Discuss the different concepts of both parties (settlers and natives)In 1630, the Puritans arrived in what is now Massachusetts Bay, at a point 30-miles north of Plymouth (soon to be known as...

Discuss the different concepts of both parties (settlers and natives)

In 1630, the Puritans arrived in what is now Massachusetts Bay, at a point 30-miles north of Plymouth (soon to be known as Boston). One thousand-strong and growing, the Puritans and their concept about land would come to present an existential challenge to the Wampanoags and other Algonquian Indians. Discuss the different concepts of both parties (settlers and natives), initial efforts at resolution and events like the Pequot War. Consider whether the outcomes were inevitable or if they could have been resolved peacefully

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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As more and more Puritans arrived in Massachusetts Bay, Indian land became a valuable commodity. Originally, fur was the predominant Indian good that most English desired, but as the fur-bearing animals died off, more and more English became increasingly obsessed with buying land to accommodate their expanding population.

A major misconception among history students is that Native Americans didn’t understand the concept of purchasing land, which allowed the Puritans and other Europeans to take advantage of them. Although there might have been confusion early on, but they time the Puritans began arriving in force in and around Massachusetts Bay, that initial confusion was gone. The Indians caught on very quickly, and were even able to manipulate this to their advantage. For example, when Phillip, the son of Massasoit, began trying to acquire weapons for the war that would eventually share his name, he used the concept of ownership against the English. He sold all his land, expecting to retake it after the war had started, and used the money to buy weapons and ammo. No Englishmen ever caught on to the fact that Phillip would have no way to survive once the deals had been finalized.

Conflict over land was not inevitable. Some leaders tried to make sure that natives still had land to live on so they didn't feel enveloped. Roger Williams insisted that Natives be compensated fairly, while many English colonies required you to get a liscence in order to purchase indian land. These people were unfortunately in the minority, and the result was conflict and the eventual erradication of most of New England's natives.

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