Period 1

Period 1
On a North American Continent controlled
by American Indians, contact among the
peoples of Europe, the Americas and West
Africa created a New World
Key Concept 1
• Before the arrival of the Europeans, native
populations in North America developed a
wide variety of social, political and economic
structures based in part on interactions with
the environment and each other
As settlers migrated and settled across the vast
expanse of North America over time, they
developed quite different and increasingly
complex societies by adapting to and
transforming their diverse environments
• The spread of maize cultivation from present day
Mexico northward into the American Southwest and
beyond supported economic development and social
diversification among societies in these areas; a mix of
foraging and hunting did the same for societies in the
Northwest and areas of California
Maize Culture
• Around A.D. 1000, maize agriculture began to spread
from Central America through North America
– Maize was especially popular in the southwest
– Societies developed vast irrigation systems (Pueblos in Rio
• Maize cultivation transformed societies
– Less emphasis on hunting and gathering
– Led to an increase in population
• Villages were built around maize fields
• Roughly 300,000 natives lived in California prior to
the arrival of Europeans
– Most of these societies were based on hunting, gathering,
and foraging
• Gather nuts, fish, and hunted
– Societies tended to be ruled by wealthy families
• Chinooks
– Advocated warrior traditions
– Used advanced fighting techniques
– Lived in longhouses which could house many families
Codex Nuttal
Chahokia- Mississippian Settlement
• Societies responded to the lack of natural
resources in the Great Basin and the Great
Plains by developing largely mobile lifestyles
Pre-Columbian Plains Indians
Plains Indians
• Most natives lived off of hunting and gathering
– Lack of natural resources
– Large, flat area
• With the introduction of the horse, life on the Great
Plains was drastically altered
– Bison hunting became much easier
– Natives with horses became stronger militarily
• Natives in the Great Basin hunted bison and sheep
– Like natives on the Great Plains, horses helped natives
become more powerful
• In the Northeast and along the Atlantic
Seaboard some societies developed mixed
agricultural and hunter-gatherer economy
that favored the development of permanent
Northeast and Atlantic Seaboard
• Many societies were a mix of hunting and gathering,
and agriculture and developed permanent villages
• Iroquois (Present day NY and PA):
– Adapted to their environment:
• Burned forests to hunt and grow crops
• Villages were built around maize
• Iroquois were a matriarchal society:
– Power was based on female authority
– Women were instrumental in councils and decision-making
– Women would tend to crops and oversaw community
affairs while men hunted
Northeast Indians
Key Concept 2
• European Overseas expansion resulted in the
Columbian Exchange, a series of interactions
and adaptations between societies across the
Columbian Exchange
• What was it?
– The exchange of plants, animals, culture, humans, diseases, etc. between the
Americas, Europe, and Africa
• Examples of goods:
– Americas to Europe and Africa: potatoes, maize (corn), tomatoes
– Europe to the Americas: wheat, rice, horses, chickens, oxen
• Impact of exchange?
– In Europe and Asia: massive population growth due to new food
– In Africa: Spanish and Portuguese used Africans from West Africa to be used
as slaves in the Americas
– In the Americas: spread of diseases (smallpox), social classes (Mestizos), horse
transformed Native life (made hunting easier), Encomienda system
Big Ideas:
What were positives and negatives of the Columbian Exchange on both hemispheres?
What were reasons that led to European exploration?
The arrival of Europeans in the Western
Hemisphere in the 15th and 16th centuries
triggered extensive demographic and social
changes on both sides of the Atlantic
• Spanish and Portuguese exploration and
conquest of the Americas led to widespread
deadly epidemics, the emergence of racially
mixed populations and a caste system defined be
an intermixture among Spanish settlers, Africans
and Native Americans.
• Spanish and Portuguese traders reached west
Africa and partnered with some African
groups to exploit local resources and recruit
slave labor for the Americas.
Why African Slavery
• One possible answer draws on the different values of
societies around the Atlantic and, more particularly,
the way groups of people involved in creating a
trans-Atlantic community saw themselves in relation
to others – in short, how they defined their identity.
Ocean-going technology brought Europeans into
large-scale face-to-face contact with peoples who
were culturally and physically more different from
themselves than any others with whom they had
interacted in the previous millennium. In neither
Africa nor Asia could Europeans initially threaten
territorial control, with the single and limited
exception of western Angola.
• African capacity to resist Europeans ensured that sugar
plantations were established in the Americas rather than in
Africa. But if Africans, aided by tropical pathogens, were able
to resist the potential invaders, some Africans were prepared
to sell slaves to Europeans for use in the Americas. As this
suggests, European domination of Amerindians was complete.
Indeed, from the European perspective it was much too
complete. The epidemiological impact of the Old World
destroyed not only native American societies, but also a
potential labor supply.
• The trans-Atlantic slave trade therefore grew from a strong
demand for labor in the Americas, driven by consumers of
plantation produce and precious metals, initially in Europe.
Because Amerindians died in large numbers, and insufficient
numbers of Europeans were prepared to cross the Atlantic,
the form that this demand took was shaped by conceptions of
social identity on four continents, which ensured that the
labor would comprise mainly slaves from Africa.
• The introduction of new crops and livestock
be the Spanish had far reaching effects on
native settlement patterns, as well as on
economic, social and political development in
the Western Hemisphere.
• In the economies of the Spanish colonies,
Indian labor, used in the ecomienda system to
support plantation based agriculture and
extract precious metals and other resources,
was gradually replaced by African slavery
European expansion in the the Western
Hemisphere caused intense social/religious,
political and economic competition in Europe
and the promotion of Empire building
• European exploration and conquest were
fueled by a desire for new sources of wealth,
increased power and status, and converts to
• What drove European exploration and conquest?
– 3 G’s – Gold, Glory, Gospel
– To spread Christianity – Spain
– Mercantilism
• Money and food from the Americas led to population
growth in Europe and helped shift the economy to
– Joint-stock companies – used to raise $ for explorations
• Used in Jamestown (1607)
• New technology aided exploration:
– Sextant – could be used to find exact position on earth –
more precise sailing
– Compass
– Caravel
– Map Making
• New crops from the Americas stimulated
European population growth while new
sources of mineral wealth facilitated the shift
from feudalism to capitalism
• Improvements in technology and more
organized methods for conducting
international trade helped drive changes to
economies in Europe and the Americas.
Key Concept 3
• Contacts among American Indians, Africans
and Europeans challenged the worldview of
each group.
Big Idea
– How did Europeans view the Natives and justify
their treatment of them?
– How did Africans adapt to life in the Western
Hemisphere while still preserving their own
– Be familiar with the impacts of the Columbian
Exchange – not just food
• Increase in world trade, permanently connecting two
– Identify specific goods and their impacts – horse
and potato
– Impact on Africans – drastic growth in slavery
European overseas expansion and sustained
contacts with Africans and American Indians
dramatically altered European views of social,
political and economic relationship among and
between white and nonwhite peoples
• With little experience dealing with people who
were different from themselves, Spanish and
Portuguese exploders poorly understood the
native peoples they encountered in the Americas,
leading to debates over how American Indians
should be treated and how civilized these group
were compared to European standards
• Many Spanish and Portuguese did not understand Natives and
their cultures
– Natives were viewed as “Savages” by many Europeans
• Juan de Sepulveda:
– Advocated harsh treatment of Natives
– Claimed slavery for Natives was justified under Christianity
• Bartolome de Las Casas:
– Argued that Natives deserved the same treatment as all other men
– Played an instrumental role in the ending of the encomienda system
• Europeans began to develop a belief in white superiority to
justify the treatment of Africans and Natives
Portuguese vs. Spanish
• The Portuguese were mainly interested in trade only and had little desire
initially to settle anywhere, except for trading purposes.
The Spanish wanted to incorporate the inhabitants of the new lands under
the Spanish crown and, more importantly, to convert them to Catholicism.
• The Portuguese and Spanish became great colonizing nations at the end
of the Middle Ages. Portuguese colonization, which received impetus from
the development of greatly improved methods of navigation, began with
the establishment of trading ports in Africa and the East, while the Spanish
concentrated most of their efforts in the Americas. Both the Spanish and
the Portuguese exercised strict governmental control over their colonies
and used them primarily as a basis for rich commerce with the parent
government. They discouraged them from becoming economically selfsufficient.
Read more: colonization: The Portuguese and Spanish |
• Many Europeans developed a belief in white
superiority to justify the subjugation of
Africans and American Indians, using several
different rationales
• The Spanish settlers had three terms which applied to their
dealings with the Indians, the encomiendo, the mitad, and the
repartimiento, each indicating a form of injustice. The
conquerors divided the country between them, and
the encomiendos were rights granted them to hold the
Indians for a number of years as workers in their fields or their
[187] mines. Under these grants, the natives were converted
into beasts of burden, and forced to do the hardest work
without the least compensation. They were obliged to labor
all day long under the burning tropical sun, to dive into the
sea in search of pearls for their masters, or to toil buried from
the light of day in the depths of the mines. It is not surprising
that these miserable slaves, accustomed to a life of indolence
and ease, perished as if exposed to a killing plague.
• Encomienda-were rights granted them to hold
the Indians for a number of years as workers
in their fields or their mines. Under these
grants, the natives were converted into beasts
of burden, and forced to do the hardest work
without the least compensation
• Repartiemento- it the district officials were
required to supply all things needed by the
• Mitad- every man from the ago of eighteen to
fifty was required to render bodily service
• Early 16th century
• Spanish system of control over Natives in much of the Americas
• What did it do?
– Royal grants of land from the Spanish Crown to Spaniards
– In return, the Spanish promised to Christianize the Natives living on the land
• Spanish gained tribute from the Natives
• How were Natives affected?
– Most were treated harshly
• Heavy manual labor – building roads and infrastructure
• Encomiendas became wealthy due to the discovery of gold and silver
Downfall of Encomiendas
• Many Catholics began to protest the harsh
treatment of the Natives
• Mestizos (individuals of Spanish and Native
Ancestry) could not be forced to work the
encomienda system
– In time, this helped lead to the decline of the
• Gradually, the system was replaced by African
slave labor, like many areas of the Americas
Native peoples and Africans in the Americas strove to
maintain their political and cultural autonomy in the
face of European challenges to their independence
and core beliefs
• European attempts to change American Indian
beliefs and worldviews on basic social issues
such as religion, gender roles and the family,
and the relationship of people with the
natural environment led to American Indian
resistance and conflict
• The Spanish often tried to convert Natives to Christianity
– Spanish Mission System:
Outposts throughout the Americas to help convert Natives
Outposts were often military bases as well
Don Juan de Onate defeated the Pueblos
Spanish established Santa Fe in 1610
Spanish priests and government suppressed Native practices that were
inconsistent with Christianity
• Spanish demanded tribute and labor from Natives
• Many Africans preserved their culture and autonomy in the
New World
– Maroon Communities:
• Consisted of runaway slaves, many were located in the Caribbean
– Many Africans would combine elements of Christianity with their
native African religions and customs
• In spite of slavery, African’s cultural and
linguistic adaptations to the Western
Hemisphere resulted in varying degrees of
cultural preservation and autonomy
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