Chapter 2 notes - Monmouth Regional High School

Chapter 2 The First Americans
Section 1
The Land Bridge: after the last ice age, glaciers which once covered
the earth locked up water from the oceans and sea levels fell. As a
result, land appeared. This land bridge known as Beringia linked Asia
to North America.
-Experts date the arrival of the first Americans any from 30,000 to
15,000 years ago.
Global warming: 12,000 years ago temperatures around the globe
began to rise. Glaciers melted and water covered Beringia.
-5,000 years ago people began to grow crops; this eliminated the need
to move constantly. They built the first permanent villages,
population grew.
Native Americans: decedents of the first people to reach the Americas
thousands of years ago.
Mound builders: various Native American groups that lived 3,000
years ago.
-Mounds were used as burial grounds; some mounds were used for
religious ceremonies. They are shaped like pyramids with flat tops.
Mississippian people: built a large city in Cahokia, around the city they
built a fence surrounded by pots which are believed to serve as a
Hohokam people: lived about 2,000 years ago, they developed ways
to turn the desert into farmland by digging a vast irrigation system.
Anasazi pueblos: they also farmed the desert by using irrigation. They
also built large multistory houses made of stone and sundried bricks
called adobe.
-The Anasazi sought protection from warring neighbors by building
adobe houses along cliffs. On the top of the cliff they planted crops.
They built roads to connect to other villages.
Section 2:
2 cultures:
Arctic: Inuit people adapt to harsh climates, built igloos
as shelter. Because of climate, in the winter the Inuit
people set up camp by the sea to hunt for seal. In the
spring they paddled Kayaks to spear seal, whale and
walrus. In the summer they moved inland and hunted
caribou. Inuit people believed each animal had a spirit
and have thanks to the animal.
Subarctic: people adapt to harsh climates, they moved
from place to place and hunted moose & caribou. They
supplied fur to traders.
The Great Basin: lies in the dry intermountain region of
the U.S. Few plants/ animals can survive. The Utes and
Shoshones people who lived there spent most of their
time looking for food.
Plateau: people of the Plateau’s main source of food
was fish, they hunted and gathered nuts, berries and
California: coastal people: fished
Northern valley groups: hunted deer, rabbit, elk,
collected berries and nuts.
Pomos: skilled in weaving baskets and harvested nuts.
Pueblos: “people of the southwest” decedents of the Anasazi.
Buildings: adobes
Food: grew corn, beans, squash
Religion: reflected the importance of farming. Tried to please
the spirits of nature, wind, rain and thunder.
Villages: had a Kiva or underground chamber when religious
ceremonies took place.
Navajos: raided Pueblo fields for food, in time they accepted
many Pueblo ways. They farmed and built Hogans (houses
made of mud over wooden poles) they traded buffalo meat
for corn and cloth.
Plains People: built home of sod or matted grass and buffalo
hides to made tepees. They farmed along the river and
created tools made from animal bones.
Natchez Society: hunted , fished and farmed along the Gulf
Divided their year into 13 months (each named after a food/
Religious beliefs: centered on the sun god.
Natches leader: Great Sun
Marriage: ensured membership in each class changed, this
way no one can hold the title of the Great Sun forever.
Iroquois: called themselves House Builders. Woman owned all
the property in the long house and were in charge of
harvesting crops. Women also had political power because
they chose the sachem (tribal chiefs.)
Iroquois included 5 nations: Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga,
Oneida, Cayuga.
-Each had its own ruling council and fought constantly. A
league of Iroquois was developed to put an end to the
warfare. Later, a 6th nation the Tuscarora joined the league.
-Southeast was home to more Native Americans than any
other region, men and women had defined roles.
Section 3:
The Mayas:
Flourished from 300- 900 A.D.
-Created the most advanced early civilization in the Americas.
-Built religious centers such as the Palenque, Uxmal, Tikal and Copan.
-Excelled at math and astronomy. They understood the concept of
zero and had a symbol for it.
-Their calendar was the most accurate and they developed a written
The Aztecs:
Capital is Tenochititlan.
-Their strong army and well organized government allowed them to
extend their power.
-Aztecs collected tribute in the form of gold,. Cotton, turquoise,
feathers, incense, food and humans. (sun god was fed through human
hearts and blood)
-Successful in agriculture and trade.
The Incas:
Beginning in the early 1400’s, they dominated the Pacific
Coast and South America.
Capital: Cuzco ( high Andes Mountains)
Built a road system stretching 2, 500 miles.
Runners: memorized messages and carried them from place
to place.
Quipu: tied strings with knots of different colors. Each
represented information and financial accounts.
-Made great advances in agriculture and medicine.
Section 4:
Viking Voyages: seafaring people from Scandinavia. In
1001 they briefly settled in North America (Canada).
The Viking name came from the Inuits.
Christopher Columbus: Spanish explorer from Spain
sailed into the Caribbean Sea in 1492. He first landed
on a small Caribbean island called Tainos. They claimed
the land and forced the Native Americans to work in
gold mines, ranches or Spanish households. Within 100
years, the Taino population died.
Columbian Exchange: the exchange between Native
Americans and Europeans exchanged medicine,
technology, government, arts, language, and culture.
-Native Americans died of European diseases.