After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
1. Locate and briefly describe the Native American Mound Builders of the Ohio and Mississippi river
valleys, the Pueblo dwellers of the Southwest, and the Iroquois Indians of the East Coast.
2. Describe Native American attitudes toward and beliefs about the natural world, wealth, community,
family, and men and women.
3. Narne and locate three West African kingdoms between the fifth and fourteenth centuries and describe
West African beliefs about family, religion, and social organization.
4. Explain the political, economic, and religious changes in early modem Europe that led to the exploration
and eventual settlement of North America.
5. Explain the navigational improvements that led to European exploration.
6. Compare and contrast the values and lifestyles of the three worlds-Native American, African, and
European-that met in the Americas early in the sixteenth century.
7. Evaluate the outcomes of that collision for each world. What do you think and feel about these outcomes?
8. Evaluate the motivations for European exploration. What do you think about their motivations?
Significant Themes and Highlights
The clash that developed when the people of three continents-North America, Europe, and Africa-began to
encounter each other forms the opening chapter of American history and is therefore the opening chapter of
the textbook. With the stories of
Isabela of Castile, Tecuichpotzin, Elizabeth I of England, and Queen
we see the
intermingling and transformation of three worlds
The chapter challenges the concept that Africans and Native Americans were passive primitive bystanders
awaiting conquest. Native American, Africans, and Europeans were all critical participants in the making of
the modern world.
The spread of Islam and the rise of great empires in West and Central Africa is also examined.
By taking readers inside the cultural beliefs and experiences of Native Americans and Africans, as well as
Europeans, this chapter serves to counteract the traditional ethnocentric view that sees all developments
through the eyes of Europeans. An example of this is the
oft-repeated phrase "Columbus discovered
America," implying that there was no life or culture in the Americas until a European found it in 1492.