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How the French, Spanish and British Dealt With Native Americans Essay

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Updated: Jan 1st, 2022

European settlers began to troop into North America later in the 15th Century as missionaries, trappers, explorers, and traders. The settlers were mainly made of French, British, and the Spanish who interacted differently with the natives depending on their primary mission. The British were principally looking for land due to their rapidly growing population. The French were mainly interested in trading opportunities offered by the new land. As for the Spanish, their primary objective was occupation. This paper seeks to briefly explain how the French, British and the Spanish dealt with Native Americans.

The main interaction point for the British and the Native Americans was the Eastern shoreline. Unlike other settlers, the British did not have much interest in the Native Americans. They only depended on the Indians to help them adapt to the harsh environment. They gradually began to interact with the natives who educated them on how to cultivate and cope during winter times. The relationship would gradually change as the British settlers developed theirs on survival skills. A trade relationship was established where by the natives would exchange food and luxuries for guns. In the meantime more settlers were arriving and thus the need for more land to settle them. Thus animosity began to grow as the new settlers were offered land that was already settled on by the natives. The French settlers had their own reservations about the British and in the end they combined forces with the Indian natives to wedge war against the British settlers. This resulted in a major conflict for the control of North America and was eventually won by the British.

The Spanish settlers had no particular way of dealing with the Natives. A portion of them thought they were bringing Christianity and civilization to them. Others believed that the natives were entitled to their land and no one had a right to take it away from them. Thus they would introduce them to Christianity and school them on European civilization. However, some Spanish settlers brutally annihilated the Native Americans, slaving them in one of the worst slavery conditions ever witnessed on earth. It has been reported that an average slave did not last for a single year under the Spaniards. They were subjected to work without proper food in the plantations and mines; as a consequence, many Native Americans died. It is estimated that up to 40% of the natives died during the 16th century Spanish rule.

Interaction between the French and Native Americans was largely on a mutual basis. Soon after their settlement in America the French established trading posts that mainly dealt with fur. The French setup forts in Indiana and solicited protection from the Natives against the growing British population. A part from trading, the French had also assumed the task of spreading the gospel to the natives. The rapidly growing population of the British settlers led to the war that had them on one side and French and natives on the other. The war would later escalate to a major battle for the control of North America.

This paper sought to find out how the British, Spanish and the French interacted with the Native Americans. It has been established that the British settlers initially had good relations with the natives but this changed with the changing circumstances mainly due to the need for land. The Spanish were undecided on what to do with the natives; as a result different factions treated them differently, some spreading the gospel to them while the majority others unleashing terror in one of the worst slavery practices even witnessed on earth. To the natives, the French were generally good people who interacted with them on a mutual basis dealing mainly in trading activities.

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