The North American Continent had vast amounts of natives scattered around it. The lives of the natives all changed with the arrival of the Europeans. The Spanish claimed South America, Mexico and the Southwest part of the US; the French claimed the Midwest part of the US and the northeast part of Canada; the British claimed the eastern part of the US and the rest of Canada. These “invaders” taking over their land, for the most part, enraged the natives. The conflicts in the colonies would rage on well into America’s future.
The Spanish first arrived in America’s in with the voyages of Christopher Columbus. After that many Spanish explorers started coming to America in search of a way to the Far East and also for riches. The Spanish did not treat the natives of these lands with much respect. Cortez conquered the Aztecs in 1519 and Pizarro conquered the Incas in 1531. The natives for the most part were treated badly because of their beliefs and that the Spanish thought they lived in a backwards society. The Spanish started to setup missions, to convert the natives to Christianity. They wanted the natives to be Christians because they said that they would go to Hell if they did not convert over.
Many natives converted over to Christianity while others did not. The ones that did not convert were either killed or enslaved. Due to this kind of treatment, most of the natives rebelled against the Spanish. These rebellions slowly decreased the native population. As the Spanish slowly expanded out of Mexico, the land of the natives slowly decreased. Not all of the natives that died from fighting the Spanish, but many died from the disease.
They were dying from many diseases but especially smallpox. Since they have never been exposed to these types of diseases it hit them hard. They would die in droves since there was no way for them to stop it. Deaths in South America were incredibly bad. There were 25 million natives in 1500 and the population had decreased to about 3 million by 1650. The Spanish treated the natives as slaves and like barbarians. By doing this, the natives lost most of their lands and most were killed by the disease.
The French came to America in search of riches. They were not looking for a way to the Far East, since they were not one of the main countries in the trade. When the French started to colonize along the St. Lawrence River, they realized the countryside was littered with wildlife. The French started to set up a fur trade due to the abundance of animals. The French, however, got along better with the natives than did the Spanish. The French treated most of the Indians with respect and were usually helped when it came to the fur trade.
The French traders would spend the winter out with the Indians trapping furs and in the spring come into Montreal or Quebec to sell them. The French always had a good relationship with the natives. Since the population of New France never became large, only about 10,000 people, there were no major conflicts for land between the two people.
The English setup settlements in America mainly for religious freedom and chance of making money. The first few settlements were established because or religious reasons. The same things happened to the natives in the English areas as did in the Spanish settlements. The natives had skirmish battles with the colonist over land. These skirmishes started to increase as more and more colonists came to the colonies. The colonists also gave the disease to the natives killing most the populations. The English enslaved the majority of the native tribes along the coast.
This started a series of small wars between the colonists and the natives. A few of these wars were the King Philip’s War and the Yamasee Border War. Most Indians were sent into slavery or killed if they were not fit to be slaves. There were some exceptions, however, as in the praying towns. These were towns that were set up for the natives to live like English colonists. The land used for these praying towns were lands that had been taken from the natives earlier. These were the first versions of reservations. The English treated the natives mostly badly and broke most the treaties they made with them but still some did try to live in peace with the natives.
The treatment of the natives between Spanish, French and English had many similarities and differences. The Spanish and the English enslaved the majority of the natives and took their lands. They both gave the natives diseases that all but killed the natives off. The French, however, treated the natives with respect and respected their rights. They lived in peace with the natives and did a lot of trading with them. The Spanish treated the natives the worst and the French treated them the best.
The Spanish, French and English had different views on the natives of the Americas. Some natives were taken in peacefully and treated with respect while others had their homes destroyed and sold into slavery. In the end though the outcome of the natives was the same.
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