The Invasion Of Various European Powers Into The Area Of The American Southeast

988 Words Mar 5th, 2016 4 Pages
The invasion of various European powers into the area of the American Southeast brought about changes within the Native populations. The population of the Southeast was estimated to be between 1.3 and 4 million Native Americans, before European contact. After contact, the population plummeted to 200,000, mainly from disease (Saunt, 1986). Another factor that contributed to the decline of the population was that there were less able-bodied people to collect food and water. Since the Natives could not feed themselves, many died of starvation and dehydration before the disease killed them (Saunt, 1986). With the rapid death of many people, hierarchies began to collapse and be rebuilt. The first documented epidemic comes from the survivors of the expedition lead by Pánfilo de Narveáez in 1527. Soon after landing in Florida, most of the expedition team died from either disease or attacks from the Natives. The deaths included Pánfilo de Narveáez and there was only four survivors, one of which was Cabeza de Vaca (Saunt, 1986). Hernando de Soto began his journey just over a decade later, after Narveáez in 1539. De Soto’s excursion into the Southeast was apparently more destructive than Narveáez’s. During the journey, de Soto killed hundreds of Indians, burned villages to the ground, captured Indians to sell into slavery, tortured many as a display of power, and destroyed the crops of the Natives causing depleted food resources for the Indians (Saunt, 1986). He “destabilized the…

Related Documents