. However, some disagree with this notion and state that the Native American women especially those who had high ranks had more power regarding religious and political decisions more than the English women. On the other hand, the Native American men had the role of hunting, fishing and creating tools as well as weapons. When the men were not engaged in war or peaceful labors, they engaged in recreational activities such as gambling, football. However, when they were required to work, they showed more energy and stamina compared to English. Men in the Chesapeake had power since they acted as worriers and protected the community. Women and children had the least power since during raids they were taken by other tribes and adopted. The captives were mostly tortured, and this was considered an honor. African Americans had no power at all since they were mostly used as slaves. The Europeans had the most power since they had more advanced technology to be used in wars. They, therefore, were able to use natives as well as the Africans as slaves and capture huge pieces of land for agriculture.
Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America's History, Concise Edition. Macmillan, 2017: 8-70
Perdue, Theda, and Michael D. Green. North American Indians: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, 2010: 5-20
3. Ibid., 6
Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America's History, Concise Edition. Macmillan, 2017.Perdue, Theda, and Michael D. Green. North American Indians: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, 2010.
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