America Colonization Essay, Research Paper
Upon the European’s discovery and colonization of the Americas an irreversible transformation was triggered. The extreme differences in the cultures of the Europeans and Native Americans would prove to be fatal to the way of life that existed before European colonization.
It appears that the majority of the actions of the Native Americans towards the new European colonists were in peace and acceptance. Unfortunately the colonists dreams conflicted with the views of the Native Americans. The ‘free living’ philosophy of the Native American’s left them open to an unexpected overtaking by the colonists. The Europeans believed in making a new world out of America while completely disregarding the fact that there was already an Old World.
The English learned quite a bit about survival in the “New World” from the Native Americans. They were taught how to construct and use nets for catching fish. Also they were taught how to construct canoes, a great method of transportation and hunting. The Native Americans showed them their ways of agriculture which were far superior to the methods of the English.
In the 1580’s the English settlers feared the Native Americans because the land was new and unknown to them. They did not understand the ways of the Native Americans and feared them. From the settler’s perspective they needed to claim and posses land in order to feel safe. Many English settlers had read articles about the Native Americans prior to there journey to the Americas. The French and Spanish had portrayed the Native Americans as “Indians”. Christopher Columbus wrote that the Native Arawak Indians he encountered as “loving people without covetousness”. Others early explorers also wrote of the Native Americans friendliness and helpfulness. These images sat well with the expectations of the English, who were originally interested in trading with the Native Americans. As more people reported about there encounters and opinions of the Native Americans the interests of the English soon changed.
Native Americans were soon portrayed as savage animals because of the lack of understanding of the Settlers. The culture of the Native Americans was so different from the culture of the English that the English would soon look at the natives as inferior. The Native Americans were deemed hostile, bestial, cursed by God, primitive beings with inferior knowledge and language. Also the English commonly thought of them as crafty, brutal, loathsome, cannibalistic and promiscuous. These negative images of the Native Americans grew from stories passed from settler to settler which were commonly misinterpretations with very little truth. The English have developed a long history of moving in to land foreign to there’s and exploiting the local people for their prosperity. The dealings between English and the Native Americans would prove to be no different from England’s previous dealings foreign lands.
In no time the English were in a position in which they would do whatever it took to claim as much land as they could, even if it meant fighting with hostile “Indians”. Some Englishmen thought it was wrong to claim land which was already being used, no matter what the culture of the Native Americans was. However the majorities view was that they were performing a favor to the “Indians” by introducing God and Christianity into their lives. The people with this view also saw the Native Americans current beliefs as blasphemous and sacreligous. Some of the English even viewed the Native Americans as animals with absolutely no rights at all. Sir George Peckham wrote saying that the English should protect themselves forcefully and violently. He spoke of turning the beasts into Christians, which is yet another clue of large amounts of conflict to come.
It was soon to come that an Englishman could kill an “Indian” freely, as if they were wild animals standing in the way of a “new” England. The English beliefs had allowed them to use the Native American for all they were worth and eliminate them when they were no longer of use or a nuisance. These actions were acceptable to the majority of the English and these beliefs would remain for centuries to come. The Native Americans who were tired and diseased were eventually removed from their homelands and herded in to small reservations.
It seems there was nothing the Native Americans could have done to prevent the outcome of their future. The wants and needs the English had for there newly found land proved to be to great to share with the Native Americans. They would be killed off in genocidal killing sprees, by small pox and other overseas diseases and by depression caused by the loss of their freedom. A brilliant culture and beautiful way of life was lost forever, now only small glimpses of the past are what’s left to show for the way of life that existed before the colonization.