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Relations Between Native Americans and British Settlers

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Native American Relations

During the numerous years of colonization, the relationship between the English settlers and the Native Americans of the area was usually the same. Native Americans would initially consider the settlers to be allies, then as time passed, they would be engaged in wars with them in a struggle for control of the land. This process of friendship to enemies seemed to be the basic pattern in the majority of the colonies.

When the English landed in Jamestown in 1607, the dominant tribe of the area was the Powhatan (which the English settlers named after the leader of the tribe, Powhatan). At first meeting, the Powhatan considered the settlers as allies, who may be able to aid them in their struggle for land and power over the other tribes in the area. These relations strained when starving settlers started to take food from the Native Americans. In 1610, any notion of alliance between the Powhatan and the Virginia settlers was immediately crushed when Lord De La Warr arrived with a declaration of war against all Indians in the Jamestown area. De La Warr used his "Irish Tactics" of burning houses and crops and taking prisoners to destroy the Native Americans in what was known as the First Anglo-Powhatan war. A peace treaty was signed, but lasted only eight years. The Powhatan killed 347 settlers, which lead to the Virginia Company to give orders for "a perpetual war without peace or truce." Although the Powhatan made one more attempt at destroying the Virginians, they were defeated again in the Second Anglo-Powhatan war. The peace treaty of 1646 eliminated all chance of the Powhatan coexisting with the Virginia settlers. The treaty also banished the Indians from their native lands, which lay the president for what was later known as a reservation. After this the number of Native Americans in Virginia dwindled to a low 10% of the population.

In Carolina, the relationship between the settlers and the Native Americans started strongly as the Savannah Indians aided the settlers in their search of slaves for their plantations. They used the Manacled Indians as a major slave export, although it was greatly opposed by The Lords Proprietors in London. But in 1707 the Savannah Indians ended the alliance. They planed migrated to Maryland and Pennsylvania, which had better relationships between the Native Americans, but the Carolinas didn't like this idea so they attacked the Savannah Indians in a series of bloody raids and left the Native Americans practically completely come.

These early relationships were a premonition to the overall Indian-white conflicts. Throughout the colonization period the Native Americans were treated as obstacles in the path of European progression. The Europeans would push them aside and move forward as if the land was destined to be theirs. Native Americans waged wars but were never completely successful and eventually their population drooped to nearly non-existent.

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