New World Beginnings 33,000 B. C. E. 1769 C. E

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Morgan Winston

Period 6


New World Beginnings 33,000 B.C.E.- 1769 C.E.

I. The Shaping of North America

  1. Around 225 million years ago, all the worlds dry land made one single supercontinent

i. Enormous chunks of terrain started to drift
                a. Created continents of Eurasia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and the Americas

ii. Shifting and folding created mountain ranges

  1. By 10 million years ago, the basic geological shape of North America had formed

i. Canadian Shield- first part of the North American landmass to have emerged above sea level

a. What anchored the continent in its northeastern corner

  1. The Great Ice Age began about 2 million years ago

  1. ice sheets covered parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas

ii. Glaciers retreated about 10,000 years ago

  1. Changed North American landscape

  2. Weight of ice mantle depressed level of Canadian Shield

  3. Formed lakes

  4. Drained basin in between Rockies and Appalachians

  5. Drained water over Utah Nevada and Idaho

II. Peopling the Americas

  1. The Great Ice Age also contributed to origins of the continents human history

  1. Some may have reached Americas in crude boats

  2. Most probably came by land

  1. Ice Age sank sea level exposing land bridge between Eurasia and North America

  2. Nomadic Asian hunters followed migratory herds of game across land bridge

  3. Slowly peopled the American continents

  1. Ice Age ended

  1. Glaciers melted making

a. Sea level rose

b. Flooded land bridge

  1. Valleys opened up

  2. People eventually reached the far tip of South America

  3. By 1492, about 54 million people inhabited the Americas

a. split into many tribes

b. evolved more than 2,00 separate languages

c. developed many diverse religions, cultures, and ways of life

C. Some sophisticated civilizations shaped

  1. Incas in Peru, Mayans in Central America, and Aztecs in Mexico

    1. Incas- Highly advanced South American civilization that occupied present day Peru until they were conquered by Spanish forces under Francisco Pizarro in 1532. The Incas developed sophisticated agricultural techniques, such as terrace farming, in order to sustain large, complex societies in the unforgiving Andes Mountains

    2. Aztecs-Native American empire that controlled present-day Mexico until 1521, when they were conquered by Spanish Hernán Cortés. The Aztecs maintained control over their vast empire through a system of trade and tribute, and came to be known for their advances in mathematics and writing, and their use of human sacrifices in religious ceremonies.

c. advanced agricultural practices

d. cultivation of maize (Indian corn)

e. built elaborate cities and carried on far-flung commerce

f. talented mathematicians made accurate astronomical observations

ii. Aztecs offered living sacrifices to their gods

III. The Earliest Americans

  1. 5,000 B.C.E. hunter-gatherers in highland Mexico developed a wild grass into the staple crop of corn

  1. Became staff of life and foundation of Aztec and Incan civilizations that eventually emerged

  2. cultivation of corn spread

  3. transformed nomadic hunting bands into agricultural villagers

    1. Process went slow

  1. 2000 B.C. corn helped mold Pueblo culture

  1. Constructed irrigation systems to water their cornfields

  1. Social life less elaborately developed throughout continent to north and east

  1. nation-states – dense concentrations of population

  1. None comparable to Aztecs existed in North America outside of Mexico at time of Europeans arrival

  2. Reason European colonizers easily subdued the native North Americans

  1. Some North Americans did sustain some large settlements after the incorporation of corn planting into their ways of life in the first millennium C.E.

  1. Mississippian settlement of Cahokia

  1. Cahokia- Mississippian settlement near present- day East St. Louis, home to as many as 25,000 Native Americans

  1. Anasazis built an elaborate pueblo

  2. All these cultures fell into decline, perhaps due to prolonged drought

  1. 1,000 C.E. cultivation of maize as well as strains of bean and squash reached the southeastern Atlantic seaboard region of North America

  1. Three-sister-farming-Agricultural system employed by North American Indians as early as 1000 A.D.; maize, beans, and squash were grown together to maximize yields

  1. Rich diet produced some of the highest population densities on the continent

  2. Included Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee

F. Iroquois in the northeastern woodlands, led by Hiawatha, created the closest North American approximation to the great empires of Mexico and Peru

i. developed skills to sustain a military alliance that menaced its neighbors, Native Americans and Europeans, for well over a century

G. Most North Americans lived in non permanent settlements

H. In more settled agricultural groups

i. Women tended crops

  1. hunted, fished, gathered fuel, and cleared fields for planting

  2. developed matrilineal cultures (power and possessions passed down female side)

I. Very few Native Americans

i. thinly spread across continent, vast areas virtually untouched

IV. Indirect Discoverers of the New World

  1. Norse seafarers were the first Europeans to come across North America

  1. 1000 C.E. they landed on the north eastern shoulder

  2. Didn’t care to expand so settlements were quickly abandoned

  3. Only remembered in Scandinavian saga and song

  1. Several centuries later, other Europeans wanted contact with a wider world

  1. For conquest or trade

  2. Led to the drive towards Asia, penetration of Africa, and accidental discovery of the New


  1. 11th to 14th century Christian Crusaders acquired taste for Asian products

  1. Silk, drugs, perfumes, draperies, and spices

  1. Especially sugar

  1. Very expensive to transport Asian goods to Europe

  1. Travelled by ship, camel back, or along tortuous caravan routes

  1. Middlemen- In trading systems, those dealers who operate between the original producers of goods and the retail merchants who sell to consumers. After the eleventh century, European exploration was driven in large part by a desire to acquire alluring Asian goods without paying heavy tolls to Muslim middlemen.

  1. Once to Europe hard to find purchasers and to make profit

  2. Needed to find cheaper route to Asia

V. Europeans Enter Africa

  1. Marco Polo increased Europeans desires for cheaper route to Asia

  1. 1295 returned from possible 20 yr. trip to China

  1. Before the middle of the 15th century sailors would not sail along the coast of West Africa

  1. Northerly winds and south flowing currents made it very difficult

  2. 1450 caravel invented

  3. caravel- small regular vessel with high deck and three triangular sails. Caravels could sail more closely to the wind, allowing sailors to explore western shores of Africa, previously made inaccessible due to prevailing winds on the homeward journey.

  4. then discovered they could travel northwesterly from African Coast toward the Azores where

westward breezes would carry them home

  1. Not much was known about Africa south of the Sahara

  1. Europeans had no direct access till Portuguese navigators crept down the West African coast

mid 15th century

  1. Portuguese set up trading post along African shore for purchase of gold and slaves

  1. Arabs and Africans both had traded slaves for centuries before the Europeans had arrived

  1. Slavery was already part of African culture

  2. Plantation- large-scale agricultural enterprise growing commercial crops and usually employing coerced or slave labor. Plantations established in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the American South.

  1. Portuguese sailors still tried to sail farther

  1. Bartholomeu Dias rounded the southernmost tip in 1488

  2. 1498 Vasco de Gama reached India and returned home with small but enticing cargo of jewels

and spices

  1. Meanwhile Spain united in the late 15th century

  1. Resulted from marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile

  2. Also resulted from the brutal expulsion of the Muslim Moors

  3. Spain wanted to beat Portugal

  1. Looked westward

VI. Columbus Comes upon a New World

  1. Europeans still wanted cheaper products beyond the Mediterranean

    1. Cheap slave labor for plantations from Africa

    2. Portuguese voyages had demonstrated the feasibility in long-range voyages

  2. Spain was forming into a modern national state

    1. Gaining unity, wealth, and power to help with discovery, conquest, and colonization

  3. Renaissance created an ambitious spirit of optimism and adventure

  4. Christopher Columbus- Italian seafarer

    1. Convinced Spanish monarchs to give him three ships and a crew to head westward

    2. After six weeks at sea (on October 12, 1492) the crew spotted land (island in the Bahamas)

  5. Columbus sensation achievement was really a very successful failure

    1. Didn’t discover shorter route to the Indies

    2. Discovery eventually led to the convulsion of Europe, Africa, and the two Americas

a. Europe provided the markets, the capital, and the technology

b. Africa provided the labor

c. New World offered its raw materials

VII. When Worlds Collide

  1. Columbian exchange- the transfer of goods, crops, and diseases between New and Old World societies after 1492

  2. New World flora and fauna intrigued Europeans

  1. Iguanas and rattlesnakes

  2. Tobacco, maize, beans, tomatoes, and potatoes revolutionized European diet

  1. Europeans introduced Old World crops and animals to the Americas

  1. Cattle, swine, and horses brought on Columbus’s trip to Hispaniola

  1. Horses soon reached North America and in less than 20 years had made as far as Canada

  2. Apaches, Sioux, and Blackfeet Indian tribes quickly adapted the horse

  1. Also brought sugar cane seeds

  1. Sugar revolution in Europe, fueled by slave labor in the canefields and sugar mills of the New World

  1. Unknowingly brought seeds for Kentucky bluegrass, dandelions, and daisies

  2. Also brought smallpox, yellow fever, and malaria

  1. Killed off as many as 90% of Native Americans

VIII. The Spanish Conquistadores

  1. Europeans realized the profits of the New World

  1. Spain secured its claim

  2. Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)- divided with Portugal the “heathen lands” of the New World

  1. Spain was dominant exploring and colonizing power of the 1500s

  1. Conquistadores- sixteenth century Spaniards who fanned out across the Americas, from

Colorado to Argentina, eventually conquering the Aztec and Incan empires

  1. In the service of God as well as in search for gold and glory

  1. Two notable Spanish accomplishments

  1. Vasco Nuñez Balboa- discovered Pacific Ocean

  2. Ferdinand Magellan- circumnavigated the world from 1519 to 1522

      1. Died in the Philippines

      2. One remaining vessel made it back in 1522

  1. 1513 and 1521 Juan Ponce de León explored Florida seeking gold

    1. killed by Indian arrow

  2. 1540-1542 Francisco Coronado in quest of fabled golden cities discovered the Grand

Canyon and the Colorado River

  1. 1539-1542 Hernando de Soto undertook gold-seeking expedition

    1. crossed Mississippi River

    2. after treating Indians with iron collars and fierce dogs he died of fever and wounds

  2. 1532 Francisco Pizarro crushed the Incas of Peru

  1. By 1600 Spain had plenty of New World Silver causing increased consumer costs by as

much as 500% in the hundred years after the mid 16th century

    1. some scholars see this as capitalism

    2. Capitalism- economic system categorized by private property, generally free trade, and open accessible markets. European colonization of the Americas, and in particular, the discovery of vast bullion deposits, helped bring Europe’s transition to capitalism

  1. The West Indies served as off shore bases for Spanish invasion of the Americas

    1. Supplies could be stored

    2. Men and horses could be acclimated and rested before heading to the continents

    3. Encomienda- Spanish government’s policy to “commend” or give, Indians to certain colonists in return for their promise to Christianize them. Part of a broader Spanish effort to subdue Indian tribes in the West Indies and on the North American mainland.

IX. The Conquest of Mexico

  1. 1519 Hernán Cortés set sail from Cuba

  1. Picked up a Spanish castaway who had been enslaved for several years by Mayan- speaking


  1. Short distance later picked up a female Indian slave who knew both Mayan and Nahuatl

  2. Cortéz had the advantage

  1. Cortéz made his way to the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán

  1. Aztec chief, Moctezuma, sent gifts to Spaniards to welcome them

  2. Cortéz wanted more gold

  3. Moctezuma let them approach the capital unopposed

  4. Treated the Spanish hospitably when they arrived

  1. Noche triste- June 30, 1520 -“sad night” when the Aztecs attacked Hernán Cortés and his forces in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, killing hundreds. Cortéz laid siege to the city the following year, precipitating the fall of the Aztec empire and inaugurating three centuries of Spanish rule.

  1. 1521- Tenochtitlán capitulated and a smallpox epidemic burned through the valley of Mexico

  2. Temples destroyed to make way for cathedrals

  1. Brought more than death

  1. Brought crops, animals, religion, language, laws and customs

  2. Created distinctive culture of mestizos

  3. Mestizos- people of mixed Indian and European heritage, notably in Mexico

X. The Spread of Spanish America

  1. Spain’s colonies grew quickly and impressively

  2. Sparked other Europeans interest

  1. England sent John Cabot to explore the north eastern coast of North America in 1497 and 1498

  2. The French King sent Giovanni da Verrazano to probe the eastern seaboard in 1524

  3. To block French ambitions, Spanish set up a fortress at St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565

  1. Conquistadores kept coming northward

  1. Don Juan de Oñate led a group into the Rio Grande valley in 1598

  2. Spaniards cruelly abused the Pueblo peoples

  3. Battle of Acoma-Fought between Spaniards under Don Juan Oñate and the Pueblo Indians

in present- day New Mexico. Spaniards brutally crushed the Pueblo peoples and established the territory as New Mexico

  1. Proclaimed area to be the province of New Mexico in 1609 and founded it’s capital at

Santa Fé the following year

  1. Spanish settlers found few furs and little gold but many people to be converted to Christianity

  1. This provoked an Indian uprising called the Pope’s Rebellion

  2. Pope’s Rebellion-1680- Pueblo Indian rebellion which drove Spanish settlers from New


  1. Took nearly half a century for the Spanish to gain back complete control

  1. 1716- Spanish began to establish settlements in Texas

  1. The Alamo created at San Antonio

  1. 1769 Spanish missionaries led by Father Junipero Serra founded at San Diego the first chain of twenty-one missions

  1. Gathered the semi nomadic Indians into fortified missions

  2. Black Legend- False notion that Spanish conquerors did little but butcher the Indians and

steal their gold in the name of Christ

  1. They did those things but also grafted their culture, laws, religion, and language onto

Wide array of native societies

  1. Spanish tried to incorporate Indians and not shun them unlike what the English would do

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