Before the Spanish innovation, there existed several Indian groups and tribes that lived successfully following unique cultures and structures in California. The individuals in California were generally nonpolitical, and every tribe had sub-tribes that encompassed a group of individuals from the neighboring societies and consisted of hundreds to thousands of people. According to Salisbury (10), there were no social structures and classes, except in the North West regions that were characterized by personal wealth. The California Indians’ history is substantially different from that of other ethnic minority groups who migrated into the United States a few centuries ago. The California Indians resided in lands that were rich with natural resources and the environmental technology in that area was a real reflection of the essential aspects that satisfied their basic requirements. They engaged in everything necessary to enhance their survival, and their cultural lifestyle was peaceful. However, with the Spanish invasion, the California lifestyle vastly altered and things changed.
The Spanish invasion of Californian resulted in significant alterations in Californian lifestyles and cultures. The invasion impacted the Indian religion, language, architecture, economy, and arts. The native individuals, for instance, were forced to adapt to civilization and a fashionable way of doing things which made them lose their local cultures and lifestyles (Salisbury 15). The Spanish invasion forced the Indians into prostitution and slavery, and they brought with them new diseases. The native Californians did not have immunity to these diseases, and thus they could not survive them. Such diseases include measles, chickenpox, influenza, and smallpox. The native individuals contracted the diseases in their daily interactions and direct contact with the Spanish. Due to the lack of resistance, the implications of these diseases were severe, and thus the diseases killed many native Californians, reducing their population from around three hundred thousand to only twenty thousand. The lives and traditions of the native Californians had to embrace new and different structures and environments.
The other change in the Californian lifestyle is that the Spanish brought new trading styles and goods. Usually, the native Californians were hunters and gatherers, and thus they were eager to learn these new trading trends and products. The native Californians, therefore, found themselves using the Spanish trading materials; for instance, they began to exchange the deer hides with colored clothes. As postulated by Salisbury (20), some of the Spanish items such as hoes, axes, and knives became essentials resources for the native Californians. The desire to acquire European materials, therefore, changed the traditional trading trends for the Indians. The culture of hunting and gathering for food, thus, became less significant than the barter trade and with time, the native Californians started depending on the European items for survival. The Spanish traders also brought drinks such a rum which resulted in many issues for the native Indians for instance conflicts. The new goods, therefore, changed the culture and lifestyle of the Californians forever. The third significant alteration to the Californian lifestyle came in the form of slavery where the Spanish exploited the native Indians to construct their houses and clear their firms and fields, to get those weapons and other tools.
Generally, the Spanish invasion had many effects on the Californian lifestyle. Some of these changes include the shift from using traditional items like beer hides to that using modern tools such as knives and axes. The other difference is the increased death rates due to diseases brought by the Europeans, for instance, measles and influenza. Finally, the native Californians were introduced into slavery, and this changed their lives forever.
Salisbury, Neal. “The Indians’ old world: Native Americans and the coming of
Europeans.” Colonial America and the Early Republic. Routledge, 2017. 1-24.