Unit I

Section 1 - Early History of the Americas

I. Ancient People Come to the Americas

A.  No one knows for sure who came to America 1st.

B.  Theory: approx. 40,000 years ago ice bridges formed allowing people to pass from Asia to Alaska on foot across the Bering Strait.

C. Discovery of spearheads and charred bones of woolly mammoths indicated to scientists that early Americans survived and lived as large game hunters.

D. Ice Age ended approx. 10,000 years ago.

E. Between 10,000 to 5,000 years ago a revolution took place in Mexico. People turned to raising plants for food – Agriculture emerged:
    1. Maize is thought to be 1st plant  Americans domesticated.
     2.  Agriculture allowed for a food surplus: more than is needed, desired, or required.

F.  Around 3,000 years ago the 1st Americans began to form larger communities and build more complex civilizations:

        1.  Olmec (1st Empire)
                    - 1200 BC – 400 BC
                    - Southern Mexico
        2.  Maya
                   - AD 250 – AD 900
                   - Guatemala & Yucatan Peninsula
       3.  Aztec
                  - AD 1200s
                  - Valley of Mexico
       4.  Inca
                 - arose in AD 1400
                 - Western Coast South America
      5.  Hohokam
                 - 300 BC – AD 1400
                - Central Arizona
       6.  Anasazi
                - 300 BC – AD 1400
                - 4 corners region:   UT, CO, AZ, NM
       7.  Adena
                - 800 BC – AD 1500
                - Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico
       8.  Hopewell
                - 800 BC – AD 1500
                - Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico
      9.  Mississippian
               - 800 BC – AD 1500
              - Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico

II. Native American Societies (1492)

A.  California – coastline, rainforest, desert

1. Kashaya Pomo
        a. Lived in the marshland along the central coast.
        b. Hunted waterfowl with slingshots and nets.

2. Yurok and Hupa
        a. Lived north of the Kashaya Pomo.    
        b.Gathered acorns and used fish traps in streams.

B. Northwest Coast – waterways, dense forests
        1.  Kwakiutl, Nootka, Haida
            a.  Lived along coastline from southern Alaska to Oregon.
            b.  Collected shellfish and hunted from the ocean.
            c.  Potlaches - elaborate Kwakiutl ceremonies where families gave away personal possessions.
                - Status of the family depended on how much they gave away.
                - Tribe believes there is balance in potlach tradition (what goes around comes around, karma, ect).

C. Southwest – dry, hot, rugged mountains
        1.  Pueblo, Hopi, and Pima (descendents  of Hohokam and Anasazi)
            a.  Lived near the Rio Grande –  harsh environment
            b.  Constructed houses made of  adobe bricks (natural material made from sand, clay, water, and organic material – sticks, straw, dung).
            c.  Grew corn, beans, melons, squash from sun parched soil.

D.  Eastern Woodlands – East of Mississippi, wooded forests
        1.  Iroquois
            a. Blended hunting, gathering, fishing, and agriculture.

E. Common Characteristics
    1. Divided labor according to age, gender, or status in tribe.
    2. Land regarded as the source of     life, not a commodity to be traded.
    3.Religious beliefs centered around spiritual presences.
    4.  Social organization of tribe based on bonds of kinship- strong ties among family members.

III. West African Societies (1492)

A.  Three distinct climate zones with the Niger River connecting all three areas:

     1.   South – tropical rain forests

     2.   North – savanna, dry grasslands

     3.   Central – Sahara Desert, hot

B.  Most people lived in small villages.

C.  Life revolved around  family, community, and tradition.

D.  Villages were unique, with some common patterns:
    1.  Family status and govt. determined through lineage.
    2.  Tribes traced lineage maternally-Mom’s side.
    3.  Age carried rank, eldest represented family.
    4.  Religion based on spiritual forces in living and non-living objects.
    5.  Livelihood of tribe a combination of farming, herding, hunting, fishing, mining, and trading.
    6.  Social organization divided tasks by age and status.
    7.  Lowest status in tribes – slaves.

IV.  European Societies (1492)

A.  By 1400 exploration is well on its way.

B.  Common qualities among European Societies:

1.Social organization hierarchical - a ruling body organized into orders or ranks each subordinate to the one above it.
    a. Few individuals moved beyond social position they are born into.
    b.  Groups that did move:
        Artisans – skilled manual worker
        Merchants – person dealing with trade and commodities    

2. Families were nuclear.
    a. Men dominating all areas of life.
    b.  Women worked in the fields, cared for family and home.       

3.  Religion – Roman Catholic Church       

4.  Commerce based on growth in trade.
     a.  Economic activity started to shift to towns.