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Native Americans

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In the early days of English settlement in the American colonies, the Indian-European relationship of each area was the determining factor in the survival of the newly established colonies. By working together and exchanging methods of food production and survival, an English colony could maintain its population and continue to support the arrival of new settlers. However, a colony that had trouble maintaining ties with their Indian neighbors had a tough time attracting settlers and adapting to their environment. The role of the Indian helping the white man in North America played an important part in the survival of the American colonies. In the Jamestown colony, very few people survived the disease and sickness which accompanied the low, swampy landscape. In their attempt to survive, they raided Indian villages in search of food and kidnap natives. Because they didn't see Indians as equal in status, the Jamestown colony's growth was limited. In fact, as the winter of 1609-1610 arrived, the colony was barricaded by Indians who killed off the wild animals of the woods, leaving virtually nothing for the settlers. The result: fewer than 60 people remained when the next English ship arrived the following year. The reason the Virginia settlement ended up surviving was because of the disease the white man exposed the natives to during contact. Weakening the Indian population was the only way the Jamestown population could grow. Things were a bit different in the northern colonies. In the Massachusetts Bay colony and the Plymouth settlement, locals aided a helping hand to the English. In 1620, many Pilgrims died in a very tough winter, but the colony survived because of the help provided by local Indian groups. Not only did the Indians help, but the two groups were able to set up trade and exchange methods and supplies. This continued when the Puritans arrived in the late 1620's, but things changed soon after. Again, English disease wiped out the local Indian tribes and allowed for the continued expansion deeper into the New England woodlands. Because of the influence and help of the early Indian groups in this area, the English gained critical knowledge and support to establish a successful colony. Other areas of New England soon developed problems



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