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The Mixing of Cultures: Native Americans and English Colonists

Native Americans and English colonies share knowledge which was vital for the colonists to survive.

The forced position placed upon both the Native Americans and the colonists, caused the English colonies to respond to the Indians in ways that will affect the colonies cultural beliefs and economic power. Economic alterations occurred, whether the colonists accepted the Indians or whether they rejected them. Examples of Colonists acceptance of the Native American ideas would be when the English accepted farming techniques of the Native Americans. The Native Americans would farm by changing farmlands occasionally to let the soil replenish its nutrients, and the colonists would take the Indian idea of placing organic compounds on the land to increase nutrients in the soil. However, “The English settlers did not adopt all the Indian agricultural techniques… Indian techniques proved of great value,” (Brinkley 32). These effective farming developments helped the English economy prosper because it allowed the colonies to produce more cash crops giving the colonies more money. Furthermore, some colonies did not like the Indians and would enslave them. The enslavement of Native Americans increased the labor force and thus improved the Colony’s wealth. Further responses to the Native Americans would be trade, which would allow for the exchange of corn, which the colonists lacked during the first decades in North America. Furthermore, wars between Native Americans and Colonists often done because of anger between both of them, would often lead to mass casualties on both sides, consequently weakening the economy. An example of a massive war would be the French and Indian Wars.

            Cultural responses to the Indians would be the change of the daily life in the Colonies, because of Native Americans. AN example of this being the fear the colonists had about living near Native American grounds. Therefore, the people that did not have “safe” estates of their own would have to pay rent for a much smaller piece of land in someone else’s estate making the wealthy richer and the poor poorer. Additionally, during the colonists first decades in North America the Native Americans helped the colonists plant cash crops, and change their focus from gold to crops. English also responded to Native Americans with racism. For example, the Colonists would often find excuses to invade Native American lands and plunder all their valuables. This racism had much to do with politics too. This is especially evident in Bacons Rebellion in 1676. Conclusively, the English lifestyle and economy was greatly influenced by the Native American presence.

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