The Wars of the Iroquois: A Study in Intertribal Trade Relations

The Wars of the Iroquois: A Study in Intertribal Trade Relations

The Wars of the Iroquois: A Study in Intertribal Trade Relations

The Wars of the Iroquois: A Study in Intertribal Trade Relations

Excerpt

In most respects the circumstances of the contact between white man and native in North America are unique in the history of such relationships. In other centuries and in other regions, where the frontiers of superior civilizations had long been in contact with the periphera of inferior civilizations, the conditions of these frontierperipheral areas were well established and relatively familiar, and the process of infiltration and conquest was comparatively gradual. The Russian advance into Siberia, the French and English movement into and beyond India, the penetration of the Orient by the peddling shipmasters of the West, all these were conditioned by the fact that each civilization had already considerable knowledge of the other. In Africa the Nile Valley and the Mediterranean shore had constituted a frontier area before historic times, and even in the southern part of the African continent contacts had been more or less continuous for nearly four hundred years before actual colonization and exploitation were begun.

In North America, on the other hand, a well advanced civilization, in which the mechanism of exploitation was already highly developed, met the Stone Age face to face, in an invasion almost simultaneously continental in extent. There had been a few premonitory invasions along the St. Lawrence River, Coronado's horsemen had retreated from the far Southwest, a few mailed footmen had floundered through southern swamps to the Great River, a few Englishmen had died at Croatan, but these tentative ventures of the sixteenth century had come to nothing. The Wars of Religion cut short the beginning made by Cartier; Texas remained virtually uninhabited; and one hundred and thirty years passed before another white man glimpsed the Mississippi.

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