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Early American History Study Guide

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CHAPTER 1: NEW WORLD BEGINNINGS
Ice Age exposed land bridge between Eurasia + America that allowed nomadic hunters (Siberia) to cross; when Ice
Age ended, sea level rose, land bridge buried.
What were some of the native tribes and how did they flourish? Aztecs (Mexico), Incas (Peru) - thrived on agriculture
(esp. maize, corn); Pueblo people (Rio Grande) - irrigation systems for cornfields; Anasazis - corn cultivation
Discuss the wide range of levels of development of various native groups. Pueblo people - complex irrigation
systems; Iroquois Confederacy - developed military; Cahokia, Anasazi settlements - lesser population, declined
significantly by 1300
motives for European exploration: sought direct route to East Indies (indirect transportation of Eastern goods =
expensive, travels of Marco Polo were legendary)
How were the Europeans finally prompted into Africa? Sought new route to East, tried to sail south along Africa, but
prevented by winds - eventually, Portuguese managed to establish trading ports along Western African coast with
help of caravels
What did Europeans (esp. Portuguese) seek in Africa? gold, slaves (work on sugar plantations; became major
business in fifteenth + sixteenth centuries)
Series of explorations around end of fifteenth century, including those by Vasco da Gama, Bartholomew Dias,
Christopher Columbus
As Spain began to take part in overseas conquest, the Spaniards and Portuguese established the Treaty of
Tordesillas in which Spain lay claim to all of Columbus’s discoveries
Europe adopted mercantilism through triangular trade between Africa, Europe, colonies
Describe the Columbian exchange. Series of effects of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. Europeans brought Old
World crops + animals to New World, planted sugar (esp. West Indies), accidentally brought disease (smallpox,
jaundice, malaria, etc.) to Native Americans.
In what ways did the natives try to resist the advancing Europeans? Spiritual resistance - tainted European bread with
blood, unknowingly ended up introducing syphilis to Europe; direct combat - noche triste, Battle of Acoma, Pope’s
Rebellion (all largely unsuccessful)
Europeans engaged various methods of forcing natives to submission (ex. encomienda, noche triste)
Columbian exchange impacted not only Spanish and natives - drew English into rush for colonization (sent John
Cabot)
What was the Black Legend? Criticism of Spanish conquest exaggerated Spanish brutality towards the natives

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TERMS
Canadian Shield: first North American landmass above sea level
Aztecs: Mexico-based tribe that was well-known for a territory structured much like a nation-state, ultimately
conquered by Cortes
Incas: Peru-based tribe that was ultimately conquered by Pizarro
maize: crop similar to corn
Anasazis: southwestern tribe
Iroquois Confederacy: “military” union of a series of tribes, originated by the Iroquois
Cahokia: Mississippian settlement of Native Americans
Marco Polo: European explorer who allegedly reached Eastern Asia, returned with stories describing value + glory of
East
caravel: ship invented by Portuguese that could sail into wind
Vasco da Gama: ultimately reached India, 1498
Bartholomew Dias: rounded southern tip of Africa, 1488
Christopher Columbus: credited with discovery of the Americas on behalf of Spain
Treaty of Tordesillas: treaty between Spain and Portugal dividing the colonies
mercantilism: economic system in which all financial transactions are for the purposes of amassing bullion for the
nation as a whole, not for individual gain
Columbian exchange: series of impacts of Columbus’s arrival in Americas on the world
noche triste: legendary attack by the Aztecs on the Spaniards which nearly drove out the settlers until eventually laid
siege to Tenochtitlan
Battle of Acoma: battle between natives and Spaniards after which one foot of each surviving Native American was
severed - display of brutality
Pope’s Rebellion: Pueblo people burned down every Spanish Catholic church in protest of being forced to convert,
eventually crushed
encomienda: system in which natives were “commended” to settlers, forced into labor + conversion
John Cabot: explorer sent by England to northeast US
Black Legend: series of criticisms that exaggerated brutality of Spaniards towards Native Americans

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CHAPTER 1: NEW WORLD BEGINNINGS Ice Age exposed land bridge between Eurasia + America that allowed nomadic hunters (Siberia) to cross; when Ice Age ended, sea level rose, land bridge buried. What were some of the native tribes and how did they flourish? Aztecs (Mexico), Incas (Peru) - thrived on agriculture (esp. maize, corn); Pueblo people (Rio Grande) - irrigation systems for cornfields; Anasazis - corn cultivation Discuss the wide range of levels of development of various native groups. Pueblo people - complex irrigation systems; Iroquois Confederacy - developed military; Cahokia, Anasazi settlements - lesser population, declined significantly by 1300 motives for European exploration: sought direct route to East Indies (indirect transportation of Eastern goods = expensive, travels of Marco Polo were legendary) How were the Europeans finally prompted into Africa? Sought new route to East, tried to sail south along Africa, but prevented by winds - eventually, Portuguese managed to establish trading ports along Western African coast with help of caravels What did Europeans (esp. Portuguese) seek in Africa? gold, slaves (work on sugar plantations; became major business in fifteenth + sixteenth centuries) Series of explorations around end of fifteenth century, including those by Vasco da Gama, Bartholomew Dias, Christopher Columbus As Spain began to take part in overseas conquest, the Spaniards and Portuguese established the Treaty of Tordesillas in which Spain lay claim to all ...
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