The Natives and the English – Crash Course US History #3

Hi I’m John Green, this is Crash Course US History and today we’re going to talk about one of the worst relationships in American history. No Thought Bubble, not my college girlfriend and me. Mr. Green, Mr. Green! Your relationship with your high school girlfriend? Oh Me From The Past, you and I both know that
I didn’t have a high school girlfriend. No, I’m talking about the relationship between
Native Americans and English Settlers. [Theme Music] So as you’ll no doubt remember from last week, the first English settlers came to the Chesapeake area – now Virginia – in 1607. The land the English found was, of course, already inhabited by Indian tribes unified under the leadership of Chief Wahunsenacawh, and I will remind you that mispronouncing things is my thing! The English called this Chief Powhatan because, of course, mispronouncing things was also their thing. Powhatan was actually his title and the name of his tribe, but to say that the English lacked cultural sensitivity would be an understatement. So Powhatan didn’t get to be leader of over 30 tribes by being a dummy and he quickly realized that: 1. The English were pretty clueless, when it
came to not dying of starvation, and 2. They were useful – because they had guns. So he decided to help them and the English
were indeed grateful. In fact, colony leader John Smith went so far as to order the colonists to stop stealing food from the Indians. Aaauugh, in the book business this is known
as foreshadowing. So as previously noted, relationships, whether between individuals or collectives, tend to go well when they are mutually beneficial, and for a while, both the English and the Indians were better off for these interactions. I mean, you know, post-smallpox. The Virginia Company existed to make money, and since the Chesapeake lacked gold or silver, making money required trade. OK, let’s go to the Thought Bubble: We tend to think of trade between Europeans and Natives as being a one-way exchange, like savvy, exploitative Europeans tricking primitive, pure, indigenous people into unfair deals. But that isn’t quite accurate. Both sides traded goods that they had in surplus
for those they did not. The English were happy to give up iron utensils, tools, guns, woven cloth in exchange for furs and, especially in the early days, food, which the Indians could easily part with because they had plenty. Soon, though, there were problems. In order to keep up trade relations, Indian men devoted more time to hunting and less to agriculture which upset traditional gender balance in their society. And European ideas about land use started to overcome traditional Indian ways of life, and that led to conflict. The English liked to fence in some of their land, which kept the Indians off it, and also the English let their pigs and cattle roam freely and the animals would eat Natives’ crops. And as Europeans’ appetite for furs grew, Indian tribes began to fight with each other over access to the best hunting grounds, leading to inter-tribal warfare, which suddenly included guns. But this was still a relatively calm time. Yes, at one point John Smith was captured by the Indians and had to be “saved” by Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, but this was probably all a ritual planned by Powhatan to demonstrate his dominance over the English. Pocahontas never married John Smith by the way, but she was kidnapped by the English and held for ransom in 1613, and she did eventually marry another Englishman, John Rolfe. She converted to Christianity and went to England, where she became a sensation and died of disease. Stupid disease always deciding the course
of human history. Anyway, despite not marrying Pocahontas, John Smith is still important to this story because when he left Virginia for England after being injured in a gunpowder explosion, things between the Native Americans and the English immediately began to deteriorate. How? Well, the English went back to stealing Indians’ crops and also began stealing their lives via massacres. Thanks, Thought Bubble – man, you guys sure
know how to end on a downer. Although to be fair, there are not a lot of
uppers in this story. So after a period of peace following Pocahontas’ marriage to John Rolfe in 1614, dramatized here, things finally came to a head in 1622, when Chief Opechancanough led a rebellion against the English. It had become abundantly clear that more and more English were going to show up and they weren’t just there to trade. They wanted to take Indian land. But the English struck back, as empires will,
and the uprising of 1622 ultimately failed. And after another failed uprising in 1644, the 2,000 remaining Native Americans were forced to sign a treaty that consigned them to reservations in the West. Well, the west of Virginia, at least. But the 1622 uprising was the final nail in the coffin of the Virginia Company, which was a failure in every way. It never turned a profit, and despite sponsoring 6,000 colonists, by 1644 when Virginia became a royal colony, only 1,200 of those people were still alive, proving once again that governments are better at governing than corporations. Up in New England, you’ll recall that the Pilgrims probably wouldn’t have survived their first winter without help from the Native Americans, which of course led to the first Thanksgiving, and then centuries of mutually beneficial trade and generosity– just kidding. While some of the Puritans that settled in New England – notably Roger Williams – tried to treat the Indians fairly, in general it was very similar to what we saw in the Chesapeake. Settlers thought Native Americans could be replaced because they weren’t “properly using the land.” Now John Winthrop, who you’ll remember from last week, at least realized that it was better to buy land from Indians than just take it. But Puritan land purchases usually came with
strings attached. The main string being that the Native Americans
had to submit to English authority. Now, the Puritans had a rather conflicted
view of the Indians. On the one hand, they saw natives as heathens in need of salvation, as evidenced by the Massachusetts seal, which features an Indian saying “Come over and help us.” On the other hand, they recognized that the Native American way of life – with its relative abundance and equality, especially when it came to women – might be tempting to some people, who might want to go native. This was such a concern that in 1642, the Massachusetts General Court prescribed a sentence of three years hard labor for anyone who left the colony and went to live with the indigenous people. There was even anti-Indian propaganda in the
form of books. Captivity narratives, in which Europeans recounted their desire to return to Christian society after living with the Indians, were quite popular. Even though some, like the famous Sovereignty and Goodness of God by Mary Rowlandson, did admit that the Indians often treated their European captives quite well. New England’s native population lacked an overarching leader like Powhatan, but by 1637, the inevitable conflict between the English and the Indians did happen. It was called the Pequot War. After some Pequots killed an English fur trader, soldiers from Massachusetts, the newly-formed colony of Connecticut, and some Narragansett Indians, who saw an opportunity to gain an upper hand over the Pequots, attacked a Pequot village at Mystic, burning it and massacring over 500 people. The war continued for a few months after this, but to call it a war is, in a way, to give it too much credit. The Indians were over-matched from the beginning, and by the end, almost all of them had been massacred or sold into slavery in the Caribbean. The War opened up the Connecticut River to
further settlement. It also showed that Native Americans were going to have a tough time resisting, because they were outnumbered and they had inferior weapons. But the brutality of the massacre in Mystic shocked even some Puritans, like William Bradford, who wrote, “It was a fearful sight to see them frying in the fire.” But despite the odds, New England natives
continued to resist the English. In 1675, Native Americans launched their biggest attack on New England colonists in what would come to be known as King Philip’s War. It was led by a Wampanoag chief named Metacom, which was why it is also sometimes called Metacom’s War. The English called Metacom “King Philip” due
to their fantastic cultural sensitivity. The conflict was marked by brutality on both sides and it nearly ended English settlements in the northeast. The fighting itself lasted 2 years. Indians attacked half of the 90 towns the English had founded, and 12 of those towns were destroyed. About 1,000 of the 52,000 Europeans and 3,000
of the 20,000 Indians involved died in the War. As I mentioned before, the War was particularly
brutal. The Battle of the Great Swamp was really just
a massacre of Indians by the English. And when King Philip was finally killed, ending the War, his decapitated head was placed on a stake in the Plymouth town square, where it remained for decades. And on the other side? Well, to quote Nathaniel Saltonstall, who
lived through the war, “The heathen rarely [gave] quarter to those that they take, but if they were women, they first forced them to satisfy their filthy lusts and then murdered them.” Saltonstall went on to describe a particularly brutal way that natives would kill colonists’ cows: by cutting “their bellies and letting them go several days trailing their guts after them.” That indigenous people would reserve such brutality for livestock says something really important about this war. The Indians correctly saw European colonization as a threat to their way of life, and that included the animals who trampled Indians’ land and whose grazing patterns required the English to take more and more territory. Some of the stories told about Native American brutality also suggest the symbolic nature of this war. Like, one English colonist was disemboweled
and had a Bible stuck in his body cavity. Supposedly, the natives who buried him explained, “You English, since you came into this country have grown exceedingly above the ground. Let us see how well you grow when planted
into the ground.” But it wasn’t just the Indians who felt their
way of life being threatened. It’s time for this week’s Mystery Document! The rules here are simple. I read the Mystery Document.
I try to guess its author. If I’m right, I don’t get shocked with the
shock pen. If I’m wrong, I do. “The righteous god hath heightened our calamity and given commission to the barbarous heathen to rise up against us and to become a smart rod and a severe scourge to us in burning and depopulating several hopeful plantations, murdering many of our people of all sorts and seeming as it were to cast us off hereby speaking aloud to us to search and
try out our ways and turn again unto the Lord our God from whom we have departed with a
great backsliding.” OK, I don’t know this one, so I’m going
to have to piece it together. Uh, we have a plural narrator, that’s important. Seemingly monotheistic, feels like the heathens
in this context – likely the Native Americans – have been sent as a scourge [scorge], or scourge [scurge], as it is apparently properly pronounced. What, I’m from Alabama, I don’t know how to
say a ton of words. I mean, I just recently learned that you don’t check your Ya-HOO! mail, you check your YA-hoo! mail, and Yahoo!’s over already! All right so plural narrator, scourge, great backsliding uhh Stan, you’re going to get to shock me this time, who is it? [Buzzing Sound] The Laws of War passed by the General Court of Massachusetts in 1675. Are you kidding? From now on, the Mystery Document must always
be written by a single human person! I hate this. I hate this so much. It’s worse now, because I’ve had it before,
so I know it’s gonna – GAHHHHHH!!! This shows us the way the Puritans understand the world, but it also show us that within 50 years of its founding, Puritans already felt that the mission of their colony – to be a great Christian community – was already kind of a failure. If they’d been as righteous as they were supposed to be, God wouldn’t have sent the Indians to burn their homes and kill them. So it’s important to understand that this was a war to preserve a way of life for both the Indians and the English. And that brings us to another question: What’s the point of even telling these bloody stories about massacres and atrocities. One point is to remind ourselves that much of what we learn about American history, like all history, has been cleaned up to conform to our mythological view of ourselves. Native Americans have been so successfully marginalized, both geographically and metaphorically, that it’s easy to either forget about them or else to view them merely as people to be pitied or reviled. But it’s important to know the ways that they resisted colonization, because it reminds us that Native Americans were people who acted in history, not just people who were acted upon by it. And it also reminds us that the history of Indigenous people on this land mass isn’t separate from American history; it’s an essential part of it. Thanks for watching.
I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller, our script supervisor is Meredith Danko, the associate producer is Danica Johnson, and the show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer and myself. Our graphics team is Thought Bubble. If you have questions about today’s video,
please ask them in comments. They will be answered by our team of crack
historians. By the way, our team of crack historians is a team of excellent historians, not a team of historians who study crack cocaine. Thanks for watching. As we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.

  1. What were the reasons for the intensified warfare between Native Americans and settlers in New England in the late 1600s illustrated in the bloody King Philip’s War?

  2. I only have one wish, and that would be that you slow down your speech. Really! I cannot take it all in and I love to use these for my students, but way too fast!!!!!

  3. London and Plymouth companies did used st george's cross.The first english -native contact was likely at the time of Drake.

  4. "…the worst relationship in American history."
    Me: USUK! USUK!
    "…the relationship between Native Americans and English settlers."
    Me: Close enough.

  5. wait wait wait hold up im completely confoozled? so was it that I didn't like history or was it that I wasn't taught by the right teacher?

  6. I got finals tommorow so therefore im going to watch ever SINGLE video there is.. wish me luck✊
    imma give you guys an update

  7. English flag should be used.The UK was formed in 1707.And what about Roanoke colony and Rupert's land?Also wasn't Gosnold the first english man who did claimed New England?

  8. This person have such bias and wrong view of history that I dont think he thinks, he just read someone else’s bad works and is using it to promote his crazy and corrupt views just like bill nye the “not a science guy” people stay away from this junk

  9. For the most part I love CrashCourse, but I dread the mystery document segment. I crushed a nerve in my hand that administers shocks dozens of times daily and I cringe at the possibility of John Green going through that for entertainment.

  10. Most of their intentions were well and good but there are some who disband and hate the Indians even though all they have gained in vain

  11. "To try and lay judge on one is to look at both sides of a coin and see if the wrong is to out right the wrong out rights the right"

  12. Wait – so Indian tribes killing each other was also the fault of the settlers? Sorry, but the Indian tribes massacred each other all the time before Europeans arrived. I'm afraid you guys are not a credible source of information.

  13. Speaking at 85mph though. Like my brain has like .3 seconds to process one sentence before you move on to the next. I'd pay good money for a pause button but it's free so that's cool. (Don't get any bright ideas though YouTube..) Anyway, good stuff.

  14. So i thought this was credible untill you talked about pocohantis(sorry for the butcher) saving john smith. Which never happened, it was a made up story by john smith. I mean, woman couldnt even be there when the chief met with the english. Also john smiths crew admitted it was fake.

  15. I know I'm 6 years late but why do you sometimes refer to Native Americans as Indians? It seems you only did it in the context of directly retelling the interactions between settlers and Native Americans but its, ,,slightly irritating only because I know you wouldn't be the kind of person to switch between the two terms without reason

  16. The Spanish at least saw the natives as to become part of Spain. And the fascist nazi Americans still see natives as heathens.

  17. 5:15 "This was such a concern that in 1642, the Massachusetts general court prescribed a sentence of three years hard labor for anyone who left the colony and went to live with the indigenous people" I was thinking of using this info for an essay about Native American history comparing it to current events- has anyone found a different site that confirms this? I couldn't find anything but it would really help me make a statement. Thanks!

  18. Connecticut: hey we’re finally mentioned
    John: All of them had been massacred or sold into slavery
    Connecticut: oh

  19. Well John, can you imagine that Pocahontas defends Aggie Prenderghast from the judge Hopkins? Because Pocahontas is native indian while Aggie is a puritan and so the America were discovered for one hundred since 1492

  20. Why doesn't he mention that native Americans were killing off each other well before the English settlers came along? Why doesn't he mention anything about the conquistadors conquering the natives? Seems like without mentioning or adding more detail people get the wrong message or idea about this course , such as some liberal person complaining about Americans stealing land, killing, etc when they don't have all the information just bits and pieces.

  21. Sliding in from the left … Indians speak way better english than the folks in england. Least they speak 2 to 3 languages unlike most white english speaking folks …

  22. Us natives where doing just fine in this land before eroupeans came here . There was 60 million of us then eroupeans came now we are down to 3 million . They called us savages when they was the one bringing torture , prisons and lots of death . Natives did just fine and lived in that land of thousands of years

  23. I'm researching Columbus and he effect in the Bahamas. Are there are books you recommend? I'm doing this for a book of essays I'm writing.

  24. Can you please do a whole course dedicated to Native American. Exploring different tribes, cultures, religion, accomplishments and the history of their resistance to Europeans. I think to this a very important part of American History that we whitewash and overlook. It's also relevant to what is happening with immigration policy today.

  25. Hearing Connecticut mentioned in a Crash Course video: 😀
    Seeing why Connecticut is mentioned in the Crash Course video: 🙁

  26. 9:42 "I hate this… I hate this so much…"
    …why do i get so much satisfaction from him being shocked…. LOL
    …and he seems completely genuine when he's saying that he hates being shocked…. the best!

  27. Hah it’s funny how everything in this video is wrong. You want the real story? Stop relying on the false true that everyone follows and ask a real Native from the Rez, they’ll lay down the real story from OUR point of view.

  28. It is sad to think that most countries were founded as the result of a genocide or ethnic cleansing. The USA appears to be a prime example.

  29. Too bad the distinction between American Aborigines(Indigenous) and Native Americans isn't made clear in the images. Because it truly is a difference. The Native American term needs to be replaced with American Aborigines to avoid confusion. Two different people.

  30. History of the California Blacks Nation Califians (Khalifians) The First Americans
    *According to, author James W. Loewen in his best selling book “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” virtually none of  the body of knowledge,  as taught in  school curricula and World History, has an ounce of truth. (Regarding the American Holiday: Thanksgiving)

    The idea that Europeans brought civilization to America  flips the truth on its head. Here is what an expedition of European explorers actually found upon their arrival to North American in 1580. !!!!
    Read through to the end for the hidden  history of the California Black Native Americans. !!!!!
    History of the California Blacks Nation Califians (Khalifians) The First Americans. ( Amerrique ).
    *According to, author James W. Loewen in his best selling book “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” virtually none of  the body of knowledge,  as taught in school curricula and World History, has an ounce of truth. !!!!!!
    (Regarding the American Holiday: Thanksgiving).
    Facts & Truth listen up to my peoples truth from American Autochonus Indigenous Black Aborigines ( Copper to Black ) to Slaves and finally forced to become classified by the White Colonists oppressors, as Negros, it was against the law or illegal for Slaves to own land..
    The idea that Europeans brought civilization to America  flips the truth on its head. Here is what an expedition of European explorers actually found upon their arrival to North American in 1580. Read through to the end for the hidden  history of the California Black Native Americans.
    Note :
    Robert Beverly’s ‘American Holocaust’ Account ;
    “Far and away the most beautiful city on earth. Five times the size of London or Rome. Great towers and buildings rising from the water.

    Sixty thousand gleaming houses, how spacious and well built the were, of beautiful stone work and cedar wood and wood of other sweet scented trees.

    Her many streets and boulevards were so neat and well sweep despite the multitude of inhabitants, criss cross with a complete network of channels like an enormous venice, but also remarkable floating gardens that remind of no where else on earth,” Beverly said.

    While Europeans were drinking gutter water from polluted city rivers, huge aqueducts transported America’s water from fresh springs.

    “But what impressed most, were special merchant areas filled with timber and tile and other building materials being  bought and sold. As well as green grocers streets where everyone could buy  every sort of vegetable, fruit, honey, past and chocolates.

    Astonished by personal cleanliness and hygiene of the colorfully dressed populous and by their extravagant use of soaps, deodorant and breath sweeteners.” — American Holocaust – Robert Beverly.
    Long  before Europe – coming out of their ‘dark age’ – realized that the world was not flat, there were nations  that were scientifically advanced. There were highly civilized populations with an abundance of gold and  wealth who’s history spanned thousands of years.
    Ancient America was notably one of the most advanced civilizations in antiquity.
    This was before Christ, before, the Spaniards, !!! before  Mexicans, !!! before the Clovis people who crossed the Barring Straights, before what is now known as the Native American Indian or Euro conversions. !!!!!

  31. I have to watch 46 of these videos for my APUSH summer assignment. And take notes on them. Now isn’t that great?

  32. Can I just remind you that you are directly related to European settlers. You are English, German, French, irish, Dutch ect. Get off your high horse, America is neither the "greatest country in the world" can't exactly call the country with the greatest proportion of people in prison in the world the land of the free either. Get off your high horse.

  33. Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded. Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave. A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary cooperation and moral integrity as liberals do. A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and then try to impose economic and social equality on the population as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation's citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state as liberals do. The roots of liberalism and its associated madness can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind. When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious. Basically liberalism is a willful failure to mature beyond adolescence that can have catastrophic consequences for society. With luck, the official diagnosis of this disease by mental health professionals will facilitate the search for a cure.

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