Hostility and suspicion that stemmed from cultural and technological disparities and common perceptions of dominance were the main reasons for the deterioration of relations between the European colonists and Native American Indians during the 17th century. Most of the conflicts that took place between the two were highly ruthless and eventually led to the near-annihilation of the Native Indians in America. This paper discusses two major sources of conflict between the European colonists and Native American Indians during the 17th century and outlines the factors that influenced interactions between them.
The First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609 to 1614) was fought between the British colonists in Jamestown and a coalition of Virginia Indian tribes that were led by Powhatan. When the British colonists settled in Virginia in 1607, they faced severe hardships because of the appalling drought conditions and severe cold. They were unable to fend for themselves and eventually began pressurizing the Native Indians in Tsenacomoco to provide them respite from the difficulties. However, tensions were created, and there were skirmishes that became more intense in 1609. At this time, Powhatan, who was chief of the Virginia Indian tribes, cordoned off the English fort and continued the siege till the beginning of 1610. However, the English managed to hold on and attacked the Indians ferociously soon after they got their reinforcements. The British armies ruthlessly set fire to Native Indian towns and villages and killed children and women, ultimately defeating Powhatan in 1611 (Wolfe, 2014). The conflict assumes much significance because it led to the marriage of Powhatan’s daughter with John Rolfe, a prominent English settler and brought temporary peace between the British and the Native Indians.
The Esopus Wars were conflicts between the Dutch colonists and the Native Indian commune at Wiltwijck (present day Kingston) and are of much significance because they altered the power dynamics in the area. Tensions in the region intensified after the Dutch built their settlements near those of the Indian Lenape tribes. The Indian tribes got a taste of advanced European products such as wool cloth, copper, iron, guns, etc. On one occasion, members of one Indian group drank heavily and became rowdy while rejoicing around their campfire. At this time, the Dutch community living close by assumed the Indians had become aggressive and retaliated by attacking the Indian village. The Indians reacted by destroying Dutch crops, killing livestock, and blockading the Dutch village. This took the form of the Esopus Wars, which the Dutch eventually won in 1664. Dutch victory allowed the white people to take control of the Hudson Valley (Levine, 2014).
Interactions between the Indians and Europeans depended on political, social, and economic factors. Despite believing that Native Indians were inferior to them, the European colonists aimed at making maximum profits by exploiting the resources of the New World. Nevertheless, they were aware that they could not achieve such goals without partnering with the Native Indians. In addition, the European colonists also wanted Native Indians to adopt Christianity as their religion. It is said from this perspective that religion and economic benefit were the two main factors that impacted the dynamics between the Native Indians and European colonists (Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, 2018).
The First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609-1614) was fought between the British colonists and the Virginia Indian tribes led by Powhatan. A major impact of the conflict was the marriage of Powhatan’s daughter with John Rolfe, a prominent English settler. The marriage led to a short-lived peace between the British and the Native Indians. The Esopus Wars that began in 1609 were conflicts between the Dutch colonists and the Native Indian commune at Wiltwijck (present day Kingston). They are of much significance because they altered the power dynamics in the region. Religion and economic gain were the two main factors that impacted the interactions between the Native Indians and European colonists.
Conflicts between European Colonists and American Indians
Type of paper: Essay (Any Type)
Pages: 3 (275 words per page)
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