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HIST321: Comparative New Worlds, 1400-1750

Unit 2: Native Peoples of the Americas   When Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, he mistakenly referred to the native inhabitants as “Indians,” thus implying that all peoples in the Americas shared a common identity.  Of course, this was not the case.  Between the fifteenth and eighteenth century, “civilization” in the Americas was comprised of many diverse societies that developed in isolation from the rest of the world.  Two major centralized cultures emerged during this period: the Aztecan Empire and the Incan Empire. However, hundreds of other sophisticated, albeit diffuse, tribes lived in North America, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean at this time.  The arrival of Europeans in the 1400s disrupted these indigenous cultures through disease, enslavement, and displacement.
 
In this unit, we will study the many major native peoples who populated the Americas at the time of European contact.  We will also study the impact of European cultures and policies on these tribes.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately nine hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5: 2.5 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • identify and describe Native Americans’ views of European explorers in the North America;
  • identify and describe the impact of European exploration on the indigenous cultures of Central America, the Caribbean, and South America; and
  • analyze the devastating effects of early European colonization in the New World.

2.1 North America   Note: This topic is covered in the resources under sub-subunits 2.1.1 and 2.1.2.

2.1.1 Native Peoples’ Perceptions of Europeans   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's “Native Peoples' Perceptions of Europeans” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Native Peoples' Perceptions of Europeans” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above and read the entire article.

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).  It is
attributed to The Saylor Foundation.

2.1.2 Indigenous Societies and Cultures of North America   - Reading: Connexions: James Ross-Nazzal’s U.S. History Since 1877: “Pre-Columbian Era” and Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook: Thomas Morton’s “Manners and Customs of the Indians (of New England), 1637” Link: Dr. James Ross-Nazzal’s “Chapter 1: Pre-Columbian era” (PDF) and Thomas Morton’s “Manners and Customs of the Indians (of New England), 1637” (PDF)

Instructions: Please read the sections above in order to get a sense
of how the first tribes of Native Americans came to be.  As you
read, ask yourself the following questions: What kinds of evidence
do scholars rely on to learn about Amerindian societies? In which
areas did Amerindians create permanent settlements and how did their
environment shape the social, political, and cultural life of the
various Amerindian societies? What criteria does Thomas Morton
follow to describe the “Natives of New England” in his 1637 account?
Which characteristics of the people he describes does he admire?
Which characteristics does he criticize?  
 (30 minutes)  
    
 Terms of Use: “Chapter 1: Pre-Columbian era” is released under a
[Creative Commons Attribution
license](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).  It is
attributed to Dr. James Ross-Nazzal, and the original version can be
found [here](http://cnx.org/content/m35275/latest/) (HTML).
 “Manners and Customs of the Indians (of New England), 1637” is in
the public domain.

2.2 Central America   Note: This topic is covered in the resources under sub-subunits 2.2.1 and 2.2.2.

2.2.1 The Aztecs/Mexica   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Amerindian Civilizations” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Amerindian Civilizations”

Instructions: Please read pages 5-6, “The Mexica/Aztec,” of the
above text for an introduction to Aztec history.  As you read, ask
yourself the following questions: Where did Aztec civilization
develop?  Describe the social structure of Aztec civilization.  What
role did religion and art play in creating a unified and distinct
Aztec culture?  

 (15 minutes)  
  

Terms of Use: The resource above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/).  It is
attributed to the Saylor Foundation

2.2.2 Aztec/Mexica Civilization in Central America   - Reading: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History, America: A.D. 1401 to 1500: “Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean” Link: Jack E. Maxfield’s “A Comprehensive Outline of World History, America: A.D. 1401 to 1500, “Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean” (PDF)
 
Also Available in:

[HTML](http://cnx.org/content/m17798/latest/?collection=col10597/latest)  
    
 Instructions: Scroll down to “Mexico, Central America, and the
Caribbean” on this page and read the first six paragraphs of the
text for a closer look at Aztec society.  As you read, ask yourself
the following questions: In what ways did the Aztec cooperate with
neighboring city-states?  What agricultural, military, and artistic
developments enabled the Aztec to compete with, and at times,
dominate their neighbors?  According to the text, how did the Aztec
view their religious rites?  

(20 minutes)  

 Terms of Use: The resource above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/).  It is
attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be
found
[here](http://cnx.org/content/m17798/latest/?collection=col10597/latest)
(HTML).

2.3 Caribbean   Note: This topic is covered in the resources under sub-subunits 2.3.1 and 2.3.2.

2.3.1 Caribs   - Reading: American History Online: “Map of the Islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico”, Medieval Sourcebook: “Columbus’ Letter to the King and Queen of Spain, 1494”, and the Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Christopher Columbus” Link: American History Online’s “Map of the Islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico” (PDF), Christopher Columbus’s “Letter to the King and Queen of Spain, 1494” (PDF), and The Saylor Foundation’s “Study Questions for Christopher Columbus” (PDF).
 
Also Available in:
HTML(“Map of the Islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico”)
HTML(“Letter to the king and Queen of Spain, 1494”)

Instructions: View the linked image and read Columbus’ letter in
which he describes the people with whom he comes in contact.  As you
read, respond to the “Study Questions” that accompany the reading.  
 (15 minutes)  
    
 Terms of Use: “Map of the Islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico”
and “Letter to the King and Queen of Spain, 1494” are in the public
domain.  “Study Questions for Christopher Columbus” is released
under a [Creative Commons Attribution
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/); it is
attributed to The Saylor Foundation.

2.3.2 Arawaks   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Arawaks” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Arawaks” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire text.  As you read, consider the following questions: what lands did the Arawak inhabit and how did they organize their society? In what ways were Arawak peoples connected? Describe the social and political organization of the Taíno.
Reading and answering the questions above should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: The resource above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License; it is attributed to The Saylor Foundation.

2.4 South America   Note: This topic is covered in the resources under sub-subunits 2.4.1 and 2.4.2.

2.4.1 Inca Society and Religion   - Reading: Connexions: Jack E. Maxfield’s “A Comprehensive Outline of World History, America: A.D. 1401 to 1500 – Northern and Western South America” Link: Connexions: Jack E. Maxfield’s A Comprehensive Outline of World History, America: A.D. 1401 to 1500“Northern and Western South America”
 
Also Available in:

[HTML](http://cnx.org/content/m17798/latest/?collection=col10597/latest)  
    
 Instructions: Scroll down to “Northern and Western South America”
on the page and read the selection.  As you read, ask yourself the
following questions: To what does the term “Inca” refer? Describe
Incan expansion.  Which aspects of Incan culture accompanied
military expansion? What characterizes the way in which political
rulers governed the Incan empire? Describe Incan architectural
developments.  In what ways did these developments facilitate
communication and effective governing in the Incan empire?  

(20 minutes)  
    
 Terms of Use: The resource above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/); it is
attributed to Jack E. Maxfield, and the original version can be
found
[here](http://cnx.org/content/m17798/latest/?collection=col10597/latest)
(HTML).

2.4.2 The Incas and European Explorers   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Pedro de Cieza de Léon’s Chronicles of the Incas, 1540

Link: Fordham University’s *Internet Modern History Sourcebook:*
Paul Halsall’s version of Pedro de Cieza de Léon’s [“*Chronicles of
the Incas,
1540*”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/HIST321-2.4.2.pdf)
(PDF)  
  

Instructions: Please read the entire excerpt to get a sense of
Léon’s descriptions of the Incas.  In this 1540 text, the
conquistador Pedro de Cieza de Léon describes the nature of the
Incan economy.  Less directly, the author illustrates the hierarchy
of Inca society.  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is part of the public domain.

2.5 Effects of European Colonization on Native Peoples   Note: This topic is covered in the resources under sub-subunits 2.5.1-2.5.3.

2.5.1 Conquerors and Colonization   - Reading: Connexions: Dr. James Ross-Nazzal’s U.S. History Since 1877: “Chapter 2: When Cultures Collide (1492-1600)”, and Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook: Matthew Smith and James Gibson’s “Remonstrance of the Pennsylvania Frontiersmen: On the Indians, 1764” Link: Connexions: Dr. James Ross-Nazzal’s “Chapter 2: When Cultures Collide (1492-1600)” (PDF), and Frontiersmen’s “Remonstrance of the Pennsylvania Frontiersmen: On the Indians, 1764” (PDF).
 
Also Available in:
HTML (“Chapter 2”)
HTML (“On the Indians”)

 Instructions: Please read through the selections for an
introduction to some of the consequences of colonization.  As you
read, ask yourself the following questions: What were the
motivations of European explorers and what circumstances influenced
these motivations?  In what ways did Europeans realize their
motivations after arriving in the Americas?  Describe some of the
early encounters between Europeans and Amerindians.  In what ways
did these encounters differ among geographic regions?  How were they
similar?  How does Matthew Smith describe the relationship between
Europeans and Native Americans in his 1764 account?  What primary
differences does he see between Europeans and Native Americans?  How
do the events and immediate context he describes influence his
account?  

 (25 minutes)  
  

Terms of Use: “Chapter 2: When Cultures Collide (1492-1600)” is
released under a [Creative Commons Attribution
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/); it is
attributed to Dr. James Ross-Nazzal, and the original version can be
found [here](http://cnx.org/content/m35276/latest/) (HTML).  “On the
Indians, 1764” is in the public domain.

2.5.2 Disease   - Reading: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s The Atlantic World, 1492-1600, “The Columbian Exchange.” Link: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s The Atlantic World, 1492-1600“The Columbian Exchange” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read the selection on the impact of Old World
diseases on the New World (pages 23 to 40).  As you read, ask
yourself the following questions: What is the “Columbian Exchange”
and what is actually exchanged?  What did it help to create?  In
what ways did it transform societies?  
 <span style="font-size: 12px;">(10 minutes)</span>

   
 Terms of Use: *The Atlantic World, 1492-1600* has been reposted by
the kind permission of Concepcion Saenz-Camba.  Please note that
this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any
capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.