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Unit 1: Different Worlds Meet. Beginnings to 1625. Chapter 1: The First Americans.

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Unit 1: Different Worlds Meet

Beginnings to 1625

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Chapter 1: The First Americans

“All birds, even those of the same species, are not alike, and it is the same with animals and with human beings. The reason WakanTanka (god) does not make two birds, or animals, or human beings exactly alike is because each is placed here by WakanTanka to be an independent individuality and to rely upon itself” – Shooter Teton Sioux

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Section 1: The First Americans

  • When the first Americans landed in the late 1400’s, they found Native Americans living here

  • Archeology is the study of ancient peoples.

  • Artifacts are things left behind by early people

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How Did Humans Get to North America?

  • Some believed at first that Native Americas had come from Atlantis, a mythical island that was supposed to have sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

  • New discoveries show that Native Americans did come from land that sunk to the bottom of the ocean, but not Atlantis. A land called Beringia (Bering Strait).

  • This land once joined Asia and the Americas.

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Ice Age

  • The Earth has passed through several ice ages, or long periods of time where parts of the Earth was covered in ice.

  • Water levels were lower during this time, so people could theoretically cross land that is now covered in water.

  • People crossed from Siberia (In Northeastern Asia to Alaska in Northwestern North America.

  • These people reached America around 30,000 years ago.

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The First Americans

  • The first Americans were Nomads or people that moved from place to place.

  • They gathered fruits and grains, but hunted for most of their food.

  • The crossing of the land bridge was called a Migration, a movement of a large number of people into a new homeland.

  • This migration took thousands of years and several different trips.

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Hunting for Food

  • Original Americans hunted for food, but they hunted for different animals.

  • A saber-tooth tiger was a large flesh eating cat.

  • The wooly mammoth and the mastodon resembled elephants but had shaggy fur and tusks up to 13 feet long. If a hunter caught one of these beasts, it would feed a group of humans for months.

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Hunting for Food Ctd

  • Hunters shaped pieces of stone and bone to make sharp tools for hunting.

  • Bands of hunters armed with spears would charge an animal, then throw their weapons.

  • Hunters used the meat to eat, the fur and skin for clothing, the bones for tools, and possibly the ribs for shelter.

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End of the Ice Age

  • 12,000 years ago, the ice melted and the water levels rose, sinking the Bering Straight beneath the water.

  • America was cut off from Asia.

  • Mammoths and other large animals began to die off, so Native Americans had to find other food sources.

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New Sources of Food

  • Hunters now hunted smaller animals (deer, birds, and rodents). They also started fishing and continued to gather fruits.

  • 9000 years ago, people discovered how to plant maize, an early form of corn. The harvests would provide a steady source of food so people would not starve.

  • People that once depended on hunting could now feed themselves.

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Farming and Culture

  • Scientists use Carbon Dating to determine how old something is. As long as the artifact was alive at one point, such as bone, or wood, they can tell how long ago it lived.

  • The new farming methods helped the people of Mexico develop a new culture or a way of life for a particular group or people. Over time, Native Americans from all over the continent developed their own cultures.

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Section 2: Cities and Empires

  • Long before Europeans arrived in the early 1500’s, great Civilizations, or highly developed societies, arose in Mexico, and Central and South America.

  • The four largest early American civilizations were the Olmec, the Maya, the Aztec, and the Inca.

  • Each civilization spread out over hundreds of miles, had millions of people, and thrived for centuries.

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The Mayans

  • By 300A.D. the Mayans had built many large cities in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize.

  • Tikal, in present day Guatemala, is considered the largest of the cities and was surrounded by 6 pyramids.

  • The pyramid in Chichen Itza, located in Mexico covered an acre of ground

  • The temples were both centers for both religion and government. They were build from large stones, usually build by enslaved workers.

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The Mayans Ctd..

  • The Mayans believed the gods controlled everything on Earth.

  • The Mayan civilization was a theocracy or a government led by religious leaders.

  • Mayans believed the gods were visible in the sun, stars, and moon. Their desire to measure time led to a 365 day calendar.

  • The Mayans used hieroglyphics or pictures or symbols that are used to represent words, sounds, or concepts. They had a complex vocabulary.

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The Mayans Ctd…

  • The Mayans did not have wheeled vehicles or horses, so everything they transported on land was carried on human backs.

  • They built a network of roads carved out of the jungles to connect cities and exchange crops.

  • Thousands of Mayan canoes would carry statues, jewelry, parrot feathers, cacao beans for chocolate, and other luxury goods to be traded to other cities throughout a large area.

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The Mayan Mystery

  • By 900A.D. the great cites of the Mayans were ghost towns.

  • No one knows what happened, some believed the slaves and farmers revolted against the masters, others believe the soil eroded to the point where food could no longer be produced.

  • Descendents of the Maya still live in Mexico and Central America.

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The Aztec

  • A group of hunters wandered to Lake Texcoco, which is now part of Mexico City and settled on an island.

  • The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was built.

  • The cities construction was a miracle of labor and design.

  • Workers worked day and night, sometimes until they died of exhaustion. They filled the lake with soil to make land bridges and grow crops.

  • By 1500A.D. the city had more than 200,000 people, the largest in the world.

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The Aztec Ctd….

  • They were a military civilization

  • They would invade other communities and take whatever they could: maize, cotton, cloth, copper, and weapons.

  • They were religious, believed in the sun god (Like the Mayans).

  • To make sure the sun would rise each morning, they would sacrifice people to the sun gods. Thousands of prisoners were sacrificed in ceremonies to the sun god.

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  • 1. Name the 4 Civilizations that lived in the Central America area before 1500A.D

  • 2. Define theocracy

  • The Impress Mr. Poore Question: Do theocracies still exist today, and if so can you name one?

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The Aztecs Ctd…

  • Europeans were in awe at the Aztec capital city. The soldiers marveled at “The great stone buildings that rose straight up out of the water”

  • Many streets were waterways for canoes.

  • Some of the Spaniards thought that Tenochtitlan was more magnificent than Rome and other European cities.

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The Incas

  • The Inca founded their capital city of Cuzco around 1200A.D.

  • They stretched North to South for more than 3000 miles along what is now Colombia, all the way down through Chile, to Argentina.

  • They had a strong army, with a draft that involved men 25 to 50. Their weapons included clubs, short spears, and spiked copper balls on ropes.

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Incas Ctd…

  • The Incas had a population of about 6 million people.

  • To control the empire, the Incas built a road system of 10,000 miles made up of stone roads, and used stone paved roads that went over mountains, across deserts, and through jungles.

  • They used rope bridges to go over some cliffs.

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Incas Ctd…

  • Runners carried messages to and from the emperor.

  • The Incan language, Quechua, became the official language of all peoples of the empire.

  • They did not possess writing, but used a system of record keeping using string.

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Incas Ctd…

  • The Incas cut terraces or broad platforms, into steep slopes so they could plant crops.

  • The Incas covered their emperor and throne room in gold because they believed the sun god enjoyed displays of gold.

  • The Incas displayed a great amount of wealth, however it would attract the Spanish invaders and be their downfall

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Section 3: North American Peoples

  • There were many Native American peoples that lived and disappeared before the Europeans arrived in the 1500’s.

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  • Came from Mexico around 300B.C and lived till about 1200A.D.

  • Lived in Arizona (desert), and were very good at squeezing every drop of water, and built an irrigation system.

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  • Lived about the same time as the Hohokam around the Utah/Colorado/Arizona/New Mexico area.

  • Built pueblos which were villages made of stone.

  • They later left their villages due to drought, or a long period of dry weather, which dried up their crops.

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Mound Builders

  • Several tribes ranging from Pennsylvania to Mississippi built mounds that looked like the pyramids of the Mayans.

  • These mounds were sites of burial and also contained vast wealth.

  • It is believed these people had a direct link to the people in Mexico

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  • Native Americans used the resources available to them to develop their own culture.

  • Example: The Inuit of Alaska and Canada build igloos using ice blocks for warmth, and their seal skin clothing was for warmth and was waterproof. They burned sea oil for warmth

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Other Tribes

  • West – Tlingit, Haida, Chinook, Nez Perez, Yakima, Pomo, Ute, and the Shoshone

  • Southwest – The Hopi, Acoma, and the Zuni built homes from a type of sun dried mud brick called adobe. In the 1500’s the Apache and the Navajo settled.

  • Great Plains – Natives went from place to place.

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Peoples of the East

  • The Iroquois of the Northeast formed a federation, or a government that linked different groups.

  • There were five different Iroquois nations: the Onondaga, the Seneca, the Mohawk, the Oneida, and the Cayuga.

  • These groups fought wars against each other until the late 1500’s, when they joined an organization called the Iroquois League.

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Iroquois Women

  • Iroquois women were able to own land and plant crops.

  • They had a strong role in government.

  • According to the constitution of the Iroquois, women would choose 50 men to serve on the Iroquois council.