European Colonization

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In this essay I will be discussing the role that religion played in the American colonization process. When the Europeans explored to America, their religious beliefs were major influences on how they approached the natives, treated the land, and fulfilled their exploration. Let's begin with why the Europeans felt that the Native Americans were savage and barbaric. Thousands of years before the Europeans knew of America, the Indians called America home. Many Indian tribes established empires and conducted business with each other, as well as battled one another. During the period c. 150-900, we study about the empire of the Mayans. These people were highly sophisticated in their system of math and astronomy . Their religious practices consisted of having human sacrifices and studying the stars. For the Europeans, even though the Mayans were intelligent, their beliefs were not acceptable and some even thought these beliefs to be secular. The Mayans are just one of many examples of the type of religious practices that was preformed by the natives. Among all the natives, idols and sacrifices were common. The Natives all held a belief of animism- a spirit is present in everything. The world was contentious and they had to develop a relationship with the spirits. With this, the world and everything that dwells on it is connected in some way. Everything had a social interaction. Unlike the European's state of mind that man is superior to everything on earth, the Indians worked very hard not to offend the spirits. For example, they understood that they had to kill animals and trees to survive; however, they would conserve so that they would not offend the spirits. Another example taken from Chapter 1 in the Major Problems in American Colonial History book is how the natives would put together a great ceremony with the best sacrifices to give, and all the idols and images put in order. Once everything was in order, a grand dance was preformed to entertain the Great Being...
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