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1860 - 1890 The West

1860 - 1890 The West - Landscape of The Great American...

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Landscape of “The Great American Desert” (from East to West) 1. Great Plains – treeless, flat, “grassy hillocks” - Prairie Plains (E) – rich soil, good rain - High Plains (W) – rough, semi-arid 2. Rockies – beavers, gold 3. Great Basin – Native Americans, harsh environment 4. Coast Ranges Scenic appeal of a new opportunity with rich cropland draws immigrants. Climate: hot summer winds, harsh hailstorms and blizzards in winter North Americans of the West Southwest: Pueblos, Hopi, Zuni – peaceful farmers & herders; complex traditions with corn, communal housing of adobe on cliffs New Mexico & Texas: Apaches & Navajo – tepees or mud huts, hunters/nomads Northwest: Chinook – rich civilization with fish/small game, canoes, woodwork Plains Indians (Sioux, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Arapaho, Comanche) depend on buffalo (the “galloping department store” essential to nomadic life) and horses (brought by Spanish in Mexico); nomadic & warlike peoples with large tribes divided into small bands; labor is divided according to gender; warfare is brief and skirmish-like The White Settlers vs. Native Americans: (brief history) Mid-1800s: wagon trains, miners, railroads Government designates defined areas to each tribe, no “One Big Reservation” Indian resistance to this leads to massacres Reservations change traditions, poverty, isolation warfare Custard’s Last Stand (1876): Indians win due to underestimation Lt. Col. George Armstrong is reckless and eager Battle of Little Big Horn cry for revenge against Natives
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