Historical Events: APUSH Notes

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1.The Shaping of North America 1.Recorded history began 6,000 years ago. It was 500 years ago that Europeans set foot on the Americas to begin the era of accurately recorded history on the continent. 2.The theory of “Pangaea” exists suggesting that the continents were once nestled together into one mega-continent. The continents then spread out as drifting islands. 3.Geologic forces of continental plates created the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. 4.The Great Ice Age thrust down over North America and scoured the present day American Midwest.

2.Peopling the Americas 1.The “Land Bridge” theory… 1.As the Great Ice Age diminished, so did the glaciers over North America. 2.The theory holds that a “Land Bridge” emerged linking Asia & North America across what’s today the Bering Sea. People were said to have walked across the “bridge” before the sea level rose and sealed it off and thus populated the Americas.

2.The Land Bridge is suggested as occurring an estimated 35,000 years ago. 3.Many peoples emerged… 1.Those groups that traversed the land bridge spread across North, Central, and South America. 2.Countless tribes emerged with an estimated 2,000 languages. Notably… 1.Incas – Peru, with elaborate network of roads and bridges linking their empire. 2.Mayas – Yucatan Peninsula, with their step pyramids.

3.Aztecs – Mexico, with step pyramids and huge sacrifices of conquered peoples.

3.The Earliest Americans 1.Development of corn or “maize” around 5,000 B.C. in Mexico was revolutionary in that… 1.Then, people didn’t have to be hunter-gatherers, they could settle down and be farmers. 2.This fact gave rise to towns and then cities.

3.Corn arrived in the present day U.S. around 1,200 B.C.

2.Pueblo Indians 1.The Pueblos were the 1st American corn growers. 2.They lived in adobe houses (dried mud) and pueblos (“villages” in Spanish). Pueblos are villages of cubicle shaped adobe houses, stacked one on top the other and often beneath cliffs. 3.They had elaborate irrigation systems to draw water away from rivers to grown corn.

3.Mound Builders 1.These people built huge ceremonial and burial mounds and were located in the Ohio Valley. 2.Cahokia, near East St. Louis today, held 40,000 people.

4.Eastern Indians 1.Eastern Indians grew corn, beans, and squash in “three sister” farming… 1.Corn grew in a stalk providing a trellis for beans, beans grew up the stalk, squash’s broad leaves kept the sun off the ground and thus kept the moisture in the soil. 2.This group likely had the best (most diverse) diet of all North American Indians and is typified by the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw (South) and Iroquois (North).

5.Iroquois Confederation 1.Hiawatha was the legendary leader of the group. 2.The Iroquois Confederation was a group of 5 tribes in New York state. 3.They were matrilineal as authority and possessions passed down through the female line. 4.Each tribe kept their independence, but met occasionally to discuss matters of common interest, like war/defense. 5.This was not the norm. Usually, Indians were scattered and separated (and thus weak).

6.Native Americans had a very different view of things as compared to Europeans. 1.Native Americans felt no man owned the land, the tribe died. (Europeans liked private property) 2.Indians felt nature was mixed with many spirits. (Europeans were Christian and monotheistic) 3.Indians felt nature was sacred. (Europeans believed nature and land was given to man by God in Genesis to be subdued and put to use). 4.Indians had little or no concept or interest in money. (Europeans loved money or gold)

4.Indirect Discoverers of the New World 1.The 1st Europeans to come to America were the Norse (Vikings from Norway). 1.Around 1,000 A.D., the Vikings landed, led by Erik the Red and Leif Erikson. 2.They landed in “Newfoundland” or “Vinland” (due to all of the vines). 3.However, these men left America and left no written record and therefore didn’t get the credit. 4.The only record...
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