What Were the Effects of the Contact Between Europeans and North Americans?

Topics: Slavery, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native Americans in the United States Pages: 5 (1671 words) Published: July 8, 2013
Lisa Huang
Mr. Birtwell
U.S History Honors
November, 26th, 2012

What were the effects of the contact between Europeans and North Americans?
Ever since 1485, Christopher Columbus, an explorer from Italy, began to vigorously look for sponsor for his voyage. He presented his idea of sailing to the Atlantic and into mysterious Asia to John II, King of Portugal. Yet, he was interested in his plan. John II and the royalties thought the plan was unfavorable and unrealistic. When Columbus was about to give up, the queen of Spain, Queen Isabella, offered her assistance. Columbus and Queen Isabella later signed a treaty called Capitulations of Santa Fe, stating that the new lands Columbus could claim for Spain would belong to him. In return, he should bring back gold, pearls, and spice. In 1492,Christopher Columbus and his three ships- the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, arrived on the shores of San Salvador in the Caribbean. Lacking knowledge of geography, he believed that he had reached India but which was actually North America.(Livingston, 2010) However, after Columbus’ arrival in the Americas, the animal, plant, people, and bacterial life of these two worlds began to mix up. The arrival of Columbus brought wars, slavary and forced labor, the spreading of diseases caused at least 5 million deaths even worse.The contact between Europeans and North Americans brought Natives catastrophes and devastation that Europeans could never make up.

Most importantly, the hidden disease brought by the Europeans caused massive amount of Natives to die. As the Spain, French, and English explorers came to America, diseases like small pox, malaria, chicken pox, influenza, measles, and yellow fever, the diseases that once killers that killed a great deal of Europeans, were brought to the new lands too. (Walbert)Which were later called as “ The gift from Old to New Worlds”.(Kincheloe, 2007) As time passed, the Europeans were used to these diseases and gained immunity against them. However, the natives had never confront of these disease before, therefore they had no resistance to these illness, and their traditional cures didn’t work. These diseases killed as much as 90 percent of the native population, which means that only one in ten natives survived. Diseases like malaria and yellow fever were passed down from person to person from mosquitoes. When a particular region was affected, the disease would usually spread out rapidly. Also, natives could easily get the diseases when traded with one another. Other diseases could be transmitted throught the livestocks brought by the Europeans. For example, cattle passes measles and small pox; pigs pass influenza; chicken pass malaria. Native hunters and gatherers could get the diseases when they were in touch with the animals. Thomas Harriot, an English explorer, witnessed the natives suffered from the diseases and wrote the following paragraph in his jornal, “Within a few days after our departure from every such [Indian] town, the people began to die very fast, and many in short space; in some towns about twenty, in some forty, in some sixty, & in one six score [6 x 20 = 120], which in truth was very many in respect of their numbers. . . . The disease was also so strange that they neither knew what it was nor how to cure it.” (Kincheloe, 2007) Harriot’s paragraph clearly stated that the natives died in large amount everyday. Lostln Revery said in her article: The transmission of the diseases caused more devastation in the New World than the Black Death had done in Europe.

In addition, the coming of European also brought up a new kind of trade-the slave trade, which cost hundreds and thousands of native men and women forced to be taken away. (Walbert)Dr. Calvin Lawrence Jr. wrote the following paragraph in Coloumbus Day 2012: Hero, Villain, or Both?. “ Columbus is an obvious target of scorn and resentment for Native Americans whose fortunes declined precipitously in the aftermath of his...

Kincheloe, John W. "American Indians at European Contact." NCpedia Home Page. NC Pedia, 1 Jan. 2007. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. .
Lawrence, Calvin, Jr. "Columbus Day 2012: Hero, Villain or Both?" ABC News. ABC News Network, 08 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. .
Livingston, Deborah. "Impact of European Imperialism on Native American Indian Nations." All Articles RSS. Knoji, 12 July 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. .
"Pequot War." Pequot War. United States History, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. .
"Slavery among Native Americans in the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. .
Walbert, David. "5.3 Disease and Catastrophe." Disease and Catastrophe. Learn NC, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2012. .
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