Study Guide for American History

Topics: Arawak, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Americas Pages: 3 (921 words) Published: December 10, 2012
History Unit 2 Study Guide

Assignment 1

The past 140 years have seen scientific revolutions in many fields, including demography, climatology, epidemiology, economics, botany, genetics, image analysis, palynology, molecular biology,biochemistry, and soil science. As new evidence has accumulated, long-standing views about the pre-Columbian world have been challenged and reexamined. Although there is no consensus, and Mann acknowledges controversies, Mann asserts that the general trend among scientists is to acknowledge: 1. (a) population levels in the Native Americans were probably higher than traditionally believed among scientists and closer to the number estimated by "high counters"; (b) humans probably arrived in the Americas earlier than thought, over the course of multiple waves of migration to the New World (not solely by the Bering land bridge over a relatively short period of time); 2. The level of cultural advancement and the settlement range of humans was higher and broader than previously imagined; and 3. The New World was not a wilderness at the time of European contact, but an environment which the indigenous peoples had altered for thousands of years for their benefit, mostly with fire. These three main foci (origins/population, culture, and environment) form the basis for three parts of the book.

Assignment 2
Summary of Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress by: Howard Zinn History is a weapon with a description of the Arawak Native Americans; the article describes them as “naked, tawny, and full of wonder”. The author quotes a journal from a crew member of the Columbus expedition describing for the reader the cheery, and full of hospitality, society the Arawak people had, and quickly described the opposite society the Europeans had. Zinn tells about how Columbus promptly kidnapped some natives to interrogate them on the island, and more intently on gold, the reason he came, and the item that the Spanish rulers wanted. The author goes...
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