Chapter 01 - New World Beginnings
I. The Shaping of North America
Recorded history began 6,000 years ago. It was 500 years ago that Europeans set foot on the Americas to begin colonization
The theory of
exists suggesting that the
continents were once nestled together into one mega-continent. They
then spread out as drifting islands.
Geologic forces of continental plates created the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.
II. Peopling the Americas
The Land Bridge theory.
As the Great Ice Age diminished, so did the glaciers over North America.
The theory holds that a
Sea. People were said to have walked across the "bridge" before the sea
level rose and sealed it off; thus populating the Americas.
The Land Bridge is said to have occurred an estimated 35,000 years ago.
Those groups that traversed the bridge spread across North, Central, and South America.
Countless tribes emerged with an estimated 2,000 languages. Notably:
Incas: Peru, with elaborate network of roads and bridges linking their empire.
Mayas: Yucatan Peninsula, with their step pyramids.
Aztecs: Mexico, with step pyramids and huge sacrifices of conquered peoples.
III. The Earliest Americans
Development of corn or
around 5,000 B.C. in Mexico was revolutionary in that:
Then, people didn't have to be hunter-gatherers, they could settle down and be farmers.
This fact gave rise to towns and then cities.
Corn arrived in the present day U.S. around 1,200 B.C.
The Pueblos were the 1st American corn growers.
They lived in adobe houses (dried mud) and pueblos ("villages" in
Spanish). Pueblos are villages of cubicle shaped adobe houses, stacked
one on top the other and often beneath cliffs.
They had elaborate irrigation systems to draw water away from rivers to grown corn.
These people built huge ceremonial and burial mounds and were located in the Ohio Valley.
Cahokia, near East St. Louis today, held 40,000 people.
Eastern Indians grew corn, beans, and squash in
Corn grew in a stalk providing a trellis for beans, beans grew up
the stalk, squash's broad leaves kept the sun off the ground and thus
kept the moisture in the soil.
This group likely had the best (most diverse) diet of all North American Indians and is typified by the
was the legendary leader of the group.
The Iroquois Confederation was a group of 5 tribes in New York state.