Native American Clashes with European Settlers
We look at the early history of relations between European settlers in North The first recorded meetings between Europeans and the Indians of the East and his tribe, the first European settlers in the northernmost colonies. European settlers and Native American Indians shared varying relationships during the North American colonial period. English settlers, intending to make a. Although the British were new to this New World, colonization of other lands was Large numbers of Native Americans died from European diseases such as.
While the English had made it clear they intended to settle the frontier, the French were more interested in trade.
This influenced the Delaware and Shawnee to side with the French. Although the Six Nations officially remained neutral, many in the Iroquois Confederacy also allied with the French.
The following year, French troops lost Quebec, crippling their military strength. The loss of French military support temporarily calmed tensions between Native Americans and settlers in western Virginia. In the summer ofPontiac, an Ottawa chief led raids on key British forts. Shawnee chief Keigh-tugh-qua, or Cornstalk, led similar attacks on western Virginia settlements in present-day Greenbrier County.
However, many land speculators such as George Washington violated the proclamation by claiming vast acreage in western Virginia. The next five years were relatively peaceful on the frontier.
With the frontier again open, settlers flooded into western Virginia and the speculators made small fortunes in rent on the lands they had acquired. Battle of Point Pleasant The Shawnee had never given up their claims to western Virginia and interpreted the rapid settlement as acts of aggression.
Hostilities reached a climax in when land speculator Michael Cresap led a group of volunteers from Fort Fincastle later renamed Fort Henry at present-day Wheeling and raided Shawnee towns in what became known as Cresap's War. One of the worst atrocities of the conflict was the murder of several family members of Mingo chief Tah-gah-jute, who had been baptized under the English name Logan.
Logan, who had previously lived peacefully with the settlers, killed at least 13 western Virginians that summer in revenge. Dunmore drew up a plan to trap the Shawnee between two armies. The governor personally led the northern army while land speculator Andrew Lewis led a smaller force from the south.
But Shawnee leader Cornstalk struck the southern regiment before it united with Dunmore's troops. On October 10,Cornstalk's force of approximately 1, men attacked Lewis at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers at present-day Point Pleasant. After the battle, which resulted in significant losses on both sides, the Shawnee retreated to protect their settlements in the Scioto Valley in present-day Ohio.
The Battle of Point Pleasant eliminated Native Americans as a force on the frontier for the first three years of the American Revolutionary War, which began in Aprilclearing the way for peaceful settlement of the region.
When the Revolutionary War began, many American soldiers who had previously served in the British army fought for the Continental Army.
Native Americans remained generally neutral for the first two years of the war.
American History: A New World Clash of Cultures
By the end ofthe treaty had fallen apart and Native Americans began randomly attacking settlements. This agreement nullified the Treaty of Pittsburgh and effectively brought most Native Americans into the war on the side of the British.
During the three-day siege, the Indians destroyed most of the homes around the fort and killed a number of soldiers in the fort. With the support of the British, Native Americans had enormous initial success against colonists in the Ohio Valley. One of the worst atrocities of the war on the frontier occurred at Fort Randolph at present-day Point Pleasant. In NovemberCornstalk and two companions visited the fort to inform Captain Matthew Arbuckle that the Shawnee had decided to support the British.
Arbuckle was suspicious and held Cornstalk prisoner.
- American History: A New World Clash of Cultures
- Colonial-Indian Relations
After two hunters were killed near the fort, colonial militiamen assassinated Cornstalk and his son Elinipsico. In the spring ofthe British, Wyandot, and Mingo launched an offensive on frontier forts. They attacked Fort Donnally, west of Lewisburg, for hours before reinforcements drove the Indians back. Colonials rejected an attempt by Wyandots and some Shawnee to negotiate a peace in Although the main British army surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia, on October 19,occasional clashes occurred on the frontier.
Before that time, the continent was an unknown place to them. These adventurers saw it as an entirely new land, with animals and plants to discover. They also met new people in this exciting New World—people with fascinating lifeways that the Europeans had never seen and languages they had never heard.
This New World for Europeans was actually a very old world for the various people they met in North America.
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Today we call those people American Indians. Archaeologists tell us that American Indians may have been on the North American continent for fifty thousand years. They were the first Americansand they were great explorers, too. They didn't come to this continent all at once. It is thought that these ancient adventurers arrived at different times, over several thousands of years.
They journeyed from Asia on foot or by boat. Their explorations took them through icy landscapes and along the coastlines. Eventually these earliest American explorers spread out over the entire continent.
Over time, their lives changed as they adapted to different environments. American Indians were creative. They found ways to live in deserts, in forests, along the oceans, and on the grassy prairies.
Native peoples were great hunters and productive farmers. They built towns and traded over large distances with other tribes. These were the people the European explorers met when their ships landed in America. Europeans carried a hidden enemy to the Indians: Native peoples of America had no immunity to the diseases that European explorers and colonists brought with them.
Diseases such as smallpoxinfluenzameaslesand even chicken pox proved deadly to American Indians. Europeans were used to these diseases, but Indian people had no resistance to them. Sometimes the illnesses spread through direct contact with colonists. Other times, they were transmitted as Indians traded with one another. The result of this contact with European germs was horrible. Sometimes whole villages perished in a short time.
As early asEnglish explorer Thomas Harriot observed how European visits to the small villages of coastal North Carolina Indians killed the Natives.
The disease was also so strange that they neither knew what it was nor how to cure it. The introduction of European diseases to American Indians was an accident that no one expected.
Neither the colonists nor the Indians had a good understanding of why this affected the Native people so badly. The great impact of disease on the Native population of America is an important part of the story of European exploration. Experts believe that as much as 90 percent of the American Indian population may have died from illnesses introduced to America by Europeans.
American Indians at European Contact
This means that only one in ten Natives survived this hidden enemy. Their descendants are the 2. New trade goods represented another big change that European explorers and colonists brought to American Indians. Soon after meeting their European visitors, Indians became very interested in things that the colonists could provide.
In a short time, the Indians began using these new materials and products in their everyday lives. Native hunters were eager to trade prepared deer hides and other pelts for lengths of colored cloth.