Photo Source: www.georgiaencyclopedia.org
Blog By: Megan Petrick
As seen throughout the 15th and 17th century, Europe became a world power driven to explore and colonize parts of the unknown world. Due to a stable political structure and missions granted by state governments, European countries were propelled to go out and receive an understanding for what world laid beyond the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. What drove several European countries to America was the ability to expand their territorial boundaries and gain value resources.
With the coming to America many Europeans ran into local Native American tribes. One in particular was the Cherokee Tribe. These Native Americans were the larges tribe to live in South Carolina. They built towns along rivers and to have access for fishing and traveling by canoe. Europeans proved to heavily impact the economy of these local people. The first economical change that affected these Native Americans was the impact of horses in the 15th century. Horses influenced the culture of the lives’ of these people by allowing for faster transportation of people and resources via horseback. In later centuries to come Europeans, mainly British brought several other important tools for trade and symbols of piece treaties with the native americans.
Cherokee people particularly found the use of metal tools to be very beneficial towards their life style. With better knives now accessible, skinning animals and cutting crops became a much easier process.
In return, The Cherokee people were able to teach many things to the Europeans. The skill of producing corn, maple syrup, sugar cane and grains were taught. Also the importance of cash crops such as cotton and tobacco were introduced to the Europeans, which became very valuable in time to come. This was significantly important to eh economy and survival of the Europeans because they were so unfamiliar with the American land.
Beyond trading items with the Cherokee, Native Americans significantly hurt the economies of the tribe by destroying the land in which they depended on. Native Americans thorough understanding of the land is what lead to great success in the cropping of vegetables and hunting of animals before the arrival of Europeans. Like many other tribes, the Cherokee moved from location to location in order to allow for vegetation to grow back and animal populations to increase. They never hunted more than they needed. However, the Europeans saw the land much differently. They were looking for ownership. They came into the Cherokee land and settled in one place.They destroyed vegetation by cutting down trees and building fences to keep people and animals out. The Europeans now insisted that the Cherokee people stay off “their land” . By forcing these native people off of their own land, it significantly hurt the Cherokee economy. Their whole system was organized by these passages of water, and now they were forced to relocate to place they were unfamiliar with. Some advancements in trade may have resulted in benefiting their economy, but overall most Europeans caused mass destruction.