Biological and Cultural Consequences of European Contact with the Native Americans

1985 Words8 Pages
The consequences of European contact with the Native Americans had grave consequences surpassing the expectations of both sides. However, while the Europeans were able to overcome most of the initial problems surrounding the contact, the Native Americans endured the effects for much longer which led to the decline of Native American power in North America. Both biological effects such as the impact of diseases, and cultural effects including the formation of new societies and the European influence, had devastating effects on the lives the Native Americans had formerly known. While some of the effects of contact could be seen as positive, overall the negative effects from Native American contact with the Europeans proved to outweigh the…show more content…
As far as warfare was concerned, the Native Americans suffered great losses upon the first conflicts with the Europeans. Many Indians were armed with bows, arrows, and spears, and clad themselves in a type of leather armor. This proved ineffective against the heavy artillery of the Europeans who had thick metal armor along with guns that easily penetrated the Native Americans. Because of the disadvantages that the Native Americans held in warfare, they had to change the way that they had been fighting for centuries. The Native Americans adopted a new strategy for war that consisted of guerilla style attacks. This way, the element of surprise brought them on a somewhat more level playing field due to their technologically inferior weapons. However, over time the Indians began trading with the Europeans to get guns. This completely revolutionized warfare for the Native Americans. Never before had they been in possession of such powerful arms. This made the Native Americans much more lethal during warfare. While horses and guns revolutionized warfare, trading for everyday goods greatly improved the life for the Native Americans. These items included new pots, beads, scissors, and hatchets. For example, the introduction of the scissors allowed the women to cut cloth more easily and precisely than before. Overall, everyday activities such as cooking and weaving were made much easier because of trade for European goods. The Native Americans frequently
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