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The Development of America from the Pre-Columbian Era to the Early Colonies Essay

Much of what is taught in History classes around the world is rarely about how America really came to be what it is today. I cannot remember a lot of what I read about the start of our country but I do know that I was taught that everything started with Christopher Columbus. After reading a good sum of written materials I feel that I am better informed. While the so-called discovery of Columbus did pave the way for many changes there is more to it than meets the eye. The Pre-Columbian Era is the time period before the famous voyage of Columbus in the year 1492.

Although history teaches us that the way those that came before us behaved was justified, it may not all be true. However I cannot judge past actions based on today’s standards because of the way things have changed so drastically. Knowing what really happened is important for us to grow and to learn more about ourselves. In this essay I will cover how the Europeans viewed other people, the expansion of Europe and colonization; as well as Britain’s colonies and politics. I will also discuss how the colonists and Indians lived and how Anglo America came about.

Before the Europeans made contact with the Native Americans that had already came up with their own thoughts and beliefs towards them. The Europeans felt superior to all other people and cultures that weren’t their own. It was as if their way of life was the only way to be and live. This way of thinking is basically to otherize a person or group of people. The Europeans had never encountered the Native Americans before but they imagine them to be barbaric because they did not seem to have a form of government and had what they felt was too much freedom.

These made up thoughts were not the case at all. The Native Americans just lived differently from the Europeans. Native Americans did not see life as a constant quest for wealth and material goods. Their lives were heavily involved in farming and hunting. The land was viewed as a common resource for all people to use and take care of not to be taken over by any one person or group of people. They did not have a sense of nationalism; meaning they didn’t think of America as a continent or hemisphere.

Knowing how the Native Americans viewed life and about their culture is important to the historical record because it tell us why they lived the way they did and that the presumptions of the Europeans were wrong. Since the Europeans felt superiority over the Native Americans they felt it was their duty to paternalize them. They wanted to make the Native Americans become more European so they were making them convert to their religion and live they way they said.

Prior to Columbus’ journey European countries were ready to embark on voyages of discovery because of advances in nautical technology, advances in map-making skills and their powerful weapons. Their need for goods and services as well as trade was also factors, along with changes in religious ideas. Columbus claimed that he could find a faster route to Asia and that was his purpose for his voyage. I believe that he knew it wouldn’t be a faster route but he wanted to try and find new land for the same reasons everyone else set out on voyages; God, Gold, and Glory.

He knew that if he could find something to stake claim over he would gain money and recognition. During the sixteenth century, Spain created the world’s most powerful empire by conquering and colonizing the Americas and converting its inhabitants. They were able to imprint their religious beliefs, and language onto the people that were already there causing the cultures to merge.

The Columbian Exchange is said to have altered millions of years of evolution. Animals, plants and cultures that had progressed on their own in different parts of the world were being forced to be in the same places. hings like corn, tomatoes, peanuts and tobacco were brought over from the Americas and wheat, rice, sugarcane, horses and cattle came to the “new world”. The Europeans unknowingly brought over pathogens that brought about the catastrophic decline of the inhabitants of these new lands. Some of the diseases were small pox, influenza, and measles. Since the Indians had never been in contact with these diseases their bodies had no way of fighting them off so they died in large amounts.

There were several benefits from the merging of cultures but there was also a lot of suffering and dying because of it as well. Religion was a big factor prior to the colonization of the “New World”. There was a bond between the church and state, meaning there was no separation. The Protestant Reformation was a protest against the way religion was being handled because of the priests and the King. Many Protestants fled to America in search of religious freedom. There were for main reasons that prepared and influenced Britain for colonization.

The Protestant Reformation was one of them as I explained already. The fact that Britain was not directly connected to other cultures because of the geographic isolation made it to where they had economic liberties and they were able to have a self rule form of government. Religion was the biggest motivation for colonization for King James I, but most others were motivated by greed and the chance to become wealthier. In the early days of the colonies people were allowed to convert their religion in order to remain free and stay alive.

In the early days of the colonies the Puritans outnumbered the Catholics but were not the dominant religion. A lot of the colonist died off and the Great Migration took place as well. From the Pre-Columbian era to the forming of New World there was lot of oppression and greed. Some aspects of cultures were lost due to the killings, and deaths due to diseases. Religion was a huge factor in terms of change throughout the time periods, and the differences of opinion brought about new religious beliefs as well as denominations of religion.

Money and power seemed to be the root of so much of the change that has impacted us today. The way we treat others can be seen as a product of how those who came before us had been treated. We need to examine the lives and the history of the ones who made it possible for us to live the way we do now. We should not judge the actions of others but take it upon ourselves to decide whether or not those actions are acceptable to portray in the times in which we currently live.

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