Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1

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World History DBQ

DBQ 500 CE to 1000 CE

Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1-8. (The documents may have been edited for the purpose of this exercise).
This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an essay that:

  • Has a relevant thesis and supports the thesis with evidence from the documents.

  • Uses all or all but one of the documents.

  • Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible. Does not simply summarize the documents individually.

  • Takes into account both the sources of the documents and the author’s point of view.

  • Points out documentation that would allow this essay to be more completely answered.

  • You may refer to relevant historical information not included in the documents

1. Compare and contrast the differing cultural attitudes towards agricultural production by the Native Americans and the Ancient Chinese during the period 500 C.E. – 1000 C.E.

Historical Background. During the period of 500 C.E. – 1000 C.E. ancient civilizations in North and South America and China sophisticated and moved away from the hunting and gathering lifestyles. These civilizations gravitated towards food collection and then farming. Methodology, crops and attitudes toward agriculture varied with culture.

Document 1

Maria Manuela de Cora (an Incan Author) passes along an ancient legend. Seeds. Kuai-Mare: Mitos aborigines de Venezuala. Caracas. Monte Avila, 1972.
Pachacamac, who was the son of the sun, made a man and a woman in the dunes of Lurin. There nothing to eat, and the man died of hunger. When the woman was bent over searching for roots, the sun enticed her and made a child. Jealous, Pachacmac caught the newborn baby and chopped him into pieces. But suddenly he repented, or was scared of the anger of his father, the sun, and scattered about the world the pieces of his murdered brother. From the teeth of the dead baby, corn grew; from the ribs and bones, cassava. Thus the women and men born of these shores where it never rains, find food.

Document 2

From the website: Which is the Central America Ecology and Environment. They are dedicated to the compilation, organization, processing, and distribution of data and information about ecological, environmental, Earth Science, and related topics pertaining to Central America.
Origins of Crops and heir Way of Growing:

Mexico South America

Corn- seed Yuca / Manioc- cuttings from the stalk “cangres

Beans –seed Yam- root

Squash-seeds Cacao-seeds

[Some] chilis-seeds Sweet Potato-root

Avocado –seeds

Africa Asia

Bananas-“cepas”/young shoots Mangos-seeds

Plantains-young shoots Oranges-seeds

Sugar cane –cuttings of the stalk Coconuts-the coconut

Red grow yams-root Ginger-root

(There are native African yams & Lemon grass Tea

South American yams) Rice-seeds

Castor Oil Plant “yupur


(There was Asian rice & a

separate African rice)

Aloe Vera (zabila)-young shoots


Okra- seeds

Document 3
Hurt, R. Douglas. Mesoamerican Origins from Indian Agriculture in America

Over time, the nomadic Indians of Mesoamerica learned the advantages of clearing away unwanted plants in order to enhance the growth of others.  This rudimentary weeding process created a new, artificial environment for favored cultigens, which caused genetic changes in these plants and increased their productivity.  With these revelations, the basic premise of agriculture had been discovered:  planting, cultivating and harvesting--the agricultural process--provided a much more dependable food supply.  As a result, large bands of Indians could settle in a specific area for a long period of time.

Current archaeological evidence cannot pinpoint a single location where Indian agriculture began or determine precisely why the Indians became agriculturists.  Rather, the archaeological record suggests that the cultivation and domestication of plants originated simultaneously in several Mesoamerican areas.  Some of the most complete evidence for early agricultural development comes from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and from the Tehuacan Valley, located in northeastern and south-central Mexico, respectively.  Indian farmers may have first raised bottle gourds (Lagenaria siceraria) as early as 7000 B.C., in the Tehuacan Valley and in Oaxaca; Tehuacan Valley farmers were perhaps the first to domesticate corn; and Indians may have originally cultivated pumpkins in Tamaulipas.  Concurrent agricultural development is important, because it indicated that Indian farmers attempted to meet their own food needs according to the dictates of their own environment.
Document 4
Penobscot (Native Mesoamerican Storyteller) passes along an ancient legend. Corn Mother.
Moing’iima makes corn. Everything grows from his body. Every summer he becomes heavy, his body full of vegetables: watermelons, corn squash. They grow in his body. When the Hopi plant, they invariably ask him to make the flourish; then their things come up, whether vegetables or fruits. When he shaves his body seeds come out and afterwards his body is thin. He used to live on the earth and go with the Hopi. When things grow ripe, he becomes thin and is unhappy. He stays in the west.
ocument 5
Picture and caption from World Civilizations: The Global Experience. Third Edition. Peter Stearns.

Document 6

Book of Poetry. Ancient Chinese Legends.
Root out the weeds. Where the weeds decay, there the grains will grow luxuriantly.

Document 7

Record of Ritual/ Ancient Chinese Legends.
The months of mid-summer are advantageous for weeding. Weeds can fertilize the fields and improve the land. Modern farmers, ignorant of these principles, throw the weeds away. They do not know that, if mixed with soil and buried deep under the roots of rice seedlings, the weeds will eventually decay and the soil will be enriched; the harvest, as a result will be abundant and of superior quality.

Document 8

From the website: Which is the Central America Ecology and Environment. They are dedicated to the compilation, organization, processing, and distribution of data and information about ecological, environmental, Earth Science, and related topics pertaining to Central America.
The Garifuna are descendants of people from different parts of Africa. In the

southern regions of Africa, much agriculture is based on planting banana, plantain, and

palm. The Garifuna maintain this system of agriculture, with the coconut being the most

important palm. In other regions yams or rice is more important. Currently, there are

Garifuna planting these crops. In South America there are several species of yam. In

Africa there are different species of yam. As the Garifuna had no access to African yam

tubers, they utilized South American yam tubers in their recipes. The exception is “ñam

pan”; a yam nearly as red as a beet, which is called “red grow yam” in Honduras’ Bay

Islands region. This is a yam of true African origin. The Garifuna could not obtain their

African plant resembling the peanut, thus they were forced to use native American

peanuts instead.

One crop with a very interesting cross-continent history is the watermelon.

Through archaeological research, we know that the watermelon is a plant of African

origin. But it has been found in South America, and was grown in pre-Columbian times.

Some ask, “Does this indicate that there was contact between Africans and the people of

South America before Columbus?”

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