A short excerpt from my dissertation introduction on Native American Relations.
Native Americans in the United States and across North America have been subject to extreme subjugation for the past several centuries. Since the time of Christopher Columbus, native peoples have been enslaved and obliterated by European colonialism, which was in pursuit of new lands, gold, and a variety of other things. Massive native American empires, such as the Inca and the Aztec, were destroyed by Spanish conquistadors, who sought glory rather than providing mercy. In north America, however, many imperialist nations chose to work more with the native populations because of its vast nature, as well as it’s thousands of individual tribes rather than an organized and centralized state. For example, the French explorers, who explored the central Plains region of North America, chose to intermingle and trade with native tribes in order to survive and to build alliances against enemy imperialist nations and interests in the region. The Spanish Empire, which stretched from Southern Oregon to the Southern tip of South America, chose to use it’s regions occupied in North America to act as a buffer between enemy nations and it’s more rich port cities of Havana and Mexico City. Buffer lands protect important assets for nations or groups, and are often sparsely inhabited and dangerous to cross. There was one imperialist nation, however, that shows to fight native Americans and eliminate them completely, compared to the other two major powers in the region. The British Empire used its military might in order toclear vast swathes of land for its new colonists and colonial cities, especially on coastlines, of Native American tribes. Most devastated were New England tribes, such as the Iroquois nation and the Shawnee. They were driven from their lands in what is now New York and Pennsylvania in order to clear the way for cities such as New York City and Philadelphia to expand. These, often violent, incursions on native tribes caused even more tension between the native and colonial peoples, Regardless of colonist involvement in such a violent undertakings. Four example, the violent nature of the leadership of Jamestown colony nearly led to its demise. During the time at Jamestown was developing, the goals of such leadership were to conquer the native peoples and extract whatever valuable resources, most often gold, that were expected to be found in the possession of Native Americans. This craze for gold often lead to gory encounters between colonial individuals and Native American tribes. As the first winter begin to set in, it became very clear that to the people of Jamestown we’re going to run out of supplies, particularly food, which could have been obtained from the Native Americans had they chosen not to antagonize them when they first arrived. Seeing the weakness of the colonial peoples, Indian nations in and around what is now known as Virginia begin to lay siege to the fortifications at Jamestown, further stressing and straining the resources available to the colonists. This is just one of many examples of how British antagonize Asian of native peoples lead to constant warfare and conflicts between the two forces in the newly founded America. These conflicts would continue in near stalemate for several hundred years, from the early 17th century to the late 18th century, before the American military was strong enough to conduct operations that gave it an advantage over native strategy and weaponry.