Not to confuse time periods with Native American Tribes?

I've often wondered if the "warlike savages" handed down from European writings wasn't just the predictable result of a societal breakdown and upheaval resulting from first contact rather than the nature of native society.
Maybe we ourselves are headed to a warlike savage state now.
 
Thread starter #22
I've often wondered if the "warlike savages" handed down from European writings wasn't just the predictable result of a societal breakdown and upheaval resulting from first contact rather than the nature of native society.
Maybe we ourselves are headed to a warlike savage state now.
I'm pretty sure they had wars before Europeans arrived but so did Europeans. I would not paint them any more salvage that any other nation to include Europe. The Spanish Conquistadors were probably not the most congenial explorers to the Native Americans.

I would also agree they were probably hostile as a result of the Europeans actions more than the other way around.
Plus if the early Europeans wanted to expand settlements and take land when they found gold on it, they would get more support from everyone if they painted the Indians as savages.

Even on a lesser scale say a farmer's house is raided by Indians, I doubt the community ever heard the whole story or the Indians side of it. The community didn't grab a mediator but a posse.
 

redneck_billcollector

Purveyor Of Fine Spirits
I've often wondered if the "warlike savages" handed down from European writings wasn't just the predictable result of a societal breakdown and upheaval resulting from first contact rather than the nature of native society.
Maybe we ourselves are headed to a warlike savage state now.
We know that during De Soto's travels they were rather warlike with each other and De Soto had no problem exploiting the past issues between the "kingdoms" of the southeast. The Arawak peoples of the Caribbean region and the Calusa of Florida (both coastal people who never heavily relied on agriculture and never took up "Mississippian" ways) were well known among the natives for their skills at "inter-tribal" warfare prior to contact with the Spanish. The simple fact that many of the kingdoms that De Soto encountered had palisades (there is only one reason for them, defense) tells you warfare was common. Most cultural collapses have a very common thread, that is warfare with neighbors. I would assume that was going on by the end of the 15th Century with the natives of the southeast with the deterioration of the Mississippian culture. With the rise of agriculture in all societies warfare followed simply because there was always a village, town or city state that occupied better agricultural lands than some of their neighbors and there was always a struggle for said lands. We know the Mesoamerican peoples' cultures revolved around warfare, the largest Empire at the time, the Aztecs rose to their apex due to warfare with other natives and had a religious system that relied upon warfare. Most scholars believe that the Mississippian Culture was influenced, and in part, inspired by the Mesoamerican cultures and much of the evidence backs that theory up so it would only stand to reason that warfare played an important part. We know the Mississippian peoples had a rather rigid caste system and with caste systems typically warriors hold an important place. Also there are many pre-Columbian artifacts that would only be used in warfare with no other practical purpose. Heck, the Anastasi of the southwest, a culture that collapsed due to the mini ice age mentioned in my other response, built their towns with defense in mind similar to the very early towns of Anatolia which are considered some of the oldest towns in the world. De Soto found slaves in pretty much every Indian Kingdom he encountered and they were often who he used for interpreters and the only way those slaves would have existed would be they were captured from competing kingdoms. Oh yeah, we know through archeological evidence that many Mississippian City States had palisades for defense during the height of that culture prior to any collapse, Cahokia had palisades and they were the apex of the Mississippian Culture...once again, there is only one reason for palisades, military defense. So yeah, warfare was common in the southeast long before Columbus sailed the sea so blue, and even the Norse commented on the natives and their love of war almost 500 years before Columbus. BTW Europeans often used the term Savage for those who had not adopted Christianity and had nothing to do with a "savage" disposition as we think of it.
 
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NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
What we call "tribes" and the tribes we know of in the southeast during English expansion into the Americas are relatively new. At the time of the first contact with the Spanish most southeastern natives resided in relatively small "kingdoms" each with their own language which were typically composed of a central "city state" with some surrounding villages near by. The Mississippian Culture was already in its death throws by the time the Spanish set foot in the New World more than likely due to climate change which impacted their agricultural methods. We know the northern hemisphere started experiencing a rather rapid cooling trend by the beginning of the 14th Century, this is the same cooling trend that some historians call the "mini ice age", it led to famine in Europe, along with the disappearance of the "Viking" settlements in Greenland some time in the 15th Century. It was during this time that the Baltic Sea froze for the first time in recorded history. It is also one of the reasons many experts say America is a nation that drinks beer instead of wine because it was impossible to grow good wine grapes in the Americas during this period, this climatic period lasted on into the mid 19th Century. When De Soto took his trip through the southeast, he described the political formation among the natives as mentioned above. He also had a couple of natives from Florida who he was able to communicate with the natives through. As he travelled from one kingdom to the next he would take hostage someone in the "kingdom" who could speak with his natives and then doing the same thing at the next kingdom. He ended up having to go through numerous interpreters by the time he reached north GA. The first natives he encountered that spoke what became known as a Muskogee dialect was the Kingdom of Chiaha on the banks of what is now called the French Broad River in eastern Tennessee, at least from what historians can figure. It is estimated that De Soto's trip through the southeast was responsible for the demise of roughly 90% of our natives due to diseases that the natives had no immunity to. These diseases are what let to the total collapse of the already dying Mississippian Culture. Those diseases also largely depopulated the southeast of natives. The natives largely associated the diseases with their local environs and the few survivors left their "traditional" homelands. One example of this was the Chiaha which by the time of America's Independence lived in southwest GA. By the time of Jamestown, the southeastern natives had already changed their life style and political systems to small towns scattered all over the southeast and practiced slash and burn agriculture and hunting / gathering which we associate with southeastern natives of the early colonial period. In GA there was no large scale tribal identity, that only came when various towns started forming alliances with other towns for trade with the Europeans and creating alliances with the various European powers who continued their political struggles from the continent in the New World, It was because of these alliances that who we call the Creeks formed a loose confederation among some Muskogee speakers, Hitchiti speakers (a form of muskogee) and some who spoke the language of the Shawnee along with a few smaller bands who had their own language (the Yuchi would be an example of those). These loose confederations were involved heavily in the slave trade of natives from Florida and ended up siding with European powers in Queen Anne's War, the Yamasee War and numerous other wars that were fought on the frontier of the Carolinas (Ga was not a colony yet). I imagine the Cherokee have a similar history. I know they often did not side with the British in the various European wars though they did stay neutral in the Yamasee War. They often were at conflict with the Creek Confederation and were often on the loosing side, with the Creek ending up with a lot of land that arguably would have at one time been Cherokee.
When Lawson went through what are now the Carolinas in 1700, he described often traveling 20 miles in a day, and encountering people that afternoon who spoke a totally different language from the ones they stayed with last night.
 

redneck_billcollector

Purveyor Of Fine Spirits
When Lawson went through what are now the Carolinas in 1700, he described often traveling 20 miles in a day, and encountering people that afternoon who spoke a totally different language from the ones they stayed with last night.
Yeah, even Benjamin Hawkins wrote about the numerous languages and dialects spoken by members of the Creek Confederacy and the confusion it caused at times at the main councils when they were called. Oddly enough by the time the US was born, one of the most influential members of the Creek Confederacy, Alexander McGillivray, needed an interpreter to speak at most councils because he could barely speak any native dialect. For whatever reason, modern Americans want everything to fit nicely in a box and want the natives of the southeast to be homogeneous. We have some false sense of romance when we talk about native Americans, especially those of us in the southeast. We somehow have a longing for a Utopia that never existed and somehow have attempted to put our southeast natives above the jealousies, the hatreds, the desires and prejudices of Europeans. Even one of the most famous native American remains, the Kennewick Man, a late Paleo-Indian had a spear point embedded in his hip and ribs broker by blunt force from which he recovered from. This showed violence among the natives prior to the advent of agriculture in the Western Hemisphere. The brutality of the Aztecs would make Rome's excesses under Nero pale in comparison, in reality the natives of the Americas were just as brutal, war like and desirous as the Medieval Europeans that first made contact with them. The only difference was they could not compete with the late 15th and early 16th Century technology and then the numbers of the Europeans and later the Americans. I am one of those rare people who do not hold some romantic notion of our natives and believe if they could have done to us what we did to them, they would have. The only thing that kept them from doing that with the early English in Virginia and then in Plymouth and the Dutch in New York was their desire for our manufactured goods they could not reproduce. By the time the realized what was happening, it was too late. I did not mention the Spanish in Florida simply because by the time St. Augustine was settled, most of the natives in Florida were in their twilight and largely gone. The French were a different story and they never tried to take land from the natives and only sought trade with them for the most part.
 
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We know that during De Soto's travels they were rather warlike with each other and De Soto had no problem exploiting the past issues between the "kingdoms" of the southeast. The Arawak peoples of the Caribbean region and the Calusa of Florida (both coastal people who never heavily relied on agriculture and never took up "Mississippian" ways) were well known among the natives for their skills at "inter-tribal" warfare prior to contact with the Spanish. The simple fact that many of the kingdoms that De Soto encountered had palisades (there is only one reason for them, defense) tells you warfare was common. Most cultural collapses have a very common thread, that is warfare with neighbors. I would assume that was going on by the end of the 15th Century with the natives of the southeast with the deterioration of the Mississippian culture. With the rise of agriculture in all societies warfare followed simply because there was always a village, town or city state that occupied better agricultural lands than some of their neighbors and there was always a struggle for said lands. We know the Mesoamerican peoples' cultures revolved around warfare, the largest Empire at the time, the Aztecs rose to their apex due to warfare with other natives and had a religious system that relied upon warfare. Most scholars believe that the Mississippian Culture was influenced, and in part, inspired by the Mesoamerican cultures and much of the evidence backs that theory up so it would only stand to reason that warfare played an important part. We know the Mississippian peoples had a rather rigid caste system and with caste systems typically warriors hold an important place. Also there are many pre-Columbian artifacts that would only be used in warfare with no other practical purpose. Heck, the Anastasi of the southwest, a culture that collapsed due to the mini ice age mentioned in my other response, built their towns with defense in mind similar to the very early towns of Anatolia which are considered some of the oldest towns in the world. De Soto found slaves in pretty much every Indian Kingdom he encountered and they were often who he used for interpreters and the only way those slaves would have existed would be they were captured from competing kingdoms. Oh yeah, we know through archeological evidence that many Mississippian City States had palisades for defense during the height of that culture prior to any collapse, Chahokia had palisades and they were the apex of the Mississippian Culture...once again, there is only one reason for palisades, military defense. So yeah, warfare was common in the southeast long before Columbus sailed the sea so blue, and even the Norse commented on the natives and their love of war almost 500 years before Columbus. BTW Europeans often used the term Savage for those who had not adopted Christianity and had nothing to do with a "savage" disposition as we think of it.
I didn't mean to imply it was the utopian falsehood of the peaceful pre-Columbian pastoral life spouted by many. I know human nature to well to fall for that lie.

No just wondering if some of the intertribal conflict observed had been set into motion generations earlier by first contact. I tend to think of history as a domino effect of X happens so inevitably Y or something like Y. Of course to simplistic but knowing human nature folks don't do X unless something prompts them to get off the couch.
 

redneck_billcollector

Purveyor Of Fine Spirits
I didn't mean to imply it was the utopian falsehood of the peaceful pre-Columbian pastoral life spouted by many. I know human nature to well to fall for that lie.

No just wondering if some of the intertribal conflict observed had been set into motion generations earlier by first contact. I tend to think of history as a domino effect of X happens so inevitably Y or something like Y. Of course to simplistic but knowing human nature folks don't do X unless something prompts them to get off the couch.
Cahokia which was abandoned completely around 1350, had defensive palisades. Like I mentioned earlier, Kennewick Man, a native from the late paleo period had numerous injuries from fighting other people, not the least of which was a spear point embedded in his hip. Warfare is the one constant conditions of our species, archeology and history show us that. Even one of our closest genetic relatives, the Chimps are known to practice a form of warfare against neighboring groups. Warfare often has desire at its root, someone wants something someone else has.....this has also led to the desire to be in control, it is the human natural state.
 
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Thread starter #28
I didn't mean to imply it was the utopian falsehood of the peaceful pre-Columbian pastoral life spouted by many. I know human nature to well to fall for that lie.

No just wondering if some of the intertribal conflict observed had been set into motion generations earlier by first contact. I tend to think of history as a domino effect of X happens so inevitably Y or something like Y. Of course to simplistic but knowing human nature folks don't do X unless something prompts them to get off the couch.
I understand what you are saying and believe it to be true. Like I said, I know they were at war with each other. But it doesn't change the fact that they were painted as being "Natives" or "Savages" by fighting with the things that made them fight the White man.

Just about anyone is gonna fight when you take their land or food.
They were no better or worse in terms of fighting than any other part of the world. But they were painted as being worse than Europe or Asia at that time.
 
Thread starter #29
I would agree that painting the enemy is a great propaganda tool. It was more than their war tactics. As mentioned savages were non-Christians. Pagans or Heathens. They were painted as being way behind in culture. Look at what they wore.

Kind of like the way we view the Middle East now. Since they are our enemy, we paint them as infidels, heathens. Look how they dress. Look how they have all these tiny tribes that's been fighting with each other forever.

I'm sure there is a lot involved with ancient wars. Land, food, slavery, religion, culture, etc. Human nature might be to not like tribes different from our tribe. Let's paint them as bad as we can to justify war.
 
It would be interesting if he did make it all the way to Mobile. I guess there are some Indians found later that were using Welsh words and construction designs.
If he did make it, perhaps he and his people spread Old World diseases among the native population in the South. That could have been part of the downfall of the Moundbuilders. Who knows...
It's a romantic thought to think the Welsh or other Europeans made it here and settled. However, if they did they left no evidence, genetic or otherwise. That doesn't necessarily mean they didn't as the Vikings of Greenland and Nova Scotia, who we know reached North America, didn't interbreed with the Skraelings they encountered either so genetic evidence might have never had the chance to show up.
 
True, but savage has been used for many.
I'm a descendant of norse vikings, highland scots and cherokees savages all at some point in history. But I believe my viking ancestors who had seen Constantinople would've thought the same of the English of Lindisfarne. I know my highlanders thought that of English in general. And the Cherokee probably pitied anyone outside of their mountains, lol.
 
Thread starter #32
They are really better to us than we are to them.”
John Lawson, North Carolina, 17095
A British naturalist and explorer, Lawson visited many Indian settlements in the Carolinas and later settled in North Carolina. Just before the outbreak of the Tuscorara War, he was captured and killed by Tuscarora Indians.

“they will seldom injure
a Christian, except if
given cause for it”
Christoph von Graffenried, North Carolina, 17117

“In a little time white men will be dust as well as I.”
Tomachichi, Georgia, 173612
(oh no, I hope that isn't a prophesy!)
 
Thread starter #33
But on the other hand they are haughty, especially towards their wives, who are not much better than
slaves. They must wait upon their husband in the house, do all the household work, and they may not eat
with their husband. On the hunt the wife must haul all the baggage and household goods, yet meanwhile
the husband carries only his gun, mirror, shot pouch and sometimes a bottle of brandy. Yet they do all this
so willingly that it seems rather their kind intention than a burden on them. . . They are cruel to their war
captives, and they either take off the skin from the top of their heads, or burn them up while they are still
alive.

https://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/peoples/text3/indianscolonists.pdf
 

redneck_billcollector

Purveyor Of Fine Spirits
Interestingly enough, I am sitting here watching a documentary about the creation of agriculture in the Americas thousands of years ago (6000 or a little bit more) in Oaxaca MX with the domestication of teosinte which became what we know as corn. It is linking through archeological evidence how the cultivation of this grass and its domestication led to a culture of warfare in the Americas. It is showing that where ever agriculture was practiced warfare followed then and there. It appears to confirm what I was saying in this thread earlier.
 
Interestingly enough, I am sitting here watching a documentary about the creation of agriculture in the Americas thousands of years ago (6000 or a little bit more) in Oaxaca MX with the domestication of teosinte which became what we know as corn. It is linking through archeological evidence how the cultivation of this grass and its domestication led to a culture of warfare in the Americas. It is showing that where ever agriculture was practiced warfare followed then and there. It appears to confirm what I was saying in this thread earlier.
Interesting. They wouldn't have been the only culture in history to base power off controlling the food supply. The Japanese used the measure of rice to feed one person for one year called a Koku to determine wealth and power. A regional chief had to have influence over a certain amount of Koku to be considered a lord.
 
Thread starter #36
Interestingly enough, I am sitting here watching a documentary about the creation of agriculture in the Americas thousands of years ago (6000 or a little bit more) in Oaxaca MX with the domestication of teosinte which became what we know as corn. It is linking through archeological evidence how the cultivation of this grass and its domestication led to a culture of warfare in the Americas. It is showing that where ever agriculture was practiced warfare followed then and there. It appears to confirm what I was saying in this thread earlier.
I've read a lot about the beginnings of corn and it's importance. Including Nixtamalization which made it even more valuable. I find that interesting that a ear of corn used to be about the size of other grass grains. I can see them engineering it bigger for food but did they know soaking it in lye would make it more nutritious?

I have never heard of it's ties to warfare. That does sound interesting.
 

redneck_billcollector

Purveyor Of Fine Spirits
Interesting. They wouldn't have been the only culture in history to base power off controlling the food supply. The Japanese used the measure of rice to feed one person for one year called a Koku to determine wealth and power. A regional chief had to have influence over a certain amount of Koku to be considered a lord.
Yeah, civilization was born through the control of food and with it warfare always followed, this is true anywhere in the world. Conquest was often necessary to impose order. By this I mean you needed to conquer your neighbors so they would not attempt to take your food, goods and land that all came about due to being settled. Through conquest kingdoms/empires arose, kind of like a dog chasing its tail, because your neighbors attempted the same thing and the balance of power always shifted at some point in time.....one always leads to the other and then you throw organized religion into the mix......which is said to be the cement that holds civilization together, you get the story of man kind, the world over. This cycle played out in the Americas too, in some places on a much smaller scale but in other places on a scale near as large as Europe. The Aztecs were as large as most contemporary European societies as were the Teotihuacans who subjugated the lowland Mayans in the 4th century.
 

redneck_billcollector

Purveyor Of Fine Spirits
I've read a lot about the beginnings of corn and it's importance. Including Nixtamalization which made it even more valuable. I find that interesting that a ear of corn used to be about the size of other grass grains. I can see them engineering it bigger for food but did they know soaking it in lye would make it more nutritious?

I have never heard of it's ties to warfare. That does sound interesting.
The cultivation of corn led to the rise of the earliest Mesoamerican civilizations, the Zapotec which conquered much of Oaxaca and ruled much of southern Mexico until they were conquered by the Teotihuacans. Archeologist found that as soon as corn was domesticated and those that domesticated it settled down, they were immediately set upon by their less sophisticated neighbors who wanted what they had. They attempted to steal the fields of the early agriculturalist which led these small family groupings to forming villages, and then those villages over time forming towns and eventually to the formation of the first Mesoamerican city....Monte Albán, which was a mountain top fortress. These communities were formed for mutual defense, or so the archeologist say. This "corn culture" worked its way into North America and eventually to the southeastern US. With corn and agriculture came the need for mutual defense...etc....etc....
 
Thread starter #40
I read that Cahokia was the third largest city during it's time. Plus I'm assuming it had many smaller villages associated with it. I wonder if something happened to the corn crop.
 
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