5-8-13-WH-CH 14 NOTES

CHAPTER 14 SUMMARY: THE AMERICAS

LESSON 1-The FIRST AMERICANS

• The Americas are made up of four geographical areas: North 

America, Central America, South America, and the 

Caribbean. These areas include many different geographical 

features and climates. Major features in North America 

include the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River. Major 

features in South America include the Andes and the 

Amazon River. 

• The first people came to America from Asia. They were 

hunters and gatherers who used the resources of their 

environments for food, clothing, and shelter.

• At the end of the last Ice Age, agriculture began in the 

Americas. The earliest farming areas were in Mesoamerica 

and the Andes. Farming led to the development of complex 

civilizations in the Americas.

• Early Mesoamerican civilizations included the Olmec, the 

Zapotec, and Maya.. In South America, early civilizations 

included the Chavín and the Nazca. 

• In North America, early people developed a variety of 

cultures. In the area now known as the American 

Southwest, the Hohokam and the Anasazi developed two 

different cultures based on agriculture. 

• East of the Mississippi River, another culture arose. They are 

known as Mound Builders because they built large mounds 

to serve as tombs and places for ceremonies. The Hopewell 

were mostly hunters and gatherers, but the Mississippians 

were full-time farmers who grew corn, squash and beans. 

Some Mississippian cities contained 10,000 people or more.

 

LESSON 2-LIFE IN THE AMERICAS

• About a.d. 300 the Maya developed a civilization with over 

50 city-states in southern Mexico and Central America. Maya 

achievements included calendars, mathematics, and a 

written language.

• About a.d. 900 Maya civilization collapsed although 

historians are not sure why. The collapse may have been 

caused by warfare among the city-states or by falling food 

production.

• Many different Native American cultures developed in the 

different geographic regions of North America. These regions 

included the Far North, the Pacific  Coast, the Southwest, 

the Great Plains, and the Eastern Woodlands.