European Influence On Native Americans

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In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed on the North American coast while searching for a new route to the Indies on behalf of the Spanish crown. After his unwitting discovery of the New World, European countries flocked to claim the land - first Spain and Portugal, then the English, French and Dutch. As colonies popped up all over North America, these countries gradually discovered great wealth in agriculture and trade. However, the land was already occupied by Native American tribes who, while not initially hostile, did not intend to give up their claims to the Europeans. The settlers became more wealthy and established, and as they did so, they became increasingly arrogant towards the Native Americans. Contact between the Native Americans and …show more content…
Though to different extents, the English and Spanish used contact with Native Americans to spread Christianity; while the Europeans became religiously influential where they had once been persecuted, Christianity divided the Native Americans and led to violence. Prior to European contact, Native American spiritual life consisted of traditional tribal rituals. Powwows played a …show more content…
Prior to interaction with Europeans, Native American chiefs had been the most influential figures in the New World. King Philip embodied his power best when he stated that the English settlers were “‘but subjects’ of the king of England and unfit to tell a fellow monarch what to do” (The Trial 205). Before the European settlers gained economic footing in America, Native American leaders used their influence to try and help the newcomers. Philip’s father, Massasoit, had “offered the Pilgrims his protection” in the earliest years of colonization, highlighting the original contrast between the established and wealthy Native Americans and the inexperienced settlers (The Trial 205). However, as the Europeans became more organized and gradually amassed wealth, they began to manipulate the Native Americans into selling huge amounts of their land, and even amended protective laws in order to better exploit them. King Philip again exemplified the change in the colonies in his failed mission to arrest a Nantucket Indian, John Gibbs, in 1665. The English in the area were fond of Gibbs for his skilled as a translator, and threatened that “if… [Philip] did not immediately leave the island, they would rally the inhabitants and fall upon him” (The Trial 210).

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