Analyze the following question and 150 word response. You must cite at least 3 of the primary source documents assigned in readings 1-6. (Ex: Visualizing the New World).
Analyze the fundamental differences between European and Native American civilizations in the 16th Century.
Next you should reply to another student’s response with 100 words citing 1 primary source. This comment should disagree to some extent with the original author. You may choose to respond to a response.
There can be quoted phrases but not quoted sentences in your responses.
You will be graded on completion, balanced handling of the reading, accurate use of documents, analysis, and evidence.
There are many fundamental differences between the Europeans and the Native Americans. For one, religion and the ideas behind it were quite different. The Europeans were monothesitic and all centered around one teaching and one church ( exception of the protestants) while the Native Americans were polythesitic, worshiping all elements of nature because they believed that everything created had a spirit and needed to be respected. The Native American religion was a very loose and easy going religion that slightly could change between tribe to tribe. This is quite different than the Europeans who were centered around having to spread the word of God in any way possibe, including by force. Also the Europeans lived in a area where everything is about expansion and war. This is quite different than the natives because they believed they were essentially “borrowing” land from mother nature, they were very good at coexisting and getting along in terms of land and power. Lastly, the density of the population was quite different from both sides of the spectrum. The Native Americans were loosely spread out in small tribal villages while the Europeans lived in a place where land was scarce and essentially anything would be done to obtain land.
-Brinkly page 8, 1st paragraph under Tribal cultures
-Brinkly page 9-10, 1st paragraph under Commerce and Nationalism
-American Spirit, Richard Hakluyt calls for empire, 1st and 2nd paragraphs
During the 16th Century, European and Native civilizations differed from each other considerably; that said, it is difficult to objectively state which of the two was more “advanced” than the other, because both displayed remarkable amounts of advancement.
Native Americans, to the Europeans at least, were more “tribal” (though the definition itself is very subjective). Overall, many of them grouped into tribes, were nomadic, and still relied on subsistence to get by. Though their religious practices were elaborate and detailed (often coinciding with nature), the Europeans found them completely inappropriate and pagan. In “Visualizing the New World,” explorer Amerigo Vespucci wrote a series of letters to Europe, describing his experiences in the New World. His writings gave birth to animal-like and savage illustrations of what artists interpreted his descriptions of the natives as. Not only were the illustrations completely inaccurate, but they were also demeaning, to a culture that had achieved remarkable development.
Juan Gines de Sepulveda, a man of the Renaissance and therefore trusted by Charles V, argued heavily in his book The Second Democracies that the natives were savage animals– not even human in nature. Because he sees the huge difference in the society, he assumes the worst in the natives, using words like “barbarian,” “inferior,” and “half-men.”
Luckily, there were also those arguing the opposite standpoint– that, simply stated, the natives were just different, as opposed to “savage.” Bartolome de Las Casas, a Dominican Priest who was given the title “Protector of the Indians,” wrote an account of his experiences (The Destruction of the Indies) in which he defended the humanity and elaborate culture of the natives that were being oppressed. He argues: “I would like to hear Supulveda, in his cleverness, answer this question: Does he think that the war of the Romans against the Spanish was justified in order to free them from barbarism?”
In conclusion, the Natives certainly were very different– and very abnormal to the Europeans– however, that is not to say they were any less advanced than the Europeans. Though they developed in different ways, they still created an elaborate culture — oftentimes with religious ceremony, distinct architecture, and developed systems of writing.
The first major contact between Native Americans and the Europeans occurred in the 16th century.
Until the coming of the Europeans the Indians had relatively distant from each other. Though some did contact and trade in relative regularity most preferred to stay in nomadic tribes in isolation from each other. However after the Europeans came in they started a tentative commerce. In exchange for their peace and food and skills the Europeans gave them small goods, mostly things that had no real monetary value. Some Natives grew so enraged that they tried to paddle to England. The Europeans on the other hand took the Land they wanted without much regard as to whom it belonged to. Chapter one of the Brinkley PDF.
Another difference between the two cultures was how they viewed events; the Puritans believed that every act from the Indians was a sign of God while the Indians were traveling a more realistic path when it came to common sense. If only the Puritans had worked harder in getting to know the trueness of the Natives there may have been a truer legacy left of the vanished people. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/offices/comm/oped/Fitzreview.shtml
A third difference would be the idea of which culture truly prevailed. From the European pint of view it could easily be said that they were the winners because the culture of the Natives is not mainstream. Though they were known in scattered groups they were know different from the people that lived in Europe. They worked all day, often on Sundays, they wore leather, ate odd meats, farmed in the fashion of the Natives. In may ways they became the separated from their homeland in a choicier fashion then the Natives.
Among the European and Native American civilizations, three distinct differences can be drawn being the difference in religion, views towards each other, and society.
When looking at the civilizations of the European’s and that of the Native Americans, a clear distinction can be drawn in the way religion was not only practiced, but also incorporated into daily life. The Europeans maintained a monotheistic belief system unlike that of the Native Americans, who found God residing within many things. Native Americans had a polytheistic belief system that worshipped gods associated with crops, game, forests, and even rivers. (Brinkley pg. 6). Unlike the Europeans, Native American religion, and civilization, altogether was closely tied to nature. Native Americans had religious ceremonies that were impalpable to Europeans. They created elaborate totems and staged large festivals in which they would practice human sacrifice. Many of these ways the Native Americans practiced religion, European society had never seen for they had a system of much organization. Native American beliefs varied through tribe to tribe unlike what was seen in Europe. The European society, was under control of the Catholic Church, and only had one belief they could practice. They believed in the idea of temperance, the idea of good and evil, and attempted to spread religion to a much greater extent to that of the Native Americans. The European system of religion, was much more structured and organized that that of the Native Americans.
Not only was it through religion that Europeans saw a clear distinction, but also through the culture of Native Americans in that it greatly differed from their own. As shown through “Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians,” the Native Americans are inferior to other races, and are barbarians when it comes to prudence, skill, and humanity. Although some thought otherwise, this shows the view that many Europeans agreed upon. On the part of the Native Americans, they viewed the Europeans with a sense of neglection. Before greater knowledge of the West, the Europeans thought of it as a sort of mystery and wasn’t sure of what to expect. After arrival, and they saw how exactly the Native Americans acted, and due to this, thought of themselves as superior. They kept this in mind, and choose to rule over the Natives, only changing the attitudes of the natives from neglection, to a sense of hostility. Altogether, we see a fundamental difference in the way both societies’s looked at each other. The Native Americans having a sense of neglection and superiority, and the Europeans of mystery and superiority.
One last distinction between the Native Americans and Europeans is the communication and interaction each society had with their surroundings. The Native American tribes were largely nomadic, and were communication was limited to only their community. On the other hand, the Europeans communicated largely not only with themselves, but also other European Nations. The nation states that were built allowed for trade among these nations, and are a key factor in why European society was more developed than that of the Native Americans. As shown in “Thomas Mun, from England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade,” a merchant in Europe must be familiar with the measures, weights, and money of many foreign nations. Additionally, he must be familiar with contracts and policies of insurance. Looking at this, and comparing it to Native American society, well, no such idea existed. Native American tribes were largely nomadic, so it was difficult for them to establish settlements long enough to maintain such interaction that European Nations did. Altogether, the Native Americans did not have such large scale communication and interaction like European Nations.
There were many differing aspects between the civilizations of the Native Americans and the Europeans in the 16th century. Most profoundly is their political structure. The Incas, Mayas, and Aztecs had developed a theocratic rule, with “many warriors and priests” ruling the empire and forming “hereditary elites” (Brinkley, 4-5). The North American societies are tribal and mobile as they are a hunting and gathering society. Most Indian societies thought of themselves as separated and unlinked to each other–not as “members of a single society” (Brinkley, 7). Because they have to constantly hunt for food, permanent settlements are rarely established; therefore, a complex political structure could not be implemented. The Europeans, however, had created complex monarch rule that is very strongly associated with the Roman Catholic Church (or the Church of England at the time of Henry VIII) and with written laws, set procedures, and established hierarchy. Another difference lies in their advancement in technology. The Indians of South America had erected many grand, religious temples comparable to that of Egyptian pyramids, created numerical, calendar, and agricultural systems. The Dominican friar Bartolome de Las Casas even praised them for being skilled in the mechanical arts such as “architecture, painting, and needlework” (“Bartolome de Casas Defends the Indians”). The Europeans, however, are inevitably more advanced in technology due to their longer existence. Ocean voyages, cartography, many medical advancements, and architecture such as that they could “make certain structures which no human accomplishments can completely imitate” are only some of the technological advancements the Native Americans lack (“Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians”).
The Europeans were quite harsh in their description of the Native Americans. Juan Gines de Sepulveda’s described them as “barbarians” and likening a comparison between the Native Americans and Europeans to the difference “between apes and men”. This is certainly inaccurate in more ways than one. Bartolome de las Casas made a point of emphasizing that the Native Americans were not “ignorant, inhuman, or bestial” and were able to live together in properly organized states. Bartolome also noted that they were very skilled in “mechanical art[s]” such as architecture and painting, possibly surpassing that of the Europeans. The Native Americans were indeed “civilized”, but in a different manner than the Europeans. However, the more brutal aspects of Native American culture may have been a bit of a shock, such as ritual sacrifice. Such a dissonant note (among others) between the two cultures may have caused the label of “savage[s]” to be applied, as the Europeans may have interpreted said sacrifices as a lack of respect for human life.
– Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians (1547)
– Bartolome de las Casas Defends the Indians (1552)
– Hakluyt Sees England’s Salvation in America (1584)
There are many differences between the Native American and European civilizations. These differences range from religion, to politics to the thought processes thought by each civilization. In regards to religion, the Europeans were monotheistic. They were all for the most part Catholic, according to Brinkley. The Europeans were also very firm believers in their religion. So strong in fact that they thought everyone should follow Catholicism as well. They heavily forced their religious beliefs unto the Native Americans, who were polytheistic. The Native Americans had many gods whom were based off of things from the earth. The Natives thought that all of these things provided for them were because of gods in that particular area. For example, they were given crops due to an agricultural god. The Native Americas also heavily relied on astronomy as a religious guide. They looked to their religion to receive help as how to be receptive to the foreign Europeans, whom the natives have never seen. The Natives seemed to be fairly receptive to the Europeans. Whether it be because the Europeans forced them through violence or the Natives were really that just ignorant of how to be receptive to them. The Europeans were quite more aggressive than the Native Americans. The Europeans took over the Natives lands, through intermarriages, tried to take over their people, and forced Catholicism unto them. The Natives on the other hand seemed much more peaceful. They did not try to force anything unto the Europeans. If anything, the Natives helped the Europeans by showing them better agriculture skills.
In the 16th century Native American settelements were a lot more basic when compared to the European settlements. Although the Europenas were far more advanced technology wise than the Native Americans did have some adcantages over them…
[corrected] To determine a difference in the European and Native American settlements, you would have to look at the regional differences. Before the Europeans came to North America, there were already Native tribes that lived there and established their own ways of living and basing their economy off of the land. Although the Native Americans of the South did the same thing, there was a difference in each others’ soil. In the North, the land was much dryer compared to the richer soil of the South. Also, the Northern Natives were known for being a lot more basic and less advanced when compared to the Southern Natives. When the Europeans traveled to North America and began to establish themselves, they started to learn more about the land and how to survive off of the economy from the Native Americans that already lived there. The Europeans started to adapt themselves to the new land and could be considered to be like the Northern Native Americans. This means that the European settlements were less advanced when compared to the Native Americans.
There were many differences between the European and Native civilizations in the 16h century. One of the major differences between the two groups was their religions. The Europeans society of the 16th century was a majority Christian society with a monotheistic, God. The Native Americans had a polytheistic belief system in which everything in nature had a deity. Because of these differences the Europeans saw the Native civilizations as “savages”. Some of the Europeans saw them as non-human and a race that was lower then themselves. They wanted to get rid of the Native Americans and their non-Christian ways. The Europeans and the Native civilizations also had different technologies. The Europeans of course had the wheel and the technologies advances that came with it. Not all of the Native American’s civilizations had a great advancement such as paper, but they were able to build administrative, educational, and medical systems.
The European powers were incorrect and unjust in their assessment of the native peoples as inferior or less advanced than themselves. While the native cultures lacked important technological development such as the wheel and paper equivalents, they were advanced in other fields like astronomy and agriculture. It could be argued that socially the natives were more advanced than the European colonists, allowing women voice and leadership, they made decisions communally and their religions were just beliefs and not a centralized institution like the Catholic Church. The natives didn’t have kings, a central church or even some important technologies, but what the Europeans may not have realized is that they didn’t need any of those things. Before the arrival of the Europeans the natives survived and thrived in their environment, and had smallpox never arrived they may have continued to do so well into the future. The colonists were simply so proud, and had such an elevated view of their own ways of doing things that the alien society of the natives in their eyes could not be anything but inferior to their own.
I can’t seem to find an edit button so I’d just like to correct myself. I should’ve specified North American tribes when discussing the lack of major religious and government institutions.
I would disagree with your point that the Native Americans would have thrived if there was no European interaction. Juan Gines states that the governmental structure is oppressive against the people because there are high taxes and because the individual has no ownership of property. Even though he states later that the natives did not take advantage when a ruler died it is logical to state that the oppressive government would have likely been overthrown at some point. This is also evident in the Pueblo revolt which was motivated because of the brutal and oppressive government. I also disagree with the point that the Natives are more socially advanced becuase that is dependent on the situation. The Native American men were forced to leave their families for long period of time to hunt but most Europeans did not have that type of work. Thus, the social norms of civilizations are dependent on the context of the civilization.
I will disagree with you (Varun) on the idea that Native Americans would not have flourished without European interference. The Aztecs and other southern Indian tribes were not only going through a period of agricultural revolution, but also had complex political structures. These are the obvious signs of development into industrialized societies. Bartolome de Las Casas stated that the natives had “great cities” and “contracts of the law of nations.” This shows that if European disease had not wiped out a large percentage of the population, Native Americans would have been well on their way to becoming a “civilized” society similar to the Europeans themselves.
I disagree with what you state Olivia because my argument is not concerning the agricultural revolution or the fact that they had large cities. My argument is that because Juan Gines states that the people are under an oppressive regime that they would not be likely to stay under the same type of governmental system. He also states that the people would are being oppressed but they are not revolting when the ruler dies. I am just stating that it is unlikely for the natives to be oppressed forever. So in conclusion I am just trying to say that the natives would not be successful under the same political system if the Europeans had not come to the new world.
sorry i forgot to add this: but I think that you are right Olivia that there were other strong points on such as the agriculture and I think that the social interactions could fit too.
Varun, I don’t really see how the natives were being oppressed. They were perfectly happy with their way of life. It was only oppressive in the eyes of a European. The natives were just doing what they found worked for their culture and way of life. Plus, if they found it didn’t work later on they would have been capable of doing something about it without European interference. Not every nation has had someone come in and fix its problems.
Reply to Henry: I agree with what you say about Europeans not needing many things such as a central church, however, I disagree with what you say about them not needing kings. They definitely needed a larger political system than what the Native Americans had. If they had tribes like the Native Americans, it wouldnt’ have worked for them because they had far too many people. The Natives were able to live that way because they had a relatively small population on a huge continent. The Europeans, however, needed a larger system and back then, a monarchy was how they handled it.
Henry: I disagree with you saying that they didn’t need kings or a government institution. Sure, as of the 16th century, the natives had established enough rules to get by without having fights or conflicts with each other. However, you can’t deny their the large landmass and increasing population. Had the Europeans not come and colonize the Americas, the Native American societies (particularly the Aztec empire) would have grown immensely in terms of population–the Incas already had an empire of about 6 million people (Brinkley, 4) and they would have filled the huge land they had settled in. Surely a government with a ruler and established, written laws will need to be established sooner or later.
Henry, I agree with you that the Europeans were wrong for their assumptions that the Native Americans were inferior to the Europeans. And that in some ways the Natives may have been more advanced. However, I disagree with you about the Native Americans having religious beliefs and the Europeans having only a centralized institution. How are you aware that the Europeans only had a centralized institution? Is it not possible that the they too had beliefs just as the Native Americans? Also, consider this, suppose the Europeans thought that the Native Americans did not have a religion, but relied on scientific fact as their base for guidance.
Henry, I disagree with you that the Native Americans didn’t have kings, a central church, or important technologies. Some of the larger empires, such as the Aztecs, Mayas, and the Incas, did in fact have a ruling figure such as a king. Even small tribes would have a central leader or someone who makes executive decisions. As to a central church, the word church applies only to Christianity, which of course was not the religion of the Native Americans. However, each independent Native American culture or civilization probably did have a central religion or set of beliefs. Lastly, as to important technologies, the Native Americans did have them. Paved roads in the Incan Empire created transportation and connected cities. Numerical systems, accurate calendars, advanced agricultural systems, irrigation systems, medicines, large trade routes, complex buildings as large as the Egyptian pyramids, and art; these technologies are important. They are the very basis of an advanced civilization. These elements can be traced back to early European civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, both of which had the same important technologies. If these technologies are not important, then what are?
There were three major differences between European and Native American civilizations in the 16th century. The first major difference is in religion. The Native Americans’ religions focused on nature and prosperity and often included many gods. The Europeans’ religions were typically monotheistic, more organized, and was usually tied to political power such as kings. The Europeans also felt obligated to spread and convert others to their religion while Native Americans were concerned with only themselves about religion. This need to convert is shown in the article “Bartolemé de Las Casas defends the Indians” when Bartolemé suggests that the natives aren’t savages and can accept Christianity. The second major difference is level of interaction with themselves. Native Americans were not unified and cared only about their immediate community. This was one reason why they were subdued by Europeans. But Europeans had unified into (relatively) large sovereign nations and felt a common nationality. They also extensively had organized trade with other European nations. The amount of organization of European merchants is seen in the document “Thomas Mun, from England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade” where merchants need to know standards for money and have concepts such as “Ensurance” and “Charter-parties”. The final difference between Native Americans and Europeans is how they view each other. Native Americans initially viewed Europeans as equal while Europeans viewed themselves as higher than Native Americans. The Europeans also interpreted the natives getting smallpox as a sign from god reaffirming their superiority. In the article “Henry VII, First Letters Patent Granted to John Cabot and His Sons”, Cabot is given permission to settle anywhere in North American and build a colony. There would never be permission granted to settle anywhere in Europe. Therefore, this shows that Europeans did not see the natives as true equal humans. In all, Native Americans and Europeans had different religions, views of themselves, and views of each other.
Man the Natives definitely had their religion focused on the natural world surrounding them because in the end that’s what they relied on to live their lives, they didn’t have such modernistic innovations but simple innovations which kind of did the same thing except it’s simpler. You also said that the Europeans were monotheistic which is true but they also didn’t really have a choice, the leading power of Europe was the Church, no one goes above that but the people abroad were only subjected to convert the religions of the natives because of the Pope as said in the document “The Meetings of The Culture” where it talks about how the pope had said that the land north of mexico was to be granted only if there was going to be one religion which was being Catholic. Also where you say the Natives were only subjected to their own communities is not exactly true, I mean the North East Natives helped each other, the little communities got together and did a lot of things together. Also I fully agree with when you say how the Europeans didn’t see the natives as true humans as them..I guess the whole thing was to do with the ignorance of the Europeans of how they would not take in the fact that the Natives were also very modernized and civilized, they just won’t accept it. : )
I disagree with the statement you said about how “Europeans did not see natives as true equal humans.” As seen in the letter Bartolome de las Casas, not all Europeans thought the Native Americans as unhuman. Yes, essentially it was a decently large group that thought of the Native Americans as lower than them, but it was not Europe as a whole as your statement seemed to say. But i do agree when you made reference to the Las Casas letter about how this shows the strong need to convert the native people to the religion of Christianity.
There are many differences between the Native Americans and the Europeans that try to “civilize” them. How they organize their government, the religion they practiced, and especially how they view progress are some fundamental differences that set these two groups apart.
In Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians he says that the natives elected their leaders by popular vote. In his eyes this is barbaric and crude. The Europeans leaders had the divine right of birth, which meant the leadership was for the most part hereditary. These differences in government made each of their society’s structure dramatically different.
While Europeans have a very rigid religion with one true God and a strict moral code, Native American’s religion was based purely on simple elements found in nature. As seen in Bartolome de Las Casas Defends the Indians, Europeans were constantly trying to spread their religion and convert the “wild barbarians” because they believed it was their duty to do so.
Also, tied up in everything the Europeans did was the pursuit of progress. In Richard Hukluyt Calls for an Empire a European scholar discusses using the New World to advance the honor of their country. They saw the world as a competition for resources and a race to see who can progress the fastest. The Native Americans barely knew anything outside their tribes, much less what was happening in other countries. They were not particularly concerned about competing with other countries, but more concerned about providing food for their tribes and surviving.
Juan Gines never called the Native Americans’ process of electing a leader by popular vote barbaric and crude. He said that the way the people are pretty much slaves to said leader is. All the land belonged to said leader and therefore one third of all crops were given to him. He found it barbaric how they “live[d] as employees of the king.” He believed that they should have taken advantage of the death of a leader to become freer, and the fact that they are already used to servitude he uses as an argument as to why turning them into slaves for the benefit of the Europeans.
Oh, wow, to correct my last sentence, which makes no sense whatsoever:
He believed that they should have taken advantage of the death of a leader to become freer. He used the fact that they were already used to servitude as an argument in favor of turning them into slaves for the benefit of the Europeans.
Oh! And my source is “Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians.”
I’m just having a really off night, man.
OH MY GOD, HI.
So there were loads of differences, in culture, morality and religion. The Natives lived simple lives, but still were modern. Some Europeans like Sepulveda might have said these natives had “barbarian institutions and customs” or they were as much of a difference between the Spanish and them as in “apes and men”. But this wasn’t all true, not as to my opinions anyway. The Natives had very proficient lives; many of them had gigantic civilizations, systems of law, jurisdiction and religion. They were very much modernized but it was also their way of being modern, it was their culture. First of all the Europeans never understood that and they would have systems like these back in the old world but there was a scandalous form of culture back in the old world, which was why Europe had these plagues, viruses and wars within themselves. The Europeans have only the Roman Catholic Church, the church had all power, and pretty much controlled the situation back in Europe, in America the different groups had different religions, different deities, and their religion was contained in the natural world surrounding them, which they believed helped them live their lives. The Europeans caused such atrocities throw invasion and plagues that they pretty much “decimated native populations.” and they did this through taking over their communities and forcing them to be Catholic. The differences of mindset, the Natives were always looking to be friends, but the Europeans were only looking for ways improve their declining economy and strength back in the old world. Through all the time these two groups never became friends and the European ended up making new civilization and diminishing the old, Native American civilizations.
First Quote – Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians (1547) Paragraph 3, 6th line
Second Quote – Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians (1547) Paragraph 1, 6th line
Third Quote – Brinkley pg 30, 2nd line right paragraph
I would agree, to disagree with your point. You stated that the Native’s were simple people yet if you read “The Civilizations of the South” section of the Brinkley PDF file you can see that these civilizations were not at all simple. In Peru, the Incas’ empire consisted of close to 6 million people and that they also developed a complex political system, they also had paved roads, etc. The Mayas, also created the world famous Maya Calender, a written language, and a numerical system. Finally, the Aztecs had elaborate educational systems, and medical systems. Their civilization, in some areas, almost surpassed the European advancements during that time. That is how I disagree, now on to how I agree. I agree because I also think that the Natives were not a savage group of people. The Europeans treated them badly. The Natives were merely misunderstood by the Europeans.
I disagree with your point that Europe’s political structure caused them to have “plagues, viruses, and wars within themselves”. Many natives did have structured societies and political systems; however they faced just as many wars and internal conflicts as the Europeans. Pages 7-8 in the Brinkley PDF discuss how even in threatening times, the native tribes were reluctant to work together. When one tribe encroached on another’s land, disagreements arose. Each tribe focused mainly on themselves, and this led to many clashes. Also, the Europeans did not completely diminish the Native American civilizations and make new ones. As hard as they may have tried to diminish the Native American societies, the two cultures ended up somewhat mixing and creating something completely new.
I actually have to disagree with a lot of your comment. You said, “The Natives lived simple lives, but still were modern.” To start, the Natives certainly did not live “simple” lives at all– in fact, I think it could be debated they had even more complex lives than did the Europeans at the same time. The created elaborate systems of government, writing (with the major exception of the Incas), and religion. Their lives were anything but “simple.”
In addition, I think the word “modern” is completely out of context. I realize you are referring to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries here, but what exactly is “modern” about them? If you use modern from a European standpoint, they certainly weren’t. This is proven in almost all of the primary documents, but, to cite just one, in Juan Gines de Sepulveda’s The Second Democracies , he calls the natives “barbaric” and “inferior.” The natives certainly weren’t modern to him. Otherwise, there is nothing that they are “modern” to. “Advanced” may be more appropriate of a word there– just because a culture is advanced doesn’t mean it is modern.
sorry wrong comment
Rishey, I get the point where you say “The Europeans have only the Roman Catholic Church…”, but think man. “Europeans” include all the kids who live in Europe, which means there are people from Germany, England, and whatever European countries there are. It is absolutely true that the majority was Catholic, but the Europeans indeed had other religions. For example, Germany had some Protestants. Martin Luther didn’t like being a Catholic, so he gathered some men and officially challenged the Catholic Church stating that “justification is by faith alone”. Although the number of Protestants weren’t as great as the Catholics, it was quite popular, spreading throughout the whole nation. (Brinkley p.24 – Religious Incentive)
Anyhoo, here is the real response.
The Europeans and Native Americans had some very distinct differences. One major one that I found to be interesting was the European’s emphasis on merchants, while the Native American merchants were not as important to their culture. According to Thomas Mun’s required qualities for a good merchant, a merchant will bring not only foreign wealth to a country, but a certain distinction to their country. Clearly the Europeans value their merchants very highly, but we see almost no emphasis on merchants in Native American life. This can be attributed to the fact that the Native Americans did not travel overseas, and they didn’t interact much even with neighboring Natives. The traveling merchant had nowhere to travel, so he would do business inside his empire’s land, reducing the impact he has on other civilizations, and his importance. Another difference is the self-importance of the Europeans vs. the Natives. The Europeans had a class system set up well before the discovery of the Americas, and the people higher-up in the system viewed themselves as higher, and having a god-given right to what they want. This is proven in the first letters granted to John Cabot and his sons. In the letter, it states that the composers are giving their land to John Cabot, because he is their superior, and it is believed that it is Cabot’s god-given right to this land. The Native Americans had somewhat of a class system set up, but the leaders had to work to acquire what they desired. This led to the Europeans thinking that the Natives are inferior to themselves, and that they need to be converted or eradicated. When examining this perspective (that of the Europeans) from an objective perspective, we can see that it was just European pride that drove them to eradicate or enslave the Natives. In the document “The Middle Ground” (based on a book), we can visualize a perfect existence where the Natives and Europeans can coexist and live in harmony. When the Europeans first arrived at the Americas, they found a sort of middle ground to coexist with the natives. However, due to the European pride, it never could last; the European idea of dominance overtook the hope of coexistence with Natives.
I disagree with the statement that commerce was not important to the Native Americans. Although it is true that they do not have trade between them and other countries, there were trading relationships between tribes. In Bartolome de Las Casas defends the Indians, he mentions that they do have commerce. The Incans in Peru even had roads connecting tribes which made trading between them very easy. In the southwestern areas of North America the towns were centers of trade and craft. Although they didn’t travel as far as the Europeans to do so, they did have commerce which is very important to the culture of any society.
The Europeans and Native Americans had differences which led to the different understanding of each other. One difference can be seen in religion. The Europeans had a monotheistic belief system which was unlike the Native American polytheistic system. The Native Americans had many gods which were associated with the different elements in nature. The religion between the Native Americans varied due to the separation of the tribes and because of no religious authority such as the Catholic Church. The European religion was more strict and rigid because of the control of the Church. The European monotheistic religion is apparent in an English Landlord’s letter where he refers to “God” (An English Landlord Describes a Troubled England (1623)). Also, Bartolome states that they must try to convert the natives to Christianity which shows the rigid control of the Church. Another difference between the two civilizations is apparent in the governmental structures. The limited interaction between Native American groups led to smaller governmental structures which were sometimes matriarchal. However, in Europe the people where governed by Kings. This can be seen in the King Henry VII’s letter to Cabot where the kings states that all of the territory claimed is for the country. Also, Juan Gines states that the Spanish have the right to rule the natives which shows that there was a large governmental body unlike the Native Americans. The motive for coming to the New Land was a difference in the European and Native American Civilizations. The Native American populated the Americas because of the migration of their source of food. Most of the Native Americans were focused more on the goal of survival rather than using the land as a means to extend commerce or to become wealthy. However, this was not the case for the Europeans. They were motivated to come to the New Land because they wanted to gain as much wealth for their nation by exploiting the land. This is seen in Thomas Mun’s list of qualities for a merchant. He states at the end that foreign trade is used mainly to enrich the wealth of the kingdom. This is also seen in “Hakluyt Sees England’s Salvation in America”(1584) which contains a section which relates the benefits of populating the New World. He states that the thieves can be used to use the raw materials of the New World to produce goods which are needed and for others to dig for precious metals. Thus, it is clear that there was a difference in the motive for coming to the New Land. In conclusion, there are many differences in both civilizations which led to the different interpretations of each other.
Varun 1st off, very well written (or typed) response.
Yes, the Europeans had governments based on a king. And yes, the Natives did have smaller government structures such as the Iroquois Confederation. But the nations of Mexico contained a more structured government. In fact, they had kings as well. They hailed these kings as gods. According to Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in New World Beginnings, the Natives of this area were, though confused, had no property because everything belong to their “masters” whom they called kings. Their god-king controlled all land and housing. Even though their government structure was that of their own, he frowned upon their society because they had no “freedoms” and praised their king. But he was supposed to be living the same way.
European treatment of the Native Americans was more “savage” than the Europeans claimed the Natives to be. The Europeans thought that just because the Native Americans did not worship the same god’s that they did, or because they sacrificed other humans for religious beliefs that they had no real human qualities and should therefore be treated unfairly and even in a lot of cases, executed. Religion was a big difference among the Native Americans and the Europeans, the Native Americans believed in polytheism while also connecting many of their beliefs to things in nature, but the Europeans did not. They were primarily Catholic and tried to convert the Natives as we can see when the Pope signed a treaty with Ferdinand & Isabella in 1486 enforcing Catholicism among the new colony. (<-Spanish America section.) Secondly, the Natives differed from the Europeans culturally by how they ran their society. In the "Tribal Cultures" section of the Brinkley PDF it states that quite often tribes in North America would have gender specific jobs. The Europeans did not, men in Europe were the hunters and the gatherers unlike in Native tribes where the women would collect food from the fields and preparing the meals. Finally, Europeans thought that they could also come into the new world taking whatever was there, not taking into consideration the tribes which were, in fact, fairly well developed. In "Henry VII, First Letters Patent Granted to John Cabot and His Sons" we see that the King gives permission to these men to take and claim land that the neither King, nor country, owned. Europeans thought that the Natives were a oppressed group of people, but in fact the Native Americans build great empires, large and strong like those built in South America by the Aztecs.
While most Europeans did in fact believe the Native Americans to be inferior or subhuman in comparison to themselves, some Europeans believed that the so-called Indians were willing to learn, and that they actually had sophisticated governments in some cultures, such as the Aztec. It is even said in “Bartolome de Las Casas Defends the Indians” that the Native were not “ignorant, inhuman, or bestial.” Also, the Europeans often did have gender specific jobs. The men were expected to provide for the family, while the women stayed home and raised the children. However, the women did play a bigger part in Native American societies.
I agree that differences in religion and culture were what led the Europeans to believe the Native Americans were savages. However, I do not agree that Europeans did not have gender specific jobs at that time. More commonly referred to as roles or expectations rather than jobs, I believe some jobs were only filled by men. These include many government and religious positions as well as merchants. This is shown in the article “Thomas Mun, from England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade” where all 12 of the points refer only to male pronouns. Women were expected to do mostly domestic chores and little work in the time period. I also disagree with the statement that Europeans thought the natives were an oppressed group. The Europeans did not necessarily view the natives as oppressed, but rather as unintelligent, uncivilized, and deserving to be enslaved. This is supported by Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda who says that they are “half-men”, not educated, and “born to slavery and not to civic and liberal life”.
whoa didn’t know shannon was working on this one. is it okay to have more than one reply to a response?
During the 16th century, the Europeans were in conflict with the Native Americans whose land they attempted to conquer, exploit, and colonize. The Europeans considered the natives to be savages and representative of a subhuman race. They aimed to “inhabiting of those countries and reducing those gentile [heathen] people to Christianity.” The Europeans viewed the population of the Americans as nothing more than a source of cheap and plentiful labor to extract the wealth of their own land. This can be seen in Richard Hakluty’s Discourse Concerning the Western Planting where he states, “Many thousands of idle persons are within this realm … in beating and working of hemp for cordage … in setting them to work in mines.” The Native Americans resented the conquering of their land and attempted to resist the Europeans; however, while they were able to create large and powerful civilizations, the natives were technology outmatched by the Europeans. This further convinced the Europeans that they were superior and that the native population was subhuman deserved to be exploited.
Even though i see where you are going, not all Europeans thought the natives were savages. Bartelome de la Casas states that he believes that the Natives were as sophisticated as the Europeans were. And I wouldn’t say that the natives deserved to be exploited. They didn’t do anything morally wrong to deserve the atrocities that were inflicted onto them by the Europeans. Rather, they were technologically and from their immune system’s standpoint, superseded. It would be too strong to say that the natives deserved to be exploited in the fashion they were.
sorry brenden, i didn’t realize that wasn’t 100 words.
One thing i realized with your blog is that it didn’t address any differences. You pretty much just said that the Europeans exploited the Natives. But nothing is being addressed from the Native’s standpoint, it’s just from the European point of view. That’s definitely something to look at.
Mr. Wong: these words will count along with the first blog’s words
There were many differences between Native American and European civilizations. Some of the big ones being religion, culture, and their behavior against each other. Firstly, religion for the Native Americans was deeply incorporated into their work. Such as farming, if they had gotten a large harvest this year then they would thank the Sun god for blessing them. Overall, they had a polytheistic religion. Looking into their religion we can see that they had some very harsh beliefs and rituals. In the article “Hernan Cortes Conquers Mexico (1519-1526)” he talks about how he tried to suppress this practice of human sacrifices because to him, he saw nothing but cruelty. but if you look through the Aztecs, then they are just practicing what they have been taught since birth, and to them its going to be a blessing. While in Europe, they had always been practicing a monotheistic religion, so this was all strange to them. Secondly, the culture of the native Americans against the Europeans. The native Americans were a little more isolated away from other tribes. So most of the tribes just picked an area and just settled there for good. But some tribes would go around using the slash and burn technique, and when the soil was dry, they would just pack up and move on. Native Americans would just be occupied with hunting and growing crops, while in Europe they would all go to the trade centers or markets. In “The Meeting of Cultures, Page 5” it talks about how each tribe would just live off of what was available in the area. Such as the Great Plains area, although they would get the majority of their food from crops, they had a large population of buffalos. Lastly, the overall views of the Native Americans and the Europeans. In “The Meeting of Cultures, Page 4” when the Europeans had first come to the Aztecs civilization, they discovered about 100,000 skulls from all of the sacrifices. From that point on the Aztecs were known as “savages” to the Spanish conquerors. It was a little different for the natives when the Europeans arrived because they kept looking for something to explain what kind of people these Europeans where. to conclude, the Native Americans and the Europeans had many fundamental differences.
I disagree that the Native American way of life had religion more ingrained than the Europeans. Your example of the farmer worshiping the Sun God for a bountiful harvest is the same as a European farmer praying to God and thanking him for the harvest. I guess that what i am getting at is that the two side’s religions were different in ways other than how it was incorporated into their society. For example, we can see in Reading 4a, the letters to John Cabot, the Europeans were more focused on the expansion of the boundaries of Christendom than the natives were focused on converting between themselves.
There were many differences between the Europeans and the Native Americans. The main difference would be in religion. The Native Americans had a very loose idea of religion in contrast to that of the Europeans. They were polytheistic, and believed that gods were represented in nature. They also sometimes built brightly colored totems; however, in contrast the Europeans worship their gods through prayer and attending church. The Europeans were much more organised. Another major difference is in how the two different peoples viewed each other. The Europeans came to the New World with the intent of conquering land and making money. A merchant was intended “to Encrease Our Treasure,”2 which wasn’t a concept the Native Americans understood. The Europeans were to create settlements in “regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed”1 paying no regard to the people who already lived there. They viewed the native people as “barbarous and impious and inhuman”3 whereas the Native Americans initially viewed the Europeans as worthy of their respect.
Quote 1 from “Henry VII Letter empowering John Cabot 1496.”
Quote 2 from “What a member of joint stock ought to be…”
Quote 3 from “New World Beginnings.” (3)
You said that the Native Americans had a very loose idea of religion. How could they have a loose idea of religion when they had rituals that included sacrifices, and (as you mentioned) one that can be represented in nature. Also, how can the Europeans be worthy of their respect after the most bloodiest war in the United States was fought against them? such as the King Phillip’s war, and the french and indian war? and even in Santa Fe, the Pueblos had “kicked out” the Spanish after their rules about religion had gotten too strict, so how could they be respected?
There were several major differences between the Europeans and the Native Americans. First of all is the level of technology that each had. The Europeans were obviously much more advanced and had the upper hand with guns. However, they were not dumb. In fact, far from it. The Mayans in particular developed a level of knowledge towards astronomy that easily surpassed what the Europeans had at the time. The Europeans were just far more advanced in naval navigation, seen is Columbus’ voyage(Reading 1, pg 11), and the subsequent colonists after him. They were able to build great Ships, while the natives were much more limited, the norm being a canoe. Additionally, the Europeans heavy interest in trade, (Reading 2b) led to them having more meetings between each other, as opposed to the less trade oriented culture of the natives. These connections helped to establish their partial immunity to the diseases to which the natives had no protection against. This is very much important in the amount of resistance that the natives were able to put forth(Reading 5, pg 15), and their population was cut drastically. This, more than any technological advantage, led to the victory of the Spanish, and in the end, the Europeans.
You have some ambiguity in your paragraph thanks to lovely pronouns.
“However, they were not dumb.” They, who? Because in context it sounds like you’re referring to the Europeans, but I’m pretty sure you’re talking about the Native Americans based on the following sentences.
This obviously isn’t my 100-word, disagree-with-someone response, I just thought you ought to know.
thanks, and yes, i was referring to the natives, in “They were not dumb…”. Thanks for helping me clear that up
I can’t reply to your reply to my reply… but no problem!
Ambiguous Pronouns!!!!! They will KILL your SAT score! Glad to know you got it fixed though.
First of all, great points and well written. I just have a couple of thoughts on some of your points.
You state that ” They were able to build great Ships, while the natives were much more limited, the norm being a canoe. ” I wonder perhaps whether that was the norm, or rather, limitation for the Native Americans, because as shown in “Brinkley, pg 4” they didn’t really have as much interest in going to explore other places. After all, they were in the place everyone wanted to be. Perhaps if they had such a desire, they would easily have been able to surpass the Europeans in maritime trade and navigation. Additionally, was it the trade that allowed for the resistance to the diseases, or was it the immunity built up after years of exposure? Just a couple of thoughts, but altogether, good arguments.
The Europeans and Native Americans lived very different lives. They had main distinctions in there settlement and technology. European settlements were big, well-established cities. These cities contained social and political buildings such as churches, courthouses, and merchants’ stores. These helped citizens’ lives to be much easier. The Native Americans however lived more nomadic lives, meaning they traveled from place to place depending on their situation (“The Meeting of Cultures”, Brinkley). One main exception is the tribes in Mexico and Central America. The Incas had an empire consisting of six million strong, while the Aztecs, who came after the Incas, ruled most of the area with military power (“The Meeting of Cultures”, Brinkley). The Europeans in a sense had more technological advances. They knew how to sail massive ships and construct buildings using pulley systems and wheels. Their abilities to make money were that of envy. Though the Natives lacked the technology, they still had the resources and the ability to make what they needed. The main flaw that the Europeans had that makes us question their “civilized and intelligent society” is the fact that they saw the Natives as barbaric people when they themselves acted the same way they saw this people in order to make themselves the richest. Bartolomé de Las Casas stated that the Romans treated the Spanish the same way the rest of Europe treated the Natives (New World Beginnings). The whole nation of the Natives was in chaos.
im just checking how to reply. thnx
I disagree with the idea that the buildings making lives easier compared to the lives of Natives. The natives might not have had big Churches or other social/political buildings but they didn’t need it. For their life style it was easier for them to not have those buildings. And the buildings just made the lives of the Europeans more complicated than anything. It divided up the people into different classes by money. The rule was that the more money someone had the higher up they were in the social status. Social status wasn’t really important to the Natives everyone was considered equal. Which is what made the European think of the Natives as savages, just because they weren’t living in an organized life like themselves. But instead they were, just in a way that was more supportive to their life style as read in (“tribal cultures,” Brinkley)
I agree that the Europeans were in general more barbaric than the Native Americans. However, I disagree with your statement that the Native Americans lacked technology. Perhaps they didn’t have boats, guns, and the like, but the Native Americans were no technological slouches themselves. The Mayans created a calender system, for example. The Inca, Mayans, and Aztecs all had at least the knowledge of astronomy to make accurate observations. Even though they did not have access to some basics such as the wheel, they managed to keep up trade routes and such regardless. And of course, Bartolome de las Casas stated that the Native Americans were skilled craftsman, capable of producing needlework and the like that surpasses that of “all the known nations of the world” in that regard.
– Bartolome de las Cases Defends the Indians (1552)
One fundamental difference between the European and Native American civilisations in the sixteenth century was religion. The Europeans sought to teach the “savages” the “truth” about God. They, as most religious people do, believed that their religion was the one true religion, and it was their duty as children of God to spread the word in order to save more people from eternal damnation. Friar Bartoleme de Las Casas defended the Native Americans, referring to them as “[his] brothers,” expressing the Christian belief that all humans are brothers in the eyes of the Lord. The Native Americans, of course, had their own view of religion. They were polytheistic and believed in many natural gods, not a single god who controlled everything. The Europeans looked down on the Native Americans’ uncouth way of worshiping their gods in bloody rituals centered on human sacrifice.
Another difference was technology. Though the Europeans were more technically advanced, they weren’t necessarily superior. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas all were capable of building large temples and buildings without the same technology the Europeans had. The Mayas calculated a calendar and could track the stars. However, the Incas did not have any writing system or paper. Juan Gines de Sepulveda looked down on the fact that most Native Americans were “not even literate or in possession of any monument to their history.”
The Europeans and Native Americans had very different mindsets about how to treat the world and others in it. The Woodland Native Americans traveled in small tribes and didn’t really compete with each other for land because they didn’t think of themselves as actually owning the land – they were simply using it. The Europeans, however, treated the New World as if it had no inhabitants when they went about seizing control of the land. In his letter to John Cabot and his sons, Henry VII gives them authority to “set up [England’s] aforesaid banners and ensigns in any town, city, castle, island or mainland whatsoever.”
Quote 1 – “Bartolome de Las Casas Defeneds the Indians”
Quote 2 – “Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles the Indians”
Quote 3 – “Henry VII, First Letters Patent Granted to John Cabot and His Sons”
I uh, I didn’t actually number my quotes, but there’s one in each paragraph.
I agree with your point that religion was a fundamental difference between the Natives and the Europeans; however I would like to point out the distinct similarities in the two. Assuming you were referring to the Aztecs when mentioning the human sacrifices, similarities can be drawn between the Aztecs and Europeans in terms of religion. The Aztecs obviously justify their human slaughter, with the idea that they are pleasing their Gods. The Europeans have also justified their slaughter of humans, with their religion in such events as the Crusades. Although Friar Bartolomé’s The Destruction of the Indies does mention the Natives as being barbaric, he also points out that when Rome went to war against Spain to free them of barbarism, they were wrongly justifying themselves with the name of God. This can be interpreted as Bartolomé saying that the Spaniards are falsely justifying their attacks on the Indians with the idea that they, like the Natives, are pleasing their God.
Source: Bartolomé de Las Casas Defends the Indians (1552)
**Mr. Wong, This is Francine. sorry about not using my full name, I kinda made the blog the day before you mentioned that…**
Sorry, not sure if they will let you but if you can tell me which one I can do it for you :)
There were a few major differences between European and Native American civilizations. One of the major differences was religion. The Native Americans were polytheistic; their gods were primarily based on nature, as stated from “Brinkley: pp. 3-12”. A majority of Europeans on the other hand were monotheistic; most of them being Christian. The Native Americans did not have an organized notion towards religion; they tended to be very tribal-based. On the other hand, the Europeans were very organized religion-wise. As “Brinkley: pp.12-20 & 22-30” states, most European countries were under the Roman Catholic Church at the time. However, the first schisms in Christianity had taken root, especially the fact of Henry VIII disobeying with the Roman Catholic Church and declaring England Protestant. Another major difference was political. Because in Native American societies, the males were primarily hunting game, the women be in control of the political structure. Some Native Americans, primarily the Incas and Aztecs, had theocracies. They did this because they wanted religion (which was already an enormous part of their culture) to become even more influential within their system. This system had its benefits. Bartolome de Las Casas states that the Native Americans political systems were one of the major good things about their way of life (paragraph one of his argument). Their political system became maternal. On the other hand, European civilizations were dominated by men; because neither the women nor men were hunting, men had more control over politics in the long run. The Indians did not have major communications with other tribes. Economically, the Indians did not see a reason to have trade relations with other tribes because they did not need to trade, they were well off on their own. There were also social resistance to organization. Even though the Iroquois Confederation and the Muskogean language group tried to reverse this situation, they were nontheless failures. This is because when the Indians were faced with the threat of European imperialism, the tribes did not worry about helping out other tribes; rather they focused on helping themselves. The Europeans on the other hand, had major trade and social connections with the rest of their known world. For example, Europeans traveled the Silk Roads to trade with Asian countries, primarily the Chinese. Yet another difference would be from a technological standpoint. The Indians were technologically advanced. The Pueblo Indians were able to create huge-scale irrigation projects to grow crops in their arid environment. The Incas and Aztecs were able to create massive pyramids for religious purposes; some say that these are as advanced as the Egyptian pyramids. However, the Europeans were much more technologically advanced. Europeans had the wheel, which Indians did not. Europeans also had paper. But two major things that Europeans had that Indians did not have were gunpowder and the ability to create ships. With both of these, the Europeans were able to supplant the Natives very brutally. If the Natives were to have both gunpowder and maritime abilities, they could have been the one supplanting the Europeans, not the other way around which is what happened in reality.
The articles are posted throughout the blog but the 3 i used were:
Both of the Brinkley papers and the American Spirit paper
Okay regarding your last little bit on technology – just wondering, how do you know if the Natives had said firearms, that they would have been able to defeat/drive away the Europeans? If that was the case, wouldn’t they have started traveling the world as well? and as a result, have a case similar to that of the Europeans. Furthermore, you state that the Natives did not see any reason/incentive to trading. However, would it be possible to trade if they could not go anywhere because of technological hindrances? We have seen that there were at the least “loose links” (page 7, Brinkley) , but suggestive of indeed inter-tribal trading as well as trading with the Europeans for a time. Lastly, it appears like you contradict yourself, because you state that the Natives were technologically advanced, giving examples of huge-scale projects; then you go on to state that the Europeans were much more advanced. Why did they stop at these huge-scale projects and not go on develop them further? It seems that if they had such things that travelling around in boats would be no problem, no?
There were several major differences between Native Americans and Europeans. Religion, economically driven expansion, and respect were the three dividing factors between the two groups. The religious rigidity of the Europeans highly contrasted with the less structural religion of Native Americans. Native American religion was mainly based on nature and was practiced in order to bring crops to the land off of which they lived. Europeans used Christianity as a means of controlling not only their own citizens but also those that they conquered. The guidelines by which Christianity required Europeans to live caused them to see Native Americans as lacking in the “vestiges of humanity.” Such guidelines as good and evil were ultimately absent from Native American religion and practice. The European desire for expansion and land ownership greatly differed from Native American traditions. In these traditions, Natives lived off of the land that they used, therefore; because they typically lived in small tribes, the idea of conquering land for economic gain was foreign to them. In contrast with the Natives, the primary goal of Europeans was to continually expand in order to amass raw materials and grow crops. These materials were “the means to enrich the kingdom.” This difference in ambition would later fuel conflicts between Native Americans and Europeans. Another difference would be the subhuman label given to the Native Americans by the Europeans. Initially, interaction and trade between the two groups was hospitable. This time period was known as the “middle ground.” After smallpox commenced eradicating high percentages of the native population, Europeans began to gain an even larger sense of superiority. By lowering their status, the Europeans were disrespectful to the Native Americans. The differences in religion, ambition, and levels of respect ultimately led to animosity and division between Native Americans and Europeans.
Quotes: 1) Juan Gines de Sepulveda Belittles Indians
2) Thomas Mun, from England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade
3) Where historians disagree, Native American and the Middle Ground
Religion, governmental structure, and cultural or social ways of the Native Americans were much different than that of European nations. The reason the Europeans felt superior to the Natives, was because their lives were extremely structured and concrete that anything outside of their norm was considered “barbaric”; whereas the Native Americans acted upon survival instincts and individual tribal wants. In the European nations, religion was mostly monotheistic and did not accept any other religion. The leader of a country was only a King because he was said to have divine powers, and the monarchs strictly enforced their religion upon their people. This is seen in “The Meeting of Cultures,” where it is stated that the supreme religious authority was the political leader. According to the same article, when Martin Luther simply challenged the Catholic Church, the pope excommunicated him. In “Bartolome de Las Casas Defends the Indians,” Bartolome states that the Natives are doing everything that works for them except for their religion. Bartolome being one of the only defenders of the Natives stating this really shows religion impacted Europe. The natives were mostly polytheistic and their religion was more focused on nature. This is because the natives didn’t have a way of explaining these natural phenomena like the Europeans did, so they concluded that the phenomena must be caused supreme being. Religion was a big part of the native’s lives, however it did not impact them in such harsh was as it did to the Europeans. Government was also extremely different between the two societies. Europe had an extremely centralized government, with strict laws, and a direct way of thinking. The natives had a head chief who then designated certain types of labor to parts of their tribe. The biggest difference in government between the two is that the natives had mostly females who had authority. The people of the tribe didn’t necessarily have only one acceptable way of doing something. The cultural and social lives of the two societies were completely different. The Europeans had much interaction with each other while the Indians had almost none. Because of Europe’s principle of only one acceptable religion, there was much tension within its own country. For example, in “Meeting of Cultures”, there was a division in England between the Protestants and Catholics, where the Catholics were persecuted. Commerce was a big part of European nations, as it was one key way to determine the world’s powers. The Europeans traded with each other and one of the biggest reasons as to why they went to explore the new world was to find more resources to trade. In “Henry VII, First Letters Patent Granted to John Cabot and His Sons (1496),” Henry VII says to John Cabot that England will get the resources that are found in the New Land. The Natives, on the other hand rarely had any contact of each other. In fact, there is nothing said about big encounters that natives had with each other until the Europeans came along and turned them against each other, and made them compete for land and survival. The individual tribes rarely traded with other tribes because they were focused on themselves, and each tribe was able to provide every need for themselves.
The European and Native American civilizations differed in multiple ways, including their attitudes towards others, and the hierarchies of their society. The Europeans came into the America’s with the mindset of gaining wealth, no matter what the consequences were for any one else. They viewed themselves as superior and more advanced and looked to the natives as subhuman beings and “barbarians” (Brinkley). The Europeans saw it as their duty to take over these inferior lands and subject the inhabitants to their rule. They had previous experiences ruling natives in their lands, such as England with Ireland, and coming into the New World was no different for them. The English had subjected the Irish people to their rule will brutal force (Brinkley, pgs. 26-7), and were prepared to do so again. The natives were not viewed as people, but as obstacles to European exploitation of the land. The best example of this is in Henry VII’s letter to John Cabot (Henry VII, First Letters Patent Granted to John Cabot and His Sons (1496)), granting him the power to “conquer, occupy, and possess” what land he wished. This clearly shows the European’s disregard for any beings other than themselves. For the Native Americans, however, the appearance of foreign people was a completely new experience. They did not know what to think of these people in the beginning, and originally viewed them as equals. A potential understanding could have existed if the Europeans had the same mindset. Another fundamental difference between the two groups arises with the way that each society functioned. While the Europeans had a very stable society with a recognized head, the king, and a church that had much power over the people, it was accepted as an entirely patriarchal society. Women were looked down upon and had very little, if any, voice in the government or in the functions of society. The role of women in Native American societies was very different. The women would tend fields and gather food, and in many cases have power over the social and economic situations of the tribes (Brinkley, pgs. 8-9). The Native American civilizations had both matriarchal and patriarchal aspects, something unheard of to the Europeans during that time.
When the Europeans came over to the new land, both the Native Americans and the Europeans were in for a surprise. Since both cultures had never been introduced to each other they grew up completely different, we see this happening today when a set of twins A and B, hang out with two different group of friends typically tend to be completely different from each other. As read in the brinkley book the Europeans believed that only the rich should own the land and when the land owner died the land stays within the family since land was basically your honor. Which led to the status of people. How much ever a person or family determined the class and social status. To the Natives everything was temporary. They considered the land around them as sacred and should be shared equally by all. Most of the Europeans didn’t think of this a rightful manner of living. They only believed that what they had in Europe was the right way to live. Juan Gines specifically, in his book “The second Democrates,” calls the Natives as savages for their way of living. But there were people like Bartolome who considered the Natives as humans and saw them for more than they looked. He considered the lives of the Natives as more liberal than a savage one. That liberty allowed the Natives to hardly have any possessions which was what made them common therefore didn’t need a division of class or social status.
Response to Nathan Biyani: You stated that some of the native tribes had become theocracies under the fundamental differences, however it is shown in “The Meeting of Cultures” that this is infact a similarity in that the supreme religios leaders, was also the leader of their country. I also disagree to some extent as to how the Europeans were more technologically advanced than the natives. Not all of the tribes did not discover/invent the wheel, only the aztecs were metioned for not doing so. Also, the fact that they were able to build massive structures, know the sky, math, develope a language and writing shows that the natives were actually more technologically advanced because they could figure out what they did, without the help the Europeans got.
They weren’t necessarily more technologically advanced in comparison to the Europeans. However, they were extremely technologically advanced with respect to the knowledge that they had. Europe had an inflow and outflow of different knowledge and ideas with many other countries. The natives did not have the opportunity to see all of the technological advances in other places around the world, and therefore had to make do with what they had. However, even with such little knowledge and none of the important technologies the Europeans had, they built great buildings and temples, some of which rivaled the pyramids of Egypt in size (Brinkley pg. 5).
Rawr, late to the party already.
So to begin, the fundamental differences between Native Americans and the Europeans stem because of different opportunities presented to them. Where Native Americans were still running around hunting and gathering, Europeans were beginning to settle down and use free time to develop things such as technology, politics, religion, etc. Now on to the actual differences.
First of all, there was a difference in the way society was set up in the Americas versus that in Europe. One of the big points on this is in how while many Native Americans actually had a matriarchal society, it was rare for women in Europe to even to get an education and professions were almost nonexistent to them. While both the Native and the European women mostly cared for children, prepared food, this was all European women did as opposed to Native women, who also collected food as well as even run some social and economic things in the tribe while the men were out hunting. This led to tracing the family through the mother, or in other words, matrilineally (page 9, Brinkley), something previously unheard of before in Europe. I could see how this led to European thoughts of superiority, seeing Native American tribes run by women.
Another aspect of society deals with culture; another difference relating to culture is in religion. Where Native American religion was often polytheistic, Christianity – a monotheistic religion – was the big thing in Europe. The Native polytheism often described deities associated with parts of nature, as opposed to the single person or spirit in which Christianity describes of Jesus or God. While some Native Americans were actually open to other religions and even interested, the Europeans were completely forceful and proud of Christianity. Furthermore, while the Europeans saw the Natives’ bloody rituals as savage and crude, they were setting themselves up as quite hypocritical, looking at their own participation in witch burnings and holy wars later on (page 4, Brinkley). In Henry VII’s letters, he mentions something “to all Christians”, showing how he believed that other people were not worth the attention or respect. Furthermore, while the Native religions appeared to remain true mostly as stories and explanations for what they did not understand, Christianity in Europe had begun to corrupt as something to extract money and political power from the people.
Lastly, a big thing is in the fundamental way they perceived things. While the Natives saw land as sacred due to their religion, Europeans had established a system of permanent cities marked off with fences and built big buildings. This conflict of views eventually to the displacement of the “middle ground” as the Glencoe article describes. This perception influenced also both the Natives and the European’s sense of respect and honor. While the Natives opened up and helped the Europeans survive, and even allied, Europeans had the intention of conquering anything that wasn’t “fenced off”. Furthermore, even though Andrew Jackson credited a Cherokee Native American to saving his life at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend as part of the Creek Wars, it was he who played a big role in “Indian removal”. This shows how a difference in perception leads to a different height of respect and honor for others.
There are many differences between the Europeans and the Native Americans. First of religion is a major difference between the both. The Native Americans worshiped many Gods, which they associated with nature. On the other hand, the Europeans focused on one God and followed Christianity. The English had a more stricter view on there political systems, as well as their economy. They had taxes and customs unlike the natives did. Mostly the Europeans focused on coming to the New World to find new land . There concept of economic life was known as mercantilism (Brinkley). Mercantilism is mainly a way to increase the nations wealth(Brinkley). The Europeans view of land in the New World, is a way to become wealthy. But the natives didn’t think the way they did. They thought of there land as a place for tribes and living. Once the Europeans came to the New World, they had brought with them many diseases such as small pox. This had killed many Native Americans, and decreased their population. Giving an advantage of having a bigger population , which would help the Europeans to discover new technology and having a strong military.
European and Native American civilizations differed in many aspects. First of all, government was different in that Europeans were mostly ruled by monarchs. Native Americans, especially in North America, lived in tribes with a chief as a ruler. These tribes generally speaking did not have an elaborate political system. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas are the exception in that they did have more complex governments. The reason for the difference in these types of governments is that Europeans had much larger populations in a much smaller land mass. A monarch and/or a large political system is necessary for a large population. Since Native Americans had smaller populations, they were able to live with a much simpler system. Secondly, lifestyle differed between Natives and Europeans in that women played a more important role in Native American culture. Women were the ones who tended the fields while men were away hunting or at warfare. Because men were often away for long periods of time, women played powerful roles within families. Possible reasons as to why European women did not play as important a role in their society is that European men, unless they were at war, really did not have much of a reason to leave for extended periods of time. They were at home within their own communities, so they played the major roles. Thirdly, religion differed between the two in that Natives were polytheistic, having many gods that they worshiped through rituals and festivals. They associated their gods with everything in nature. European religions were usually monotheistic.
The fundamental differences between the Native Americans and the Europeans are their social views, their religion and most importantly their effect on each other. As portrayed in an excerpt from Thomas Mun’s England’s Treasure By Foreign Trade, the English had a very organized way of looking at life. In Mun’s book he mentions all his rules to being a proper merchant. His rules cover everything from, knowledge of languages to the “art of navigation”. In comparison to that of the North American Woodland Indians, most of which did not have rigid regulations or even permanent settlements, it is easy to see how the Europeans would view them as savage and underdeveloped.
Religion is another factor that displays differences between the Europeans and the Natives. The American Aborigines were known for having religion based of polytheism, whilst the majority of Europeans only worshipped one deity. Most of the Natives’ religions were focused around the sanctity of the Earth and respecting all the resources that nature provided them with. The Europeans religions focused on morals, living to be righteous and correcting those that were not. This idea can be found in Bartolomé de Las Casas account The Destruction of the Indies. Las Casas states in this account that the Indians are savage to an extent but they can be saved from their sinful ways. These contrasts in religion also become a factor of the wars and extermination of the Native Americans.
A very important difference in the Natives and the Europeans is the effect they had on each other. The Europeans came to the New World and received more benefits than the Natives. They gained the new raw materials, treasures and even refuge from a society that did not practice freedom of religion. However the inference of Europeans in the Natives territory led to the extermination of the majority of Native population. Attacks from aggressive conquistadors, battles, and the abundance of diseases they were not immune to, eventually killed off the Natives. These differences show how the Europeans established themselves as conquerors of the New World, leaving the few surviving Natives to be the conquered. This is very important, fundamental difference between the Natives and the Europeans.
Sources: Brinkley. (last paragraph contains info. from Brinkley)
American Spirit: Bartolomé de Las Casas Defends the Indians
Thomas Mun: from England’s Treasure By Foreign Trade
Actually, many of the Europeans who came to America did not have religious freedom, and imposed their non-freedom on the native populations. The treaty between Spain and the Pope that acknowledged Spain’s claim to much of the Americas south of Mexico, for example, required that Catholicism be the only religion of the new territories (Brinkley 15-16).Also, though your comparison of the effect the Europeans and the Native Americans had on each other is fairly correct, you only mention pros for the Europeans, and cons for the Indians, though there were benefits and losses for both sides (though hardly balanced ones). For instance, the Indians gained the use of horses, which was very influential for them, and the Europeans also suffered losses from attacks by the Indians.
In the viewpoint of a European, the Native Americans were viewed as “savages.” Although the Native Americans had a different life style compared to the Europeans, they were “civilized” in their own perception. The main distinctions of these two different “civilized” lifestyles are their ways of political systems, sociocultural status, and their ways of religion. These differences set the Native Americans and the Europeans at a misunderstanding.
In the South, the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayas had a very complex and elaborate political system. It consisted of intricate structures formulated by the Native Americans, which made them very different than the Europeans. The Europeans are used to the rigid laws set in their homeland, and when comparing their structures to the Natives, they are more concrete and precise. In the European’s point of view, the Natives’ political structures would seem barbaric to them. The obvious difference would blind the Europeans’ eyes to new structures and methods of the Natives.
One of the main variations between the Europeans and the Native Americans was their sociocultural status. The Natives had a wide range of different forms and ways of living compared to the Europeans. The Natives would interact with each other more easily than the Europeans would, due to the fact that they lived in a tribal system. Even though the North did not have an elaborate political system as the South, they did have complex civilizations. These consisted of the survival methods of hunting & gathering, fishing, and the techniques that are parallel with these methods. Within the method of hunting & gathering, there was a gender difference in labor. In all tribes, the women would mainly care for the children, gather food, and prepare meals. In some tribes, the women would take the dominant role while the men are away fighting battles or hunting.
The last difference between the Europeans and the Native Americans was religion. Religion was very important to the Natives, mainly because the gods they worshipped were correlating with nature. They would worship to the spirits associated with crops, the environment, and game. Many tribes included beautiful totems at the religious ceremonies and large celebrations specifically for hunting and crop seasons.
-The Meeting of Cultures
-Jill Lepore’s “The Name of War…”
I disagree that the natives were more advanced than the Europeans. The Europeans had a more efficient knowledge of most things. Such has knowing how to navigate, building ships, trading, and the invention of the wheel. I know that the natives were manly advanced in agriculture and astronomy, but later the Europeans became advanced in that too. The natives didn’t have as much opportunity to discover advanced technology as did the Europeans. I also disagree with the native’s having a loose structure of religion, than the Europeans. The natives had created elaborate customs and rituals for themselves and worshiped many Gods to elements of nature. Such as forests and rivers.
One major difference between the Europeans and the Native Americans was their level of technological advancement. The Native Americans, who had not yet even developed the wheel (Brinkley 5), were in many ways rather technologically primitive compared to the Europeans. This is especially vivid in the illustration at the top of Brinkley page 14, which shows the Spanish, clad in metal armor and armed with crossbows and guns, engaged in combat with some Indians, wearing only cloth and animal skins and fighting back with spears. Some Indian societies, such as the Incas, never developed a form of writing. This technology gap not only aided the Europeans in defeating the Indians even though they were greatly outnumbered, but also was used by the Europeans to justify conquering the Indians in the first place, some saying that they “[did] not possess any learning at all” (New World Beginnings 3).
Another difference of great consequence between the Europeans and Native Americans was their immune systems. The Europeans had some level of resistance to the deadly diseases, such as smallpox, that they unwittingly carried with them to the New World; the Indians, however, had no such protection, and their populations were decimated. This was a boon for European conquerors, who now not only had less Indians to fight, but less that would attack them. Another consequence of this was a reinforcement of the Europeans’ sense of superiority (Where Historians Disagree); Cortés, for example, claimed that “God saw fit to send the Indians smallpox” (Brinkley 12).
I do not agreed with the beginning of your comment, when you mention that the Native Americans were not as advance in technology as the Europeans. In the reading “The meeting of cultures” it mention how the Native Americans were advance in technology in their own right. With their own elaborate admistrative, educational, and medical systems. I also don’t think that was the main reason the Europeans use to as reason for conquering the Native Americans. They mentions more about how they consider the Native American savages because of their inhuman ways.
There are several fundamental differences between the European and the Native American civilizations in the 16th century. Culture, technology, lifestyle, and religion differed greatly between the two forms of civilization.
Europeans in the 16th century were technologically advanced in comparison with the Native Americans. Gunpowder, the wheel, large naval ships, glasswork, advanced metalwork, and other technologies allowed Europe to develop large cities and empires. Much of Europe’s technology made the Native American’s seem almost primitive. The Native Americans, for the most part, had not gone past the hunter/gatherer stage or early agricultural stage. Most of the tribes in North America stayed relatively small, consisting of small settlements. However, some large groups of natives in the south, such as the Aztecs and the Incas did develop some technology. Paved roads, large buildings and cities, calendars, and educational and medical systems showed that the Native Americans were not entirely primitive, though their technology wasn’t as sophisticated as the Europeans. (Brinkley pg. 4-7)
Lifestyles of Europeans and Native Americans differed greatly. Europeans lived in large cities or countryside farms. They were surrounded by and lived amongst large groups of people. There was great division among people, from the people who worked the land to the upper class that enjoyed the luxuries of life. Europeans strived for self gain, competing over resources, land, and money. Native Americans, on the other hand, lived in smaller communities where often work was divided amongst everyone. Communities worked together instead of competing.
Culture and religion played a significant role in both European and Native American civilizations. The Catholic church dominated most of Europe. Christianity stressed morals and the idea of good vs. evil in the world. Christians believed that only their religion was right and any other religions were immoral or wrong. This mindset accounted for the overall European’s out look on the Native Americans and the countless missionaries that came to the new world to convert the natives. Other branches of Christianity, such as the Protestants and the Puritans, lead to much tension and war among European nations. In contrast, the Native American religions were deeply rooted in customs and rituals. They were closely bound to the natural world. Their gods were associated with the elements of nature. Their believes lead the Native Americans to live close lives alongside nature. (Brinkley pg.8-9,24-26 and The American Spirit 1-11)
Yah! I finally got this thing to work. But the date is wrong for some reason. It’s actually Aug. 20, 2010 and its 10:03 pm.
Hey Mrs. Wong!
It’s still 11:58 PM, August 20th Friday, 2010.
I am NOT late.
There certainly were a lot of fundamental differences between European and Native American civilizations in the sixteenth century.
I say one of the major differences is the way they fight, no matter how dirty it is. Technologically, the Europeans had better weapons while the Native American had “ancient“ ones. As an example, when Hernando Cortes came to Mexico to beat up the Aztecs in 1518, the Spanish had firearms whereas the Indians carried spears. It seems that the Native Americans didn’t stand a chance at all, but they actually won the first battle! The main reason was because they had a lot of people while the Spanish had only six hundred. However, the Spanish did an amazing trick that they didn’t even realize at all: they spread the fatal smallpox disease to the Indians who were not immune to them. The devastating event greatly decreased the number of them, which resulted as a victory for the conquistador. (Brinkley p.12 – Conquistadores)
One other major difference is religious. The Native Americans served a lot of gods, while the majority of Europeans believed in Jesus or Mary. The Native Americans usually associated their gods ranging from crops to forests, while Europeans usually believed in Jesus or Mary. (Brinkley p.8 – Tribal Cultures) Often, the Native Americans became crazy with their religion. For example, the Aztecs loved human sacrifice. They killed people religiously like every Friday or so for their nature god, but it is ironic that Europeans considered them bad because of their acts, while the Europeans themselves enjoyed killing people during the holy wars. (Brinkley p.4 – South’s Civilizations) Another contrast is that Native Americans usually picked random gods for their harvests and game, while the Europeans usually prayed to Jesus or Mary for salvation.
The main differences between the Europeans and the Native Americans are their religions and their economics. The Europeans were monotheistic and were all some form of Christian be it Catholic or one of the protestants. While the Native Americans were polytheistic, and worshipped everything in nature. The way they spread there religion was different as well; the Europeans for example either converted you or forced you to worship their God with brute force. The Native Americans didn’t try to force others to belief in their way of life. The Native Americans’ economics both in South and North America were “based on primarily on agriculture” (Brinkly 4-5 par 3). While the Europeans were based on the idea of getting raw materials and sending them back to their home for profit. A good example of this the “Henry VII Letter empowering John Cabot 1496” which says that any goods discovered must be sent back to Britain. Although each European country did that differently Britain had agriculture, Spain had silver and gold, and the French got furs.
sorry I forgot to add my citations
pg. 4 The meeting of cutures
pg 26 New World Beginning
Thomas Munn, from England’s treasure….
(I can’t find my reply so I can’t delete it or edit it so here it is again)
There were many differences between the European and Native civilizations in the 16h century. One of the major differences between the two groups was their religions. The Europeans society of the 16th century was a majority Christian society with a monotheistic, God. The Native Americans had a polytheistic belief system in which everything in nature had a deity. Because of these differences the Europeans saw the Native civilizations as “savages”. Some of the Europeans saw them as non-human and a race that was lower then themselves. They wanted to get rid of the Native Americans and their non-Christian ways. The Europeans and the Native civilizations also had different technologies. The Europeans of course had the wheel and the technologies advances that came with it. Not all of the Native American’s civilizations had a great advancement such as paper, but they were able to build administrative, educational, and medical systems. Unlike the Native Americans who were content and happy with their world. The Europeans also wanted to conquer the new land and make money.
The seed in the heart of every rainbow warrior is john 14.
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I make an apps for meddicine for iPhone
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