Analysis Of American Colonies: The Settling Of North America

The Native Americans may have been the first humans in the Americas, but their societies were reduced to ultimately nothing. From 1492 to 1600, the population of natives dropped in millions, but that was really just the beginning as their population was never able to regain what it once was before European contact. In American Colonies: The Settling of North America, by Alan Taylor, the importance of the native interactions with Europeans, along with everything they brought with them from disease to pest, that led to the demise of the natives are examined. The main reasons for the decline in Native American populations from 1492 to 1600 were deaths caused by new European diseases, conflict with Europeans, and finally population disruption and …show more content…
Europeans did not just kill Native Americans but they slowly killed their culture as well. Taylor described this situation with the Mississippian people, “The population collapse devastated the Mississippian culture. Dreading both the disease and the uneasy spirits of the many dead, the survivors abandoned the great towns and dispersed into the hilly hinterland. As their societies shrank and relocated, they became less complex, diminishing the power of the chiefs. In most places there were simply no longer enough people to raise the agricultural tribute necessary to sustain the elaborate elite” (73). Essentially after initial onslaughts and once diseases swept away huge portions of the population, there was no longer enough people to rebuild the immense populations supported before. Once combining that with more periods of disease or any poor harvests what was left of many societies and tribes were crippled. By that time, the natives were also a broken people as many surely felt as if their gods had given up on them. The gods were no longer there to protect them from these new foreign people, nor could their chiefs and priests stop the immense death. These complex tribes and societies were not just hurt by Europeans but they crumbled. Disease and warfare may have killed, but the remaining indians no longer had the will to thrive once again much …show more content…
European disease claimed thousands if not millions of natives, while their priests and chiefs struggled to explain what happened. Combat against superior European forces claimed those that were not swept away by sickness. Last, those that survived were but inklings of the people and culture before them, and a population recovery never happened. European colonialism in the new world was not only the start of a new period, it was the end of an old one containing societies in some ways more advanced than the Europeans

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