Historical Context



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The Columbian Exchange
Historical Context: In the late 1400s, European explorers found the North American continent. Native American peoples who were already living in North America had created a system of government and society that rivaled Europe's. The cultural and biological exchange between the "New World" and the "Old World" (North America and Europe, respectively) is often called the Columbian Exchange in reference to Christopher Columbus.
Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying documents in Part A. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of the document and the author’s point of view.
Be sure to:

  • Carefully read the document based question.

    • Consider what you already know about the topic

    • How would you answer the question if you had no documents to examine?

  • Now, read each document carefully, underlining key phrases and words that address the document based question.

    • You may also wish to use the margin of your paper for notes

    • Answer the questions that follow each document

  • Based on your knowledge of the topic and on the information found in the documents, formulate a thesis that directly answers the question.

  • Organize supportive and relevant information using the attached 5 paragraph outline worksheet.

    • Completely write out your thesis statement in the appropriate place

    • Completely write out each paragraph topic sentence

    • The outline should be able to prove your thesis

    • The information in the outline should be logically presented

    • The outline should include both information from the documents and from your outside knowledge of the subject


Question: In a well-planned essay, identify and evaluate: The reaction Native Americans had to the Europeans; the reaction Europeans had to the Native Americans; how the world changed because of the interaction between these two cultures.
Terms and concepts that do not appear in the documents but could be used in the final essay:
Bartholomew Dias Vasco da Gamma Henry the Navigator “The Black Legend”

Mercantilism Spices Encomienda Inca

Francisco Pizzaro Balboa Treaty of Tordesillas Papal Bull of 1494

“Virgin field outbreak”



Document 1
From the diary of Christopher Columbus during his first voyage of exploration.
Saturday, 13 October. [1492] At daybreak great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes, very handsome; their hair not curled but straight and coarse like horse-hair, and all with foreheads and heads much broader than any people I had seen; They came loaded with balls of cotton, parrots, javelins, and other things too numerous to mention; these they exchanged for whatever we chose to give them.

What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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What did Columbus observe about the Natives? ___________________________________________________

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What do the immediate actions of both the Native Americans and Spaniards tell us about their priorities?
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Document 2
A description of Aztec reaction to Cortez from a messengers’ report to Montezuma, 1519
[Montezuma] was also terrified to learn how the cannon roared, how its noise resounded, how it caused one to faint and grow deaf. The messengers told him: “A thing like a ball of stone comes out of its entrails: it comes out shooting sparks and raining fire. The smoke that comes out of it has a pestilential odor, like that of rotten mud. If the cannon is aimed against a mountain, the mountain splits and cracks open. If it is aimed against a tree, it shatters the tree into splinters. This is a most unnatural sight, as if the tree had exploded from within.”

The messengers also said: “Their trappings and arms are all made of iron. They dress in iron and wear iron casques [helmets] on their heads. Their swords are iron; their bows are iron; their shields are iron; their spears are iron. Their deer carry them on their backs wherever they wish to go. These deer, our lord, are as tall as the roof of a house.

The strangers’ bodies are completely covered, so that only their faces can be seen. Their skin is white, as if it were made of lime. They have yellow hair, though some of them have black. Their beards are long and yellow, and their moustaches are also yellow. Their hair is curly, with very fine strands.



When [Montezuma] heard this report, he was filled with terror. It was as if his heart had fainted, as if it had shriveled. It was as if he were conquered by despair.

What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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What is the Aztec impression of the Spaniards? What might account for this? ___________________________

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How does this passage explain the initial military success of the Spaniards? ____________________________

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Document 3
Journal entry of Bartolome de Las Casas
The [the Americans] do not have weapons, nor do they know about them because when we showed them a sword, they cut themselves from grabbing the [blade].

What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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What does this passage indicate about the level of technology possessed by the Native Americans?

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Document 4
Farming and Food calories



North America

Europe

Chief Crops

Calories per Hectare

Chief Crops

Calories per Hectare

Maize

7.3

Rice

7.3

Potato

7.5

Wheat

4.2

Yams (Sweet Potato)

7.1

Barley

5.1

Cassava

9.9

Oats

5.5

What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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__________________________________________________________________________________________ Which area had a higher calorie average? ________________________________________________________

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Of the 4 European crops listed, which one was the most important? Why? (Hint: look beyond calories and think about the geography and climate of Europe) _____________________________________________________

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What effect did this exchange have on Europe and European society? _________________________________

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What effect did this exchange have on the peoples of North and South America? _________________________

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Document 5


Forms of Biological Life Going From:




Old World to New World:

New World to Old World:

Diseases

Smallpox
Measles
Chicken Pox
Malaria
Yellow Fever
Influenza
The Common Cold

Syphilis
(This is a matter of scientific dispute. There is some evidence to suggest that syphilis existed in Europe before the great voyages of exploration.)

Animals

Horses
Cattle
Pigs
Sheep
Goats
Chickens

Turkeys
Llamas
Alpacas
Guinea Pigs

Plants

Rice
Wheat
Barley
Oats
Coffee
Sugarcane
Bananas
Melons
Olives
Dandelions
Daisies
Clover
Ragweed
Kentucky Bluegrass

Corn (Maize)
Potatoes (White & Sweet Varieties)
Beans (Snap, Kidney, & Lima Varieties)
Tobacco
Peanuts
Squash
Peppers
Tomatoes
Pumpkins
Pineapples
Cacao (Source of Chocolate)
Chicle (Source of Chewing Gum)
Papayas
Manioc (Tapioca)
Guavas
Avocados

What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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What were the overall effects of this exchange on the Europeans? ____________________________________

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What were the overall effects of this exchange on the Native Americans? ______________________________
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Document 6

"Loss of hand because gold quota not met" Commissioned by Bartolome De Las Casas




What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?)

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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Based on the document, what was the standard attitude of the Spanish towards the Natives?

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According to the title of document 6, the penalty for missing the Gold quota was a loss of a hand. Why would the Spanish cut off workers hands?

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Document 7
Between 1637 and 1639, Spanish missionary Cristoval de Acuña made an exploration of South America's Amazon River. Acuña published this account of his adventure, New Discovery of the Amazons, in 1641.
All this new world, if we may call it so, is inhabited by barbarians, in distinct provinces and nations, of which I am enabled to give an account, naming them and pointing out their residences, some from my own observations, and others from information of the Indians.

They exceed one hundred and fifty, all with different languages. These nations are so near each other, that from the last villages of one they hear the people of the other at work. But this proximity does not lead to peace; on the contrary, they are engaged in constant wars, in which they kill and take prisoners great numbers of souls every day.

But though, among themselves, they are so warlike, none of them showed courage to face Spaniards, as I observed throughout the voyage, in which the Indians never dared to use any defense against us, except that of flight.
What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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How dose Acuña portray the Native Americans? __________________________________________________

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How might this attitude influence European policy? ________________________________________________

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Document 8
A Spanish explorer and adventurer, Hernando Cortés landed in Mexico in 1519 and promptly claimed the region for Spain. Below is an excerpt of a letter he wrote to Spain's King Charles V in 1520, describing Mexico.
Three halls are in this grand temple, which contain the principal idols; these are of wonderful extent and height, and admirable workmanship, adorned with figures sculptured in stone and wood. In these chapels are the images of idols, although, as I have before said, many of them are also found on the outside; the principal ones, in which the people have greatest faith and confidence, I precipitated from their pedestals, and cast them down the steps of the temple, purifying the chapels in which they had stood, as they were all polluted with human blood, shed ill the sacrifices. In the place of these I put images of Our Lady and the Saints.
What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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What does this action indicate about future Spanish policy towards the Native Americans?

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Document 9
One of the most famous 16th-century Spanish conquistadors, Francisco Coronado served as governor of much of Spanish America from 1538 to 1544. In 1540, he launched an exploratory expedition north of Spain's holdings through what is today Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, mythical cities of untold riches. Although the search for gold proved unsuccessful, Coronado traveled further north into the North American Continent than had any other European at that time. In this report to his superior, Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, Coronado recounts part of the expedition.
There was not corn for food among them, but as I heard that there was some in another valley called Senora, which I did not wish to disturb by force, I sent Melchior Diaz with goods to exchange for it, so as to give this to the friendly Indians whom we brought with us, & to some who had lost their animals along the way & had not been able to carry the food which they had taken from Culiacan. By the favor of Our Lord, some little corn was obtained by this trading, which relieved the friendly Indians and some Spaniards.
Two weeks later, Coronado wrote:
I ordered the army-master to go and see if there were any bad passages which the Indians might be able to defend, and to seize and hold any such until the next day, when I would come up. He went, and found a very bad place in our way where we might have received much harm. He immediately established himself there with the force which he was conducting. The Indians came that very night to occupy that place so as to defend it, and finding it taken, they assaulted our men. According to what I have been told, they attacked like valiant men, although in the end they had to retreat in flight, because the army-master was on the watch and kept his men in good order. The Indians sounded a little trumpet as a sign of retreat, and did not do any injury to the Spaniards.
What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author? What might account for this bias? _____________________________________

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What is the difference between the two encounters Coronado’s party has with the Native Americans? What might account for these differences?
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Document 10
Part of a French expedition to Peru, South America to accumulate scientific measurements regarding the Earth's meridian at the equator, Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa were gifted Spanish mathematicians and scientists. They published this account of their travels, an excerpt of which appears below, in 1748.
The inhabitants of Lima [Peru] are composed of whites, or Spaniards, Negroes, Indians, Mestizos, and other casts, proceeding from the mixture of all three.

The Spanish families are very numerous; Lima according to the lowest computation, containing sixteen or eighteen thousand whites, Among these are reckoned a third or fourth part of the most distinguished nobility of Peru; and many of these dignified with the stile of ancient or modern Castilians, among which are no less than 45 counts and marquises. The number of knights belonging to the several military orders is also very considerable. Besides these are many families no less respectable and living in equal splendor; particularly 24 gentlemen of large estates, but without titles, tho' most of them have ancient seats, a proof of the antiquity of their families.

The Negroes, Mulattoes, and their descendants, form the greater number of the inhabitants; and of these are the greatest part of the mechanics; tho' here the Europeans also follow the same occupations, which are not at Lima reckoned disgraceful to them, as they are at Quito; for gain being here the universal passion, the inhabitants pursue it by means of any trade, without regard to its being followed by Mulattoes, interest here preponderating against any other consideration.

The third, and last class of inhabitants are the Indians and Mestizos, but these are very small in proportion to the largeness of the city, and the multitudes of the second class. They are employed in agriculture, in making earthen ware, and bringing all kinds of provisions to market, domestic services being performed by Negroes and Mulattoes, either slaves or free, though generally by the former
What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author as it relates to the essay? What might account for this bias? _________________

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What does this passage tell us about the society that the Spanish developed after their conquest of South America?

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Document #11

These graphs refer only to populations in what is now the United States. There is no full consensus among scholars regarding the figures underlying Graph 1; in particular, the size of the indigenous population of the New World at the time of contact is a matter of dispute, and indeed may be unknowable.









Graph 1: Native American Population in the Americas

Graph 2: Non-native Population in the Americas

What type of source is this? (Primary or secondary and WHAT is it?) _________________________________

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What is the bias of the author as it relates to the essay? What might account for this bias? _________________

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Put this rate of decline in perspective by thinking about a family, a clan, or a tribe. Speculate about the social impact. Imagine a state—say, Wisconsin, with a population of about 5 million in 1990—losing 95 percent of its people. How would the survivors feel? How could they maintain their economic activities?
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In which years were Indian and non-Indian populations even? Why did rapid Indian decline occur before the arrival of many non-Indians?


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The non-Indian population rose dramatically after 1800, and the Indian population recovered after 1900. Why?


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Five Paragraph Outline Worksheet

Introduction Paragraph


Background- No more than two sentences. (What was going on at the time and the historical significance of the period-as it relates to the question)
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Main point #1- No more than one sentence.

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Main point #2- No more than one sentence.

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Main point #3- No more than one sentence.

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Thesis (must directly answer the question and tie the main points together)


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Body Paragraph #1


Topic sentence (Same as main point #1, limits paragraph to ONE idea and must directly support the thesis)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Transition (Connects to the next paragraph in a complex manner using a connecting sentence) _________________________________________________________________________________________


Body Paragraph #2


Topic sentence (Same as main point #2, limits paragraph to ONE idea and must directly support the thesis)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Transition (Connects to the next paragraph in a complex manner using a connecting sentence) _________________________________________________________________________________________

Body Paragraph #3


Topic sentence (Same as main point #3, limits paragraph to ONE idea and must directly support the thesis)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Evidence (specific person, law, treaty, development…)

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Transition (Connects to the next paragraph in a complex manner using a connecting sentence) _________________________________________________________________________________________


Conclusion paragraph


Very brief review of the essay. Sum it up in no more than two sentences.

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Importance of the topic during its time

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Long term historical importance of the topic

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