AP US History Summer Reading Assignment – 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann For
New research has emerged revealing that Indians had roamed & utilized the great lands of the Americas long before any European ship landed on its coast in 1491. Therefore, a conflict lies in debates about whether or not Native Americans possessed a complex history before the arrival of Europeans. Like the author of 1491: New Revelations of The Americas Before Columbus Charles C. Mann, Archeologists and Historians have been working diligently to find a resolution to this conflict. As a result, it is clear that Indians did posses some form of a history during the Pre-Columbian era because of accounts of Indian politics, beliefs, & agriculture. Like found in Europe, political structures were evident in many Indian societies. In order to operate such a great empire, like the Inka Empire, a political system is required. This is evident as Mann states, “In 1491 The Inka ruled the greatest empire on earth. Bigger than Ming Dynasty China… Ivan the Great’s expanding Russia… Songhay in the Sahel or powerful Great Zimbabwe… Ottoman Empire... The Triple alliance… bigger than any European state.”(74) Also similar to other forms of government, corruption was present in Inka politics. For instance, an old Inka tale essentially states that after a chaotic war the presiding Inka murdered one of his sons so that the other could become Inka. Therefore, because of sometimes bias European and Indigenous accounts it is evident that political systems were evident in the Americas before 1491. Another implication that Native Americans were more than space takers can be found in their cultivation of the land. Historians and others have often shared the common belief that when Europeans arrived in the “New Land”, they were encountering a pure and nourished gift from God. In contrast, newly found evidence, as explained in the book 1491, suggests that Native...
Cited: Mann, Charles C. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. New York: Knopf, 2005.Print.
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