U.S. History I: 1607-1865
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The first enduring English colony in North America was founded in Virginia in 1607. European colonization is famous for its effect on the native people. The changes occurred in all spheres of life, and their life style was changed enormously. As a result, the native population lost their lands, cultures, languages and much more. Besides, Europeans brought with them new diseases unknown to the native people. Within a short period of time a lot of natives Americans died because they had no immunity to the diseases (Guyatt, 2007). Europeans also brought guns, horses and alcohol, and this had a devastating effect on the Native Americans.
Many Native Americans were captured and enslaved because of European colonization. Unfreeze labor, slavery and slave trading helped Europeans to colonize the New World. Those Indians, who resisted European colonization, were involved in wars. Natives were encouraged to convert to Christianity, which was one of the main reasons of resistance and wars. The enforced change in aboriginal religion altered their cultural identity. Europeans came to the New World, because they needed new land and food. Native groups of people did not see their land as a place, which could belong to one person. When the Whites came to the American land, they brought a lot of conflicts, which occurred between the tribes and the Whites, as well as between tribes. Many Native American tribes were wiped out, while others started to struggle with each other. The arrival of Europeans destroyed Native American culture, their way of life, traditions and religions. Though, they had a great impact on the further development in different spheres of American life, Native Americans were moved from their territories into reservations because of the reason of survival (Gonsior, 2009). Many tribes were freely supplied with guns, which gave them an opportunity to wipe out their neighbors.
Europeans tried to suppress the Native American culture and identity. Though Europeans tried to destroy the old Indian culture, they made great contribution to the development of modern America. In the early years of colonization, the interaction between Europeans and the native population benefited each other. For example, Europeans brought tools, materials and guns, which protected them from their enemies (Johansen, 2010). Many Europeans carried the dormant viruses and infections, which were deadly to the Indians. Virgin soil and epidemics were the most lethal and debilitating of infectious diseases. Smallpox, measles, bubonic plague and scarlet fever all swept through the Indian community with relentless intensity. Alcohol quickly became a commodity the Indians craved, and they were willing to provide whatever goods the settlers wanted in exchange for it. Their agricultural activities faded away their importance, as the fur trade became the dominant economic activity. Women lost control over the primary food supply and became dependent on the meat brought home by men. The matrilineal organization of many tribes broke down. At the same time, agriculture was pushed aside in favour of the fur trade. Traditional skills, such as making pottery, baskets and stone axes faded from their memory (Guyatt, 2007). Indian women lost much of their economic independence and ability to support themselves as a result of the fur trade.
The most famous and popular American presidents of that period were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. George Washington, who was the first president, led the early colonial army to win independence from Great Britain. The third president, Thomas Jefferson, was the author of the Declaration of Independence, and acquired Louisiana by purchased from France in 1803. The sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, put an end to the slavery and held the nation together during the Civil War.
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that European colonization of Native Americans had the great impact on acculturation of the native population. Many Europeans coming to North America assumed that Native Americans lacked religion and introduced Christianity. On the other hand, Native Americans considered themselves as a part of nature. Europeans brought civilization into the New World, which meant trying to bring nature under the control of humans. Many Europeans were attracted to the lifestyle of Indian tribes. Some of them married Indian women. These Whites and their children eventually formed the upper economic class in these tribes and they were important as initiators of cultural changes.
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