European-Native American Relations

The era of the European exploration and colonization of Americas is attractive for many researchers because investigations in this field allow discussing the origin of the mixed American culture. The traditional discussion of this topic is based on the idea that new settlers changed the life of North America’s indigenous people significantly. In his book New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans and the Remaking of Early America, Colin Calloway, Professor of History, states that a traditional focus on changes in only Indians’ ways of life as a result of contacts with the Europeans is mistakable because the new settlers were also influenced due to the continuous interaction with the indigenous people1. The exploration in Americas allowed the development of cultural contacts and cultural exchanges among representatives of different societies. Calloway claims that the result of dynamic relations between the Indians and Europeans was significant ethnical and cultural transformations which led to creating ‘new worlds for all’, thus, new worlds for both the new settlers and indigenous people. According to Calloway’s main idea discussed in the book, the culture of the colonists was affected by interactions with the Indians as well as the culture of the Native Americans was affected by the process of colonization, and a new mixed and unique culture was created as a result of the synthesis.

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The title of Calloway’s book is effective to support the idea that the cultural interactions between the Indians and Europeans opened new perspectives for two societies, and new worlds were created for all participants of the transformation processes. Following the author’s words, the book “explores the new worlds that Indians and Europeans created together in early America and considers how conquest changed conquered people and conquerors alike”2. Thus, Calloway intends to describe how two cultures interacted in spite of the fact that Indians were conquered by white newcomers, and Europeans tried to avoid mixing cultures during a long period of time. Calloway notes that the process of transformation could not be avoided, and in fact, the white Europeans often “dressed, ate, hunted, grew corn, behaved and even looked like Indians”3. From this point, Calloway assumes that the nature of the relations between Indians and Europeans was more complicated than the traditional vision of those social interactions. The white Americans acquired different ways of living in the new territories as a result of interactions.

The structure of Calloway’s book allows the reader to focus on the role of different cultural exchanges in influencing the creation of the new synthesized culture of Americans. The book is divided into nine chapters and the introductory part which are organized to discuss different aspects of the Indians and Europeans’ interactions. It is important to know about the European-Indian relations that the intensity of cultural contacts influenced the degree to which the culture of the Europeans or Native Americans was affected as a result of daily social exchanges. In order to present the complete picture of the European-Indian relations, Calloway chooses to discuss such important themes in his book as differences in ideology, theology, warfare, diseases, foods, and cures of Europeans or Native Americans. Focusing on the elements of culture, Calloway presents clear examples to support the idea that the American mixed culture is a result of adapting and modifying the aspects of Europeans or Native Americans’ cultures. Calloway claims in his work, “how things could not have been the way they were without the interaction of Indians and European peoples in America”4. That is why, it is possible to discuss the social interactions as positive for both societies.

How could the relations based on the principles of satisfying the military and political needs as well as on the idea of conquest lead to developing a new mixed culture different from Europeans and Indians’ ones? In spite of the fact that Europeans were focused on expanding the economic and military opportunity in North America, they could not avoid the impact of the Native Americans’ culture because of the constant contacts with the Indians. According to Calloway, America “was a world where Indian and European people lived, worked, worshiped, traveled, and traded together, as well as a world where, often, they feared, avoided, despised, and killed each other”5. Thus, Europeans borrowed the elements of the Indians’ culture unintentionally, and the representatives of both cultures could learn from each other in order to contribute to the progress of the new mixed culture. Europeans discussed the life in America as the opportunity to recreate the world which was known to them, but their attempts to conquer and civilize Indians resulted in synthesizing the cultures in order to create the new world instead of recreating the old one6. There was a new world created in America with its own rules, and it differed from the known cultures because of brining the idea of a new American identity.

As it was noted earlier, intercultural interactions were associated with every part and aspect of the Europeans and Indians’ life. Calloway claims that “the new societies that grew out of the interaction of peoples in early America were amalgams, combining Indian as well as European and African influences”7. New amalgams were results of the prolonged interactions between Indians and Europeans, and these organizations meant the creation of the ‘new world’ for all the participants of the cultural and social exchange. If the British colonists avoided developing close contacts with Indians, and they focused more on the work and trade relations, the Spanish colonists went far, and the phenomenon of intermarriage was typical for them8. Mestizo became new citizens of the newly transformed American world9. Intermarriage contributed to strengthening the cultural links between the newcomers and Indians, and it was the important factor of developing cultural relations along with the exchange of traditions, technologies, and agricultural practices.

Calloway teaches the reader that it is impossible to discuss the relations between Europeans and Indians from only one perspective and concentrate only on the obvious conflict when it is more appropriate to see these relations as the cooperation which product was the new mixed identity of an American. Europeans and Native Americans shared not only lands and resources but also knowledge and ideas. This knowledge became the important part of the American cultural identity. Following Calloway’s words, “Early America in the wake of European invasion became a cacophony of languages, peoples, and cultures”10. The author pays attention to the fact that researchers of the American culture cannot ignore the idea that any social interactions lead to significant transformations related to all the parties of the process. According to Calloway, new worlds reflected in the title of the book are associated with the new American reality created by Europeans with the focus on their interactions with Indians. Calloway notes that “over the centuries, they built a new nation and a new society, and changed forever the American world they had invaded”11. From this point, Calloway’s book is about the creation of new worlds and visions changed as a result of the Europeans’ invasion.

Calloway’s voice in the book can be described as confident, balanced, and rather positive, and all the ideas presented on the book’s pages are supported with effective examples. Calloway is inclined to support his ideas with the evidence from historic documents and different types of primary sources. In spite of the fact that the researched data are available for the discussion by many historians, Calloway’s conclusions are most credible, and arguments are well-developed because the author avoids discussing only one point or perspective related to the topic.

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Colin Calloway’s book New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans and the Remaking of Early America provides an effective argument to support the idea that the European invasion in America created positive opportunities for developing a new identity for both Indians and Europeans. Thus, the relations between these different societies could be described as not only conflicting but also as cooperative because the prolonged contacts of Europeans with Indians allowed creating a unique mixed culture. From this point, America became the place where new worlds were created for the participants of significant cultural, social, and political transformations. In this case, the reader learns that it is impossible to discuss Europeans and Indians as conquerors and conquered in the situation of developing a new identity where they were partners.


Calloway, Colin. New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. New York: JHU Press, 1998.


1 Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (New York: JHU Press, 1998), 2.

2Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All, xiii.

3 Ibid., 4.

4 Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All, xiv.

5 Ibid., xiv.

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6 Ibid., 4.

7 Ibid., 4.

8 Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All, 179.

9 Ibid., 180.

10 Ibid., 6.

11 Colin Calloway, New Worlds for All, 2.

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