What Was The Impact of European Colonization On Native American Societies?


What Was The Impact of European Colonization On Native American Societies?

In a broader perspective, European colonization has thousands of impacts on Native American societies, but if we contain them within a few points then we can discuss their major impacts like this:

1. The first major impact was seen on the demography of native American people. Because of the mass execution of the native people by the European immigrants, their population drastically reduced. On the other hand, Europeans belonged to a different human race (Caucasian) than natives. In this case, their society also transformed into multi-racial. Natives were closely associated with the Mongolian human race.

2. Secondly, European colonization brought the system of slavery to native American society. Some European tyrants often captured natives to use as slaves or to sell them in Europe’s slave market. For example, during his voyages, Christopher Columbus captured many women and little girls (8 to 10 years old) for sexual slavery. Tragically, many groups of the natives also committed collective suicide to get rid out of these atrocities.

3. Thirdly, European colonization spread lethal diseases in Native American societies. Such diseases were smallpox, cholera, typhus, measles, etc. Natives had no experience with these issues before. As result, these diseases caused deaths in millions.

4. The fourth impact of European colonization was seen on the culture of Native societies. Though, original inhabitants were conscious to protect their own cultural values; but slowly, their traditions also started mingling with Europeans.   

5. Fifth most important impact came on the political authority of Natives. Earlier, the political authority of the Americas was diversified between different groups of its original inhabitants. After colonization, this authority was centralized by European powers. Especially, France, Great Britain, Spain centralized this power in their own hands.

What Was The Impact of European Colonization On Native American Societies
What Was The Impact of European Colonization On Native American Societies

1. European Colonization Impact on Native Americans’ Demography

After the arrival of the European colonists, massive changes started happening in the demography of the Native American people.

Primarily demographic changes came for three reasons:

  • European immigrants executed massacres on the Native American people.
  • Immigrants spread microbes throughout the continents, where millions of Natives lost their lives.
  • European colonists and Natives belonged to two different human races. It created racial diversity in their societies.

Because of the massacres and the deaths from diseases, their population on both continents (north and south) greatly reduced.

Studies show that more than 12 million natives lost their lives from 1492 to 1900 only for these reasons.

On the other hand, European colonists and Native Americans belonged to two different human races.

European people belonged to the Caucasian race (white people) and Natives were quite closer to the Mongolian human race.

What Was The Impact of European Colonization On Native American Societies

2. The Imposition of Slavery (Beginning of Atrocities)

The Native people who lived here before the arrival of the colonists enjoyed a very peaceful life.

It was true that they had some minor inter-tribe clashes; but they never had to face such brutality ever before, which they started facing once the Europeans arrived.

First of all, the colonists imposed slavery on these indigenous people. They began capturing locals for the slave trade in Europe.

Even some brutal tyrants like Christopher Columbus never relieved little kids.

Columbus captured little native girls of 8 to 10 years old with the purpose of sexual slavery.

It’s just an example; there is no account of how many such atrocities have been inflicted on them.

The most tragic events were those when many groups of these indigenous people chose the path of mass suicide to get rid of the outrages.


3. Spread of Lethal Diseases Among Native Americans

In history, residents of European origin are infamous for the fact that they spread dangerous diseases all over the world.

We can feel this truth after their arrival to the new continent.

Do you know? Colonists spared such dangerous microbes among the people, whose immunity was not ready to fight against those threats.

Yes, those diseases were completely unknown and immediate to Natives’ health. As a result, it caused the deaths of millions of Native Americans.

Such microbes were:

  • Smallpox
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Bubonic Plague
  • Chickenpox
  • Scarlet Fever
  • Cholera
  • Influenza
  • Diphtheria
  • Measles
  • Malaria, etc.


4. Impact On Culture

European colonization also created an impact on the cultural side of the Americas.

Of course, it was obvious to happen because on one side where the people of Europe were very smart; similarly, on the other hand, the number of Natives reduced in both continents significantly.

Therefore, the immigrants’ impact on Natives’ culture was quite obvious.

For example, colonists successfully spread Christianism in the new world.


5. Impact On Political Authority

Earlier when locals dominated both American continents, the political authority was divided between various small local groups.

Each of these groups had its own supreme leader and they controlled the administration of their groups.

It was a simple system.

But the arrival of European colonists entirely changed this political system.

After their arrival, political authority became centralized and transferred to the hands of various countries in Europe.

Those nations were mainly Great Britain, France, Spain, etc.


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