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Analyze The Cultural And Economic Responses Of Two Of The Following Groups To The Indians Of North American Before 1750: Brits, French, Spanish.

972 words - 4 pages

Lucy Shen 9/9/07 1st pd.
When Christopher Columbus first set foot upon the New World and began trading with the natives he incorrectly dubbed "Indians", he had no idea that his bartering would eventually lead to immense contact between the Native Americans and Europeans. Cultural and economic influences flowed both ways in this exchange of societies between Native Americans and both the French and British.France, a late arriver in the New World, established its first settlement at Quebec in the form of a granite sentinel overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Commander of this fort Samuel de Champlain started off on a good foot with the Huron Indian tribes by helping them fight their enemies, the Iroquois Confederacy. A few shots by the white men's "lightning sticks" scared the Iroquois warriors so bad that they left immediately, leaving three dead behind, thus earning the French the lasting animosity of the Iroquois. This effectively hampered France's attempts at penetrating the Ohio River Valley. Under the influence of fear of the French, the Iroquois also allied with the British in the struggle for North America, eventually leading to their downfall when they continued allying with the British during the Revolutionary War. The Iroquois did however have neutral relations with the French because New France had an important resource that drew the eyes of both Europeans and Indians; the beaver. But the Indians who were recruited into the fur business suffered immense disadvantages. They were ravaged by diseases that they had never encountered before and therefore had no defense for and were completely corrupted by alcohol. In exchange for their goods, the Indians received European products, both practical, such as iron tools and utensils, and decorative, such as bright-colored cloth and beads. They welcomed the convenience of metal pans and knives and also of cloth. But killing beavers by boatload also violated many Indian religious beliefs which show the crushing cultural effect that contact with Europeans wreaked on traditional Indian ways of life. Indians were also affected by zealous French Catholic missionaries' intent on converter the "heathens". Although there were few permanent converts, the effect was enough.But the Indians were not the only ones affected; they in turn influenced many Frenchmen. Many French fur traders married Indian wives in order to gain permission to enter new hunting grounds. They also adopted many Indian inventions such as the snowshoe, effectively allowing them to walk on top of snow mounds. The French were also introduced to an efficient means of travel up and down the Mississippi River; the canoe. Clothing and food preservation methods were also adopted by the French. Many Frenchmen dressed in buckskins and moccasins and instead of always hunting they adopted Indian methods of preserving food, saving much time. Old World dietary and health habits were also positively affected by the importation of corn, beans, and...

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