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cmbhai ko history

cmbhai ko history

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Published by chudamuni
history from encarta.
history from encarta.

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Published by: chudamuni on Jul 16, 2009
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United States (History)
I
INTRODUCTION
United States (History), story of how the republic developed from colonial beginnings in the 16th century, when the firstEuropean explorers arrived, until modern times. As the nation developed, it expanded westward from small settlementsalong the Atlantic Coast, eventually including all the territory between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans across the middle of the North American continent, as well as two noncontiguous states and a number of territories. At the same time, thepopulation and the economy of the United States grew and changed dramatically. The population diversified as immigrantsarrived from all countries of the world. From its beginnings as a remote English colony, the United States has developed thelargest economy in the world. Throughout its history, the United States has faced struggles, both within the country—between various ethnic, religious, political, and economic groups—and with other nations. The efforts to deal with andresolve these struggles have shaped the United States of America into the late 20th century. This is one of seven major articles that together provide a comprehensive discussion of the United States of America. Formore information on the United States, please see the other six major articles: United States (Overview), United States(Geography), United States (People), United States (Culture), United States (Economy), and United States (Government).
II
EARLY CULTURAL INTERACTION
Early American history began in the collision of European, West African, and Native American peoples in North America.Europeans “discovered” America by accident, then created empires out of the conquest of indigenous peoples and theenslavement of Africans. Yet conquest and enslavement were accompanied by centuries of cultural interaction—interactionthat spelled disaster for Africans and Native Americans and triumph for Europeans, to be sure, but interaction thattransformed all three peoples in the process.
A
Native America in 1580
 The lands and human societies that European explorers called a New World were in fact very old. During the Ice Ages muchof the world’s water was bound up in glaciers. Sea level dropped by hundreds of feet, creating a land bridge between Alaskaand Siberia. Asians walked across to become the first human inhabitants of the Americas. Scientists disagree on when thishappened, but most estimates say it was around 30,000 years ago. When the last glaciers receded about 10,000 years ago(thus ending this first great migration to America), ancestors of the Native Americans filled nearly all of the habitable parts of North and South America. They lived in isolation from the history—and particularly from the diseases—of what becameknown as the Old World. The Native Americans who greeted the first Europeans had become diverse peoples. They spoke between 300 and 350distinct languages, and their societies and ways of living varied tremendously. The Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Perubuilt great empires (
see
Aztec Empire; Inca Empire). In what is now the United States, the Mississippians (
see
MoundBuilders) built cities surrounded by farmland between present–day St. Louis, Missouri, (where their city of Cahokia was largerthan medieval London) and Natchez, Mississippi. The Mississippians’ “Great Sun” king ruled authoritatively and was carriedfrom place to place by servants, preceded by flute–players. The Pueblo peoples of the Southwest lived in large towns,irrigated their dry land with river water, and traded with peoples as far away as Mexico and California.In the East, the peoples who eventually encountered English settlers were varied, but they lived in similar ways. All of themgrew much of their food. Women farmed and gathered food in the woods. Men hunted, fished, and made war. None of these
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United States (History)
peoples kept herds of domestic animals; they relied on abundant wild game for protein. All lived in family groups, but owedtheir principal loyalties to a wider network of kin and to their clans. Some—the Iroquois in upstate New York and thePowhatan confederacy in Virginia—formed alliances called confederacies for the purposes of keeping peace among neighborsand making war on outsiders. Even within these confederacies, however, everyday political organization seldom extendedbeyond villages, and village chiefs ruled their independent–minded people by consent.
B
West Africa in 1580
In Central and West Africa, the great inland kingdoms of Mali and Ghana were influenced (and largely converted) by Islam,and these kingdoms had traded with the Muslim world for hundreds of years. From the beginning, slaves were among thearticles of trade. These earliest enslaved Africans were criminals, war captives, and people sold by their relatives to settledebts. New World demand increased the slave trade and changed it. Some of the coastal kingdoms of present–day Togo andBenin entered the trade as middlemen. They conducted raids into the interior and sold their captives to European slavers.Nearly all of the Africans enslaved and brought to America by this trade were natives of the western coastal rain forests andthe inland forests of the Congo and Central Africa.About half of all Africans who were captured, enslaved, and sent to the Americas were Bantu–speaking peoples. Others werefrom smaller ethnic and language groups. Most had been farmers in their homeland. The men hunted, fished, and tendedanimals, while women and men worked the fields cooperatively and in large groups. They lived in kin–based villages thatwere parts of small kingdoms. They practiced polygyny (men often had several wives, each of whom maintained a separatehousehold), and their societies tended to give very specific spiritual duties to women and men. Adolescent girls and boyswere inducted into secret societies in which they learned the sacred and separate duties of women and men. These secretsocieties provided supernatural help from the spirits that governed tasks such as hunting, farming, fertility, and childbirth.Although formal political leaders were all men, older, privileged women exercised great power over other women. Thusenslaved African peoples in the New World came from societies in which women raised children and governed each other,and where men and women were more nearly equal than in America or Europe.
C
European Exploration
In the century before Columbus sailed to America, Western Europeans were unlikely candidates for worldwide exploration. The Chinese possessed the wealth and the seafaring skills that would have enabled them to explore, but they had littleinterest in the world outside of China. The Arabs and other Islamic peoples also possessed wealth and skills. But theyexpanded into territories that were next to them—and not across uncharted oceans. The Ottoman Turks capturedConstantinople in 1453 and by the 1520s had nearly reached Vienna. These conquests gave them control over the overlandtrade routes to Asia as well as the sea route through the Persian Gulf. The conquests also gave them an expanding empire tooccupy their attention.Western Europeans, on the other hand, were developing the necessary wealth and technology and a compelling need toexplore. A group of new monarchs were making nation-states in Britain and in continental Europe—states withunprecedentedly large treasuries and military establishments. The population of Western European nations was growing,providing a tax base and a labor force for new classes of large landholders. These “elites” provided markets for goods thatwere available only through trade with Asia. When the expansion of Islam gave control of eastern trade routes to Islamicmiddlemen, Western Europeans had strong incentives to find other ways to get to Asia.
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United States (History)
 They were also developing sailing technology and knowledge of currents and winds to travel long distances on the open sea. The Portuguese led the way. They copied and improved upon the designs of Arab sailing ships and learned to mount cannonson those ships. In the 15th century they began exploring the west coast of Africa—bypassing Arab merchants to tradedirectly for African gold and slaves. They also colonized the Madeira Islands, the Azores, and the Cape Verde Islands andturned them into the first European slave plantations. The European explorers were all looking for an ocean route to Asia. Christopher Columbus sailed for the monarchs of Spain in1492. He used the familiar prevailing winds to the Canary Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa, and then sailed on. Inabout two months he landed in the Caribbean on an island in the Bahamas, thinking he had reached the East Indies.Columbus made three more voyages. He died in 1506, still believing that he had discovered a water route to Asia. The Spanish investigated further. Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci sailed to the northern coast of South America in 1499and pronounced the land a new continent. European mapmakers named it America in his honor. Spanish explorer VascoNúñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and in 1513 became the first of the European explorers of America to seethe Pacific Ocean. That same year another Spaniard, Juan Ponce de León, explored the Bahamas and Florida in search of thefountain of youth. The first European voyages to the northern coast of America were old and forgotten: The Norsemen (Scandinavian Vikings)sailed from Greenland and stayed in Newfoundland for a time around 1000. Some scholars argue that European fishermenhad discovered the fishing waters off eastern Canada by 1480. But the first recorded voyage was made by John Cabot, anItalian navigator in the service of England, who sailed from England to Newfoundland in 1497. Giovanni da Verrazzano, in1524, and Jacques Cartier, in 1534, explored nearly the whole Atlantic coast of the present United States for France. By thattime, Europeans had scouted the American coast from Newfoundland to Brazil. While they continued to look for shortcuts toAsia, Europeans began to think of America for its own sake. Spain again led the way: Hernán Cortés invaded Mexico in 1519,and Francisco Pizarro did the same in Peru in 1532—nearly a full century before English or French colonization began.
D
Cultural Interaction: The Columbian Exchange
What was to become American history began in a biological and cultural collision of Europeans, Native Americans, andAfricans. Europeans initiated this contact and often dictated its terms. For Native Americans and Africans, American historybegan in disaster.Native Americans suffered heavily because of their isolation from the rest of the world. Europe, Africa, and Asia had beentrading knowledge and technologies for centuries. Societies on all three continents had learned to use iron and kept herds of domestic animals. Europeans had acquired gunpowder, paper, and navigational equipment from the Chinese. NativeAmericans, on the other hand, had none of these. They were often helpless against European conquerors with horses,firearms, and—especially—armor and weapons. The most disastrous consequence of the long-term isolation of the Americas was biological. Asians, Africans, and Europeanshad been exposed to one another’s diseases for millennia; by 1500 they had developed an Old World immune system thatpartially protected them from most diseases. On average, Native Americans were bigger and healthier than the Europeanswho first encountered them. But they were helpless against European and African diseases. Smallpox was the biggest killer,but illnesses such as measles and influenza also killed millions of people. The indigenous population of Mexico, for example,was more than 17 million when Cortés landed in 1519. By 1630 it had dropped to 750,000, largely as a result of disease.Scholars estimate that on average the population of a Native American people dropped 90 percent in the first century of 
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