European interaction with the indigenous people of the American

EUROPEAN INTERACTION WITH THE INDIGENOUS AMERICANS 6

Europeaninteraction with the indigenous people of the American

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Europeaninteraction with the indigenous people of the America

Europeaninteractionwith theAmericans could bedatedas earlyas the10th century.However,therealextensivecolonizationbeganin 1492 whenChristopher Columbus wassailingto finda sea routeto India butendedup discoveringtheAmerican continent.After this,manyEuropeans cameto America as theywereattractedto themostpowerfulempiresin America which wereAztec andIncas. Theperiodbetween theEuropean andtheNative American interactionwasknownas thecontactperiod.Amerigo Vespucci,an explorer, isbelievedto havecomeup with thenameAmerica. Groupsof theindigenouspeopleof theAmerica are stillscatteredallover America,andtheystillfollowsomeof their indigenousculturalpractices.Thesepeoplearefoundin Colombia, Ecuador, Greenland, Mexico, Guatemala andPeru (Castillo, 2006). Indigenouslanguagesincludethequenchua,Aymara, guaran, Maya,andNahuati.Thepapershall disambiguate whathappenedduring thecontactperiodandits effects.

ReasonsfortheContact

ManyEuropeans suchas theBritish, Spanish, French, andtheItalians camedue to theinitialreportsfrom theexplorers,thustheyweremotivatedto cometo theAmerican continentin orderto dothefollowing:

TheEuropeans wantedto spreadChristianity an initiativethat wasaimedat changingtheAmericans whowereseenas pagansandbelieversof superstitions.Theneedto exploitmineralssuchas goldandsteelsignificantlymotivatedtheEuropeans. Due to thefriendlynatureof theAmericans, Europeans weremotivatedto establishsettlementsin America. Europeans alsowantedto civilizethepeople,in orderforthem not to keepon coveringtheir bodieswith smallpiecesof leather.Explorationwasalsoamajorfactorthat motivatedtheEuropeans because theexplorersweresupportedby kingsandqueenswhomotivatedthem to discovernewtradingareasandnewlands.TheEuropeans alsocameto tradewith thenatives,andthiswaspossiblebecausethepeoplemademanycraftslike therosariesfrom fishbonesandbirdplumesof manycolors.Furthermore,theycamein searchof laboras thenativescould providelaborin thenumerousplantations.Moreover,theneedforprestigepushedmanyEuropean to thecontinentas theywererespectediftheyamassedmanycolonies.Finally,theEuropeans cameto theAmerica due to paternalismas theysawtheir culturebeingsuperiorto thatof thenativesandthuswantedto introducetheir culturesothatthenativesstopbarbaricpracticessuchas raiding.Thiswasdonewhenone communityraidedtheotheroneandtookyounggirlsandboysfrom it.Thegirlswould be turnedinto concubineswhiletheboyscannibalizedtherefore,theEuropeans wantedto correctthis.

Effectsof theEuropean interaction

Thecontactperiodaffectedthenativesin variousways(Silvers&amp Desnoyers, 2012). Firstly, theinteractionledtothe populationdecreaseas peopledieddue to warfareandthrough enslavement.Secondly,Europeans introducednewdiseasesin thenewland,suchas smallpoxandmeasles. Thirdly, intermarriages occurredas theEuropeans marriedthenativesof theAmericans. Fourthly, theslavetradewasintroducedas thenativeswereneededto workon European plantations.TheEuropeans alsointroducedChristianity, as thenativeshadnoreligion.Furthermore,there wastheexchangeof manyculturalpracticesas theyassimilatedeachother’slanguage.Theinteractionalsoledto manyEuropeans settlingin America as theydiscoveredmanygoodthingsin it.After theEuropeans hadsettledmanyindigenouspeoplelosttheir landsas their landsweretakenawayandgivento theEuropeans, thisresultedin mostof thenativesbeingresettled in thereserves.TheEuropeans alsointroducedmanyarchitecturaldesignsas manyhousesin theAmerica werebuiltusingtheEuropean architecture.Tradingactivitiesalsoflourished due to theinteractionbetween them as theEuropeans providedthem with irontools,woolenclothes,andevenguns.Moreover,theEuropean powersgaineda lotof fameandprestigesince thecoloniesone had,themoretheywould berespected.TheEuropeans madeallianceswith thelocalpeople,andthesepeoplehelpedthem to fighttheir enemies.Anewweaponwasalsointroducedwhich replacedtheir spearsandbows,andthisevenchangedthemodeof huntingandwarfare.Theinteractionnegatively affectedtheAmerican economyas mostof their resourcesweretakento Europe. There wasalsotheintroductionof newboundariesandborders,forexample,theSpanish andthePortuguese signedthetreatyof tordisillasthatdividedtheglobeinto two.

Helpfuldocumentsthat givemoreinformationon theEuropean intrusionof America are also available. For instance, in the European invasionof theAztec civilization,theauthorsaysthatsmallpoxgreatlyaffectedtheAztecs as theSpanish soldiers had introduced it.Thedifferencesbetween theAztecs andtheEuropeans,as well as their effects on the environment, aredirectlycorrelatedto culturalandtechnological factorsof bothcivilizations(ehlirich,2000). Anotherdocumentwas in 1492, thefirstinvasionof globalization, whereChomsky saidtheeffectsof theEuropean conquestdramatically changedthewesternhemisphereand,as a result, therewaswesterncivilization(Chomsky, 1999).

Inconclusion,thatmanyEuropeans wentto America due to thevastresourcesofthecontinent,which would helpto improvetheir economiesbackin Europe. AftertheEuropeans cameto theAmerica, theyhelpedthem to changelivesthrough theintroductionof Christianity, newtradegoods,civilizationornegatively through theintroductionof slavelabor,which causeda lotof suffering,erosionof their cultureandeventheexploitation of their resources.In fact,during thecontactperiod,there wasa lotof culturalexchanges,which finallyledto thecollapseof theNative American cultures.Manypartsof theAmericans are stillpopulated by theAmerican natives.Followingthediscussionabove,itis evidentthatthecontactperiodwasan importantphasein thelivesof theindigenouspeopleof theAmericas andshould begreatlyappreciated.

References

Castillo,S. (2006). Colonialencounters in New World writing, 1500-1786: Performing America.London: Routledge.

Sivers,P., &amp Desnoyers, C. (2012). Patternsof world history.New York: Oxford university press.

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