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More on the First Americans. Jargon, Themes and Early European Encounters. Jargon. Paleolithic Period : from beginnings of human life through ~10,000 BCE when people were nomads.

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More on the first americans

More on the First Americans

Jargon, Themes and Early European Encounters

More on the first americans


  • Paleolithic Period: from beginnings of human life through ~10,000 BCE when people were nomads.

  • Nomad: person who belongs to a group of people who move from place to place seasonally in search of water and food.

  • Neolithic Revolution: Beginning about 10,000 BCE when they started to cultivate crops and domesticate animals.

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Jargon, 2

  • Social Class:a group of people within a society who share the same social, political, and economic status.

    • Class usually determined by work performed like farmer, craftsman, priest, and warrior

  • Civilization: a society having a high level of culture and social organization including organized government, job specialization, and an organized belief system.

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Jargon, 3

  • Council of Elders:

    • usually ran the villages

    • Composed of the heads of the village’s various families

    • Some villages may have had a chief elder as a single leader.

    • In times of scarce resources, warfare increased between villages.

    • Some men gained stature as great warriors during time of warfare.

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Neolithic Revolution

  • Changed the way humans lived.

  • Agriculture allowed permanent settlements, social classes, and new technologies.

  • New technologies

    • Simple calendars to track planting and harvesting.

    • Simple metal tools like plows.

      • May have used animals to pull the plows.

    • Metal weapons.

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Neolithic Revolution, 2

  • Took place in places besides Western Hemisphere

  • Some of these early groups settled in the fertile valleys of the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, Yellow, and Indus Rivers.

    • Rise of great civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and India.

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In North America

  • First Americans of the North

    • North of Rio Grande

    • Less complex and coercive societies

    • Lacked occupational diversity, social hierarchy, and strong state institutions

    • Most were self-governing kinship groups based on lineage

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  • ~100 CE, present-day Ohio

  • Spread influence from Louisiana to Wisconsin

  • Organized in large villages

  • Extensive trade networks and domesticated plants

    • Obsidian from Rocky Mountains

    • Copper from Great Lakes

    • Pottery and marine shells from Gulf of Mexico

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  • Built large burial mounds.

  • Artisans make ornaments to bury with the dead.

This map shows the Hopewell mounds and earthworks around Chillicothe Ohio.

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In the Southwest

  • ~ 600 CE Hohokam and Mogollon cultures

    • Hohokam used irrigation to grow crops

    • Worshiped their gods on platform mounds

    • By 1000, lived in elaborate multi-room stone structures called pueblos

  • ~ 900 CE Anasazi

    • Master architects

    • Built residential-ceremonial villages in steep cliffs

      • Chaco Canyon houses 1,000 people

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Chaco Canyon

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Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park (New Mexico)

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In the Southwest, 2

  • These societies collapsed ~ 1150

    • Drought ???

    • Invasion ???

    • Illness ???

  • Descendents include Acomas, Zunis, Hopis, and Navajos

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  • ~800, Mississippi River Valley

  • Last large-scale culture to emerge north of the Rio Grande

  • ~1150, Cahokia was largest city

    • Near present-day St. Louis

    • Population of 15,000 – 20,000

    • Temple mounds as large as great Egyptian pyramids

  • Tributes paid by peasants supported the privileged class of nobles and priests

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Mississippian, 2

  • ~1350

  • Decline due to overpopulation, urban disease, and warfare

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  • Included Algonquian-speaking peoples

  • Lived further north and to the east

  • Included modern-day Virginia

  • Farming became the work of women

    • Used flint hoes

    • Corn, squash, and beans

  • Men hunted and fished

  • Matrilineal inheritance system developed among many due to importance of farming.

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Mediterranean Crossroads

  • African, Asian, and European peoples interacted in the Mediterranean region

  • West African gold enriched Turkish sultans.

  • European guns strengthened North African armies.

  • Indian spices found their way to Italian kitchens.

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Religion and Politics

  • Closely intertwined in Mediterranean commerce.

  • From 7th to 14th centuries, Islam spread to Southeast Asia, West Africa, and much of Southern Europe.

  • Roman Catholic rulers introduced Christianity to central and northern Europe.

  • Frequent religious cooperation to secure commercial ties and fight piracy.

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  • Some Africans and Native Americans were matrilineal -- children traced descent through mother’s bloodline.

  • In many agricultural societies, women as well as men farmed.

    • In some, women did most of the field cultivation.

  • Europe divided tasks by gender

    • i.e., men were weavers but women were spinners.

  • Primogeniture in Europe

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European Encounters

  • Explorers financed by King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile

  • Columbus

    • October 12, 1492, disembarked on an island in the present-day Bahamas

    • Native inhabitants were the Taino, Arawak, and Carib

    • Future expeditions began colonization of West Indies

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European Encounters,2

  • Hernan Cortes and the Aztecs

  • Pizarro and the Incas

  • Desoto explored much of southeastern US

  • Spanish invasion changed life forever in the Americas

    • Disease and warfare wiped out virtually all of the Native Americans of Hispanola (300,000)

    • Conquistadors

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  • Between 1500 and 1650, ~350,000 Spaniards migrated to Mesoamerica and Western South America

    • 75% were men who took Indian wives

    • Mestizos = mixed race population

    • Elaborate race-based caste system emerged

      • 3.2 million Spaniards, 5.5 million Mestizos, 1 million African slaves and 7.5 million Native Americans

    • Surviving Native Americans lost most of their cultural identity

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Columbian Exchange

  • Profoundly impacted Americas, Europe, and Africa

  • Changed natural environment through new flora, fauna, minerals, and diseases

  • Native Americans catastrophic population losses

  • European nations economic profit from precious metals

  • New class of peoples (mestizos)

  • And ultimately, African slaves



  • Kokopelli:

  • The Enduring Vision by Boyer, et al

  • College Board Teacher Resources

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