The European colonists in North America often rationalized their expansion of their empire with the assumption that they were saving—as they perceived—a barbaric, pagan world by spreading Christian civilization.
In the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the policy of Indian Reductions resulted in the forced conversions to Catholicism of the indigenous people. What developed during the colonial years and since, has been a syncretic Catholicism that absorbed and reflected indigenous beliefs. Smallpox proved particularly fatal to American Indian populations. Epidemics often immediately followed European exploration and sometimes destroyed entire village populations. Historians believe many Mohawk in present-day New York became infected after contact with children of Dutch traders in Albany in The disease swept through Mohawk villages, reaching the Onondaga at Lake Ontario by , and the lands of the western Iroquois by , as it was carried by Mohawk and other tribes who traveled the trading routes.
The high rate of fatalities caused breakdowns in American Indian societies and disrupted generational exchanges of culture. Smallpox epidemics in —, and —, brought devastation and drastic depopulation among the Plains Indians. By , the federal government established a smallpox vaccination program for American Indians, known as the Indian Vaccination Act.
It was the first federal program created to address a health issue among American Indians. Sheep, pigs, horses, and cattle were all Old World animals that were introduced to contemporary American Indians. In the 16th century, Spaniards and other Europeans brought horses to the Americas. The early American horse had been game for the earliest humans on the continent; it was hunted to extinction about BCE, just after the end of the last glacial period. The reintroduction of the horse to North America had a profound impact on the American Indian culture of the Great Plains.
The tribes trained and used horses to ride, carry goods for exchange with neighboring tribes, hunt game, and conduct wars and raids. The people fully incorporated the use of horses into their societies and expanded their territories. When Europeans arrived as colonists in North America, many American Indian tribes began selling war captives to Europeans rather than integrating them into their own societies as they had done before. Accurate records of the numbers enslaved do not exist; scholars estimate tens of thousands of American Indians may have been enslaved by the Europeans.
Popular politics in the 18th century - The British Library
The slave trade of American Indians lasted only until around and gave rise to a series of devastating wars among the tribes, including the Yamasee War. The Indian Wars of the early 18th century, combined with the increasing importation of African slaves, effectively ended the American Indian slave trade by Colonists found that American Indian slaves could easily escape, as they knew the country.
The wars cost the lives of numerous colonial slave traders and disrupted their early societies. The remaining American Indian groups banded together to face the Europeans from a position of strength. The painting shows a Native American boy in a blue coat and woman in a red dress in European clothing.
In the s, Benjamin Hawkins was assigned as the U. Hawkins advised the tribes to take up slaveholding to aid them in European-style farming and plantations. He thought their traditional form of slavery, which had looser conditions, was less efficient than chattel slavery. In the 19th century, some members of these tribes began to purchase African American slaves. Skip to main content. Expansion of the Colonies: — Search for:. Early Conflicts European Wars in the Colonies Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the European powers fought many wars over control of the colonies in North America.
Learning Objectives Describe the wars in which the colonists were entangled in the decades prior to the Revolution.
Key Takeaways Key Points As various European imperial powers settled on the new continent of North America, their conflicts became transatlantic. The Anglo-Dutch Wars were primarily over trade supremacy. Learning Objectives Discuss how early Native American tribes were affected and influenced by the coming of the British Colonists. From the 16th through the 19th centuries, the population of American Indians declined due to epidemic diseases brought from Europe, genocide and warfare at the hands of Europeans and between tribes, displacement from their lands, internal warfare, enslavement, and a high rate of intermarriage.
Beginning in the 17th century, France explored the Mississippi River valley and established scattered settlements in the region. By the middle of the 18th century, France controlled more of the modern United States than any other European power: from New Orleans northeast to the Great Lakes and northwest to modern-day Montana. Spain, no longer a dominant European power, did little to develop Louisiana Territory during the next three decades.
In , Spain allied itself with France, leading Britain to use its powerful navy to cut off Spain from America. Reports of the retrocession caused considerable uneasiness in the United States. Since the late s, Americans had been moving westward into the Ohio and Tennessee River valleys, and these settlers were highly dependent on free access to the Mississippi River and the strategic port of New Orleans.
In a letter to Robert Livingston, the U. France was slow in taking control of Louisiana, but in Spanish authorities, apparently acting under French orders, revoked a U. It is believed that the failure of France to put down a slave revolution in Haiti, the impending war with Great Britain and probable Royal Navy blockade of France, and financial difficulties may all have prompted Napoleon to offer Louisiana for sale to the United States. Negotiations moved swiftly, and at the end of April the U.
In exchange, the United States acquired the vast domain of Louisiana Territory, some , square miles of land. In October, Congress ratified the purchase, and in December France formally transferred authority over the region to the United States.
American expansion westward into the new lands began immediately, and in a territorial government was established. On April 30, , exactly nine years after the Louisiana Purchase agreement was made, the first of 13 states to be carved from the territory—Louisiana—was admitted into the Union as the 18th U. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!
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