Southern Colonies relationship with Natives
Southern Colonies relationship with Natives – Before white settlers arrived, the region of the Southern colonies was home to numerous Native American tribes and organizations. The Powhatan, an Algonquian-speaking tribe that inhabited what is now modern-day Virginia and Maryland, were one of the most notable groups. The Powhatan were an alliance of about 150 towns, or about 15,000 people, who were all unified under Chief Powhatan.
Prior to White Settlement, Native American Culture
Different gender roles characterized Powhatan culture. Women were in charge of plant gathering as well as farming, primarily of corn, squash, and beans. In addition, they were in charge of building homes, creating clothing, baskets, and other items, as well as rearing the kids. Men were in charge of fishing, making dugout canoes, hunting, and tribal defense. Because of the matrilineal nature of Powhatan society, familial ties were always traced down to the mother.
Powhatan settlements were typically constructed close to water, such as rivers or streams, on high land. They were made up of 2 to 100 dwellings, each of which could hold 6 to 20 people. The Powhatan people used bent saplings to construct their yehakin, or dwellings. Reeds and bark were then spread over the trees. In order to let smoke from the cooking fire escape, a sizable hole was created in the roof of each home.
The Cherokee and the Muskogee, often known as the Northern Creeks, were two other tribes that lived in the Southern colonies. Iroquoian tribes such as the Cherokee predominantly inhabited what are now Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. The Muskogee inhabited what is now Georgia. The Cherokee and Muskogee were always ready for battle, just as the Powhatan. In times of conflict, the Cherokee and Muskogee each had a red chief who oversaw red towns, and in times of peace, a white chief who oversaw white villages.
They also engaged in farming, hunting, and food gathering. The Muskogee and Cherokee also constructed towns and villages. The Cherokee constructed log homes with a single door and a hole for smoke to escape. Cherokee communities typically had a council house and between 30 and 60 dwellings. Wattle and daub, a construction method used by the Muskogee, entails weaving sticks and reeds and covering them with mud or clay.
The Bacon’s Rebellion represented a turning point in colonists’ interactions with regional natives. The rebellion’s origins date back to 1675. The colony had to deal with a variety of economic issues, including rising competition from neighboring colonies and falling tobacco prices. The colony also experienced severe weather and natural disasters at the same time.
In July 1675, tensions in Virginia erupted to their breaking point. Indians from the Doeg tribe staged a raid on Thomas Matthews’ farm. The raiders asserted that Matthews owes them money for stuff he allegedly stole from the tribe. The colonists were furious and made the decision to lead their own raid in retaliation. But the misled colonists chose the wrong tribe to attack—the Susquehannocks. Following the colonists’ raid, multiple further attacks were launched by nearby tribes.
The governor of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley, attempted to mediate a settlement between his colony and the Native Americans, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Nathaniel Bacon Jr., a Virginia colonist and the governor’s cousin, disobeyed Berkeley and intervened on his own initiative. He organized a raid on the helpful Appomattox tribe and took some of its members prisoner.
Berkeley persisted in trying to stop the fighting. His Long Assembly, which was founded in March 1676, passed a number of laws. Declaring war on hostile tribes was the first, creating a protective wall surrounding Jamestown was the second, and limiting trade with Native Americans was the third.
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