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Influence Of British Settlersin America Essay

2310 words - 9 pages

In the early seventeenth century, with the permission of James I, three ships (The Susan Constant, The Discovery, and The God Speed) sailed from England under the captainship of Christopher Newport. The three ships finally landed at the east coast of North America in the year of 1607. The passengers were some British men and boys, approximately a hundred of them were on board. They would then become the first British settlers that set their feet in Chesapeake (the present-day Virginia) and founded Jamestown, named after their king.

But apparently, the settlers had not only found a new land, but they had also encountered other groups of civilized people other than the Europeans. They were joined together under the Powhatan Confederacy, a confederacy which consisted of several local tribes, later on called as the American Indians (Morgan, 1999:48). They mostly occupied the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, under the powerful chief, Powhatan. It was an encounter of two different worlds that would take part in one of many other encounters between British settlers and people of the local tribes. They are also known as the indigenous people. Indigenous peoples are groups of people, that according to the United Nations (2004) could be defined as “…those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them.” This essay will show that the British settlement had influenced some aspects of life of the indigenous peoples in America. This essay will also discuss about the first major impacts that the British settlers brought with them during their early settlements in America, other latter several influences that had impacted on economic, military, and cultural aspects of American Indians during the colonisation, and how those influences affect today’s American indigenous people.

The British had actually discovered the Americas a couple of centuries earlier, in June 1497. It was a journey made by the British explorer named John Cabot. But the journey was arranged for an exploration mission rather than a mission for conquest. Therefore, the arrival of the British settlers in 1607 could be considered as the start of British imperialism in America. It was a part of the British imperial history in which many indigenous people of the newly found land were involved. As Colley (1996) stated, it was “a complex saga of the collisions, compromises, and comings together of many different cultures.” In the case of Virginia, the settlers’ first arrival had caused some major impacts on the indigenous people. Those impacts include the massive decrease in their level of density. The decrease of the indigenous population was most likely to be caused by some diseases that the American Indians had not been familiarised with until the arrival of the British settlers. One of the diseases had...

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