Early Encounters Between the American Indians and European Colonists

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The Native American's encounters with European colonists led to different interactions between the two, as well as a development of varied relationships. America had been home to Native Americans since around 13,000 B.C. The Europeans arrived in America around 1492 to find that the land was already inhabited. Before the Europeans arrived, the Native Americans had lived in harmony with nature and with each other in communities, having strong family ties. When the Europeans arrived, they held different values than the Native Americans. As the Europeans settled in New England, Chesapeake and New York/New France, these differences shaped the relationships between the Native Americans and the European colonists.

In New England the first European colonists arrived to establish Plymouth Colony in November of 1620. Half of these colonists died during the harsh winter. Two Native Americans came to help the colonists, a Wampanoag named Squanto and an Abenaki named Samuset. They taught the colonists how to fertilize corn crops with fish because the colonists were stealing the Wampanoag's crops. The Europeans became successful farmers and traded with the Abenakis for fur. As the colonists became more self sufficient they threatened the Wampanoags with their firearms and forced them to declare English Sovereignty. This aggression toward the Wampanoags by the Europeans continued for generations (Boyer et al. 49). The governor of Plymouth had received information regarding the Wampanoag chief Metacom's plan to begin war against the English. A Native American named Sassamon had been “a faithful Indian” to the governor of Plymouth. Sassamon was murdered shortly after giving his information to the colonists (Kennedy and Bailey 55). The English hung three Wampanoag Indians in 1675, beginning King Philip's War. This war stopped Native American resistance to colonial expansion and eliminated approximately forty percent of the Native American population in New England. Hostility...
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