How did the major colonial powers in the New World act toward the Indian populations they encountered?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One text that I often use when I teach American History describes the French and Spanish colonies as "frontiers of inclusion," as opposed to the British colonies, which were a "frontier of exclusion."  This means that the first two powers created societies that included the Native Americans who originally lived there while the British created a society that had no place for the natives.

This came about because of economics and because of the number of white settlers in each power's empire.  The British brought many settlers to create an agricultural economy.  This meant that Natives were not useful economically and were excluded.  The Spanish needed Natives to work their mines and their plantations.  Not many Spaniards came to settle, making the Native Americans more economically important.  France's empire was similar, except that its major economic activity was fur trading.

For these reasons, French and Spanish colonies included Native Americans in their society while the British colonies excluded them.