HIST200 F06 Shammas The American Experience Final Study Guide 3

HIST200 F06 Shammas The American Experience Final Study Guide 3

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History 200 Study Sheet First Examination: North America 1500 to 1800 1. As best we know, no Atlantic migrants established permanent settlements in the Americas before the 1490s. Over the next 50 years, migrants from the Iberian peninsula poured in, and other western Europeans tried emulating them in the later 16 th century. What all of a sudden brought these migrants to the Americas and how successful were they in populating the land? After the discovery of the Americas by Columbus, Cabot and their successors Europeans became enthralled with the Americas. Europeans wanted to extract profits from North and South America by exploiting their natural resources: plants, animals, and peoples alike. With the great decrease of Indian populations due to disease, English Colonists were able to establish settlements virtually unopposed. Early settlers were aided by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Trade was extremely important in the success of the early European settlements. There are three important reasons for migration — politics, religion and economics, or a combination thereof. Economics — improving their standard of living — is probably the most significant. Even if people move for religious or political reasons, economics is usually also a factor because people who belonged to the wrong church or political party often found it hard to get the better jobs. 2. Trace the decline of the American Indian population of North America and explain why some historians argue that the decline cannot be entirely attributed to the force of virgin soil epidemics. The earliest European immigrants offered two principal explanations for the population decline of the American natives. The first was the brutal practices of the Spanish conquistadores, as recorded by the Spanish themselves, most notably by the Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas, whose writings vividly depict atrocities committed on the natives by the Spanish. The second explanation was religious: God had removed the natives as part of His divine plan in order to make way for a new Christian civilization. Many natives of the Americas also understood their troubles in terms of religious or supernatural causes. Scholars now believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives. One of these factors was warfare. According to demographer Russell Thornton, although many lives were lost in wars over the centuries, and war sometimes contributed to the near extinction of certain tribes, warfare and death by other violent means was a comparatively minor cause of overall native population decline.
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Exploitation has also been cited as a cause of native American depopulation. The Spanish conquistadores, the first settlers in the New World, divided the conquered lands among themselves and ruled as feudal lords, treating their subjects as something between slaves and serfs. Serfs stayed to work the land; slaves were exported to the mines, where large
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This test prep was uploaded on 02/20/2008 for the course HIST 200 taught by Professor Seip during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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HIST200 F06 Shammas The American Experience Final Study Guide 3

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