At the start of the game, the New World belongs to the Natives. The majority of the world rests in their hands. So if you want to come out on top of the colonial heap, you will have to barter, bribe and battle the natives to ensure your own supremacy.
List of tribes
Interacting with the Natives
There are eight different native peoples in the New World that you can encounter. Each has their own culture, mentality and sentiments towards outsiders. You automatically begin the game at peace with the natives and are able to travel through their territory without consequence. A wise colonial leader will make friends with the natives early, as many native groups will provide your colony with gifts as a sign of friendship. You can also receive gifts by sending a unit into a native settlement and selecting the "Speak with the Chief" order. The first unit that speaks to a settlement's chief may receive a gift of gold or even a Treasure unit. Once you have contacted the Chief, you will also be able to see that settlement's training area of expertise as well as its preferred good.
If you are on good terms with the natives, you can march any Free Colonist, Indentured Servant, Converted Native, or Petty Criminal into a native settlement and have that unit be "trained" in that village's area of expertise. This means that a Free Colonist can be transformed into an Expert Fisherman or Expert Cotton Planter or Expert Ore Miner and so on. Each village has only one area of expertise, which never changes. Once you have visited a settlement and spoken with the settlement's chief, you will be able to see what expertise that settlement can provide training in by viewing the Information Panel widget below the settlement on the main map.
You can also establish missions in native settlements. By assigning a colonist to the Missionary profession, you can march your newly created missionary into a native settlement and create a mission. Over time, missions will generate Converted Natives interested in joining your newly formed colony. Converted Natives are exceptional producers of raw materials and horses (although they cannot take up the Soldier or Dragoon professions), so if you are looking for a boost of raw materials production, a mission is an excellent investment.
When you build a new settlement near a native settlement, you will be given the option to purchase the land your settlement uses from the natives or simply take the land. If you buy the land, the gold will instantly be removed from your treasury. If you decide to take the land, your gold will remain the same, but your relations with the natives will worsen for every tile you take.
Raids and Ransacking
If your relations with the natives are less than stellar, they may on occasion raid your settlements, making off with valuable goods. You, of course, can attack them right back. By marching troops into a native settlement, you can ransack them for gold. To do so, you will first have to declare war on the native civ (which can be done from the diplomacy screen) and then destroy all the units inside the targeted settlement. You can't capture native settlements at all, by the way. You can either leave 'em alone, or destroy and ransack them. Welcome to the New World!