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How Did Europeans View Native Americans?

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Jay Chen

Mr. Caldwell

U.S. History – Section 1

23 September 2015

How did Europeans View Native Americans?

        European colonization extended staring in 1492, when a Spanish expedition headed by Christopher Columbus sailed west to find a new trade route to the Far East but unintentionally landed where came to be known to Europeans as the "New World". European conquest the new land, large-scale exploration, colonization and industrial development soon followed. Native Americans were new to European, who was hard to avoid having different kinds of thought about them. The Europeans viewed Native Americans as an uncivilized society, a way to gain wealth personally, and heathen.

        The earliest Americans came from the continent of Asia, and the geographical changed helping them to make their way to Americas during the ice age. Year by year, Native American did develop their own society, such as Maya Civilization and Incas Empire. After Europeans came to America, they observed the living style of native Americans were still very primal, getting food, making clothes, and building houses are the three important things in their daily life. Europeans referred to them as “civilized” and regarded Native Americans as “savage.” Europeans were already provided with knowledge of different area, so they ready to travel the world. European had developed various kinds of weapon, technology advanced, and policy of cities. Europeans lived a much more modern way of life than the primitive lifestyle of Native Americans. “Their food is so poor; that it would seem that of the Holy Fathers in the desert was not scantier or less pleasing. Their way of dressing is usually to go naked, covering the private parts…” (Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas-report 6) As this report describe, the civilization of Native Americans was not modern at all. Because European’s living style is way modern than Native Americans, they looked down on Native Americans were savage as it should be by rights.

        Before Christopher Columbus began the age of discovery, Europeans had already fought lots of wars between each country. However, fighting war is quite expensive, which caused many countries running out of resources. In addition, no one don’t need money or raw material, “Gold is most excellent; gold is treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world.” said by Christopher Columbus. In the beginning, European was trying to find the way to Asia, but they accidently got into the New World called America. America has lots of natural resources, such as gold, silver, precious stones to pay for wars. After their countries technology advanced to the level that they can travel easily, a lot of Europeans move to America to get wealth riskily. Many European came to America collect resources as much as they can to their mother countries, and occupied Native American’s land for colonization. European thought this New World was the place for them getting wealthy, that they can force Native Americans to get resources, seized land to grow tobacco to trading.
        In the late 1400s, there was only one religion in Europe, Christianity. Their rulers were very religious. They wanted to convert everyone to Christianity. Moreover, there were also had another main religion which are Protestant and Catholic that their missionaries followed this opportunities to spread their religions. Before the time of European contact, Native American had developed coherent religious systems that included cosmologies, creation myths, and they transmitted orally from one generation to the next. Most of the Native American worshiped an all-powerful and all-knowing creator or master, so does European. But they had big differ, Native Americans perceived the “material” and “spiritual” as a unified realm of being. In their view, plants, animals and humans partook of divinity through their close connection with “guardian spirits,” a myriad of “supernatural” entities who imbued their “natural” kin with life and power. The Native American societies hoped to enlist the supernatural in controlling the natural world, they called upon shamans, priests, and, in fewer tribes, priestesses, whom they believed to have acquired supernatural powers through visions. They believed their uncommon abilities to predict the future and influence. So after European missionaries came to America, they thought Native Americans were heathen, who was not following God. Missionaries spread their religion to replace their original belief. They destroyed the tradition of Native American. There is the report of European destruction. “God has created all theses numberless people to be quite the simplest, without malice or duplicity, most obedient, most faithful to their natural Lords, and to the Christians, whom they serve; the most humble, most patient, most peaceful, and calm, without strife not tumults; not wrangling, nor querulous, as free from uproar, hate and desire of revenge, as any in the world.” (Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas-report 4) Because European didn’t allow Native American having different religion, which they called them heathen, and destroy their tradition.

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