The European Impact on Native American Technology Essay

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The European Impact on Native American Technology


When European exploration led to the populating of the Americas, it was described as the event with one of the greatest ecological impacts in history. The force behind this impact was the mass movement of people and their behavior's toward their "New World". It only stands to reason that a clash would occur with the natives of these lands. One of the areas with the greatest conflict was the field of technology.

Scientifically, when the cultures of 15th century Europe and the natives in the Americas are concerned, the two are fairly alike. In Europe,a great deal of work was done in astronomy. Of course this was because it was a necessity for navigation. From the studies of the
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Consequently, there was no real understanding of the human body and how it functioned. At this period in time, such remedies as using leeches for blood-lettings were common practice in Europe(McGovern, 75).

This is one area which contrasts greatly with the native cultures. The Indians of the Americas were far ahead of the Europeans of their time. Because of the closeness and respect for nature, many natural cures were used. The Aztecs had even gone as far as surgery to remove organs and even work on the brain. The Indians also took much better care of themselves pysically. This was done by a better diet and exercise. In some cultures a type of martial arts was taught beginning in adolesence, to keep in shape both mentally and pysically. Despite all of these advancements, they were powerless to the new and unfamilliar European diseases.

Another area in which the Indians thrived was that of agriculture and their understanding of the earth. Europeans had little knowledge of agriculture, or chose not to use what they did have. Europe was in a state of agricultural depression. Most of the soil was completely exhausted due to overuse and general mistreatment of the land. Both activities which continued in America.

Agriculture served as the material foundation for the natives. Corn was the heart of this foundation because it was so versatile. In…