A tomahawk (also referred to as a hawk) is a type of axe native to North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft. The name came into the English language in the 17th century as a transliteration of the Powhatan (Virginian Algonquian) word. Tomahawks were general purpose tools used by Native Americans and European Colonials alike, and often employed as a hand-to-hand or a thrown weapon, much like the African nzappa zap. It originally featured a stone head, but later iron or brass heads were used. The metal tomahawk heads were originally based on a Royal Navy ballistic and used as a trade-item with Native Americans for food and other provisions.