Early American Civilizations and Exploration to 1600: Religion Research Article from American Eras

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Heathens.

In popular thought, the introduction of religion to America began with the Pilgrims' arrival in Plymouth in 1620. The Native Americans, the argument continues, were heathens who lacked any religion, not only Christianity. Even the other English who arrived earlier, those who settled in Virginia, came for riches and were notoriously godless. In fact the first Americans, the Native Americans, did have a religion and possessed a well-developed sense of spirituality, albeit one unrecognizable to the Europeans. Christianity arrived in the Americas not with the Pilgrims or, a decade later, the Massachusetts Bay Puritans but with the explorers who began arriving in the late fifteenth century. Indeed, in part, exploration was prompted not only by economic and political goals but also to spread faith to the "ignorant masses." Priests and missionaries were present on the ships bound for the New World. To understand religion in the sixteenth-century Americas and...

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This section contains 2,544 words
(approx. 9 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Early American Civilizations and Exploration to 1600: Religion Encyclopedia Article
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American Eras
Early American Civilizations and Exploration to 1600: Religion from American Eras. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.