Keith Hunt - True History of the coming of the Pilgrims Restitution of All Things


Some True History

Coming of the Pilgrims to America

   

From the book "1491" by Charles C. Mann


THE PLACE OF THE SKULL


     According to family lore, my great-grandmother's
great-grandmother's great-grandfather was the first European
person hanged in North America. His name was John Billington. He
emigrated aboard the Mayflower, which anchored off the coast of
Massachusetts on November 9, 1620. Billington was not among the
company of saints, to put it mildly; within six months of arrival
he became the first European in America to be tried for sassing
the police. His two sons were no better. Even before landing, one
nearly blew up the Mayflower by shooting a gun at a keg of
gunpowder while inside the ship. After the Pilgrims landed the
other son ran off to live with some nearby Indians, leading to
great consternation and an expedition to fetch him back.
     Meanwhile Billington made merry with other non-Puritan
lowlifes and haphazardly plotted against authority. The family
was "one of the profanest" in Plymouth colony, complained William
Bradford, its long-serving governor. Billington, in his opinion,
was "a knave, and so shall live and die." What one historian
called Billington's "troublesome career" ended in 1630 when he
was hanged for shooting somebody in a quarrel. My family has
always claimed that he was framed - but we would say that,
wouldn't we?
     Growing up, I was always tickled by this raffish personal
connection to history: part of the Puritans, but not actually
puritanical. As an adult, I decided to learn more about
Billington. A few hours at the library sufficed to convince me
that some aspects of our agreeable family legend were untrue.
Although Billington was in fact hanged, at least two other
Europeans were executed in North America before him. And one of
them was convicted for the much more interesting offense of
killing his pregnant wife and eating her. My ancestor was
probably only No.3, and there is a whisper of scholarly doubt
about whether he deserves to be even that high on the list.
     I had learned about Plymouth in school. But it was not until
I was poking through the scattered references to Billington that
it occurred to me that my ancestor, like everyone else in the
colony, had voluntarily enlisted in a venture that had him
arriving in New England without food or shelter six weeks before
winter. Not only that, he joined a group that, so far as is
known, set off with little idea of where it was heading. In
Europe, the Pilgrims had refused to hire the experienced John
Smith as a guide, on the theory that they could use the maps in
his book. In consequence, as Smith later crowed, the hapless
Mayflower spent several frigid weeks scouting around Cape Cod for
a good place to land, during which time many colonists became
sick and died. Landfall at Patuxet did not end their problems.
     The colonists had intended to produce their own food, but
inexplicably neglected to bring any cows, sheep, mules, or
horses. To be sure, the Pilgrims had intended to make most of
their livelihood not by farming but by catching fish for export
to Britain. But the only fishing gear the Pilgrims brought was
useless in New England. Half of the people on the Mayflower made
it through the first winter, which to me seemed amazing. How did
they survive?
     In his history of Plymouth colony, Governor Bradford himself
provides one answer: robbing Indian houses and graves. The
Mayflower hove to first at Cape Cod. An armed company of Pilgrims
staggered out. Eventually they found a deserted Indian
habitation. The newcomers - hungry, cold, sick - dug open burial
sites and ransacked homes, looking for underground stashes of
food. After two days of nervous work the company hauled ten
bushels of maize back to the Mayflower, carrying much of the
booty in a big metal kettle the men had also stolen. "And sure it
was God's good providence that we found this corn," Winslow
wrote, "for else we know not how we should have done."
     The Pilgrims were typical in their lack of preparation.
Expeditions from France and Spain were usually backed by the
state, and generally staffed by soldiers accustomed to hard
living. English voyages, by contrast, were almost always funded
by venture capitalists who hoped for a quick cash-out. Like
Silicon Valley in the heyday of the Internet bubble, London was
the center of a speculative mania about the Americas. As with the
dot-com boom, a great deal of profoundly fractured cerebration
occurred. Decades after first touching the Americas, London's
venture capitalists still hadn't figured out that New England is
colder than Britain despite being farther south. Even when they
focused on a warmer place like Virginia, they persistently
selected as colonists people ignorant of farming; multiplying the
difficulties, the would-be colonizers were arriving in the middle
of a severe, multiyear drought. As a result, Jamestown and the
other Virginia forays survived on Indian charity - they were
"utterly dependent and therefore controllable," in the phrase of
Karen Ordahl Kupperman, a New York University historian. The same
held true for my ancestor's crew in Plymouth.
     Inexperienced in agriculture, the Pilgrims were also not
woodspeople; indeed, they were so incurious about their
environment that Bradford felt obliged to comment in his journal
when Francis Billington, my ancestor's son, climbed to the top of
a tall tree to look around. As Thoreau noted with disgust, the
colonists landed at Plymouth on December 16, but it was not until
January 8 that one of them went as far away as two miles - and
even then the traveler was, again, Francis Billington. "A party
of emigrants to California or Oregon," Thoreau complained,

     with no less work on their hands, and more hostile Indians,
     would do as much exploring in the first afternoon, and the
     Sieur de Champlain would have sought an interview with the
     savages, and examined the country as far as the Connecticut
     [River, eighty miles away], and made a map of it, before
     Billington had climbed his tree.

     Huddled in their half-built village that first terrible
winter, the colonists rarely saw the area's inhabitants, except
for the occasional shower of copper - or claw-tipped arrows.
After February, glimpses and sightings became more frequent.
Scared, the Pilgrims hauled five small cannons from the Mayflower
and emplaced them in a defensive fortification. But after all the
anxiety, their first contact with Indians went surprisingly
easily. Within days Tisquantum came to settle among them. And
then they heard his stories.
     No record survives of Tisquantum's first journey across the
Atlantic, but arithmetic gives some hint of the conditions in
Hunt's ship. John Smith had arrived with two ships and a crew of
forty-five. If the two ships had been of equal size, Hunt would
have sailed with a crew of about twenty-two. Because Hunt,
Smith's subordinate, had the smaller of the two vessels, the
actual number was surely less. Adding twenty or more captured
Indians thus meant that the ship was sailing with at least twice
its normal complement. Tisquantum would have been tied or
chained, to prevent rebellion, and jammed into whatever dark
corner of the hull was available. Presumably he was fed from the
ship's cargo of dried fish. Smith took six weeks to cross the
Atlantic to England. There is no reason to think Hunt went
faster. The only difference was that he took his ship to Malaga,
on Spain's Mediterranean coast. There he intended to sell all of
his cargo, including the human beings.

     The Indians' appearance in this European city surely caused
a stir. Not long before, Shakespeare had griped in "The Tempest"
that the populace of the much bigger city of London "would not
give a doit [a small coin] to a lame beggar, [but] will lay out
ten to see a dead Indian." Hunt managed to sell only a few of his
captives before local Roman Catholic priests seized the rest -
the Spanish Church vehemently opposed brutality toward Indians.
(In 1537 Pope Paul III proclaimed that "Indians themselves indeed
are true men" and should not be "deprived of their liberty" and
"reduced to our service like brute animals.") The priests
intended to save both Tisquantum's body, by preventing his
enslavement, and his soul, by converting him to Christianity. It
is unlikely that Tisquantum was converted, though it's possible
that he allowed the friars to think he had been. In any case,
this resourceful man convinced them to let him return home - or,
rather, to try to return. He got to London, where he stayed with
John Slany, a shipbuilder with investments in Newfoundland. Slany
apparently taught Tisquantum English while maintaining him as a
curiosity in his townhouse. Meanwhile, Tisquantum persuaded him
to arrange for passage to North America on a fishing vessel. He
ended up in a tiny British fishing camp on the southern edge of
Newfoundland. It was on the same continent as Patuxet, but
between them were a thousand miles of rocky coastline and the
Mi'kmag and Abenaki alliances, which were at war with one
another.
     Because traversing this unfriendly territory would be
difficult, Tisquantum began looking for a ride to Patuxet. He
extolled the bounty of New England to Thomas Dermer, one of
Smith's subordinates, who was then staying in the same camp.
Dermer, excited by Tisquantum's promise of easy wealth, contacted
Ferdinando Gorges. Gorges, a longtime, slightly dotty enthusiast
about the Americas, promised to send over a ship with the men,
supplies, and legal papers necessary for Dermer to take a crack
at establishing a colony in New England. Dermer, with Tisquantum,
was supposed to meet the ship when it arrived in New England.

     One Edward Rowcraft captained the ship sent by Gorges from
England. According to Gorges's principal biographer, Rowcraft
"appears to have been unfit for such an enterprise." This was an
understatement. In a bizarre episode, Rowcraft sailed to the
Maine coast in early 1619; promptly spotted a French fishing
boat; seized it for supposedly trespassing on British property
(North America); placed its crew in chains aboard his own ship;
sent that ship back to Gorges with the prisoners; continued his
journey on the smaller French vessel, which led to a mutiny;
quelled the mutiny; stranded the mutineers on the Maine coast;
discovered that without the mutineers he didn't have enough
people to operate the captured ship and it was slowly filling up
with water from leaks; and decided to sail immediately for
Britain's colony in Jamestown, Virginia, which had the facilities
to repair the hull - a course that entailed skipping the promised
rendezvous with Dermer. At Jamestown, Rowcraft managed, through
inattentiveness, to sink his ship. Not long afterward he was
killed in a brawl.

     Incredibly, Dermer failed to execute his part of the plan,
too. In orthodox comedy-of-errors style, he did not wait for
Rowcraft in Maine, as he was supposed to, but sailed back to
England, Tisquantum in tow. (The two ships more or less crossed
paths in the Atlantic.) Dermer and Tisquantum met personally with
Gorges.* Evidently they made an excellent impression, for despite
Dermer's proven inability to follow instructions Gorges sent him
back with Tisquantum and a fresh ship to meet Rowcraft, who was
supposed to be waiting for them in New England. Dermer touched
land in Maine and discovered that Rowcraft had already left. On
May i9, 1619, still accompanied by Tisquantum, he set out for
Massachusetts, hoping to catch up with Rowcraft (he didn't know
that Rowcraft had sunk his own ship).

     What Tisquantum saw on his return home was unimaginable.
From southern Maine to Narragansett Bay, the coast was empty
......

*Gorges may have met Tisquantum before. In 1605 the adventurer
George Weymouth abducted five Indians, conning three into
boarding his ship voluntarily and seizing the other two by the
hair. According to Gorges's memoirs, Tisquantum was one of the
five. He stayed with Gorges for nine years, after which he went
to New England with John Smith. If this is correct, Tisquantum
had barely come home before being kidnapped again. Historians
tend to discount Gorges's tale, partly because his memoirs,
dictated late in life, mix up details, and partly because the
notion that Tisquantum was abducted twice just seems incredible.
......


"utterly void," Dermer reported. What had once been a line of
busy communities was now a mass of tumbledown homes and untended
fields overrun by blackberries. Scattered among the houses and
fields were skeletons bleached by the sun. Slowly Dermer's crew
realized they were sailing along the border of a cemetery two
hundred miles long and forty miles deep. Patuxet had been hit
with special force. Not a single person remained. Tisquantum's
entire social world had vanished.
     Looking for his kinsfolk, he led Dermer on a melancholy
march inland. The settlements they passed lay empty to the sky
but full of untended dead. Tisquantum's party finally encountered
some survivors, a handful of families in a shattered village.
These people sent for Massasoit, who appeared, Dermer wrote,
"with a guard of fiftie armed men" - and a captive French sailor,
a survivor of the shipwreck on Cape Cod. Massasoit asked Dermer
to send back the Frenchman. And then he told Tisquantum what had
happened.
     One of the French sailors had learned enough Massachusett to
inform his captors before dying that God would destroy them for
their misdeeds. The Nauset scoffed at the threat. But the
Europeans carried a disease, and they bequeathed it to their
jailers. Based on accounts of the symptoms, the epidemic was
probably of viral hepatitis, according to a study by Arthur E.
Spiess, of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and Bruce
D. Spiess, of the Medical College of Virginia. (In their view,
the strain was, like hepatitis A, probably spread by contaminated
food, rather than by sexual contact, like hepatitis B or C.)
Whatever the cause, the results were ruinous. The Indians "died
in heapes as they lay in their houses," the merchant Thomas
Morton observed. In their panic, the healthy fled from the sick,
carrying the disease with them to neighboring communities. Behind
them remained the dying, "left for crows, kites, and vermin to
prey upon." Beginning in 1616, the pestilence took at least three
years to exhaust itself and killed as much as 90 percent of the
people in coastal New England. "And the bones and skulls upon the
severall places of their habitations made such a spectacle,"
Morton wrote, that the Massachusetts woodlands seemed to be "a
new-found Golgotha," the Place of the Skull, where executions
took place in Roman Jerusalem.
     The religious overtones in Morton's metaphor are well
placed. Neither the Indians nor the Pilgrims had our contemporary
understanding of infectious disease. Each believed that sickness
reflected the will of celestial forces. As the writer and
historian Paula Gunn Allen put it:

     The idea that the realm of the spirits or the supernatural
     was powerfully engaged in the day-to-day life of nations as
     well as of villagers was commonly held on both sides of the
     Atlantic.... Both [Indians and Europeans] predicted events
     by the position of certain stars on the ecliptic plane
     around earth as much as by visionary techniques, and both
     assumed the reality of malicious as well as beneficent
     supernaturals.


     The only real question in the minds of either side was
whether Indian spiritual forces could affect Europeans, and vice
versa. (As an experiment, Cotton Mather, a celebrated New England
minister, tried to exorcise the "daemons in a possessed young
woman" with incantations in Massachusett. To his satisfaction,
the results demonstrated empirically that Indian magic had no
effect on Christian devils.) Until the sickness Massasoit had
directly ruled a community of several thousand and held sway over
a confederation of as many as twenty thousand. Now his group was
reduced to sixty people and the entire confederation to fewer
than a thousand. The Wampanoag, wrote Salisbury, the Smith
historian, came to the obvious logical conclusion: "their deities
had allied against them."
     The Pilgrims held similar views. Governor Bradford is said
to have attributed the plague to "the good hand of God," which
"favored our beginnings" by "sweeping away great multitudes of
the natives ... that he might make room for us." Indeed, more
than fifty of the first colonial villages in New England were
located on Indian communities emptied by disease. The epidemic,
Gorges said, left the land "without any [people] to disturb or
appease our free and peaceable possession thereof, from when we
may justly conclude, that GOD made the way to effect his work."
     Much as the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which killed tens of
thousands in one of Europe's richest cities, prompted spiritual
malaise across Europe, the New England epidemic shattered the
Wampanoag's sense that they lived in balance with an intelligible
world. On top of that, the massive death toll created a political
crisis. Because the hostility between the Wampanoag and the
neighboring Narragansett had restricted contact between them, the
disease had not spread to the latter. Massasoit's people were not
only beset by loss, they were in danger of subjugation.
     After learning about the epidemic, the distraught Tisquantum
first returned with Dermer to southern Maine. Apparently
concluding he was never going to meet Rowcraft, Dermer decided in
1620 to make another pass at New England. Tisquantum returned,
too, but not with Dermer. Instead he walked home - the long,
risky journey he had wanted to avoid. In the interim, yet another
English expedition had attacked the Wampanoag, killing several
without apparent provocation. Understandably enraged, Indians
attacked Dermer several times on his journey south; he was
eventually slain on Martha's Vineyard by another former Indian
abductee. For his part, Tisquantum was seized on his journey
home, perhaps because of his association with the hated English,
and sent to Massasoit as a captive.
     As he had before, Tisquantum talked his way out of a jam.
This time he extolled the English, filling Massasoit's ears with
tales of their cities, their great numbers, their powerful
technology. Tisquantum said, according to a colonist who knew
him, that if the sachem "Could make [the] English his Friends
then [any] Enemies yt weare to[o] strong for him" - in other
words, the Narragansett - "would be Constrained to bowe to him."
The sachem listened without trust. Within a few months, word came
that a party of English had set up shop at Patuxet. The Wampanoag
observed them suffer through the first punishing winter.
     Eventually Massasoit concluded that he possibly should ally
with them - compared to the Narragansett, they were the lesser of
two evils. Still, only when the need for a translator became
unavoidable did he allow Tisquantum to meet the Pilgrims.
Massasoit had considerable experience with Europeans - his father
had sent Martin Pring on his way seventeen years before. But that
was before the epidemic, when Massasoit had the option of
expelling them. Now he told the Pilgrims that he was willing to
leave them in peace (a bluff, one assumes, since driving them
away would have taxed his limited resources). But in return he
wanted the colonists' assistance with the Narragansett.
     To the Pilgrims, the Indians' motives for the deal were
obvious. They wanted European technology on their side. In
particular, they wanted guns. "He thinks we may be [of] some
strength to him," Winslow said later, "for our pieces [guns] are
terrible to them."
     In fact Massasoit had a subtler plan. It is true that
European technology dazzled Native Americans on first encounter.
But the relative positions of the two sides were closer than
commonly believed. Contemporary research suggests that indigenous
peoples in New England were not technologically inferior to the
British - or, rather, that terms like "superior" and "inferior"
do not readily apply to the relationship between Indian and
European technology.

     Guns are an example. As Chaplin, the Harvard historian, has
argued, New England Indians were indeed disconcerted by their
first experiences with European guns: the explosion and smoke,
the lack of a visible projectile. But the natives soon learned
that most of the British were terrible shots, from lack of
practice - their guns were little more than noisemakers. Even for
a crack shot, an unrifled, early seventeenth-century gun had
fewer advantages over a longbow than may be supposed. Colonists
in Jamestown taunted the Powhatan in 1607 with a target they
believed impervious to an arrow shot. To the colonists' dismay,
an Indian sank an arrow into it a foot deep, "which was strange,
being that a Pistoll could not pierce it." To regain the upper
hand, the English set up a target made of steel. This time the
archer "burst his arrow all to pieces." The Indian was in a great
rage"; he realized, one assumes, that the foreigners had cheated.
When the Powhatan later captured John Smith, Chaplin notes, Smith
broke his pistol rather than reveal to his captors "the awful
truth that it could not shoot as far as an arrow could fly."

     At the same time, Europeans were impressed by American
technology. The foreigners, coming from a land plagued by famine,
were awed by maize, which yields more grain per acre than any
other cereal. Indian moccasins were so much more comfortable and
waterproof than stiff, moldering English boots that when
colonists had to walk for long distances their Indian companions
often pitied their discomfort and gave them new footwear, Indian
birchbark canoes were faster and more maneuverable than any small
European boat. In 1605 three laughing Indians in a canoe
literally paddled circles round the lumbering dory rowed by
traveler George Weymouth and seven other men. Despite official
disapproval, the stunned British eagerly exchanged knives and
guns for Indian canoes. Bigger European ships with sails had some
advantages. Indians got hold of them through trade and shipwreck,
and trained themselves to be excellent sailors. By the time of
the epidemic, a rising proportion of the shipping traffic along
the New England coast was of indigenous origin.
     Reading Massasoit's motives at this distance is a chancy
business. But it seems likely that he did not want to ally with
the foreigners primarily for their guns, as they believed.
Although the sachem doubtless relished the prestige of foreign
firepower, he probably wanted more to confront the Narragansett
with the unappetizing prospect of attacking one group of English
people at the same time that their main trading partners were
other English people. Faced with the possibility of disrupting
their favored position as middlemen, the Narragansett might think
twice before staging an incursion. Massasoit, if this
interpretation is correct, was trying to incorporate the Pilgrims
into the web of native politics. Not long before Massasoit had
expelled foreigners who stayed too long in Wampanoag territory.
But with the entire confederation now smaller than one of its
former communities, the best option seemed to be allowing the
Pilgrims to remain. It was a drastic, even fatal, decision.

MACHINATIONS

     Tisquantum worked to prove his value to the Pilgrims. He was
so successful that when some anti-British Indians abducted him
the colonists sent out a military expedition to get him back.
They did not stop to ask themselves why he might be making
himself essential, given how difficult it must have been to live
in the ghost of his childhood home. In retrospect, the answer
seems clear: the alternative to staying in Plymouth was returning
to Massasoit and renewed captivity.
     Recognizing that the Pilgrims would be unlikely to keep him
around forever, Tisquantum decided to gather together the few
survivors of Patuxet and reconstitute the old community at a site
near Plymouth. More ambitious still, he hoped to use his
influence on the English to make this new Patuxet the center of
the Wampanoag confederation, thereby stripping the sachemship
from Massasoit, who had held him captive. To accomplish these
goals, he intended to play the Indians and English against each
other.
     The scheme was risky, not least because the ever-suspicious
Massasoit sent one of his pniese, Hobarnok, to Plymouth as a
monitor. (Hobamok, like Tisquantum, apparently adopted a new name
in his dealings with the British; "Hobamok" was the source of
evil in Wampanoag cosmology.) Sometimes the two men were able to
work together, as when Hobamok and Tisquantum helped the Pilgrims
negotiate a treaty with the Massachusett to the north. They also
helped establish a truce with the Nauset of Cape Cod after
Bradford promised to pay back the losses caused by their earlier
grave robbing.
     By fall the settlers' situation was secure enough that they
held a feast of thanksgiving. Massasoit showed up with ninety
people, most of them young men with weapons. The Pilgrim militia
responded by marching around and firing their guns in the air in
a manner intended to convey menace. Gratified, both sides sat
down, ate a lot of food, and complained about the Narragansett.
"Ecce" Thanksgiving.
     All the while, Tisquantum covertly tried to persuade other
Wampanoag that he was better able to protect them against the
Narragansett than Massasoit. In case of attack, Tisquantum
claimed, he could respond with an equal number of Indian troops -
and the Pilgrims, who might be able to intimidate the enemy. He
evidently believed that the Narragansett did not have enough
experience with European guns to know that they were not as
fearsome as they first appeared. To advance his case, Tisquantum
told other Indians that the foreigners had hidden away casefuls
of the agent that caused the epidemic, and that he could
manipulate them into unleashing it.
     Even as Tisquantum attempted to foment Indian distrust of
Massasoit, he told the colonists that Massasoit was going to
double-cross them by leading a joint attack on Plymouth with the
Narragansett. And he attempted to trick the Pilgrims into
attacking the sachem.
     In the spring of 1622 Tisquantum accompanied a delegation to
the Massachusett in Boston Harbor. Minutes after they left,
Bradford later recalled, one of the surviving Patuxet "came
running in seeming great fear" to inform the settlers that the
Narragansett "and he thought also Massasoit" were planning to
attack. The idea clearly was that the colonists, enraged by the
putative assault, would rise up and smite Massasoit. Tisquantum
would be away, so his hands would seem clean. Instead everything
went awry. In Indian villages people could only be summoned by
shouting; once a canoe had gone a few hundred yards, it could not
readily be called back. But when the news came of the impending
attack, Bradford ordered the Pilgrims to fire a cannon to order
back the expedition and Tisquantum. Meanwhile Hobamok, who had
acquired some English, indignantly denied the story. In a move
that Tisquantum apparently had not anticipated, Bradford
dispatched Hobamok's wife to Massasoit's home to find out what
the sachem was doing. She reported that "all was quiet."
Actually, this wasn't entirely true. Massasoit was furious - at
Tisquantum. He demanded that the Pilgrims send their translator
to him for a quick execution.
     Bradford refused; Tisquantum's language skills were too
vital. Tisquantum is one of my subjects, Massasoit said. You
Pilgrims have no jurisdiction over him. And he offered a cache of
fur to sweeten the deal. When the colony still would not
surrender Tisquantum, Massasoit sent a messenger with a knife and
told Bradford to lop off Tisquantum's hands and head. To make his
displeasure manifest, he summoned Hobamok home and cut off
contact with the Pilgrims. Nervous, the colonists began building
defensive fortifications. Worse, almost no rain fell between
mid-May and mid July, withering their crops. Because the
Wampanoag had stopped trading with them, the Pilgrims would not
be able to supplement their harvest.
     Tisquantum, afraid of Massasoit's wrath, was unable to take
a step outside of Plymouth without an escort. Nonetheless, he
accompanied Bradford on a trip to southeast Cape Cod to negotiate
another pact. They were on the way home when Tisquantum suddenly
became sick. He died in a few days, his hopes in ruins. In the
next decade tens of thousands of Europeans came to Massachusetts.
Massasoit shepherded his people through the wave of settlement,
and the pact he signed with Plymouth lasted for more than fifty
years. Only in 1675 did one of his sons, angered at being pushed
around by colonists' laws, launch what was perhaps an inevitable
attack. Indians from many other groups joined in. The conflict,
brutal and sad, tore through New England.

     The Europeans won. Indeed, after the war Massachusetts sold
more than a thousand Indians into slavery - perhaps one out of
every ten native adults in the region. Most went to the
Caribbean, but a few ended up as far away as North Africa. Their
treatment, alas, was not exceptional. The English sailors who
kidnapped and sold Tisquantum had been succeeded by English
colonists who were willing to do the same, especially if the
Indians involved had done something viewed as criminal - fought
against colonization, for example. (Some English criminals were
also sold into slavery under the same theory.) By the eve of the
American Revolution, a third of the native people in Rhode island
were enslaved. Indian bondage was more common still in the
southern colonies. The historian Alan Gallay has estimated that
between 1670 and 1715 English slavers in the South sold somewhere
between thirty and fifty thousand native people. So many were
exported to New England that most colonies there tried to ban or
restrict the trade - the southern Indians were regarded as
troublemakers. To be sure, Indians were not entirely hapless
victims. Most slaves were prisoners of war, seized in intertribal
conflicts and sold by enemy Indian groups to the English in
exchange for guns, pots, and axes. Nonetheless, the simple
existence of the Indian slave trade - thousands of native men and
women working in bondage for Europeans- was a testament to
Indians' catastrophic loss of power and status.

     What happened? Europeans won military victories in New
England, historians say, partly because they were divided among
themselves. Indians were unwilling, too, to match the English
tactic of massacring whole villages. But another, bigger part of
the reason for the foreigners' triumph was that by the 1670s the
newcomers outnumbered the natives. Groups like the Narragansett,
which had been spared by the epidemic of 1616, were crushed by a
smallpox epidemic in 1633. A third to half of the remaining
Indians in New England died. The People of the First Light could
avoid or adapt to European technology but not European disease.
Their societies were destroyed by weapons their opponents could
not control and did not even know they had.
..........

Oh the sad truth of the arrival of the first English Pilgrims and
what really transpired is finally being told, as it was, as the
truth of the matter really was. Finally much restitution of all
true history is coming forth as never before in the last 60
years. True history of ancient and modern (relatively)
civilizations is coming forth in books like "1491" and "The Fall
of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heather, as well as the books I've
already uploaded on the true history of ancient Britain.

Keith Hunt



 
Navigation List