When the Native American Indians First Met the European Settlers80

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When the Europeans began their settlement of the New World, it was both complicated and aided by its indigenous inhabitants. The native people alternately became allies and enemies of the newly arrived settlers from Europe. These two totally dissimilar cultures were hurtling toward each other in a clash of cultures that would be the end for one of them. Did either of them expect what was to come when the first Europeans came to America? What did the settlers expect of the Native Americans when they arrived? Surely there was a sense of dread among the arriving Europeans concerning these mysterious people who had warred with the early Spanish colonizers. What did they think would happen? And conversely, what did the locals think of these strange intruders?

When the colonists set sail for America, they knew that they’d not only have to find a way to survive in the wilderness, but would also have to deal with rival nations that were claiming their own share of this vast new land. There had been long animosity between France, England, and the Dutch. These were obstacles which would be difficult to overcome. The wild card in all this would be the native population who they knew little about. They’d read the stories of Columbus and his voyages, and heard rumors from traders and fishermen concerning the “primitive” people of the continent, but so few clear cut facts existed. How would they be received? They had some hopes of trading with the natives. Would these hopes be realized or were they walking into the lion’s den?

The Europeans had a very mixed view of the Indian natives. On one hand, they were told that Indians could be gentle and receptive, helpful and eager to trade. This may have been a true depiction, or the propaganda of the English government and trading companies which had a vested interest in promoting colonization; it was a very positive image and gave intended settlers hope that they would be welcome with open arms and helping hands. They wanted...
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