The history of the Native American people spans tens of thousands of thousands of years and crosses two different continents. Their history is a multifaceted story comprised of dynamic cultures that spawned intricate economic relationships and complex political alliances. The Native American people who lived in New England and the Middle Colonies began to trade with Europe in the 15th century, and what started as an economic opportunity for the Native American people, soon turned into their death sentence.
By 1600, French, Dutch and English traders frequently travelled to the northeast coast of North America to trade. A reciprocity-based system of exchange characterized initial trade relations. In the beginning, there was a good relationship between the European explorers and the Native American people in New England. However, soon things changed in New England, and when the Native American people ran out of bargaining material for the Europeans, the explorers began to take their land.
In the Middle Colonies, European explorers found a contrast of the South- a place where the cash crop plantation system ruled, as well as New England- where the rocky soil made agriculture next to impossible. Land in the middle colonies was fertile and was acquired more easily than in New England. Produce fed both the European explorers as well as the Native Americans in the middle colonies. The middle colonies represented a “middle ground” between New England and the south. The Native Americans in the middle colonies faired better than those in New England and those in the south.