Adoption of Flintlock Technology by Native Americans

                  The development of flintlock technology for firing weapons was adopted more readily by the Native Americans compared to the Europeans because of the cultural difference surrounding war. Firearms were first introduced to Native Americans when Europeans settled the colonies, at this time all guns were furnished with matchlocks. The Native Americans were apprehensive about adopting this ‘new’ technology. With the introduction of the flintlock mechanism the Native Americans adopted this technology faster than the Europeans. The flintlock was better adapted to Native American war tactics and is why they adopted the use of flintlock rifles quicker than Europeans.

                  War in Western Europe during this time period involved open field volleys in which casualties were high and large armies battled each other. This guided the development of weapons in which stealth and accuracy were not very important. The matchlock persisted in the European arsenal because on the open battle field in the ranks, guns could be maintained and the matchlock system for firing was not an issue. The disadvantage of the matchlock was that the match must be constantly maintained and if weather conditions were not fair then the probability of firing decreased precipitously. The flintlock made it possible for soldiers not to maintain their firing mechanism which meant they could focus more time on firing the weapon. This was contrary to European battle code, which discouraged actually aiming for an individual person and focused on large volleys in the general direction on the enemy. Theses cultural factors of the code of war made the Europeans slow to adopt the new technology of flintlock firing mechanisms.

                  The Native Americans on the other hand were not so keen to guns on their first meeting. With the development of flintlock firing mechanism this made the use of guns in the rugged and untamed land of the colonies more desirable. The flintlock made guns more appealing to the Native Americans because Native American war tactics involved small raiding parties that used ambushes and accuracy of the shot to maim enemies. The flintlock did not involve a lit match, so it did not produce smoke until fired, and was easier to maintain in the back-country. These reasons were important for Native Americans who used stealth and ambush techniques to defeat an enemy.

                  The adoption of flintlock technology is an example of how culture affects the use of technology. The Native Americans adopted a technology more adapted to their needs while the Europeans did not adopt the use of the flintlock as quickly because of the European code of war which did not employ stealth of ambushes. This is a great example of how technological advancements can be made and not used by the users despite the new technologies effectiveness. In the woods of the colonies the flintlock was much better suited for this environment and only after Europeans begin using flintlocks did they become better matched against the Native Americans in this new style of warfare.