Relationships between Europeans and American Indians | Faces of America | PBS
To the European mind, the natives were sub fiends in the service of the devil whose . One further notorious clash between Native Americans and settlers in the. What was early contact like between Europeans and Natives? Tasks; Background; Teachers' notes; External links. In , Christopher Columbus landed in the. The Indians living in the area where Jamestown was settled must have had mixed feelings about the arrival of the English in One of their first reactions .
There were also quarrels with the Narraganset in Rhode Island where Massachusetts Bay businessmen, under the Atherton Company, began commandeering immense amounts of Indian land. In this case, the European settlers of Rhode Island sided with the natives against the settlers of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut.
American History: A New World Clash of Cultures
After the embittered Narragansett caused property damage near some Connecticut plantations, the New England Confederation demanded that the natives either pay a fine, which was too large for them to meet, or forfeit all their lands to the business corporation.
Immediate disaster was averted when the king of England, Charles II, intervened at Rhode Island's request to side with the Narraganset and voided the claims of the Atherton Company.
Still, the company tried to ignore the king's dictate and continued appropriating Narraganset land. Throughout the s and s, the General Courts of the Massachusetts Bay or Plymouth Colony made a habit of hauling tribal sachems before them to quiz them on rumors of conspiracies or allegiances with tribes or nationals that the bay considered unfriendly. Once these hearings were over, the court would present the defendant with a bill for court costs, as it did the Wampanoag chief, King Philip, in The reason for the disintegration of relations and the buildup of hostilities was simple: King Philip had historically been friendly with the settlers, but suspicions mounted, rumors raged on, and the English demanded that various tribes surrender their weapons.
Relationships between Europeans and American Indians
For four years, King Philip and other sachems inwardly seethed over the humiliation. Finally, in Juneafter Plymouth Colony's execution of three of King Philip's men for the murder of an informant, the Indian chief began his raids on settlements in a year-long war in which many native tribes sided with the settlers.
Some fifty towns along the frontier were burned.
Bythe English had lost about 2, people, and the natives had lost about 4, in battle. With the decisive defeat of King Philip's forces in King Philip himself was killed, drawn and quartered, and his head brought to Boston for display came the virtual end of the native tribes in New England.
All Indian land was now up for confiscation as the settlers dictated the terms for takeovers and appropriated Indian land as the spoils of war. Prisoners of war were executed by the scores, most without trial and many of whom had been friendly to the settlers. Immediately, however, New England businessmen realized the cash value of the prisoners, so many more were sold into slavery and shipped to the West Indies, Spain, and the Mediterranean.
Those deemed less dangerous became bound servants in the colonies to alleviate the perpetual labor shortage. Natives, who fifty years earlier had called the whole New England area their home, to be held in common with their brothers, were restricted to reservations.
The more fortunate of them were allowed to be tenant farmers or to work as hired hands. In the s, they had numbered around 75, people. Their people had lived in New England for thousands of years. By the s, decimated by disease, alcohol, and wars with the settlers, their numbers had dropped to 20, only half the number of the new European settlers.
One further notorious clash between Native Americans and settlers in the colonial period occurred on February 29,during a time when many tribes had sided with the French in the fight between French and English over the domination of northern New England.
A company of 28 Frenchmen and Native Americans launched an attack on Deer- field, Massachusetts, a town of three hundred residents, twenty miles south of what is now Vermont. Forty-eight Deerfield residents were killed, and were taken hostage. Oxford University Press, American Indians and Christian Missions. University of Chicago Press, Native People of Southern New England. University of Oklahoma Press, Michigan State University Press, The Invasion of America.
University of North Carolina Press, Indian Slavery in Colonial Times.
Columbia University Press, The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America. University Press of New England, Portrait of a Puritan Town, The settlers also knew that because they were so few in number, a battle with the Indians would result in their own quick defeat. Yet problems began almost immediately.
Perhaps the most serious was the difference in the way that the Indians and the Europeans thought about land. This difference created problems that would not be solved during the next several hundred years. Owning land was extremely important to the European settlers. In England, and most other countries, land meant wealth. Owning large amounts of land meant that a person had great wealth and political power.
[Indian] Relationships With The Europeans
Many of the settlers who came to North America could never have owned land back home in Europe. They were too poor. And they belonged to religious minorities. When they arrived in the new world, they discovered that no one seemed to own the huge amounts of land.
Companies in England needed to find people willing to settle in North America. So they offered land to anyone who would take the chance of crossing the Atlantic. For many, it was a dream come true.
It was a way to improve their lives. The land gave the European settlers a chance to become wealthy and powerful. On the other hand, the Indians believed that no one could own land.
They believed, however, that anyone could use it. Anyone who wanted to live on a piece of land and grow crops could do so. The American Indians lived with nature. They understood the land and the environment.
They did not try to change it. They might grow crops in an area for a few years. Then they would move on. They would allow the land on which they had farmed to become wild again. They might hunt on one area of land for some time, but again they would move on. They hunted only what they could eat, so populations of animals could continue to increase. The Indians understood nature and were at peace with it. The first Europeans to settle in the New England area of the Northeast wanted land. The Indians did not fear them.
There were not many settlers and there was enough land for everyone to use and plant crops. It was easy to live together.
The Indians helped the settlers by teaching them how to plant crops and survive on the land. But the Indians did not understand that the settlers were going to keep the land.
This idea was foreign to the Indians. To them, it was like trying to own the air, or the clouds. As the years passed, more and more settlers arrived, and took more and more land.
- American Indians at European Contact
They cut down trees. They built fences to keep people and animals out. They demanded that the Indians stay off their land. Another problem between the settlers and the Indians involved religion.Effects of European Colonization: Christopher Columbus and Native Americans
The settlers in New England thought Christianity was the one true faith, and that all people should believe in it.
They soon learned that the Indians were satisfied with their own spiritual beliefs and were not interested in changing them. As a result, many settlers came to believe that the Native Americans could not be trusted because they were not Christians. They began to fear the Indians and think of them as evil. The European settlers failed to understand that the Indians were an extremely spiritual people with a strong belief in unseen powers.
The Indians lived very close to nature. They believed that all things in the universe depend on each other. All native tribes had ceremonies that honored a creator of nature.
They recognized the creator's work in their everyday lives. Other events also led to serious problems between the Native Americans and the newcomers.
One problem was disease. For example, some of the settlers carried the bacteria that caused smallpox, although they themselves did not get sick. Smallpox had caused deadly epidemics in Europe, but it was unknown to the Indians. Their immune systems had developed no protection against the disease. It killed whole tribes. And smallpox was only one disease brought from Europe.
There were others that also infected the Indians. The first meetings between settlers and Native Americans would follow the same course in almost every European settlement along the East Coast.