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Goals of Native Americans

The European settlement of the New World began after the famous explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus arrived in the Bahamas in 1942. This event initiated European conquest of the New World, starting with the Spanish establishment of colonies.


European settlement in the western hemisphere was both supported and discouraged by the indigenous Native American nations. They became allies and enemies of newly arrived colonists from Europe. The two cultures were entirely divergent in nature. The Native Americans were pagan nations with often matrilineal cultures. The superiority in their societies belonged to tribal chiefs and religious leaders. The Native American concept of land was entirely different from the mercantile and individualistic European concept. Native American tribes occupied lands for use of the entire community, for agriculture or hunting.

Native American tribes had their own motivation for contact with the European settlers. For example, Powhattanm, who was a chief of Algonquian tribe of Indians, perceived the newcomers as a source of power. As he was in the process of consolidating influence in the tidewater part of Virginia, he aimed at obtaining as many precious weapons from the Europeans, as possible. In exchange, he helped them survive their first starving winter on the foreign territory.

Another valuable object of trade between Europeans and Native Americans was fur. It is through fur trade that alcohol was introduced to the Native Americans. Many of them traded everything they owned for the “fire water”, which left them destitute and defenseless. The European explorers also brought to Americas a variety of domesticated animals, which was much larger in the Old World, than it was in the New. The introduction of horses changed the lives of many Native American tribes on the Great Plains and allowed them to adjust to a nomadic lifestyle.

Main goals, which the Native American tribes perceived in their interactions with European newcomers, were trade and obtaining valuable weapons. It is on this basis that they agreed to secure with the Europeans such treaties as the Treaty of Albany (1722), Treaty of Lancaster (1744) between the Six Nations and the British, and Treaty of Logstown (1752) between the British and Indian tribes of Delaware and Shawnee. The British also cooperated with the Iroquois Confederacy, aiming to eliminate the French participation in the sphere of the lucrative fur trade. Regardless, the Six Nations continued trading and negotiating treaties with the French.

In conclusion, the differences between European and Native American cultures and lifestyles proved to be far too different. Eventually, the clash of these two cultures was bound to lead to the complete annihilation of one of them.

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