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The European Impact on North America: Native Americans and Economics

Updated on September 12, 2015

The Native American tribes of North America were a very self-sustainable society and culture, every aspect of their various religions focusing on a natural object of one sort or another. In an agricultural sense, the hundreds of tribes tried to use every square inch of soil to the maximum success efficiency, deploying tactics such as rock funnels to collect water, and the creation of irrigation patterns to produce additional potential for growth. These came in the form of such crops as squash, corn, and beans, among other local delicacies for trading purposes, of which the various tribes did very well; creating road systems that enhanced domestic growth while still allowing for afflation. There was evidence that further depicted cultural integrity, findings of the famous ball-game from the Mesoamerican culture found in ruins within the North Americas.

This all changed however with European contact, as Christopher Columbus took the stage in 1492, landing on San Salvador, and took the first seven slaves of the Americas back to Spain, creating an image of trickery in the eyes of the Natives of the area. Over the course of Western European settlements, the curses of illness and quite the common mortality, killing well over 95% of the population from the time of the Conquistadors; The settling of multiple towns and havens of residential import attractions from European entrepreneurs. From the title of friends to slaves the Natives were transferred in under 2 years, creating genocide on an unprecedented scale in the search for gold and spices.

Europe, from the 1500s to the late 1700s had been in an economic race to find a shorter path through the silk road of spices and other far eastern goods such as china glass made from precious Cobalt, to the imports of West and South African slaves. The various countries, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese among others, were in a frenzy to pursue unchartered lands because of their coastal proximities with the Atlantic Ocean, causing unwanted population minimization. The only proper solutions to find land, seek the creation of settlements, and use the crops and livestock of European origin to transplant and transform the eventual Americas.


During the exploration of the Americas, one would find a typical settlement, set up in a European way, most likely Spanish if in the prosperous territories. This would include, mainly male settlers, as the ratio was 10-1 on a male to female scale, so therefore interracial relations were seen on a common basis. The discovery of gold and silver in the Mesoamerican world gave plenty incentive for the European settlers and militaries to secure their family’s needs, although inflation resulted from the precious metals vs. other product resulting from currency change. After the sight of their native neighbors, religious zealots began producing missionaries and carrying out missions to influence the tribes into Christian ideals and ways. It is also key to point out the slavery aspect of the operations, as when the cash crops began to form in the area, from Sugar, Cotton, and Tobacco later on, gave rise to a very unethical principle yet confirms the very idea of Imperialistic Mercantilism in the exploration era.

Although the Spanish influence in the Americas was very strong, it was based off Indentured Servitude, a criminals second chance at life, along with various families from both Ireland and England’s religious wars. In both Ireland and England, in that period were large land holdings, keeping locals from expanding personal growth without aristocratic intervention of either land or investment. It was decided that life in the Americas was a suitable idea over a meaningful and meaningless existence. This was good in theory only, as the English settlements experienced great number of lives lost due to illness, weather, and starvation.


In the settlements that were to come, the natives were tortured into giving the English the right formula into planting corn successfully. This along with squash and other forms of local flavors, the manufacturing of Tobacco greatly reformed the English scene, making quite a few citizens in the new territories richer than other countries average worker at the time. The military aspects of the imperialistic nation of England was also in full swing, from their naval superiority which was rivaled only by the Spanish, but the redcoat standard soldier was of advanced maneuverings in that period, excluding the Revolutionary war. The subtle techniques of bribery and articulately placed friendships from the Native tribes in the area; Allowed for quick gains in profits in forms of food and precious crops that solidified English acceptance of Power all along the northeast coast.


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    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Hmm I'll look into expanding it. Thanks for the positive criticism.

    • profile image

      ally 4 years ago

      Your Comment...great veiws but i think it should be more detailed....

    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thank you so much vin I'm really glad you acquired the information you wanted from this article. Thanks for the compliment and I hope you have an awesome rest of your day.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      America's history is very interesting. I have been reading about America since I was in school. The first lesson: America's discovery.

      There is so much to learn from this hub. The videos are amazing.