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Europeans integrated into North America

As the Europeans integrated into North America, they also invaded the Native American’s territory. In doing this, some Europeans were arrogant and pompous, but others became friendly with them. Both the French and the British had interactions with the Native Americans. These included trading, being allies, and even going as far as intermarrying. At first, both societies got along with the Natives. It was not until the English started to move west and take the land for themselves that it became a problem with the Native Americans. Although they may have started out the same, being good friends and neighbors with the original inhabitants, the French and English in the New World developed two distinctly different relationships with them.

When the French came to the New World, they regarded the Natives as friends. Because of this friendship or understanding, it was possible for them to trade with one another. The French traders gave knives, beads, axes, hatchets, hoes, brightly colored cloths, mirrors, paints and other things of trifling value that appealed to the fancy of the Indians. The only things that the Indians had to sell or trade, and for which the French traders wanted to barter for, were the skins of furbearing animals. These included the beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, and several others found nearby that the Native Americans hunted.

When the first English came over on the Mayflower, they became friends with the Natives. The natives taught the English Pilgrims how to hunt and fish, which fruits and berries were edible, and how to use fertilizer on their crops. They traded with the Indians for furs and land, giving them in return, metal tools, cutting blades, blankets and glass and metal containers. Also the Pilgrims were able to create the first Thanksgiving, showing that their relationship with the Natives was great enough to sit all together and give thanks for a meal.
The English that settled in the Jamestown region were not like the Pilgrims in regard to the relationship built. When the English came over they were granted permission to settle the James River, but Opechancanough and Powhatan decided that the settlers would do more harm then good. The first Anglo-Powhatan War started in 1609-1614. Then in 1622 and 1644 the Natives tried to drive the English out of the James River area, but were unsuccessful each time.

From time to time, the relationship between both the English and the French with the Native Americans has been strained. Eventually the strain would become too great for the Indians and the English to work out. The French however worked through these times and had a great ally because of it. Impressions of the Indians, however, certainly varied depending on the area of contact. Depending on whether the Europeans first met the Native Americans in war, disputes over land, or in trade would have made a great deal of difference in initial thoughts of the Indians.

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