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美國歷史文化

PART ONE A NEW WORLD

An Overview Introduction of Part One

Long before Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered the New World in his effort to find a passage to Asia, the tribal peoples he mislabeled ―Indians‖had occupied and shaped the lands of the Western Hemisphere. By the end of the fifteenth century, when Columbus began his voyage west, there were millions of Native Americans living in the ―New World.‖ Over the centuries, they hade developed stable, diverse, and often highly sophisticated societies, some rooted in agriculture, others in trade or imperial conquest.

The Native American cultures were, of course, profoundly affected by the arrival of peoples from Europe and Africa, the Indians were exploited, enslaved, displaced, and exterminated. Y et this conventional tale of conquest oversimplifies the complex process by which Indians, Europeans, and Africans interacted. The Indians were more than passive victims. They were also trading partners and rivals of the transatlantic newcomers. They became enemies and allies, neighbors and advisers, converts and spouses. As such they fully participated in the creation of the new society known as America.

The Europeans who risked their lives to settle in the New World were themselves quite diverse. Y oung and old, men and women, they came from Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, and the various German states. A variety of motives inspired them to undertake the transatlantic voyage. Some were adventurers and fortune seekers, eager to find gold and spices. Others were fervent Christians determined to create kingdoms of God in the New World. Still others were convicts, debtors, indentured servants, or political or religious exiles. Many were simply seeking higher wages and greater economic opportunity. A settler in Pennsylvania noted that ―poor people (both men and women) of all kinds can here get three times the wages for their labor than they can in England or Wales.‖Y et such enticements were not sufficient to attract enough workers to keep up with the rapidly expanding colonial economies. So the Europeans began to force Indians to work for them. But there were never enough of them to meet the unceasing demand. Moreover, they often escaped or were so obstreperous不服管束的that several colonies banned their use. The Massachusetts legislature did so because Indians were of such ―a malicious, surly and revengeful spirit; rude and insolent in their behavior, and very ungovernable.‖

Beginning early in the seventeenth century, more and more colonists turned to the slave trade for their labor needs. In 1619 white traders began transporting captured Africans to the English colonies. This development would transform American society in ways that no one at the time envisioned. Few Europeans during the co
lonial era saw the contradiction between the New W orld’s promise of individual freedom and the expanding institution of race slavery.Nor did they reckon with the problems associated with introducing into the new society a race of peoples they considered alien and inassimilable.

Beginning early in the seventeenth century, more and more colonists turned to the slave trade for their labor needs. In 1619 white traders began transporting captured Africans to the English colonies. This development would transform American society in ways that no one at the time envisioned. Few Europeans during the colonial era saw the contradiction between the New W orld’s promise of individual freedom and the expanding institution of race slavery.Nor did they reckon with the problems associated with introducing into the new society a race of peoples they considered alien and inassimilable.

The intermingling of peoples, cultures, and ecosystems from the three continents

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