How did European colonization impact the natives in North and South America? I need informative information for a five essay answer I need to prepare.

5 Answers

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would focus on the Columbian Exchange as an example of how colonization horrifically impacted the new world.  The idea that one side of this exchange involved the procurement of wealth and prestige as well as innovative ways to solve problems, the other side involved enslavement, disease, and the pillaging of indigenous resources.  I realize that the narrative of colonization involves the spreading of borders, the expansion of the world, and the simultaneous shrinking of it.  It involves the glory of the explorer who, against all odds, saw a vision and went to extraordinary lengths to obtain it.  It involves the idea of being able to be a pioneer, to do what no one else has done.  This is certainly one part of the story and there is validity in it.  Yet, this should not come at the cost of the profiteering off of human misery that emerged from colonization, the dominance of one group over another, and the establishment of a paradigm where certain nations felt entitled to overtake others without regard for their narratives or voices.  When we glorify these explorers and the notion of exploration, issues such as the Columbian Exchange should not be far off in our discussion.

marbar57's profile pic

marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

How did European colonization impact the natives in North and South America?

I need informative information for a five essay answer I need to prepare.

  Life in the Americas changed drastically and dramatically with the coming of the Europeans.  The worst thing that happened to the natives was the influx of deadly diseases for which they had no immunity.  The natives died by the thousands, innundating whole tribes!  The second major occurrence was the Europeans killing off the game and chopping down the forests.  Then, the foreigners proceeded to kill the natives and drive them from their ancestral homelands.  The Spaniards even sought to rid the natives of their customs and languages, requiring them to adopt the Roman Catholic religion.  They stole their riches, desecrated their buildings, and reduced once powerful nations to slaves and servants. 


brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The most devastating impact was the introduction of European diseases, which wiped out roughly 90% of the native tribes within three decades of contact and made it much easier for European empires to colonize.  Native peoples most times lost their culture, their lands, having been removed from them for plantations and settlers, their ways of life in exchange for European ones, and their religion, usually replaced by Catholicism.  Eventually many would even lose their spoken language as well.

Some tribes resisted and were annihilated.  Others were compromising and were annihilated in other ways, to a slightly lesser degree.  But it would be fair to characterize the European effect on Native peoples as the end of their world.  Once colonization had happened and was widespread, nothing would ever be the same for them again.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Agreeing with other posters, you need to focus above all on disease and illness but I would expand this to analyse how Europeans brought with them intrinsic ideas regarding their own superiority and higher place in the world compared to these new people groups they were meeting. You can look at the rhetoric they used to justify their oppression and cruelty, which changed the world so much.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

When European colonization came to the Americas, the Native Americans on the coasts were affected first. Over time, the conquistadors moved inland and more and more of the tribes were involved. They were usually either killed, captured or made ill by diseases the Europeans brought.