The Spanish were the first European group to have extensive contact with Native Americans. Spanish conquistadors subjugated the Aztec and Inca Empires, took their gold, banned their native religions and languages, and made them into Roman Catholics who were forced to work for Spaniards. In time, the Spanish and natives...
The Spanish were the first European group to have extensive contact with Native Americans. Spanish conquistadors subjugated the Aztec and Inca Empires, took their gold, banned their native religions and languages, and made them into Roman Catholics who were forced to work for Spaniards. In time, the Spanish and natives intermarried. The Spanish were criticized for their cruelty by both Spanish missionaries and other Europeans.
The French sought to make Native Americans into trade partners. French traders used rivers in order to claim the land of North America, though many French preferred to stay home rather than to come to the New World. The French missionaries converted the Native Americans to Catholicism but were willing to translate the Bible into their native languages. The French also used Indian allies against British and American holdings in the New World.
The British traded with Native Americans and used them to harass the French and eventually the Americans. British traders signed treaties with Native Americans concerning the Oregon Territory and the land around Hudson Bay in order to gain exclusive trading rights to furs in the region. While the British claimed that the Proclamation Line of 1763 was meant to reward their Indian allies for their work during the French and Indian War, in reality it was probably meant to avoid another world war caused by American encroachment on foreign land.
The Americans had the most extensive contact with the Native Americans. The Americans initially had friendly relations with most tribes, as the tribes saw them as potential allies against rivals. This would change as the Americans took more native land, thus causing wars along the frontier. Colonial and eventually national governments fought wars and signed treaties with the Native Americans that they were not able to keep as the Americans occupied land designated for natives.
There were attempts to create reservations. such as in Oklahoma for the Five Civilized Tribes, but American encroachment soon turned this into a violent no-man's land during the nineteenth century. The Americans sought to Westernize native Americans by taking their children to white schools such as Carlisle Indian School and by providing buffalo hunters discounted ammunition. All of this led to the Americans owning the continent at the expense of the tribes already living there.
The Spanish were brutal towards the Native Americans while the French tried to co-exist with Native Americans peacefully. The English and Americans varied in how they approached Native Americans but were, in general, also brutal.
The Spanish forced Native Americans to work on plantations called encomiendas in return for "saving" the natives' souls by converting them to Christianity. The Spaniards' harsh treatment of Native Americans as well as the transmission of diseases from the Old World caused the decimation of many native tribes. Many of the English settlers, including the Puritans in New England and the Englishmen who settled in Jamestown, saw the natives as savages.
However, some English groups, and later some Americans, tried to co-exist peacefully with natives. One such group was the Quakers in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the English and the Americans varied in how they approached natives; however, after the American Revolution, Americans' desire for westward lands led them to claim native land and push them onto reservations.
The French were the exception. Settling in what is today Canada and along the Great Lakes, they sought to exist peacefully and trade with Native Americans. As many of the French arrived in the New World without women, they also tended to intermarry with native people. Many French people learned native languages and learned about native cultures.
Spain: The spainish were the first European power to interact with native american populations. When they arrived in the new world, they began they found amazing new trade items which they began growing in bulk. To make sure they had the labor pool they needed, they enslaved the native peoples of the carribbean, working them to death, then replacing them with Africans eventually. Most of the islands of the carribbean were totally depopulated of natives by the year 1550. Spain also made a point of seeking riches from the larger empires in the interior of South America, destroying both the Aztec and Inca utterly. Spain's ruthless policies were the subject of much debate amongst the missionaries and church officials that ministered to the natives, eventually being brought up at the Vatican for debate.
France: France never really attempted to settle the lands of New France as extensivly as Spain, England or America, and therefore had a much better relationship with the natives in their area. Instead, the engadged in trading, partnering with the natives instead of enslaving or killing them. French trappers would strengthen these bonds through marriage and language. French missionaries did try to convert some of the Huron, but not extensively, fearing forced conversion would disrupt business dealings. This partnership would pay off during the French and Indian war, which, althought the French lost, showed the benefit of treat the indians well.
England - The land-hungry English were constantly at odds with the Indians of the colonies. England's political and religious situation made colonizing very appealing, and as the settlers streamed west the natives pushed back. King Phillips War and the Pequot War are both examples of the types of fighting that continually fouled the English/Native relation. After the French and Indian War however, the English line changed. Not wanting to have to fight another costly war with the powerful tribes of the Ohio River Valley, the English began preventing American colonial expansion. The Proclaimation of 1763 was one such law that indians applauded and american colonist loathed. The English stance on expansion helped cause the eventual revolution, where many tribes joined the British because of their fears regarding American expansion.
Americans - After independence, the unspoken policy of the American government towards natives was "force them to move or kill them." Fronteir settlers, who had no love for the natives who raided and fought back against the westward movement of the Americans, were never discouraged by their government from treating natives inhumanly. Some presidents tried to sign treaties, most of which were ignored by later generations of statesmen. Some encouraged indians to "adopt white customs" hoping that they could be assimilated. The Cherokee, Chickasaw and other southern tribes in Georgia did so, modernizing in the hopes that they would be left alone, which for a time seemed to happen.Then Andrew Jackson, hoping to score points with southern whites who were hungry for Cherokee lands, forced them out in an episode known as the Trail or Tears. From this point on, American policy towards indians was one of conversion and forced confinment onto reservation, a policy which was deeply flawed and never truely managed effectively. Some tribes fought back, such as the Apache and the Sioux, but most were eventually wiped out or forced onto crowded reservations.