TWO of the following groups to the Indians of North American before 1750: Brats, French, Spanish. By quantitative Lucy Sheen 9/9/07 1st PDP. When Christopher Columbus first set foot upon the New World and began trading with the natives he incorrectly dubbed “Indians”, he had no idea that his bartering would eventually lead to immense contact between the Native Americans and Europeans. Cultural and economic influences flowed both ways in this exchange of societies between Native Americans and both the French and British.
France, a late arriver in the New World, established its first settlement at Quebec in the form of a granite sentinel overlooking the SST. Lawrence River. Commander of this fort Samuel De Champlain started off on a good foot with the Huron Indian tribes by helping them fight their enemies, the Iroquois Confederacy. A few shots by the white men’s “lightning sticks” scared the Iroquois warriors so bad that they left immediately, leaving three dead behind, thus earning the French the lasting animosity of the Iroquois.
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This effectively hampered France’s attempts at penetrating he Ohio River Valley. Under the influence of fear of the French, the Iroquois also allied with the British in the struggle for North America, eventually leading to their downfall when they continued allying with the British during the Revolutionary War. The Iroquois did however have neutral relations with the French because New France had an important resource that drew the eyes of both Europeans and Indians; the beaver. But the Indians who were recruited into the fur business suffered immense disadvantages.
They were ravaged by diseases that they had never encountered fore and therefore had no defense for and were completely corrupted by alcohol. In exchange for their goods, the Indians received European products, both practical, such as iron tools and utensils, and decorative, such as bright-colored cloth and beads. They welcomed the convenience of metal pans and knives and also of cloth. But killing beavers by boatload also violated many Indian religious beliefs which show the crushing cultural effect that contact with Europeans wreaked on traditional Indian ways of life.
Indians were also affected by zealous French Catholic seminaries’ intent on converter the “heathens”. Although there were few permanent converts, the effect was enough. But the Indians were not the only ones affected; they in turn influenced many Frenchmen. Many French fur traders married Indian wives in order to gain permission to enter new hunting grounds. They also adopted many Indian inventions such as the snowshoe, effectively allowing them to walk on top of snow mounds. The French were also introduced to an efficient means to travel up and down the Mississippi River; the canoe.
Clothing and food preservation methods were also adopted by the French. Many Frenchmen dressed in buckskins and moccasins and instead of always hunting they adopted Indian methods of preserving food, saving much time. Old World dietary and health habits were also positively affected by the importation of corn, beans, and potatoes from the New World and new herbs that were found to treat scurvy. Another latecomer in the race for territory was England. Its first settlement at Jamestown, Virginia was established a year before France’s arrival.
The early colonists first named the Native Americans incorrectly as the “Photostats” under the name of their powerful leader. Soon, the Old and New World began to mix. The settlers brought new plants and animals with them such as grass, dandelions, pigs and horses that the Indians later used. They also adopted Indian crops such as corn, beans, and potatoes which later revolutionized the whole world. Relations stayed peaceful if not stable. But soon settlers who were too busy searching for gold and forgot to plant food began to starve.
They took to raiding Indian villages for supplies which angered the Natives and shattered the relationship between the two. With the arrival of Lord De la War, the colonists began to take military action against the Indians, leading to a war against the Indians. Englishmen raided villages, burned houses, and plundered. Although a peace settlement concluded this First Anglo- Phaeton War and an interracial union was created when John Roller and Pocahontas were married, the fragile respite that followed was broken when the Indians struck back in 1622.
They had been hard pressed for land and ravaged by English disease to which they had no defense to and couldn’t take it anymore. After failing to uproot the English, the Indians fell into a sullen trade relationship with the Englishmen. Firearms and whiskey was traded for various furs and access to good hunting grounds. Traditional barter-and-exchange systems were disrupted by the English with the availability of guns for the Indians to purchase. Guns meant advantages over other tribes which then led to a large cycle of Indian violence.
England, unlike France, didn’t make big steps towards accommodating the Native Americans both economically and culturally. Culturally, they wanted nothing to do with the Indians. They didn’t adapt to them like the French did, nor did they make big efforts to convert Indians. The English were more interested in running them out and taking their land. Economically, the English did do some trade with the Indians, but viewed them more as a source of cheap slave labor. As many as 10,000 Indians were dispatched to labor in the West Indian sugarcane fields and mills from South Carolina alone.
The English did make one alliance with the Indians and that was with the Iroquois Confederacy out of respect for the powerful nation. The French and English both played major parts in establishing the New World with France controlling areas up in Canada all the way down to Louisiana and the English controlling the east coast. They all had their own way of dealing with Indians which led to the mixing of cultures. Whether by melding or separating the flow of ideas, customs, and items that crossed towards each side cannot wherever civilizations meet. Be stopped whenever and