How did Bradford initially view the Native Americans?

William Bradford initially views the Native Americans as "savage barbarians" who want only to kill the Pilgrims. He describes them as something close to a natural hazard rather than as individuals or even human beings. This changes when Samaset and Squanto visit Plymouth and make peace with the Pilgrims.

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In his description of the Pilgrims' first encounter with Native Americans, William Bradford writes:

It is recorded in scripture as a mercy to ye apostle and his shipwrecked company, yt the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them, but these savage barbarians, when they met with them (as after will appear) were readier to fill their sides full of arrows then otherwise.

Bradford regards the Maltese, who welcomed the apostle Paul to their island, as barbarians, but contrasts these kindly barbarians with the savage variety to be found in the New World. It is notable that Bradford also describes the landscape as "savage" (a word he does not use often), suggesting that the inhabitants reflect their environment.

Bradford's early descriptions of the native people are all similarly damning, remarking on their aggression and savagery. He seems to regard them as a natural hazard, like the harsh landscape and the Winter cold. When the natives attack the Pilgrims at midnight, Bradford...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 891 words.)

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