European contact on Native American Cultures

SS8H1 The student will evaluate the development of Native American cultures and the impact of European exploration and settlement on the Native American cultures in Georgia.

Learning Targets

b. Evaluate the impact of European contact on Native American cultures; include Spanish missions along the barrier islands, and the explorations of Hernando de Soto.

Hernando de Soto

European contact had a dramatic impact on the Native American cultures in Georgia. Hernando de Soto, the first European explorer in Georgia, was directly responsible for starving and killing a large number Native Americans in his quest for God,gold and glory (1539-1542). Later, the diseases he and his men carried with them, such as influenza and smallpox, caused massive population losses and the end of the Mississippian culture. Ironically, the Spanish who chronicled the Mississippian chiefdoms provided us with the only written account of this culture.

de Soto is credited with introducing pigs to the Southeast,his body was “buried” in the Mississippi in order to prevent the Natives from finding out that he had actually died, since they believed he was a god, and that the only way we know about his expedition today is based on the journals of three of his soldiers.

Spanish Missions

After De Soto’s failed expedition (he did not find any gold and died on the journey), both the Spanish and the French explored the area that became Georgia, and both attempted to create colonies which failed nonetheless. However, the most successful Spanish colonization attempt was during the “Mission Period” from 1568-1684. During this period the Spanish set up several missions(churches) on both the Barrier Islands as well as in the interior of the state. Some of the sites included Cumberland Island, St. Catherine’s Island, and the Okefenokee Swamp. Many were also established near future Georgia cities, such as Lumber City and Valdosta. The primary reason for establishing these missions was to convert the natives to Christianity (Catholicism). Consequently, the mission system was used to bring Native American cultures into the Spanish political and economic system. For instance, unmarried Indian males were required to work for the Spanish in Saint Augustine for several months out of the year. Once again, the close contact with the Spanish brought disease and death to many Native American villages. By the mid-1600’s, the Spanish mission system was crumbling due to the deaths of large numbers of natives, along with Indian raids often supported by the British. The last Spanish Mission in Georgia was destroyed by a pirate attack in 1684.

Webquest from Georgia

Click on “The Spanish Conquistador.” Read the first three paragraphs and look at the map.
o QUESTION 1: Why did the Spanish conquistadors come to the North America?
o QUESTION 2: What famous Spanish explorer trekked through Georgia?
o QUESTION 3: What impact did the Spanish explorers have on the Native American populations they encountered?
• Click on “Spanish Missions.” Read the first and second paragraph on this page.
o QUESTION 4: According to this page, what was the goal of the Franciscan monks who established Spanish mission on the coast of Georgia?

French, Spanish, and British reasons for exploration and settlement in the New World.

c. Explain reasons for European exploration and settlement of North America, with emphasis on the interests of the French, Spanish, and British in the southeastern area.

Spanish exploration

Each of the three major European nations had different reasons for exploring North American and the Southeast. Spanish interest can be summed up with the three “G’s:” God, Glory, and Gold. Specifically, Spain wanted to convert Native Americans to Christianity, the conquistadors were looking for personal fortunate and fame, and the Spanish Monarchy wanted to bring as much gold into their treasury as possible.

Spanish explorers such as Hernando de Soto and Francisco Coronado came to the new world in search of Gold and to spread God.  By the 1500's the Spanish explores and missionaries had established settlements in modern day Florida and along the Barrier Islands of Georgia.

French exploration

Though the French did explore southeastern North America, their primary focus was on the fur trade and their sphere of influence was in Louisiana, the Ohio Valley, and Canada. However, the French had connections to the future Southeastern United States and the state of Georgia. For example, French sailors such as Jean Ribault sailed off the coastline of Georgia and South Carolina in 1562. In addition, French Protestants came to the “New World” in search of religious freedom. These settlers,called Hugenots,moved to South Carolina in the 1680’s, and crossed into Georgia in the 1730’s.

French explorer Samuel de Champlain established the fur trade on the eastern shores of Canada in 1603.  This area was claimed for France and became the settlement of Quebec.  The Mississippi River region was claimed for France by explorers Rene-Robert Cavalier and Sieur de La Salle in 1682.  The settlements of New Orleans and Mobile came from these explorers.

English exploration

The British explorer John Cabot landed off the coast of Canada in 1497 and discovered massive forest and bountiful fish.  When he returned to England he told of his discovery and England hoped to establish settlements in the new world for mercantilism. The English were interested in permanent colonization in North America due to the economic policy of mercantilism. In a mercantilist economy, a country sought to export more than it imported. Often, the “mother country” sought out colonies that could produce raw materials which would then be sent back for production. The colonies would then purchase the finished products. Other reasons for English settlement in the New World included “religious freedom” and the opportunity for colonist to begin “a new life.” The first permanent English colony was Jamestown, Virginia, which was established in 1607. Though initially unsuccessful, the colony began to thrive after John Rolfe successfully developed a new form of tobacco. Based on the success of Virginia and the other northern and middle colonies, new southeastern English colonies were created and encouraged to produce agricultural products such as rice, tobacco,and indigo for England. These colonies included Maryland (1632), Carolina (1663: Divided in to North and South Carolina in 1712) and Georgia (1733).

Using a map of eastern North America, label the areas the French, English and Spanish settled.

Create a foldable with the following information.  This will be your study guide for the test.