North American Indian Relations with the French and the British

Essay by ewarns2High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2008

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After the discovery of the New World in the fifteenth century by the Spanish, other European nations began to establish settlements in the land. While the Spanish dominated South America, two nations struggled for control of North America. The British and French both competed for control of the northern territory and their relationship with the natives was influential for establishing power in America. Both the British and the French responded to the culture and economy of the natives in different ways.

When the first British settlers arrived on the coast of North America, they established a settlement in Jamestown, Virginia. At first, the English in America clung to the coast of the continent and interacted very little with the natives. As Jamestown survived, other groups from England began coming to America. By the mid-1630s, the natives were nearly nonexistent as European diseases killed many of them. The remaining Indians, therefore, sold much of their land to the incoming British.

From the beginning, the English did not make attempts to align themselves with the natives and often disregarded them completely when it came to expansion. Tensions between the English and Indians reached a height with the Pequot War and King Philip's War. The English did not except the native way of life and no early bonds formed between the two groups lasted. Although the English were frequently involved in fights with the natives, they did learn and adopt many agricultural aspects of the native life. The natives introduced many new crops to the English, such as corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Also, the settlers learned new agricultural techniques from the Indians which were better suited for the land. While the English rejected the natives in most ways, the survival of the first English settlements in America survived largely because of...