Impacts of early European contact with native North Americans

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, European colonization of the Americas Pages: 6 (1677 words) Published: February 20, 2003

9 May 2002


I.Opening Statement.

II.Break down of the Early Native American Tribes and Locations.

III.First Impact Loss of Life through the Spread of Diseases.

IV.Second Impact Loss of Land.

A.French Interactions.

B.Dutch and English Interaction.

C.Spanish Interactions.

V.Native American Culture.

VI.The difference between European and Native Women.

VII.Third Impact Loss of Freedom.




VIII.Fourth Impact Treaties.

IX.Closing Statement.

On October 12, 1492, the loud words ring across the deck "Land Ho". After 70 long days at sea a tattered bunch of sea dogs jump down into a small rowboat and work there way ashore. The man in charged is named Christopher Columbus. Have you ever wondered what the impact was on the Native American population, when they first met the insatiable intruders of the European continent? When I was in high school I remember learning about Christopher Columbus and others who were credited for discovering the New World. I do not recall being told about the many negative impacts that were caused to the Native Americans. Well I always had this nice picture of Chris and the Indians sitting down and enjoying a meal and exchanging gifts. This is what I was taught in high school but is this really what took place? What really happened was the loss of three items that we as American's hold in high value they were the loss of life, land, and freedom of the Native American's! I do not know whether they thought we were too young to understand the overall picture of what took place, or if it is meant to be saved for college level history.

During the period of early European settlement there are believed to have been seven different cultural based Native American societies within the present day boundaries of the United States. First you have the Northeast tribes located along the East coast some of which were the Iroquois, Powhatan, Wampanong, Weapemeoc, and there were many more in addition to these. The Southeast Tribes Located around the Florida Coastline was the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and the Choctaw are just a few of them. The Prairies, which consisted of the Wichita, Missouri, and the Omaha and numerous others. The High Plains, which consisted of some of the following tribes Cheyenne, Comanche, Arapaho, Pawnee, and the Tonkawa. The Southwest tribes consisted of Apache, Navajo, and Hopi. The Great Basin you had the Paiute, Shoshone, and the Spokane. And last but not least you had the Northwest tribes, which included the Chinook, Makah, and the Tillamook. Each of these different tribes had engaged in trading networks over vast stretches of the continent for centuries before the Europeans arrived (Nash et al. 13).

The European settlers and explores brought the Native Americans something of unparalleled importance in history, a viral infection that spread like wildfire through a population that had no immunity against it (Nash et al. 5). Everywhere the Europeans landed the natives were infected. It is believed that a 90 to 95% death rate amongst the Native American was caused by these viral infections such as smallpox, measles, and chicken pox (Trickel 32). In most areas where Europeans intruded in the hemisphere for the next three centuries, the catastrophe repeated itself. No matter who came, whether French, English, Spanish, or Dutch, every newcomer from the old world participated accidentally in the spread of disease that typically eliminated, with in a few generations, at least two-thirds of the native population (Nash et al. 26).

I am not trying to say that all European contact was bad for them, take the French involvement with the Native Americans. When the French met with the natives they found it to be better to live amongst them. Trade was also beneficial to the natives. The Indians and the French set up many little trading posts and villages along the...

Cited: Nash, Gary B., et al. The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society. Volume One to
1887.4th Edition. Los Angeles: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1998.
Trickel, John A. Readings In United States History To 1877: Perspectives on America. Volume
1. New York: American Heritage Custom Publishing, 1
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