The arrival of the Europeans affected the Indians in several different ways. The Indians were exposed to new experiences such as diseases, religion, racism, land ownership, and trade to name a few. The Indians way of life changed forever with the arrival of the European colonists. Diseases were introduced to them as early as 1550 by European fisherman who stayed on the New England shores during the winter. The fisherman brought devastating illnesses which the Indians had little resistance to such as diphtheria, cholera, typhus, measles, and small pox. The coastal Indians were the first infected by these aliments and in turn, they spread them to the inland Indians. These diseases were ruinous and cost many Indians their lives.
The Indians had their own customs and religions. They were introduced to the colonist’s religion, Protestant Christianity. They did not immediately take to the Puritan religion as the Indians took to Catholicism brought in by the Spaniards. They found it difficult to embrace a religion that taught that all but a few of them were damned to hellfire. Also, the Puritan or Anglican religion was complicated with English ways of eating, dressing, working, and looking at the world. The Indians that did embrace the Protestant religion were forced to adhere to the Protestant ways and abandoned their own. The Indian men were to farm and the women to weave, they lived in English houses and not wigwams, they were to barber their hair as the Puritans, and they were to stop using bear grease toward off mosquitoes.
Racism was introduced to the Indians by the English colonists. Before the colonist’s arrival, they knew nothing of prejudice. Captives were adopted into the tribe, white prisoners as well as Indians born into another tribe. They were fully accepted as their brothers and sisters. Tribes would even raid other tribes and white settlements in order to increase their numbers. Extramarital miscegenation produced “half-breeds”...
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