Native American Clashes with European Settlers
What was early contact like between Europeans and Natives? After initial friendly relations, fighting broke out with the Native Americans when they refused . Based on various explorations, the British and French laid claim to the territory comprising present-day West Virginia and Native Americans were forced west. The Native American resistance to European expansion in North American founded in , was the first successful colony established by Great Britain.
Archaeologists tell us that American Indians may have been on the North American continent for fifty thousand years. They were the first Americansand they were great explorers, too. They didn't come to this continent all at once. It is thought that these ancient adventurers arrived at different times, over several thousands of years. They journeyed from Asia on foot or by boat.
Their explorations took them through icy landscapes and along the coastlines.
Eventually these earliest American explorers spread out over the entire continent. Over time, their lives changed as they adapted to different environments.
American Indians at European Contact
American Indians were creative. They found ways to live in deserts, in forests, along the oceans, and on the grassy prairies. Native peoples were great hunters and productive farmers. They built towns and traded over large distances with other tribes. These were the people the European explorers met when their ships landed in America.
Europeans carried a hidden enemy to the Indians: Native peoples of America had no immunity to the diseases that European explorers and colonists brought with them. Diseases such as smallpoxinfluenzameaslesand even chicken pox proved deadly to American Indians.
Native Americans and Europeans in English America, 1500–1700
Europeans were used to these diseases, but Indian people had no resistance to them. Sometimes the illnesses spread through direct contact with colonists. Other times, they were transmitted as Indians traded with one another. The result of this contact with European germs was horrible. Sometimes whole villages perished in a short time. As early asEnglish explorer Thomas Harriot observed how European visits to the small villages of coastal North Carolina Indians killed the Natives.
The disease was also so strange that they neither knew what it was nor how to cure it. The introduction of European diseases to American Indians was an accident that no one expected. Neither the colonists nor the Indians had a good understanding of why this affected the Native people so badly.
Captain Newport led the expedition, staying until June 22nd, when he sailed back to England for supplies. The source material in this Snapshot comes from the time between May and June, when Newport was in America.
These settlers were unprepared, and did not even plant the right crops or eat the right foods. They soon encountered starvation and famine, despite stealing food from the Native Americans.
Thousands of Native Americans were also killed, either in fighting or by outbreaks of European diseases to which their bodies had no immunity. Those settlers that survived, together with new arrivals, began to cultivate the land, growing tobacco. As more settlers arrived, more Native American hunting grounds were taken, and the Native Americans began to fight back.
Any chance of peaceful relations were at an end.
- This page is no longer available.
While the English had made it clear they intended to settle the frontier, the French were more interested in trade. This influenced the Delaware and Shawnee to side with the French.
Although the Six Nations officially remained neutral, many in the Iroquois Confederacy also allied with the French. The following year, French troops lost Quebec, crippling their military strength. The loss of French military support temporarily calmed tensions between Native Americans and settlers in western Virginia.
In the summer ofPontiac, an Ottawa chief led raids on key British forts. Shawnee chief Keigh-tugh-qua, or Cornstalk, led similar attacks on western Virginia settlements in present-day Greenbrier County. However, many land speculators such as George Washington violated the proclamation by claiming vast acreage in western Virginia.
The next five years were relatively peaceful on the frontier. With the frontier again open, settlers flooded into western Virginia and the speculators made small fortunes in rent on the lands they had acquired. Battle of Point Pleasant The Shawnee had never given up their claims to western Virginia and interpreted the rapid settlement as acts of aggression. Hostilities reached a climax in when land speculator Michael Cresap led a group of volunteers from Fort Fincastle later renamed Fort Henry at present-day Wheeling and raided Shawnee towns in what became known as Cresap's War.
One of the worst atrocities of the conflict was the murder of several family members of Mingo chief Tah-gah-jute, who had been baptized under the English name Logan.
NC State | WWW4 Service End of Life
Logan, who had previously lived peacefully with the settlers, killed at least 13 western Virginians that summer in revenge. Dunmore drew up a plan to trap the Shawnee between two armies. The governor personally led the northern army while land speculator Andrew Lewis led a smaller force from the south.
But Shawnee leader Cornstalk struck the southern regiment before it united with Dunmore's troops. On October 10,Cornstalk's force of approximately 1, men attacked Lewis at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers at present-day Point Pleasant. After the battle, which resulted in significant losses on both sides, the Shawnee retreated to protect their settlements in the Scioto Valley in present-day Ohio.
The Battle of Point Pleasant eliminated Native Americans as a force on the frontier for the first three years of the American Revolutionary War, which began in Aprilclearing the way for peaceful settlement of the region. When the Revolutionary War began, many American soldiers who had previously served in the British army fought for the Continental Army.
Native Americans remained generally neutral for the first two years of the war. By the end ofthe treaty had fallen apart and Native Americans began randomly attacking settlements.