History of the Native American Essay

Pages: 14 (4219 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

When Spain began colonizing in the New World they found well established and sophisticated cultures in the form of the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans. These cultures provided far more resistance than that offered by the Native Indians encountered by the French and British and the Spanish were forced to exercise their military power in order to maintain control of the area.

Another difference between the colonization efforts of the Spanish and those of France and England was that the Spanish never made any wholesale effort to establish new colonies in the New World populated by Spanish citizens. Spain never attempted to establish new settlements. Instead, the Spanish viewed their mission as one of conversion and saving the Native Indians and of stripping the area of as much of its natural wealth as possible.

Perhaps the biggest impact left by Spanish colonization was the fact that the intermarriage of the Spanish explorers and conquistador with the Native Indians tribes led to a new race of people, mestizos. The two cultures were highly diverse but combined to form a unique culture that prospers to this day.

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Spain's presence in the New World lasted far longer than either France's or England's. Until the end of the short-lived Spanish American War, Spain maintained at least a marginal presence in the Americas and culturally their presence was much longer in that it left its language and religion throughout most of the area south of modern day United States. Throughout the years of Spain's presence in the New World, the Spanish monarch benefited more from its colonization efforts than any other nation that attempted to establish its presence in the Americas. Following the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the British fleet the power of the Spanish monarchy began to wane and the ability of the Spanish government to monitor the activities of its colonial interests in the Americas began to suffer as well. As time progressed, the individual colonies began to seek independence from Spain but Spain's cultural influences remained strong and these influences remain strong to this very day.


Essay on History of the Native American Assignment

Spain's foothold in North America began with Ponce de Leon's exploration of what is now the State of Florida. Leon's exploration began a 300-year presence by Spain in the Americas that witnessed Spaniards establishing settlements, building forts to defend the monarchy's interests, and erecting hundreds of missions to promote the spread of Catholicism. In these three hundred plus years Spain impacted significantly on the lives, institutions, and environment of not only the Spanish citizens that participated in these activities it also the societies and cultures of the Native Americans that were encountered.

What began with Ponce de Leon in Florida expanded westward all the way to California and south through the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Although the Spanish have been criticized for essentially plundering the areas into which they expanded, in reality, the Spanish missionaries, soldiers and traders who explored the Americas left important influences.

Following Ponce de Leon's attempt at establishing a Spanish presence, conquests by Coronado and de Soto expanded Spain's efforts and the first Spanish settlement in North America was established at St. Augustine in Florida in 1565. Villages along the Rio Grande valley in New Mexico followed. The present city of Sante Fe, New Mexico was one of the first such settlements. By the time that the American Revolution had begun in the American colonies, Spain had established settlements spanning from present day San Francisco through southern California, across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. These settlements comprised the Spanish frontier in North America. The purpose of these settlements was to provide a protective barrier shielding the more important parts of the Spanish empire that lay to the south in Mexico and the islands of the Caribbean.

One of the more interesting problems encountered by the Spanish was their relationship with the Pueblo Indians. Although the Pueblos were a largely peaceful tribe they had long harbored ill feelings toward the Spanish and their efforts to rid the Pueblos from observing their traditional religions and for forcing them into forced labor. On the other hand, however, the Spanish had also assisted the Pueblos by introducing this farming tribe to new farming technology and equipment that benefited the Pueblos economically. In the end the Pueblos and Spanish lived in relative peace on the Spanish frontier from most of their history but both cultures had occasional disputes that disrupted their relationship. In typical style, however, whenever the Pueblos would attempt to assert their independence from the influence of the Spaniards, the Spaniards would exercise their superior military might and calm the Pueblos' attempts at throwing off Spanish control.

The Pueblos were not the only Indian culture to attempt to minimize the power of the Spaniards. Periodically other tribes attempted similar actions but the power of the Spanish forces proved to be too formidable. Unlike the British forces in the American colonies the Spanish forces in North America established a stranglehold in the Spanish holdings in North America and never allowed any serious attempt to be mounted. Spain exercised their authority with an iron hand throughout the nearly 300 years that Spain maintained a presence in the Americas. Aided by the influence of the Catholic missionaries and the power of the Spanish armies, Spain was able to maintain peace and order along its frontier borders


The Iroquois Indians played a highly significant role in the history of the Canadian nation. The Iroquois' ancestry can be traced back in Eastern North America to at least 500 B.C are linguistic related to a number of other Indian tribes such as the Huron and Cherokee.

The beginning of the Iroquois influence in Canadian history developed as a result of their acrimonious relationship with the French who originally settled in the Canadian area. The original French settlers developed close relationships with many of the enemies of the Iroquois nations which led to the Iroquois and French often finding themselves at war over minor issues. Over a period of fifty years in the late 17th century the French settlers in Canada and the Iroquois were engaged in skirmishes all along the Canadian frontier.

The relationship between the French, the British who were beginning to establish a presence in Canada, and the Iroquois changed considerably as the 18th century began. The Iroquois leaders determined that they could not afford to continue battling the white settlers. The Iroquois numbers had suffered significantly due to disease and warfare so the Iroquois decided to maintain a position of relative neutrality as to both nations. This position was altered somewhat by the events of the French and Indian War. The Iroquois were fearful of British expansion into Canada and saw them as a greater threat to their welfare than the French but were persuaded to side with the British in the War. The Iroquois had always maintained a much closer alliance with the French but this alliance during the War was tenuous at best and the British offered to protect the Iroquois interests and fears against further expansion of the Americans into their territory. As a result, the Iroquois battled on behalf of the British. After the War, as a reward for their assistance, the British banned any expansion west of the Appalachian Mountains by the American colonists in order to protect Iroquois lands but this was largely ignored by the colonists and the Iroquois lands were further threatened.

As the American Revolution began the Iroquois again threw their support to the British Loyalists against the revolutionaries. Like they had in the French and Indian War, the Iroquois decided that the formation of a new government in the colonies presented a greater threat to the Iroquois Nation than did the British. The British did not represent a continuous presence in the areas where the Iroquois lived while the colonists kept pushing further and further into Iroquois lands. Throughout the War the Iroquois assisted the British army in their attempts to defeat the American Revolutionaries. This assistance included attacking the American Revolutionaries from the periphery and providing guide services for the British military. This time the Iroquois found themselves choosing the losing side and their presence in the lands south of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River was threatened forever. When the War ended the remaining Iroquois in the newly formed United States emigrated northward toward Canada seeking refuge. The British, like that had following the French and Indian War, again recognized the assistance of the Iroquois and awarded the Indian nation with a large land grant on the Grand River. It is here near the village of Brantford that the Iroquois nation settled. This settlement was threatened as European settlers began arriving in the area and the Iroquois were again forced to move further into the Canadian wilderness.


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