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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter narrates the meeting of the American and European worlds, a meeting that propelled Native people into a time of profound cultural, social, and political transformations. The forces that caused these transformations include military losses and cultural exchanges with early colonizers, the introduction of Old World diseases, and the consequences of political and economic incorporation into the modern world economy through a trade in Indian slaves. The impact of the European invasions played out differently in different regions and for different Indian polities and social groups. The full transformation of the Native world, then, must be viewed against a larger interpretive framework so that each instance of transformation can be understood as a distinctive phenomenon. This chapter offers such a framework through the concept of the “shatter zone,” which offers a regional frame for integrating events and people into a single interactive world.

Keywords: European invasion, European contact, early settlement, disease, modern world system, shatter zone, Indian slave trade, violence, European trade, transformation.

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