Indians in the United States and Canada: A Comparative History

By Roger L. Nichols | Go to book overview

4 Trade, Diplomacy, Warfare, and Acculturation, 1670s-1750s

by the end of the seventeenth century the Indians in both Virginia and New England had been conquered as their English neighbors expanded their population and control in each region. In New France by 1701 the Iroquois challenge receded as those tribes accepted a general peace. Meanwhile in New Mexico the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 had driven the Spanish from the region temporarily, but by the end of the 1690s the invaders had regained control over much of the Rio Grande Valley and the village dwellers there. During those conflicts many tribes experienced dramatic shifts in their circumstances. Many lost their initial position of superiority over the Europeans. Some had their economies and societies gravely threatened, while others experienced disease, warfare, or dislocations. Not only did the growing populations of the colonial settlements impinge on the aboriginal people, but the French, English, and to a lesser degree the Spanish clashed with each other. This kept the eastern and central portions of the continent in frequent turmoil and was one element in the long-term evolution of interracial relations.

Indian initiatives and responses to the dramatic changes then sweeping across North America provide another significant part of the story. Scattered remnants of eastern groups accepted other refugees as they regrouped and transformed their isolated villages into multitribal settlements. Some chose to welcome one or more groups of European traders. Others used the turmoil brought about by international rivalries, diseases, and warfare to play one group of colonials against another, sometimes with great success. Often tribes sought alliances

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