What were the ways English settlers impacted Native Americans?

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English settlers to the eastern seaboard had a largely negative impact on the Native Americans already living there. The English—as the Spanish had done previously in Central and South America—brought a host of diseases to which the Native Americans had very little, if any, immunity. These included the measles, whooping...

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English settlers to the eastern seaboard had a largely negative impact on the Native Americans already living there. The English—as the Spanish had done previously in Central and South America—brought a host of diseases to which the Native Americans had very little, if any, immunity. These included the measles, whooping cough, bubonic plague, typhoid, tuberculosis, the common cold, and sexually transmitted diseases. Perhaps the most devastating disease was smallpox. These diseases significantly reduced the number of Native Americans, forcing separate tribes to consolidate with one another for survival, upsetting old social patterns and ways of life.

Further, the English settlers wanted exclusive use of land the Native Americans depended on for sustenance. The English idea of individual ownership of land was foreign to the Native Americans, who practiced communal land ownership. The Native Americans could not understand why both groups—the English and themselves—could not share the same land and both benefit from its resources. The English, in contrast, considered the land they took as "unused" wilderness because it was not fenced and cultivated. Because they thought it was unused, they considered it free for their exclusive use; the natives, however, were in fact using it, only in a different way. Conflicts over land and natural resources led to warfare, which further reduced native populations, while displacement from land they had traditionally used put strains on the Native Americans' ability to survive.

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