Religion, race and gender played a significant role in shaping the forms of interaction and association among different groups of people such as the Africans, Amerindians as well as the Europeans. During this time there were great encounters as early European voyages explored various parts of America in such of minerals and other natural resources. This culminated into cultural interactions in the 16th and 17th century that led to the Europeans taking over the land that belonged to Native Americans. They claimed to have discovered America and ended up building empires at the expense of the indigenous people. During this time many Africans, mainly Bantu from the West African countries had been enslaved by the Europeans (Benjamin, 2009). This paper is a reflection of the contribution made by race, religion and gender in shaping the interaction patterns.
At the time of the great encounter, native communities in America and West Africa lived in societies that were bound by common beliefs. Family unions were strongly rooted to their kin and clans. Each member had their duties and responsibilities clearly spelt out. For instance the women were supposed to farm and collect food in the forest and bushes while men supplemented the diet by fishing and hunting for game meat as well as protecting the community by fighting intruders (Bailyn, 2005). The Europeans were encountered by the men in the society and this led to many men being carried away as slaves. Some women were spared mainly because they were out in the woods collecting food.
The communities lived together bound by common beliefs. This made them very strong and able to fight their neighbors and other intruders. As a result of frequent encounters, some communities that followed similar values and norms formed alliances that strengthened them even more making them difficult to disintegrate. They believed in supernatural powers and adolescent girls and boys were separated and taught different ways mainly on how to behave and carry out their duties as adults (Benjamin, 2009). This posed as a challenge to Europeans as the cultural beliefs in these people which were strongly rooted to religion and presence of a supreme being which gave them supernatural powers to perform their daily activities made it difficult to interact with outsiders.
The interaction later led the Africans being sold as slaves by the Europeans. The trade became very popular to the extent of some native Africans who mainly resided in the West African coastline adopting it. They became middle men who mainly conducted raids in the mainland of the central Africa and Congo basin and capture slave for sale to the Europeans who had at the time become their trade partners. The Europeans offered ornaments and beads, tools made of metal as well as firearms in exchange with gold and other natural resources as well as slaves. This interaction led to the supremacy of the Europeans who ended up taking over the regions.
The way the Africans, Europeans and Amerindians interacted was as a result of various factors including the religion, race and gender. Interactions at the community level were determined by the cultural beliefs and gender determined the leadership of the communities as well as the duties and responsibilities. All these factors affected the patterns of interaction among the three groups as the Europeans went for the communities that were easier to disintegrate and relate with. Race placed Africans at a disadvantage as they ended up being sold as slaves.
Bailyn, B. (2005). Atlantic History: Concept and Contours. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Benjamin, T. (2009). The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.