European Interactions with Native Americans Essay

654 Words Sep 16th, 2013 3 Pages
In 1492 Christopher Columbus landed his ships on a foreign land, unknown the monumental era that would be started by his discovery. There he mistakenly dubbed the natives as Indians, believing he had successfully reached the “Indies.” Columbus's epochical voyage would soon be followed by various power-hungry European countries, scrambling for their stake at the New World. Newly unified Spain who was eager their superiority, and religiously conflicted England both claim their share in the Americas, and their interactions in the New World would shake the foundation of the global economic system and forever change the cultural standing of these unsuspecting natives. Spain became the dominating power in exploring and colonizing the New World …show more content…
As brutal as the Spanish were in their conquest, disease was unarguably the greatest devastator of natives in the New World. Interactions between Europeans and biologically vulnerable Indians left them susceptible to the deadly Old World diseases, killing as many as 90 percent of natives. The English had a rather grisly start to their colonization of the New World with Jamestown. Few managed to survive through the disease, malnutrition, and starvation that killed colonists in droves. The relationship between the English settlers and the Powhatan Indians in the Chesapeake area begun with shaky peace, however they grew tense as starving colonists raided Indian food supplies. A series of wars between the colonists and the Indians shattered all potential for peace among the groups. The Second Anglo-Powhatan War in 1644 banished the Powhatans from their land, and by 1685, they were considered extinct. Suffering the same fate of Indians around the New World, Powhatans fell to the various European diseases. Smallpox, measles, and others blazed through their villages mercilessly and left the population a fraction of what it was before the arrival of Europeans. However unlike the natives in South America, Powhatans served no economic function for the English colonist. They provided no reliable work source or valuable goods to offer in commerce as colonists began to cultivate their own crops. As a result, the Indians were

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