School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic A. Individuals and Societies Change Over Time

Indicator 2. Analyze the chronology and the significance of key historical events leading to early settlements in Colonial America

Objective b. Analyze how key historical events impacted Native American societies


Native American societies were devastated by the establishment of colonial settlements in North America. The appearance of European explorers had already brought to native peoples diseases that decimated their populations and trade systems that upset traditional native economies. The arrival of permanent settlers further threatened Native American life. Despite periods of peaceful coexistence and even cooperation between Native Americans and Europeans, relations between the two groups during the establishment of the earliest settlements were hostile for the most part. Europeans expected and even demanded that Native Americans provide them with food, allow them to take whatever lands they pleased, and serve as guides. Native peoples resisted such treatment and attempted to force the Europeans to abandon their settlements.

In the case of Jamestown, a very brief period of peaceful trade between the Powhatan people and the colonists gave way to hostilities as it became clear that the English intended to remain in Powhatan territory permanently. English demands for assistance from the Native Americans, warlike military drills and fort construction, and seizure of the major Powhatan lands prompted the Native Americans to begin harassing the colonists. They attacked colonists who left the fort, refused to trade with them, and denied them food in an attempt to force the English to leave Virginia. An English attack on the Powhatan capital in 1610 led to open war, interrupted only very briefly by a period of peace between the marriage of the Powhatan leader's daughter Pocahontas to Englishman John Rolfe in 1614 and the deaths of Pocahontas and Powhatan by 1618. By the 1670s, the English had confined the Powhatans to reservations, made them subjects of the English king, and greatly restricted their movement and activities.

Relations among the Roanoke colonists and the Native Americans in the area were similarly unfriendly, and many historians believe that it was the Native Americans who were responsible for the disappearance of the Roanoke colonists. During the first attempt to settle Roanoke Island, the colonists had offended and angered the Roanoke people, even kidnapping and murdering Roanoke leaders. When the Roanokes withdrew all food and assistance from the colonists, hunger forced them to return to England. The Roanokes killed the 15 Englishmen left behind to hold down the colony. When the second group of colonists arrived, relations with the Roanoke people quickly deteriorated into attacks on both sides. Many historians believe that attacks by the Roanokes may have killed the colonists or forced them to seek shelter among the friendlier Croatoan people on a nearby island during Governor White's return to England.

Resources for Objective 5.A.2.b: