European exploration

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History of US 1
March 20, 2014
Professor Mohanty

European exploration to the Americas had a very substantial affect, not only on their own culture, but also on the culture of the Native Americans. Many Native American tribes had to adapt and assimilate with the European explorers and settlers as their lives became increasingly disrupted and altered as settlement increased and flourished. The purpose of this paper will be to discuss the effect European exploration and trade had on Native groups of people in North America and their integration with the European colonies. Two of the most important and central reasons that European culture so quickly overcame the culture of the Native American tribes were European trade and disease. The European discovery of America had a colossal affect on the Native Americans that came into contact with the Europeans. One would imagine that it would take a very long time for two completely different groups of people to assimilate, but in fact, it did not. “For the resident native American peoples, however, the flood of intruders into their homeland soon changed their entire existence.”1 Many things led to the assimilation of Native Americans with the Europeans settlers, but two of the main reasons were: disease brought by the Europeans and trade between the settlers and Europe. These two completely different cultures would not remain individual and isolated cultures for long. “By the close of the colonial era, Native Americans as well as whites and blacks had created new societies, each similar to, yet very different from its parent culture.”2 One reason for this were the new diseases brought by the settlers into America. These diseases that the Native Americans had never been exposed to before would pollute and kill many of their people. Europeans came over to the new world for many different reasons. One reason was that the Black Death had decimated an over populated England. When the English found out there was a new world across the Atlantic they had a restored hope. Many people were displaced in England because of how devastating disease was in overpopulated areas such as London, and the New World provided them with a second chance and an opportunity to strive. When they came over they brought some of those diseases with them, which led to many Native Americans dying. Some of these diseases may have been childhood diseases such as chicken pox or measles. While these were not deadly to most Europeans, Native Americans had no immunities to them. These diseases brought over by the Europeans decimated whole Native American villages and their resources. “The result was a kaleidoscope array of migrations from ancient territories and mergers with nearby people…population levels fell so precipitously after contact that survivors endured disruptions unlike anything previously known.”3 Some Native American villages had no choice but to leave the areas they had called home for hundreds of years and some had no choice but to join the new settlers and try to start over. “In 1710 Indians near Charleston told a settler, “they have forgot most of their traditions since the establishment of this community.”4 This may have because many of the older members, with all the knowledge of ancient traditions, were wiped out easily by disease. It also could have been because Native Americans started to assimilate with the Europeans and take on some cultural traits that were distinctly European. Another important way some Native Americans started to integrate was with trade. Many migrated from Europe during the 17th century to get away from disease and over-population, but some came for economic gain. The Spanish had dumped a lot of gold on the European economy, causing interests rates to go up, in turn causing the local currencies to deflate.5 Many people in England had become impoverished making travel to the New World and the opportunity for economic success looked more appealing. “An overseas market...