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Hostility in the New World

             In the early 1600s, tensions were reaching a breaking point between the Native American tribes of Virginia and the English settlers at Jamestown. Cultural interaction had allowed for the impending impact to be staved off for a little longer – some Native Americans were employed as day laborers by the English, and some indentured servants had fled their English masters to Native American villages. Relations were improved upon even more with the marriage of Chief Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, to Englishman John Rolfe, but unfortunately even this was not enough to bring about a strong enough semblance of peace between the two cultures. Upon Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan's death, Powhatan's brother came into power – a leader who hated the English. Additionally, the Native American tribes were struggling to recover from a few epidemics, brought about by the English, which had devastated their populations. Further fueling hatred for the English was the English push even further up the rivers in an attempt to grab new land needed for their expanding tobacco crops during the period between 1607 and 1622, until finally, tensions broke with the 1622 attack on Jamestown. This was an unsurprising result, when one considers not only the history of relations between the two groups, but also the core values which made up the world views of each. Europeans and Native Americans had conflicting views on individualism, the natural world, private property, the structure of society (that is, a hierarchical versus a non-hierarchical society), the separation between the sacred and the secular, and several other principle notions that, when in collision with one another, do not bode well for a peaceful society. When one considers this amalgamation of differences, it seems to be inevitable that the collision between the two groups would occur. Some may argue that with a deeper effort of understanding, especially on the behalf of the Europeans, and a greater attempt to peacefully meld the two cultures, that such great hostility could have been avoided.

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