French exploration of North America begun under the leadership of King of France by the name Francis. In 1524, he sent his men to explore the region between Florida and Newfoundland. It was until the 16th century when French rule over the North Americans people begun and progressed to other centuries. French rule established its colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere they founded colonies mostly in the eastern North America particularly on the Caribbean islands and in South America. Most of these colonies were developed to export products such as sugar, fur and fish. Like the Spanish colonies in North America, many French settlers were not attracted to New France. As compared to other colonizers who enslaved Native Americans in farming and mining operations, the French established good relationships with the Huron, Montagnais and Algonquins Indians, who were both white and red Indians along the St. Lawrence River and those in the Great Lakes with an aim of developing and growing the fur trade hence acquiring wealth. These three groups of Indians competed for privileged status as intermediaries between the French and other Indians traders (T. Steigenga 98). Although these Indians did most of the work such as tracking, trapping and skinning the animals for their fur as well as transporting this far to the French traders, they had an upper hand regarding the hard bargains they drove for this fur. In exchange for this fur, the French traders gave the textiles, weapons and metal goods. The preferred fur was from animals such as beavers, bears and wolves. As a result of these good and strong relations with the French and the Indians, the French Jesuit missionaries managed to convert huge numbers of Huron Indians to Christianity. This was made possible by the missionaries bravery in the face of danger and the fact that they had learned the local language. In connection to this, the French officials made the conversion easy by allowing the converted Hurons to purchase French muskets. Indians economic, diplomatic and military leverage continued to grow when the Dutch and English competed with French for trade, territory and military alliances with the Indians. This happened in the 17th Century (P. Alter 54).
British Rule over the Indians of North America
Relations between the British and the Indians of the North America who was part of the Native Americans were less healthy. By about 1830, most of their land in the East of the Great Lakes was taken from them. When it hit 1870, they had already lost most of the prairies in the Midwestern USA and Canada. Despite all this, they highly preferred being subjects to British rule to the rule by the USA or by the British North American Settlers. In the course of the 19th century, there were rise cases of Native Americans shifting from the USA rule to the British rule. These Indians went to an extreme of fighting on the side of the British rule against the settlers in Canada during their rebellion against the British rule in 1837. These Indians developed new skills and played important roles in the economic development of America. They had a franchise from the British government allowing them to run certain types of trade on the Saint Lawrence River (J. Swanton 77). They also developed skills in rigging the high masts as well as a mooring for the bridges crossing the Saint Lawrence River. Their contributions enhanced the growth of tourists trade in the 1800s. In spite of all this, these Indians had lost their traditional land and the way of life. The fact that they preferred being subjects to the British rule does not mean that they were treated fairly by them. As soon as the French were defeated by the British and abandoned North America, the British rule expanded its colonies in North America. This made the American Colonists to be subject to British rule. This happened after the Great Britain issued the Proclamation of 1763 which was designed to calm the fears of the Indians which resulted from the collapse of the good relations they had with the French. The 1763 proclamation did this by halting colonists Westward expansion while at the same time expanding the lucrative fur trade. The great and strong relationship that was there previously between the Indians and the French continued since the British did not want to lose the Indians support in the military as well as their expertise in the fur trade (G. Catlin 89).
Spanish jurisdiction over the Indians in Mexico and South America
Under the Spanish adventurers, the Times, Agatha's and Comes Indians in Mexico and South America were terribly treated. For example, after the settlement, the Indians of Hispaniola were humiliated by the Spaniards through frightfully inhuman treatment. As compared to the French and the British, the Spaniards were hungry for wealth that made them acquire their aggressive nature against the Indians who they viewed as toys to be used and help quench their thirst and greed for wealth. Although laws of Spain highly prohibited this acts and advocated for justice and humanity in the dealing with the Indians, the Spaniard settlers honored not this laws. They did this since they were thousands of miles away from their motherland. They looked down on the Indians (red) as inferior to the whites and people who had no political rights, who could make good slaves and who did not deserve to be free men. Spaniards officials well known as Protector of the Indians were placed in every district but they never acted as protectors rather they subjected the Indian people to cruel treatment. Encomiendo, mad and repartimiento were the three terms used by the Spanish settlers indicating a form of injustice in dealing with the Indians. They came up with harsh rights called encomia endos that granted them the authority to take forcefully the Indians as slaves to work for some years in their fields and mines. These grants subjected the Indians to the hardest work ever without compensation (R. Hillman 56). Most of these enslaved Indians perished as if they were facing a killing plague. Some of the slavery hardships they went through include:
Forced labor without any compensation.
Extreme hard work all day long under the hot and scorching tropical sun.
Being forced to dive into the sea to look for pearls for their masters.
Toiling in the depths of the mines without the light of the day.
Exposure to the pestilential atmosphere, excessive labor and bad food that made them weak each day and soon robbed them live.
Small wages that their masters could take part from them in payment for their bad food, their inadequate clothing and sour wine.
Being sold poor clothing, spoiled grains, sour wine and inferior supplies which would be 3-4 times their value when of good quality.
Forced to buy things of no use to them at high prices such as silk stockings for men who went barefooted.
The clergy forced them to pay tithes and extravagant prices for every church service, baptism, marriage, burial etc.
Cases of women and children being raped.
Alter, James P. Christianity, British Rule and the Challenge of Indian Nationalism. New Delhi: Printed by Print view, 1971. Print.
Catlin, George. The North American Indians. Carlisle, Mass: Applewood Books, 2010. Print.
Hillman, Richard S. Understanding Contemporary Latin America. Boulder, Colo: L. Rienner Publishers, 1997. Print.
Steigenga, Timothy J, and Edward L. Cleary. Conversion of a Continent: Contemporary Religious Change in Latin America. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 2007. Internet resource.
Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co, 2003. Print.
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