Mary J House
April 6, 2015
Class of Cultures
There was a definite clash of cultures when the English colonists first came to the native’s homeland. There was animosity between the natives and colonists from their earlier encounters along the native’s shorelines. When the Africans entered the picture, already hard times got worse. In this paper, Jamestown’s relationships with Native Americans will be explored and in explaining this will elaborate on ways that the Natives, Europeans and Africans clashed. When more than one culture comes together there will always be a level of hostility and discontent. The main reason for the clash is that each culture has its own rituals and traditions as well as ways of life. When the differences are as great as they were between the Europeans, Natives and Africans chaos will surely be present.
Jamestown’s Relationships with Native Americans
When the Europeans first came to Jamestown in 1607 the natives offered hospitality even though they had already had bad encounters with them along their coastlines. The natives knew the Europeans were greedy and thieves, but they tried to remain peaceful in spite of their differences. The natives and Europeans had very little in common in the first place. They had different religious beliefs, with the Europeans being mostly catholic and protestant, while the natives had polytheistic views. When the Africans arrived that brought the Muslim religion into the picture as well as voo doo and black magic. The Europeans felt that this called for punishment and tried to force their Christian views onto the natives and Africans, thinking that this would help them in the afterlife..
The natives tried to teach the colonists how to live off the land, teaching them how to plant and harvest crops such as wheat and corn and hunt wildlife for food. The colonists were much more interested in finding wealth and in taking over the land that they paid little attention and put in very little work so that there colonies could become self-sufficient. This caused them to become dependant on the natives for food. The natives were willing to share what they could, but wanted to supply the needs of their own people first. When the natives refused to keep up with the supply and demand of the Europeans then the colonists simply took what they wanted by force, intensifying any hard feelings that the natives already harbored against them. (Library of Congress).
The Europeans suffered through hard times as their population increased and they needed more and more food. The natives were offended by the Europeans superior attitudes and had stopped trying to be friendly. “In January 1608, the colony would struggle on, hitting another low in the winter of 1609-1610, a period that became known as the starving time”. (Jarus, 2013). The natives had stopped giving by this time, and in fact, were burning the colonists crops and sabotaging their efforts to become self-sufficient. During this time, the colonists “fed upon horses and other beasts as long as they lasted”. (Jarus, 2013). Many colonists died during this time and some even resorted to cannibalism.
The Africans did not come to Jamestown until 1619, when a Dutch ship arrived to make trades and their were negroes in their cargo. Slavery was not defined as such then as it is now and these negroes were allowed to live relatively free as indentured servants. Many of the Europeans also lived as indentured servants