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The Shaping of North America Essay

I. The Shaping of North America.
• All of the world’s dry land was one huge continent and eventually broke off into seven • North America was created with The Canadian Shield being the first part to shape • About 2 million years ago, most of the land was covered in ice during the Ice Age • 10,000 years ago melting of Ice – lakes.

II. Peopling the Americas.
• Ice Age caused sea level to drop creating a land bridge that connected North America with Eurasia bringing Asian hunters to America • Land bridge covered by water after ice age – no more immigration for a while • Temperature that ended ice age opened up valleys to Native American peoples • Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs were a few of the many different Native American tribes in existence • Aztecs.

o Maize
o Cities
o Stars
o Human Sacrifice.

III. The Earliest Americans.
• Corn farming spread all over America from Mexico.
• No “societies”.
• After corn planting reached Cahokia, a large group of about 25,000 lived there – first millennium C.E. • Three- sister farming was the cultivation of maize, squash, and beans – Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee tribes • Women took care of crops; Men hunted and fished.

IV. Indirect Discoverers of the New World
• Marco Polo traveled to China
• Christian crusaders, in failing to take the Holy Land from the Muslims, wanted goods from Asia • Muslim middlemen charged much for good transportation

V. Europeans Enter Africa
• Pressure to expand Europe
• Along with the caravel, traveling methods were improved • Arabs, Africans, and Portuguese – Plantation system – slave trade in Africa • Bartholomeu Dias went halfway down the coast of Africa but Vasco de Gama reached India – spices and jewels • Spaniards wanted to beat rival Portuguese in discovering the riches of the Indies (India).

VI. Columbus Comes Upon a New World.
• Traveling west, Columbus and his crew spotted land next to the Bahamas • While Columbus was looking for a path to the Indies, he accidentally discovered America on October 12, 1492 • Considering Columbus thought he was in India, he named the Native Americans “Indians”.

VII. When Worlds Collide
• The Columbian Exchange was the connection of the world and the technically new land when Columbus discovered America • Many new plants and animals were discovered in the Americas • Columbus brought back with him to Hispaniola pigs, cows, horses, and sugar cane • Europeans also carried diseases from the new lands such as malaria, smallpox, and yellow fever causing large epidemics and many deaths.

VIII. The Spanish Conquistadores.
• Spain used the Treaty of Tordesillas to assure their shared possession of the new land with Portugal • 1500s – Spanish Conquistadores – dominant explorers • The discoverer of the Pacific Ocean, Vasco Nunez Balboa, said all lands washed by that sea belonged to his king • Ferdinand Magellan took a journey in 1519 from Spain, was killed in the Philippines but his ship made it back in 1522 being the first to travel around the globe • Encomienda allowed the government to give Indians to colonists that will Christianize them.

IX. The Conquest of Mexico.
• 1519 – Hernan Cortes set sail for Mexico.
• Saved a Spanish castaway and picked up and Indian female slave • Looking for gold and wealth, afraid of retreat, burnt all his ships •
Aztec chieftain Moctezuma believed Cortes was a legendary god and allowed him to the capital Tenochtitlan (eventually destroyed to make Christian cathedrals) • June 30,1520, Noche triste, the Aztecs attacked Cortes and his crew • Disease and attack caused lots of death.

• Intermarriage with surviving Indians – mestizos.

X. The Spread of Spanish America.
• The Spanish wanted to convert Indians to Christianity • The Battle of Acoma – 1599 – claimed New Mexico with capital Santa Fe • Pope’s Rebellion – 1680 – Indian uprising.
• Pueblos destroyed every catholic church.
• The Black Legend – conquerers tortured Indians for their gold and wealth.


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