Europeans and Amerindians

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AP U.S. History: Unit 1.1

CONTACT: Europeans & Amerindians
I. Overview—big ideas  By 1600 Europeans had created the world’s first truly global economy.  Meanwhile, the "age of discovery" resulted in the greatest human catastrophe the world has ever known: 90% of Amerindians died by 1600; slavery of tens of millions of Africans.  Cultural differences between European and Amerindians were so immense that major conflict occurred in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.  Summary of relations between the three major colonial powers in America and the Amerindians  Spain sought to Christianize and control the Indians (through the encomienda and mission systems)  The French sought to establish strong trade relations with the Amerindians; Jesuits sought to convert them.  English settlers often sought to either move Indians westward or annihilate them Use space below for notes

II. Native Americans (Amerindians) A. Population: approximately 100 million c. 1500 (high estimate); probably more like 50-70 million B. Arrived more than 40,000 years ago via Bering Strait (called Beringia when it was above land) and eventually spread to tip of South America (by 8,000 BCE) 1. First immigrants hunted animals for meat and furs; probably built small fishing vessels. 2. Beringia became isolated when Bering Strait under water c. 10,000 years ago C. New research in origins of Amerindians. 1. Old Crow site in Yukon may be 50,000 years old. 2. French team in northeastern Brazil working on site that might be 48,000 years old. 3. 1992, new archeological research suggests oldest inhabitants may have come from south Asia or even Europe before northern Asians as previously thought. 4. No evidence exists that humans lived in eastern Siberia (Russia) 30,000 years ago (only 12,000 years ago).

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D. By 8,000 BCE, Amerindians reached tip of South America. 1. Hundreds of tribes with different languages, religious & cultures inhabited America. 2. Between 4,000 & 1,500 BCE permanent farm villages came to dominate parts of Peru, south-central Mexico, northeastern Mexico, and the southwestern U.S.  Grew maize, amaranth (a cereal), manioc (tapioca), chili peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, & beans E. Developed civilizations ("sedentary societies"—non migratory)—late-Stone Age 1. Incas in Peru 2. Mesoamerica: Aztecs in Mexico, and Mayans in Yucatan (earlier) developed advanced agricultural techniques based primarily on corn.  Built stone-carved cities rivaling many in Europe.  Studied mathematics and astronomy  Men and women worked fields and families saved surpluses for trade. F. North American Indians were generally less developed : most were "semi-sedentary" by Columbus’ time 1. Most people lived in small scattered nomadic settlements. 2. Some agriculture, probably developed by women a. “three sisters:” maize, squash, beans b. Men were the hunters; women the gatherers c. Among Eastern Woodlands Indians, women did the farming (except tobacco); much "slash and burn‖ agriculture d. Europeans sought to turn men into farmers; Indian men saw it as "women's work" i. Spoke of "reducing the Indian men to civility" ii. Indian males enjoyed much leisure time (like the European aristocracy) 3. Most societies were matrilineal and matrilocal: women owned the property (Iroquois are a good example) a. Men taught their children by persuasion and example. b. Few cared to acquire more property than could be carried from one site to another. c. Antithesis to European capitalism; Europeans saw them as poor consumers 4. No individual land ownership (even in sedentary societies)  Clans or families guarded their "use rights" to land allocated by chiefs. 5. Extensive trade in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys a. Most important man in the tribe was the man who gave the most away b. Trade was not like a contract in the European sense

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