Colonial Communities

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Colonial Communities”

Dataset Packet 2
TAH 2007
Mississippian Corridor





Mississippian Corridor and Southeast Fact Sheet And Time Line: Native American Period through Early European Contact
16,000 – 14,500 BP: Earliest human occupation sites in the southeast (South Carolina, Virginia, Florida)
12,000-9,000 BP: Complex environmental changes at the end of the Pleistocene create a much more technologically diverse situation in the southeast than in the Plains and Northeast: smaller mobile groups develop resource technologies that are much more specialized to smaller territories
9,000-7,000 BP: A prolonged drying period (same time as the Altithermal affecting the western Plains) radically affects the forest cover for much of the Midwest, southeast.
7,500 BP: Earliest dates for bottle gourd in southeastern sites
ca. 7,000 BP: Shellfish intensification becomes a specialized economy for coastal, and estuary-living groups, encouraging more sedentary settlements and supporting larger populations
4,500 BP: Earliest dates for pottery in the Southeast
5,000-4,000 BP: gourds and other seed plants begin to be cultivated in the Midwest and midsouth, including indigenous sunflower, chenopodium (goosefoot), maygrass, little barley and erect knotweed. Additional ‘mast’ resources (hickory, acorn, walnuts, hazelnuts, chestnuts, butternuts, and beechnuts) support significant increases in population
3,000 BP: Woodland cultures develop, including the early moundbuilders the Hopewell and Adena cultures along the river valleys of the upper Midwest (eg. Ohio and Illinois): complex earthworks, rich burial ceremonialism, and long-distance trade
1150 BP/ 850 AD: Early Mississippian sites appear: maize agriculture practiced, large permanent towns, monumental architecture, long distance trade now linking Rockies and Atlantic Piedmont, Great Lakes and Gulf Coast of Mexico
1400-1550 AD: Later Mississippian societies continue to expand and strongly influence other societies in the Midwest, Southwest, and even Northeast. During this period, emphasis on public ritual and mound-building declines, while warfare and political turmoil increases.
1513 AD: Ponce de Leon’s first voyage to Florida
1539-1543 AD: Hernando de Soto’s voyage: de Soto begins in Tampa Bay, travels in a long loop to exit down the Mississippi through what is now New Orleans. In the process, he travels through what are now the states of Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas
1564 AD: Spanish establish St. Augustine in Florida
1670 AD: The English colony of Carolina is established at Charles Town (now Charleston, SC)
1673 AD: Marquette and Joliet lead a French expedition into the Mississippi
1682: LaSalle’s explorations of the Mississippi reach the Gulf. These French explorations establish an extensive trade network between French and Native American groups, based largely on the old Mississippian trade relations
1803: The Louisiana Purchase shifts a significant amount of the old Mississippian territory to U.S. control
1821: The United States gains Florida from Spain in exchange for relinquishing its claim to Texas

Southwest Fact Sheet and Timeline: Native American Period through Early European Contact
11,000 BP: Earliest widely accepted dates for human presence in the southwest; late Pleistocene big game hunters moving through the area in small, mobile bands
By 10,000 BP: Either because of subtle environmental shifts, or the increasing scarcity of mammoths, or both, more diversified “Folsom”-style hunting economies more focused on bison and other migratory grazers emerge in the region, especially in the Rio Grande Valley and the eastern margins of the region
8000 -3500 BP: The Southwestern Archaic period: a prolonged time of smaller scale environmental fluctuations which sponsored an increasingly diverse group of societies specializing on smaller territories of hunting and gathering resources
5150 BP: First evidence of the architectural tradition of pit houses found in the Southwest
ca. 4000 BP: Earliest maize cultivation in the Southwest, introduced from Mesoamerica. Pottery is being made.
After 3500 BP: Peoples across the Southwest begin to add cultivated crops to their economies. Populations begin to increase, and territorial boundaries between groups become even more clear in the archaeological record. However, groups did not necessarily give up their mobile way of life completely (like we saw in the northern Plains)
ca. 2000 BP/0 AD: settlement sizes get larger, new domesticated plants arrive from the south, including beans, wider range of squashes and edible cacti, and plants for fiber sources, including both cotton and fiber cacti. Domesticated dog and turkey are kept, as well as parrots and macaws imported from Mexico (whose feathers were used in ceremonies). Extensive canal systems for irrigation are built in some regions. People build the first multi-structure above-ground architectural complexes, or “pueblos”. The older architectural tradition of pithouses is transformed into the ceremonial building form of the “kiva”. Four distinct regional traditions coalesce: Anasazi, Hohokam, Mogollon, and Patayan.

ca. 900 - 1000 AD: A period of widespread and dramatic population reorganization, aggregation, and conflict begins in the greater Southwest. Many larger pueblo towns in the northwestern part of the region are abandoned, while the Rio Grande valley and what is now west central New Mexico and eastern Arizona received new, in-migrating groups.
By 1200 AD: In response to all these changes, new cosmological and social symbols emerge that are shared across the region: these include religious ideologies associated with fertility and water control, the emergence of religious specialists and sites associated with religious pilgrimage.
By 1300 AD: Much of the northern Southwest has been largely abandoned, and new south- and west-migrating groups begin to arrive, including the Navajo, the Apache, and the Utes. Social, political, and economic negotiations between these newcomers and remnant pueblo populations that had just gone through their own period of coalescence shape much of the two centuries between this period and the arrival of the Europeans.

1536 Cabeza de Vaca, Estevan the Moor and two others reach Culiacdn, Mexico, after possibly crossing what is now southern New Mexico, and begin rumors of the Seven Cities of Cibola.

1539 Fray Marcos de Niza and Estevan lead expedition to find Cibola and reach the Zuni village of Hawikuh, where Estevan is killed.

1540-42 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explores area from Gulf of California to present-day Kansas, discovers the Grand Canyon.

Around 1540 AD: Coronado’s expedition camps near Santiago Pueblo in what’s now New Mexico.
By 1598 AD: Spanish towns are established in the Rio Grande and other major river valleys.
1610 AD: The town of Santa Fe, New Mexico is founded.
1680-1692 AD: The “Pueblo Revolt” drives Spanish colonists out of the pueblo territories

1706 Villa de Albuquerque founded.

1743 French trappers reach Santa Fe following trade routes between Plains and Puebloan societies, and begin limited trade with the Spanish.

1776 Franciscan friars Dominguez and Escalante explore route out from Santa Fe, New Mexico to California.

1807 Zebulon Pike leads first U.S.-based expedition into New Mexico. Publishes account of way of life in New Mexico upon return to U.S.

1821 AD: Mexico wins its independence from Spain; this triggers a land rush in the former Spanish colonial territories, as the newly independent Mexican government encourages its citizens to expand agricultural production. Santa Fe Trail opened to international trade, bringing US traders and merchants in from the east.

1848 AD: War between Mexico and the United States over their shared border
1854 AD: The Gadsden Purchase adds much of the old Spanish Southwest to the United States
Additional information from PPSA Online Magazine at
Santa Fe Trail Interactive Home Page at
National Park Service Archives at

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