“Pre-Historical” Geography

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“Pre-Historical” Geography
Three Time Periods:
1. Pre-1492: Pre-Colombian
– Columbus = Colon
– Colon = Colonial?
– Coincidence?
2. 1492 to 1532: Colonial Period*
* Fall of Cuzco, Peru
3. Post-1532: Post-Colonial
1. Pre-Columbian
People already here! But from where?
• Ancient Vikings, Greeks, Egyptians, Celts,
Chinese?
• Lost Tribes of Israel?
- (~1,000 B.C.: Biblical account of Assyrians
taking over Israel redistributing the population
elsewhere for security and control purposes)
• Ancient Astronauts from Outer Space?
- Erich Van Daniken’s theory based on
mythological “gods” and supernatural
phenomena mentioned in religious texts
Bering Strait
Theories
• When ocean levels dropped,
a land “bridge” formed
between Alaska and Russia
• Earliest migrations about
12,000 - 40,000 years ago
• Similar artifacts found from
Blackwater Draw, NM all the
way to Chile
• DNA similarities between Native
Americans and Asians
• Second migration about
4,500 years ago across
Canada.
• Contested by many
Traditionalists / Natives!
Beringia
Native Origin Theories
(“cosmologies” or “mythologies”)
Yaqui: “The Creator made ocean animals and allowed
some to emerge onto land. Some evolved into a short
human form: the Surem. These are the early
ancestors of the Yaquis. The Surem lived in a time
out of mind and were a peace-loving, gentle people
who had no need for government. Life in the Sonoran
desert was a harmonious perfection for the Surem
until God spoke through a little tree and prophesied
about new horticultural techniques, Christianity,
savage invaders, and disunity. The Surem became
frightened about parts of this message and
transformed into taller, defensive farming people
called Yaquis (Hiakim) or Yo'emem (The People).”
http://www.manataka.org/page129.html
Many, many theories…
Pre-Siberian American Aborigines Theory
• Came from Pacific Islands
• Sailed to Chile
• Easter Island (faces west)
• Thor Heyerdahl
– Kon-Tiki: 1947 built and sailed a balsa boat
from South America to Polynesia
– Ra I and II: 1969-70 built and sailed a papyrus
reed boat from Morocco to Barbados
– What does this prove?
Which current?
Which tradewinds?
Many Pre-Columbian Civilizations!
1,000’s!!
Pre-1492
Estimates…
• U.S. and Canada:
900,000 – 12.5m
• Mexico:
3.2m – 37.5m
• Central America:
150,000 – 13.5m
• Caribbean:
200,000 – 550,000
• Andes:
3m – 27.5m
• Rest of South Am:
1.5m – 11.25m
Nobody knows!
• For all of the Americas most estimates have
placed the native population ranging anywhere
from 8.4 million to 112.5 million.
• Whichever answer you choose, there are
HUGE sociopolitical ramifications!
–
–
Pro-native? Anti-native?
Watering down atrocities or overstating
tragedy for personal / political gain?
• Does it matter? 7 million killed or 50 million?
Ancient Civilizations / Sites
of Latin America
Civilization
Site
Location
• Olmec
• Maya
•
•
•
•
•
•
Teotihuacán
Zapotec
Mogollon
Aztec
Taíno / Arawak
Inca
San Lorenzo
Tulum
Palenque
Tikal
Copán
Teotihuacán
Monte Albán
Tenochtitlan
Machu Picchu
Veracruz, Mex
Yucatan, Mexico
Eastern Mexico
NE Guatemala
Western Honduras
Central Mexico
Oaxaca, Mexico
AZ, NM, TX
Central Mexico
Caribbean / Guianas
~Cuzco, Peru
Mogollon
Major Civilizations
of Mesoamerica
and the Caribbean
Teotihuacán
Carib
Dry climate has too
low of carrying
capacity to support
large civilizations!
General Characteristics of PreColumbian Mesoamerican Settlements
• Most developed in humid areas (not
Mogollon) and along coastal plains
• Coastal Plains = Fertile Soils, Humid
• Nomadic Hunters / Gatherers became
Farmers
• Fairly localized (Maya expansive)
• Most either died out, became mixed, or fled
to less-desirable areas
• New sites being “discovered” constantly
Olmec
• 1500 BC – 300 AD
• Isthmus of
Tehuantepec
• Veracruz
• “Mother Culture” of
all Mesoamerican
civilizations?
• First
Mesoamerican
culture to develop
hieroglyphic script
• Farming: maize
• Climate!
Olmec
San Lorenzo
1200-900 BC
Maya
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
2000 - 1000 BC? – ??
Still around!
Mexico to Costa Rica:
debatable
Yucatan, Guatemala,
Belize, El Salvador, W
Honduras in particular
Developed writing, math
and the calendar far
beyond their origins
Had “0” before Europe
Urbanized
Many historical sites!
Maya
1. Chichen Itza
3. Tulum
6. Tikál
8. Copán
Chichen Itza
~600 AD
Voted as one of the new “Seven
Wonders of the World” in 2007
Tulum
~500 AD
(most from ~1200-1400)
Tikal
400 BC
(largest Mayan site)
Copán:
900 BC
http://www.livescience.com/32017-lost-city-honduras-images.html
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
300 BC – 750 AD
Civilization and City
Centered around D.F.
Multi-ethnic (Maya,
Mixtec, Zapotec, etc.)
“Urban Farmers”
Canals, Irrigation
Pyramids
City >200,000: Largest in
the world:150-450 AD
City “disappeared”
around 650 AD: Fire?
Teotihuacán
Teotihuacán
300 BC? Who built it?
#1 most visited ancient site in Mexico
Zapotec
•
•
•
•
•
Monte Albán
(built over the course
of 2,000 years)
600 BC – 1551 AD ?
Artisans: Jewelry (Jade)
Irrigation
Oaxaca
Monte Alban: First major
city in the West (walled)
• Developed syllables in
language
• Still up to 400,000 Zapotec
in Mexico today
Oaxaca
Zapotec
Monte Albán
600 BC
Mogollon
• 200 BC – 1400 AD
• NW Mexico, SW U.S.
• Evolved from bands
of nomadic peoples
• Lived in dry,
mountainous region
• “Cliff Dwellers”
• Merged with other
natives (Hohokam,
Anasazi)
• Pueblo, Zuñi, others
• 1350 – 1521 AD
Aztec
• “from Aztlan”
(mythical place in
Northern Mexico)
• Called selves “Mexica”
• Oldest continuously
inhabited city in the
West?
• Their sun god saw a
vision where to build
Tenochtitlan
Tenochtitlan
(1824: D.F.)
The Aztec sun god told Aztec priests to settle
where they “saw an eagle perched on a
cactus full of fruits (Tenochtli) eating a snake”
1325: Tenochtitlán
“Altepetl” = “Water Mountain”
(“community”)
Destroyed, dismantled,
or buried under what is
today Mexico City
Caribbean Civilizations
• Arawak (includes Taíno):
–
–
–
–
Everywhere in Caribbean
Largely in Greater Antilles
Also on mainland South America (Colombia, Venezuela)
Even joined with Spanish against Caribs
• Carib: Rivals of Arawak
– Particularly in Lesser Antilles
– North Coast of South America (Venezuela, Guyanas)
– “Cannibals:” Dubbed by Columbus (karibna = person)
• Only cannibals could be taken as slaves
• Very warlike
• Veracity of label?
(Taíno)
Carib
http://www.centrelink.org/KearnsDNA.html
• Only ~3,000
“true” Caribs
left (Dominica)
Native Civilizations: South America
Inca (altiplano)
• Cuzco
• Machu Picchu
…and many
Amazonian
civilizations
Incan Center of Cuzco: High up in the Andes
(~12,000 feet!: Northern end of Altiplano)
Machu Picchu:
One of “The New Seven
Wonders of the World.”
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Christ the Redeemer, Brazil
The Great Wall, China
Machu Picchu, Peru
Petra, Jordan
Roman Colosseum, Italy
The Taj Mahal, India
#8: Easter Island
•http://www.gadling.com/2010/01/15/stone-henge-machu-picchu-top-most-threatened-wonders-list/
Atlantis?
• On trade route
• Earthquake
• Lower water levels
• Pyramid?
• Buildings?
• Streets?
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