What roles did the Indians play in the creation of the European colonies? 

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First, it is extremely important to distinguish between Indians (people from India) and Native Americans. Indians did not migrate to the United States in significant numbers during the colonial period; in fact, immigration from India to the United States only became significant in the twentieth century, during which Indian-Americans became one of the ethnic groups with the highest educational levels and earnings in the US population. 

Native Americans, on the other hand, lived in North America long before the advent of Europeans, and had a deep familiarity with local flora and fauna. The survival of many of the early colonies depended on trade with Native Americans and on European settlers acquiring local knowledge from Native Americans.

The relationships between Europeans and Native Americans varied from colony to colony, with some seeing trade, especially in furs, as a source of profit and cultivating alliances with individual tribes. Other colonies came into territorial conflict with Native Americans and even outright war, and deliberately attempted to eradicate their populations. As Native Americans had not been previously exposed to smallpox and other European epidemic diseases and had no biological immunity, epidemic diseases, whether introduced deliberately or accidentally, decimated Native American populations.  

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Especially in North America, Natives played a major role in the creation of European colonies. Early in the colonial period, most colonies could not survive without Indian support, or at least tolerance. Many colonies, notably New Netherland, were formed with the express purpose of monopolizing trade (furs, in the case of this region) with area Native peoples. Some colonies survived through their early years only because Native peoples saw benefits in forming alliances with them. For example, when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they were seen by the area Wampanoags as potential allies against their Narragansett enemies. Depleted by smallpox and threatened by potential invasion, they saw the Pilgrims as partners. In Jamestown, the surrounding Powhatan Confederacy allowed the colony to exist for similar reasons, at least at first (they, like the Wampanoags, eventually realized their error). In modern North and South Carolina, area natives engaged in a trade for guns, deerskins, and Indian slaves that essentially allowed South Carolina in particular to survive before the turn to a plantation economy. So Indian peoples were instrumental in  the development and growth of the colonies. 

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