European Contact with Native Americans

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First European Contact with Native Americans

Casey Dean Risinger

History 1301

Rob Risko

July 31, 2013

Risinger 1

Casey Dean Risinger

History 1301

Rob Risko

31, July 2013

First European Contact with Native Americans

Europeans were completely unaware of the existence of the Americas before the

expeditions of Christopher Columbus. The first contact between Native Americans and

Europeans was the beginning of many radical changes for both sides of the world. The

Indians suffered catastrophic consequences during this contact with the strangers. These

consequences included the spread of deadly diseases previously unknown to Indians,

European goods for trade, loss of land, and loss of freedom. Do these actions constitute

genocide, or were these occurrences destined to happen?

Europeans came from Europe to the newly found continent of North America

throughout the 1500's. This "New World" was actually very old. Indians had inhabited

the continent of North America for thousands of years. Natives found ways to survive on

the coast, in wooded areas, in the mountains, and in desert areas. Native Americans were

productive farmers and skilled hunters who traded with each other over long distances.

These creative people with diverse languages and lifestyles had never before been

encountered by Europeans (Kincheloe III). They hunted animals such as deer, caribou,

bear, rabbit and moose. Farming consisted of growing crops such as corn, rice and

squash. Indigenous North Americans clothed themselves using skins from the animals

they killed and used the rest of the carcass (bones and such) to make tools. The coastal

natives that the Europeans first encountered typically made their homes out of bark and

mud (Native, 1-4).

Risinger 2

It is difficult to really know what Indian life was like since these people groups

did not have a written language, but the arriving Europeans made observations and many...