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Early American History

The Puritan migration of the 1630s and the settlement in Virginians in the 1620s had different experiences with the native population. The area the Virginians settled had a much higher population density of Native Americans then did Massachusetts a decade later . As such, the native attacks on the civilized areas were greater in Virginia than in Massachusetts. In the beginning, the colonists of Virginia were much more aggressive toward the Native Americans then were the Puritans . The Indian relations of the Puritans were directly related to the population density of the Native American.

Their population had been virtually decimated by a small pox outbreak prior to the arrival of the Puritans. They accepted the low native population as Divine Grace, believing that God had used the epidemic to clear the land and pacify the Indians. The destruction of the tribes meant that the remaining natives would not be a military threat for decades. Indeed, it was not until the 1670s that the population density of the Native Americans would again become a serious threat to the well being of the colonists . In Contrast, the Natives were a direct and real threat to the colonists at Jamestown in Virginia.

The colonists could not effectively conceal the contempt they felt toward the Natives. The Natives worked hard to ensure that the colonists felt secure and safe. From 1618 to 1622, the Indians traded corn and other products with the colonists. The colonists, benefiting form this false facade of peace, willingly traded with the Indians. In 1622 the Native Americans attacked and killed nearly three hundred and fifty men, women, and children throughout the colony . HIST 108: EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY PAGE 2 OF 2 The natives were much better prepared to deal with the colonist in Virginia then they were the Puritans.

The Chief of the Powhatans, Opechancanough, had prepared his people for the attack since the beginning of the colonization in the late 1500s. He prepared his people and those of the Chickahominies to attack simultaneously. This was an attempt to free his people from what he considered as a yoke of oppression . The colonists of Virginia were more aggressive toward the Native Americans then were the Puritans. The Puritans were able to advance and colonize land area where the native population had been depleted by small pox. The Virginians had no such luxury.

The natives that were near the colonists of Virginia felt oppressed by the colonists and took revenge against them in mass. The revenge of the Virginians resulted in the burning of native crops and the killing of as many natives as possible. This aggression was prosecuted from 1622 until 1632, when the natives were forced out into the lands of the west . The Puritans would have no real conflict with the native population until the 1670s.


Bridenbaugh, Carl. Jamestown 1544-1699. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. Breen, T. H. Puritans and Adventurers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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