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The Earliest Americans. Section 1 Chapter 1. Focus Questions. How did the first people arrive in the Americas? Why was the development of agriculture important? What were some aspects of early Mesoamerican cultures?

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the earliest americans

The Earliest Americans

Section 1

Chapter 1

focus questions
Focus Questions
  • How did the first people arrive in the Americas?
  • Why was the development of agriculture important?
  • What were some aspects of early Mesoamerican cultures?
  • What early societies existed in North America, and what were their accomplishments?
the first migration to the americas
The First Migration to the Americas
  • Many Scientists believe that people first arrived in North America during the last Ice Age
  • Giant glaciers formed and dropped the ocean levels over 300 feet from what they are today
  • When the water fell, a land bridge formed between northeastern Asia and present-day Alaska– this land mass would be called Beringia
the first migration to the americas1
The First Migration to the Americas
  • There are no written records during this time so historians rely on archaeology– the study of unwritten past
  • They look at artifacts– remains of objects made by humans
  • Artifacts suggest that Paleo-Indians, or first Americans, crossed into Alaska sometime between 38,000-10,000 B.C.
  • Migration– movement of people from one region to another
  • Many believe the Paleo-Indians first crossed over the land bridge in search of animals to hunt
the first migration to the americas2
The First Migration to the Americas
  • Most of their descendants traveled into present-day Canada, the United States, and Mexico
  • Eventually the descendents reached the tip of South America
  • These people were hunter-gatherers– lived by hunting animals (mammoth) and gathering wild plants
adapting to a new climate
Adapting to a New Climate
  • When the Ice Age ended about 8000 B.C. the oceans rose and covered Beringia with water
  • The warmer weather created many new environments– climates and landscapes (buffalo and deer replaced mammoths)
  • The different environments lead to the development of Native American societies
  • A society is a group that shares common culture (values and traditions)
adapting to a new climate1
Adapting to a New Climate
  • The earliest farming societies began in Mesoamerica (Middle America)
  • The process of breeding plants or animals to meet human needs is called domestication
  • Mexico shows signs of having the first maize (or corn) grown by people
  • Agriculture allowed Native American groups to settle in villages and this led to larger and complex societies
mesoamerica and south america
Mesoamerica and South America
  • The Olmec society was the first to settle in Mesoamerica
  • It is called the “mother culture” because it influenced so many later civilizations
  • Olmec civilization developed between 1200 and 400 B.C.
  • They invented a system of writing called glyphs (symbols that represented ideas)
mesoamerica and south america1
Mesoamerica and South America
  • The Maya civilization thrived in southeastern Mesoamerica between A.D. 300 and 900
  • They built many large temples, palaces, and bridges
  • Along with creating several calendars, they studied mathematics and astronomy
mesoamerica and south america2
Mesoamerica and South America
  • Around A.D. 1200, Aztecs occupied the central valley of Mexico
  • Tenochtitlan was the center of the Aztec civilization and it stood in the middle of a huge lake and had raised highways connecting the city to the shore
  • The Aztecs conquered neighboring empires and created vast trading networks
mesoamerica and south america3
Mesoamerica and South America
  • The Inca civilization created an empire that stretched from present-day Ecuador to central Chile in South America
  • The Incas build a great road system that stretched 15,000 miles
  • The great Inca palace in the city of Cuzco had bathrooms with running water
early north american societies
Early North American Societies
  • The North American societies had to adapt to very different environments
  • The Anasazi lived in the current four corners area in southwest part of current day U.S.
  • Pueblos, or villages, were built among high hills and deep canyons
  • Many pueblos were multistory buildings with ladders connecting the different levels
  • They built these early pueblos on flat topped hills and later built them into cliff sides for defense (drought or war may have driven them from these homes around A.D. 1300)
early north american societies1
Early North American Societies
  • The Hopewell culture arouse between 300 and 200 B.C. along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri River Valleys
  • They supported their large populations with agriculture and trade
  • By A.D. 400 the Hopewell had declined
early north american societies2
Early North American Societies
  • The Mississippian culture relied on trade
  • From A.D. 700 to early 1500 they lived along the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys
  • They built pyramid mounds out of solid earth
  • The largest of these mounds stands 98 feet tall and covers 16 acres
focus questions1
Focus Questions
  • How did the first people arrive in the Americas?
  • Why was the development of agriculture important?
  • What were some aspects of early Mesoamerican cultures?
  • What early societies existed in North America, and what were their accomplishments?