Many times throughout history, specific events occur that explain why the existence of Native Americans are necessary for the Spanish and English colonists to survive. The Native Americans were like parents to the Spanish and English colonists. As a newborn baby is introduced to the new world, alike, the Spanish and English were introduced to a New World in which the Natives were already a part of. Their inhabitance of the land dates back to many thousands of years ago where they inhabited all regions of the America’s. When the Europeans arrived the Natives gave the colonists knowledge about the land. At times the Natives cared for them and supplied them with food and various other things. They also provided work for the colonists whether the Natives were slaves, servants or allied forces. Economically, the Natives were needed very much for anything the colonists would export to Europe. Throughout history, the colonists’ dependency on the Natives was clearly shown and the how the colonists exploited the Natives in every possible way was also clear.
What the colonists needed most from the Natives was their knowledge of the land. Because the Natives lived in the America’s for thousands of years, they are familiar with the area and they know how to work with it. For example, when Cortez landed on the Mexican shores on 1519, he used the Aztecs for their gold. When he found out where the Aztecs were getting their gold from, he simply destroyed them after he used them for their knowledge. Spanish colonists also had to learn a lot from the Pima, Pueblo and Papagos to be able to continue their farming in the very dry Southwest.
Another tribe’s knowledge the colonists needed for survival was the Hohokam. “The Hohokam built and maintained the first irrigation system in America, channeling river water many miles to desert fields of maize, beans, squash, tobacco, and cotton. ” The Hohokam’s knowledge of the dry lands and irrigation was passed on to later tribes, which was ultimately acquired by the colonists. This type of knowledge is essential to survival of the colonists because you could imagine what would happen to these farmers when they are left in a desert with no assistance, they would die! Thus, the knowledge of the land that the Natives had was critical to the survival of the colonists. Yet, with all the knowledge they provided, it still wasn’t enough.
Not only were the colonists dependent on the knowledge the Natives provided, but they also needed their care and their supplies. At times, the colonists reached the shores of the New World and met harsh conditions that they were not prepared for, yet the Natives have adapted to. At times like these, the Natives would care for this unknown kind. For example, in 1608 when 144 people were sent to Chesapeake to begin the first permanent English colony (Jamestown) and “[the colonists] survived the first year only with Powhatan’s material assistance. … They were unable to support themselves. ” The same incident occurred on the island of Roanoke when the colony there, “Was incapable of supporting itself... [the tribe leader] did the hospitable thing. ” Another example where the Natives did the hospitable thing for the colonists was at Plymouth when the Natives fed and cared for the Pilgrims. The previous examples prove the Natives were needed for the colonists’ survival. Almost all of the English colonies in the beginning would have perished if it weren’t for the Natives. The Natives are also responsible for “Supply[ing] [the first European colonists in the south] with rich harvests from their extensive fields… .” It’s hard to believe that with all the violence that goes on between the two cultures, that the Natives would actually give their own addiction of tobacco to the colonists. The Natives taught the colonists how to grow these plants and they used the Natives’ fertile, mild soil around the Mississippian River. As well as that, English colonists on the northeast shores of the U.S. farmed maize on the same land and fished in the same waters as the Algonquian tribe. There is an unending amount of examples of where the Natives provided care, supplies and life for the colonists. If the Natives were not there to provide these things, the colonists would not survive.
Work was another reason why the Natives were necessary to the survival of the colonists. Work can include of two different things: 1. Slaves or servants or 2. Being an ally in combat. Cortez (coming back into the picture) actually commits to using both types of work. When he reaches the shores of Mexico, he forms allies with the tribes neighboring the Aztecs, which were in check by the Aztecs. Obviously, these tribes want to bring down the Aztecs because of, “The many native peoples who lives under Aztec oppression… .” Thus, the allied forces of the Spanish and the Natives will overthrow the Aztecs. On top of that, Cortez will use the ‘leftover’ Natives as slaves to work on the mines and fields or as servants. Also, in the Spanish New World Empire, “There they supervised Indian or African workers in mining, ranching, or agriculture. ” The Spanish New World Empire and Cortez definitely show that some form of Native slavery or Native servants was used. If the Natives were not available to mine the gold, plow the fields and do all other sorts of jobs, the goals of the New World would either be delayed for a long period of time or perish. Therefore, the survival of the colonists depended on the existence of the working Natives.
Lastly, the Natives were needed for the economic survival of the colonists. In Europe, things were not going very well economically. There was a shortage of resources and much conflict that messes up the whole matter. Well, in the New World there are abundant resources and many people can trade with the Natives as well as using their agriculture. For example, the Intercontinental Exchange. The export of goods from the New World to Europe was immense and it was very good for the European economy. Precious metals and “ “Miracle Crops” provided abundant food sources that went a long way outward ending the persistent problem of famine in Europe. ” The type of trade and exporting that was occurring in the New World was very good for Europe and the Natives were behind it all. The Natives provided the tobacco growing knowledge, land and resources. The Natives provided the work that went into mining out precious metals such as gold and silver. And in the end, the colonists benefit from it, but not without the Natives.
In conclusion, the Natives were necessary for the survival of the Spanish and English colonists for four main reasons. They had knowledge of the land and this helped them greatly. Where to grow what and how to grow it, more importantly according to the weather. Although the Natives were massacred every time at the end, the hospitality and supply for food and agriculture they provided for the colonists was definitely a factor for their survival. They’re work as slaves, servants or allies was another reason as to the colonists survival. Lastly, the Natives were necessary to the economical survival of the colonists. Where they create the goods to export back to Europe. These reasons clearly identify what the colonists purpose was to the New World (Mercantilism) and that it is impossible for the colonists to be able to achieve their goal without the aid of Native Americans.