Name and describe the major advantages that the European colonists had over the Native Americans.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of advantages that the European colonists had over the Native Americans when the Europeans came to settle in the New World.  Let us look at some of the most important.

First, the Europeans carried infectious diseases that were new to the Native Americans.  These germs caused “virgin field” epidemics that killed huge numbers of Native Americans.  The Native Americans did not carry any diseases that could wreak equal havoc on the Europeans.  The deaths of large numbers of Native Americans weakened their societies badly.

Second, the Europeans could draw on a much larger population base than the Native Americans.  The Native Americans were relatively few, particularly after the diseases decimated them.  By contrast, Europeans could simply keep coming and coming.  This meant that the European population of North America soon outstripped the native population, particularly in areas where the two groups came into contact.

Third, the Europeans had a tremendous technological advantage.  The Native Americans did not have things like metal and woven cloth.  The Europeans had steel tools and weapons.  They had guns and ships.  Their technological advantages helped them dominate the Native Americans both militarily and economically.

In these ways, among others, the Europeans had great advantages over the Native Americans.

pholland14 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Europeans had a major advantage of being immune to the diseases they brought to the New World. These diseases wiped out ninety percent of the Native American population and made the remainder easier to subdue. The Europeans in the New World could also unite and use what would become their superior numbers to drive the Native Americans off the land. While there were some pan-Indian movements, most famously with the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, the Native Americans could not present a united front to keep the whites off the land. The Europeans had gunpowder and were willing to build in fortified areas, while Native American fortifications were not nearly as strong as the ones found in European-style settlements. Finally, the European style of land ownership would ultimately prove to be an advantage. European livestock destroyed native crops. European fences affected the wild game in an area. While the Native Americans modified their environments through planting crops and creating open areas in forests, they were not prepared for how Europeans were willing to use the land and quickly move on to the next tract.

mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were several advantages that the Europeans had over the Native Americans. One advantage was the Europeans had immunity to the diseases that they brought with them to the Americas. Since the Native Americans did not have immunity to these diseases, many Native Americans died from them.

The Europeans also had technological advantages over the Native Americans. The Europeans had advantages with better and quicker methods of transportation, and over time, they had better weapons. This helped the Europeans in battles against the Native Americans. It also helped the Europeans move products and people faster.

The Europeans also greatly outnumbered the Native Americans. Many Europeans came to the Americas because they were in search of land, religious and political freedom, wealth, and a desire to start life over in a new area. As more and more Europeans came to the Americas, they greatly outnumbered the Native Americans.

amysor | Student

The European colonists when settling in the 'New World' had the advantage. They had more weapons. They had advanced supplies and tools. Also, they knew how to build up civilizations, so they had experience in surviving. Also, they had slaves to do their work for the most part in agriculure which helped their wealth.