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European Superior Attitude Toward Native Americans

The responses of the various nations of Native Americans to the arrival of Europeans after 1492, and the manner in which they subsequently dealt with their presence, varied widely from one group to another. Responses to the encounter depended on the cultural characteristics of the different nations, on the economic and political circumstances in which they found themselves, and, to a considerable extent, on the same factors as they applied to the particular groups of Europeans they encountered. Just as there was no uniform Indian response to the encounter there were also significant differences in the ways the Spanish, English, French, and others approached the peoples whose land they were intent on occupying. A brief comparison of various encounters between several Native American nations and the Spanish and English settlers of various period will demonstrate the multiple factors that had an impact of the relationships between the various groups.

There was, however, one uniform characteristic among the Europeans in that "all Europeans of whatever social origin considered themselves superior to the Native Americans" and this was reflected in their relations with the Indians and in the form of the societies they established in the Americas (Roark et al. 62). When, as in New Spain, the Europeans were merely a tiny minority of the population (in comparison with both Native Americans and, later, African slaves) or when, as eventually in happened in northeastern North America, they constituted a majority of the population they were dominant "in both power and status" (Roark et al. 62).

There were also significant differences in the approaches to colonization taken by the Spanish and the English -- the former having arrived in the New World searching for the path to riches and the latter, for the most part, arriving with the intention of settling. These differing goals had a considerable effect on their relations with the Nativ...

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European Superior Attitude Toward Native Americans. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:12, November 29, 2021, from