UNIT ONE

AMERICA’S BEGINNINGS
PREHISTORY–1700
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CHAPTER

CHAPTER

CHAPTER

CHAPTER

1
The Geography of the Americas

2
The First Americans Prehistory–1492

3
Explorers Reach the Americas 1000–1535

4
European Empires in the Americas 1500–1700

MAIZE PLANT

History
AND

Europeans Encountering Indians
unknown artist

ART

This oil-on-canvas painting depicts an early meeting between Europeans and Native Americans in the fifteenth or sixteenth century.

2

SETTING THE SCENE
Why It’s Important
Prehistoric hunters from Asia and their descendants—Native Americans—were the first humans to see the great variety of land and to use the natural resources of the Americas. After many centuries, Europeans also began to settle in the Americas. Their descendants, as well as many of their customs, live on today.
To learn more about the earliest Americans and early European settlements in North America, view the Historic America: Electronic Field Trips Side 1, Chapter 3; Side 1, Chapter 4; Side 1, Chapter 5 video lessons: • Cahokia Mounds • St. Augustine • New Orleans

NORTHWEST NATIVE AMERICAN VILLAGE

Themes
5 Geography and the Environment 5 Influence of Technology 5 Conflict and Cooperation

Key Events
5 Ice Age hunters and their descendants populate the Americas 5 The Anasazi and Mound Builders develop early Native American cultures 5 Christopher Columbus lands in the Bahamas 5 Spain builds an American empire 5 France claims Canada and Mississippi Valley

INCAN TEXTILE

PRIMARY SOURCES
Library

See pages 750–751 for the primary source readings to accompany Unit 1.

MAYAN JADE MASK

r select fiv ead the unit, e events you thin that ka importa re especially nt in the e history of the A arly mericas For each . e account vent write an fr point of om the viewa can who Native Amerimight h av present at the t e been ime.

Portfolio Project As you

HANDS-ON HISTORY HANDS ON

LAB ACTIVITY

The Magnetic Compass: Going From Here to There
Background
Before sailors had the compass, they relied on the sun, stars, and landmarks along the shore to find their way at sea. Imagine their problems on cloudy days or when they sailed beyond the sight of land! Chinese sailors probably made the earliest compass—a magnetic device—about 900 years ago. One end of a compass needle always points toward the earth’s magnetic north pole. The other end points toward the earth’s magnetic south pole. In this activity, you will create a model of an early magnetic compass—a tool that helped European explorers find their way to America in the late 1400s.

NORTH POLE

Believe It
OR

The magnetic poles move several miles every few years. Today the north magnetic pole is on an island in northern Canada about 870 miles (1,400 km) from the geographic North Pole. The south magnetic pole is off the coast of Antarctica about 1,700 miles (2,750 km) from the geographic South Pole.

NOT!

Materials
s large sewing needle s bar magnet s slice of cork, about 1 inch in diameter and 1⁄4-inch thick s sheet of plain paper s pen s scissors s small nonmetal bowl s water s magnetic compass s thimble s hammer 4
UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

What To Do
A. B. C. D. Cut a ring of paper to place around the outside of the bowl. On the paper ring, mark the compass directions N, E, S, and W. Fill the bowl about half full with water. Magnetize the sewing needle by stroking it across the south pole of the magnet 25 to 50 times. Be sure to stroke from the middle of the needle toward the point. Always stroke in the same direction. E. Now that the needle is temporarily magnetized, pass it through the cork horizontally so that it balances when you float the cork in water. SAFETY CHECK: You may want to wear a thimble when placing the needle in the cork. F. Float the cork and needle in the bowl. G. Use the compass to determine which end of your needle is pointing north. H. Rotate the paper ring around the bowl so that the north point of your needle is in line with the N on the paper ring. You now have a floating compass, much like ones used by early sailors. I. Turn your compass to face each of your room’s four walls. Read your compass to determine the north, south, east, and west sides of your classroom. J. Tip the compass bowl slightly from side to side, being careful not to spill any water. Observe the compass needle.

t dle reac and nee pass k the cor com How did pointed your the 1. u when yo nt locations in re to diffe le react nd need er in oom? r ka the cor wat How did disturbed the ? 2. u ss when yo of your compa rs l ly sailo the bow the ear les on k you thin need Why do eir compass 3. th floated t advan ns Wha ass water? sio g Conclu netic comp . Drawin 4 a mag ages did early sailors? t to provide

y b Activit La Report

GO A STEP FURTHER
ACTIVITY Iron carried in the hulls of early wooden ships could make compasses read incorrectly. Because the iron was slightly magnetic, compass needles were pulled away from their north-south position. To demonstrate this effect, place the magnet on the outside of the bowl near your floating compass. Does the needle still point north? Now, place the hammer near the bowl. How does this affect the needle?

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

5

CHAPTER 1
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The Geography of the Americas
SETTING THE SCENE
Focus
The story of our nation begins with geography—the study of the earth in all of its variety. Geography tells you about the earth’s land, water, and plant and animal life. It tells you about the people who live on the earth, the places they have created, and how these places differ. The United States is a land of startling physical differences. It is also a nation of diverse groups of people. A study of geography can help you see how the United States acquired its diversity.

MODERN
GLOBE

Concepts to Understand

s Journal Note ee

5 Why geography and the environment are important to the study
of history 5 How geography is related to cultural diversity in the United States

you s What would d the if you travele h of the idt length and w e tes? Imagin United Sta e some of and describ the form the sights in iary. ad of entries in

Read to Discover . . .
5 how geographers study
the earth. 5 the variety of landforms, climates, and resources in the United States.

HISTORY
Chapter Overview
Visit the American History: The Early Years to 1877 Web site at ey.glencoe.com and click on Chapter 1—Chapter Overview to preview chapter information.

Americas

Prehistory Native Americans populate the Americas

1600s Immigrants, including enslaved African Americans, settle in the Americas

World
6

Prehistory–1400s 1400s The Inca and Aztec flourish in South America

1500s 1500s Europeans explore the Americas

1600s 1600s European and American trade routes established

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

EARTH OBSERVATION
SATELLITE

History
AND

World Map
Dutch, 1570

ART

The geography of the world plays a major role in the study of history. This hand-drawn map gave an accurate view of the world as known by Europeans in the sixteenth century.

1776 Declaration of Independence adopted

1800s Americans move westward 1832 Schoolcraft reaches source of the Mississippi

1900s LANDSAT satellites map the earth from space

1700s

1800s 1800s Immigrants continue to settle in the United States

1900s 1900s Protecting the environment raises global concerns

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

7

SECTION 1
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Themes in Geography
GUIDE TO READING
Main Idea
Geographers use five themes to examine the physical aspects of the earth.

Read to Learn . . .
5 how the five themes of geography help organize information about the earth and its people. 5 how geography and history are linked.

Reading Strategy
Organizing Information As you read about the themes of geography, list them on a graphic organizer similar to the one shown here.

Terms to Know
5 5 5 5 geography environment immigrant region

Geography Themes

EARTH RISING OVER MOON

ur word geography comes from the Greek word geographia, meaning “earth description.” What would you include in a description of the earth? You might give details about the earth’s land and water. To give a complete picture of our planet, however, you would also have to describe Earth’s life-forms, including its people. Geographers have organized details about the earth around five themes of geography. These themes, or topics, include location, place, human/environment interaction, movement, and region. Geographers use these five themes to study and classify all parts of the earth. They also use them to explain connections between the past and the present and to study how the earth has changed over time.

O

5 Location
The United States was established with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Geographically, you could give two different location descriptions of Philadelphia—its absolute location or its relative location.

Absolute Location
Absolute location describes the exact position of a place on the earth. Think of it as a kind of global address. To write this address, geographers use the numbers on a set of grid lines drawn on a map or globe. These grid lines measure distances north or south of the Equator, and east and west of the Prime Meridian. The measurements of distances are given in numbers of degrees.

8

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Lines north and south of the Equator show latitude. Lines east and west of the Prime Meridian show longitude. For example, the absolute location, or global address, of Philadelphia is 40°N, 75°W. This means that Philadelphia lies about 40 degrees (°) north of the Equator and 75 degrees (°) west of the Prime Meridian.

5 Place
No two places on the earth are exactly alike. Different locations have different physical and cultural characteristics. Physical features are those that occur naturally. Cultural features are created by the human beings who live there.

Relative Location
Relative location tells where a place is in relation to other places. To describe Philadelphia’s relative location, geographers could say that it lies between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, near the western border of New Jersey, and in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania. Although relative location is less exact than absolute location, it often gives more clues about the historical happenings at a certain location. Philadelphia, for example, had a central location when compared with other cities early in the nation’s history. Thus, it was a convenient meeting place for leaders who traveled from other parts of the country.

The Original 13 Colonies
Maine
(part of Mass.)
45° N Lake Huron Lake Erie

N.H. New Mass. Boston York R.I. Conn. Pennsylvania New York N.J. Philadelphia
Baltimore
Lake Ontario

40° N

Virginia
Richmond

Del. Md.

70° W

ATLANTIC OCEAN

35° N

North Carolina South Carolina

0 0

100

200 miles

100 200 kilometers

Georgia

Charles Town
80° W 75° W

Location The global address of Philadelphia is 40°N, 75°W. What colonial city is located at 33°N, 80°W?

EARLY PHILADELPHIA, 1750
CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

9

Physical Features
What might the physical features of a place include? Land and water forms, plant and animal life, soil conditions, and climate are all physical features. Think about the city of Philadelphia. Its physical features include a mild climate, fertile soil, and a river that leads into the Delaware Bay.

Human interaction with the land, natural resources, and other natural features of the United States has affected its history a great deal. An English visitor to Philadelphia in 1774 wrote:

Cultural Features
How would you describe the cultural features of a place? You could tell about its people, their ideas, languages and religions, and a wide range of related human activities. In early Philadelphia, for example, its founder—William Penn—welcomed people of all national backgrounds and religions to settle in his colony. Diversity among the population thus became one of Philadelphia’s outstanding cultural features.

It is not one hundred years since the first tree was cut where the city now stands, and already it consists of more than three thousand and six hundred houses.

Cutting down forests to build homes is only one way that settlers altered the environment of North America. They also hunted wildlife in the forests and fished the lakes and streams. To build towns, they dammed up rivers. With basic tools—and later with advanced technology—human beings have continuously changed the environment of America.

5 Human/Environment Interaction
Wherever humans have lived or traveled, they have changed the natural features of the earth, or the environment.

5 Movement
Of all of the geographic themes, movement has affected our nation’s history most. For thousands of years, immigrants—people who enter a country to settle—have traveled to this land.

Picturing H istory

PHYSICAL AND CULTURAL FEATURES Different physical and cultural characteristics help to define what a place is like. What is one physical characteristic of the Teton Mountains (left)? What is one cultural characteristic of the school classroom (right)?

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UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Ancestors of the Native Americans arrived in North America first. Then came European explorers. Aboard some European ships came enslaved Africans traveling to the Americas against their will. Political and world economic hardships brought more settlers to America. All the immigrants brought with them their ideas and customs. Their movement shaped the country, just as people moving to the United States today continue to contribute new skills and ideas.

5 Region
The theme of region helps us to see more of the big picture of the world. Geographers generally divide the world into large regions, or areas that have something in common. This makes the world easier to study. It also helps us see what relationships exist among different parts of the world. To describe a region, geographers look at physical characteristics such as location, size, landforms, climate, soil, and natural vegetation. They also look at cultural characteristics, which could include such things as the people’s language, religion, government, history, and more. Sometimes a region is identified by both its physical and cultural characteristics.

Picturing H istory

IMMIGRANTS AT CASTLE GARDEN, NEW YORK The movement of different groups of people to the United States has given our nation a culture rich in diversity. Who were the first people to arrive in North America?

During the colonial times, Philadelphia, for example, lay in a physical region known as the Middle Colonies. The cultural background of its settlers also set this area apart as a region. What traits do you think define the area in which you live as a region?

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5 SECTION 1 ASSESSMENT 5

Checking for Understanding
1. Define geography, environment, immigrant, region. 2. What details about Philadelphia helped to define it as a region?

4. Summarizing Create a chart like the one below to describe each of the five themes of geography.
Themes Description

Critical Thinking
3. Identifying Relationships Why does the theme of movement have such a strong connection to history in the United States?

INTERDISCIPLINARY ACTIVITY
5. Geography Create a diagram to show physical features of the place where you live. Then describe how these features have shaped life in your community.

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

11

SECTION 2
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The Tools of Geography
GUIDE TO READING
Main Idea
Geographers use a variety of tools to understand the many features of the earth.

Read to Learn . . .
5 how globes and maps are alike and different. 5 how geographers have divided the earth using a line grid. 5 why geographers have developed map projections.

Reading Strategy
Classifying Information As you read about the tools of geography, list the different types of maps, and briefly define each one using a chart such as the one shown here.
Map Type Definition

Terms to Know
5 5 5 5 cartographer latitude parallel longitude 5 5 5 5 meridian coordinates hemisphere map projection

SEXTANT, 1700S

A map says to you, ’Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not. . . . I am the earth in the palm of your hand.’

With these words, British pilot Beryl Markham—the first woman to fly solo over Africa—expressed her wonder of maps. She was not, however, the first explorer to appreciate maps. A map drawn by Italian cartographer, or mapmaker, Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli guided Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic in the late 1400s. Maps drawn by

Columbus and other daring sea captains guided explorers who came to America later. Today people use maps to locate places, plot routes, and judge distances. Maps can also display useful information about the world’s people.

5 Globes
Photographs from space show the earth in its true form—a great ball spinning around the sun. The only accurate way to draw Earth is as a sphere, or round form.

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UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Behaim’s Globe
In 1492 a German geographer named Martin Behaim constructed one of the first round maps of the world and called it a globe. Although it contained errors, Behaim’s globe was the first plotting of the earth as a sphere. One advantage of a globe is that it gives a true picture of the size and shape of landmasses and bodies of water. Globes also show the true distances and true direction between places.

BEHAIM’S GLOBE

Latitude and Longitude
As you read in Section 1, to determine distance and direction on a globe, geographers developed a grid of crisscrossed lines of latitude and longitude. Each line on the grid is measured in degrees (°) and minutes (‘). The starting point for measuring lines of latitude, also known as parallels, is the Equator located at 0° latitude. Lying parallel to the Equator, lines of latitude measure degrees of distance north or south of the Equator. The letter N or S following the degree symbol tells you if the location is north or south of the Equator. The latitude farthest north, at the North Pole, is 90°N (North). The latitude farthest south, nearest the South Pole, is 90°S (South). Lines of longitude, also known as meridians, run north and south from the North Pole to the South Pole. Lines of longitude measure distances east and west of the Prime Meridian, which lies at 0° longitude. The letters E or W tell you if the location is east or west of the prime Meridian. The meridian lying opposite the Prime Meridian is at 180°. It is called the International Date Line.

Grid System
How does this grid help geographers locate places? Each place on the earth has an address on the grid. This grid address is the place’s coordinates—its degrees of latitude and longitude. These coordinates identify what lines of latitude and longitude cross closest to the location. Earlier in the chapter you learned that the coordinates of Philadelphia are 40°N and 75°W.
CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

EARLY MAP OF THE AMERICAS This chart, drawn by a navigator for Christopher Columbus, is one of the earliest-known maps of the American mainland. What is another name for a cartographer?

Picturing H istory

13

The Global Grid

North Pole
90° N 60° N

North Pole

North Latitude

30° N

Prime Meridian

West Longitude
60° W 0° 30° W

East Longitude
60° E 30° E

Equator

South Latitude
30° S

South Pole

South Pole

North Pole
90° N 60° N Prime Meridian

30° N

60° W 30° W

60° E 30° E 0°

Equator

30° S

South Pole

Location The earth does not have a natural system of grid lines. Geographers set up a system of imaginary lines that crisscross the globe to locate places. These lines are also used as navigation aids by ship captains and airplane pilots. At what latitude is the North Pole located?

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UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Hemispheres and Continents
The Equator and Prime Meridian slice the earth into different hemispheres, or halves. The Northern Hemisphere is all of the earth lying north of the Equator. All area south of the Equator is the Southern Hemisphere. The Prime Meridian divides the earth into the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Do you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere? In the Eastern or Western Hemisphere? Geographers divide most of the land surface of the earth into seven large land-

masses called continents. They are North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica. Asia is the largest continent, and Australia is the smallest. North and South America are in the Western Hemisphere. Australia and Asia are in the Eastern Hemisphere. Most of Europe and Africa are in the Eastern Hemisphere, but a small part of their western areas are in the Western Hemisphere. Antarctica is in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres.

Hemispheres of the Earth
North Pole North Pole

Western Hemisphere
SOUTH AMERICA

Prime Meridian

NORTH AMERICA

Northern Hemisphere

EUROPE AFRICA

Equator

Eastern Hemisphere

SOUTH AMERICA

Southern Hemisphere
South Pole North Pole

South Pole North Pole

ASIA

Northern Hemisphere
AFRICA

ASIA

NORTH AMERICA
180°

Eastern Hemisphere
AUSTRALIA AUSTRALIA

Southern Hemisphere

Western Hemisphere

ANTARCTICA South Pole South Pole

Location The Equator and the Prime Meridian divide the earth into four hemispheres. In which three hemispheres is South America located?

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

15

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Linking Past and Present
Then
The Astrolabe and the Stars
One early, but dependable, navigation tool was the astrolabe. A sailor held the astrolabe vertically, located a star through its sights, and measured the star’s elevation above the horizon. In this way a ship’s approximate location could be identified.

Navigational Help From the Sky
“Land Ho!” Whether or not Columbus or his sailors actually shouted these words each time they reached new lands, they were usually glad they had arrived. The tools that early explorers used to sail the uncharted seas were much different from the technology used today.

Now
Out in Space
Today navigation satellites do the work of an astrolabe—and more!

The first navigation satellite system— the Transit system— was launched in 1960. The latest satellites, the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS), were launched by NAVIGATION the United SATELLITE States in 1993. Their signals offer navigational information to make air and surface transportation more efficient. From out in space the GPS can track the location of a vehicle on the earth to within a few meters of its actual position.

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ASTROLABE, ITALY 1500S

5 Map Projections
A map is a flat drawing of the earth’s surface. As you can imagine, drawing a flat picture of a round object is difficult. What advantages does a map have over a globe? Unlike a globe, a map allows you to see all four hemispheres at the same time. Maps also show much more detail and can be folded and more easily carried. Cartographers have drawn many different kinds of maps, or projections. Each map projection is a different way of showing the round earth on a flat map. Drawing an accurate map gives cartogra-

phers a huge problem. It is impossible to draw a round planet on a flat surface without distorting some parts of the earth. Each kind of map projection has some distortion. Typical distortions involve distance, direction, shape, and/or area.

Mercator Projection
In the mid-1500s, a well-traveled geographer named Gerardus Mercator decided to solve the problem of drawing the curved surface of the earth on a flat map. Mercator started by imagining that lines of longitude were cuts in the rind of an ordinary orange. He then laid the segments next to each other on a table. Mercator pictured the major landmasses of Earth on these segments and stretched the narrow points to meet each other in the form of a large rectangle.

HISTORY
Student Web Activity
Visit the American History: The Early Years to 1877 Web site at ey.glencoe.com and click on Chapter 1—Student Web Activities for an activity about the tools of geography.

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UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Mercator Projection
75° N

Arctic Circle
60° N 45° N 30° N

Tropic of Cancer
15° N

Equator Tropic of Capricorn Prime Meridian

0° 15° S 30° S 45° S 60° S

GERARDUS MERCATOR

Antarctic Circle
150° W 120° W 90° W 60° W 30° W 0° 30° E 60° E 90° E 120° E 150° E 180° E

Location Parallels and meridians are straight lines
on the Mercator projection. Are the sizes of the land areas more accurate near the Equator or far from the Equator?

This enlarged them somewhat, but their overall shape and direction remained true. Mercator transferred his ideas onto paper and created a map known as the Mercator projection. It shows land shapes accurately, but not size or distance. Distortions

are greater the farther you are from the Equator.

Other Projections

Other geographers followed Mercator’s model but developed their own map projections. One type— an interrupted projection—shows Goode's Interrupted Projection Mercator’s world as a cut-up sphere 80° N that has not been 60° N 40° N stretched and joined together. Although 20° N 120°W 80°W 0° 40°E 80°E 120°E 160°E this projection 0° 40° W Equator shows the size of 20° S landmasses more 40° S accurately, the 60° S 80° S interruptions make it difficult to Location An interrupted projection can show the calculate distances. size and shape of continents accurately. What Most geographers happens to the lines of longitude on an today use the Robininterrupted map? son projection. This projection slices off
CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

17

Robinson Projection
Arctic Circle
60°N

30°N

Tropic of Cancer Equator Tropic of Capricorn

LANDSAT photographic satellites orbiting the earth, are pictures of huge expanses of our planet. With LANDSAT images scientists can study whole mountain ranges, oceans, and geographic regions. Changes to the earth’s environment can also be tracked using the satellite information.

Prime Meridian

30°S

60°S 30°E 60°E 90°E 120°E 150°E 180°E

5 Types of Maps
How often do you use a map? Maps fill our daily lives. Maps of many different kinds are used in this book to help you see the connection between the geography of the United States and its history. Maps that show a wide range of general information about an area are called general-purpose maps. Two of the most common types are physical and political maps. Physical maps show natural features, such as rivers and mountains. Political maps show places that people have created, such as cities or the boundaries of states and nations. Special-purpose maps show information on specific topics such as land use, climate, or vegetation. Human activities also appear on special-purpose maps. Exploration, westward movement, or a war’s battle sites might be shown.

Antarctic Circle
150°W 120°W 90°W 60°W 30°W 0°

Region A Robinson projection shows the size and shape of oceans and continents reasonably accurately. What happens to land areas near the North and South Poles?

the tips of Mercator’s orange rind and pulls the segments together in a flattopped oval. Although distortion occurs at the northern and southern edges of the map, the projection gives a fairly accurate view of most sizes and shapes and direction. It also provides a fairly accurate picture of the relationship between landmasses and water. Today scientific technology has improved the process for mapping the earth even more. LANDSAT maps, created by

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5 Section 1 25 Assessment5 SECTION ASSESSMENT
Map Projection

Checking for Understanding
1. Define cartographer, latitude, parallel, longitude, meridian, coordinates, hemisphere, map projection. 2. What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of globes? Of maps?

nesses of the map projections named in this section.
Strengths Weaknesses

Critical Thinking
3. Analyzing Maps Re-create the chart shown here, and analyze the strengths and weak-

INTERDISCIPLINARY ACTIVITY
4. Geography Draw a special-purpose map that shows one of the places in your community that many people visit.

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UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

SECTION 3
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Landscape of the Americas
GUIDE TO READING
Main Idea
From Canada to South America, the Americas offer a diverse and exciting landscape.

Read to Learn . . .
5 what geographic factors unite North and South America. 5 what major landforms and bodies of water exist in the Western Hemisphere. 5 what physical regions characterize the United States.

Reading Strategy
Organizing Information As you read about the diverse geography of the Americas, identify the different regions of the United States using a diagram similar to the one shown here. Add as many ovals as needed.

Terms to Know
5 5 5 5 isthmus topography elevation relief 5 foothills 5 mesa 5 tributary

U.S. Regions

MOUNT SAINT HELENS

H

ow would you describe Americans? Geographically, they are any people who live in North or South America. The people living on these two continents are all Americans. Many differences and similarities exist among the peoples of North and South America. A number of physical features, however, unite these two continents as a region. As you read this section, decide how physical geography both joins and separates the peoples of the Americas.

5 Identifying Physical Regions
Along with islands in the Caribbean, North and South America occupy most of the Western Hemisphere. Together they stretch from the Arctic Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere almost as far south as the continent of Antarctica in the Southern Hemisphere. The two continents also share several bodies of water and landforms—physical
CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

19

Picturing H istory

COSTA RICAN HIGHLANDS The Central Highlands in Costa Rica reach an elevation of 5,000 feet or 1,500 meters above sea level. What are four landforms that help make up the topography of an area? The Rocky Mountains stretch from Alaska in North America to Mexico. Farther south, the Andes Mountains of South America boast the tallest peak in the Western Hemisphere—Mount Aconcagua—at a height of 22,834 feet (6,960 m). Most mountain areas remain thinly settled. One exception is the Andes Mountains of Peru, where descendants of the Inca—an ancient Native American people— still make their home. Most people of South America, however, choose to settle in valleys or in the foothills of mountains. These foothills, or low hills at the base of a mountain, receive water from the streams and melting snows that spill off the higher peaks. The well-watered land at lower elevations makes excellent farmland. During the United States’s colonial era, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains drew land-hungry settlers from Europe to North America.

features that help define them as a physical region. The Americas border on two broad oceans—the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. A huge string of mountain ranges snakes down the west coast of both continents. An isthmus, or narrow strip of land, acts as a continental bridge between North and South America. This region— sometimes called Central America—is actually part of North America.

5 Landforms
On a physical map, geographers identify the topography, or the physical features of the earth’s surface. One part of the land’s topography is its elevation—the height of land above sea level. Another part of the land’s topography is relief— the overall differences in height. Four major landforms also help to make up the topography. Geographers identify these landforms as mountains, hills, plains, and plateaus.

Plains and Plateaus
Plains and plateaus have flat or gently rolling land. The two can differ greatly in elevation, however. Plains are broad areas of land usually close to sea level. Plateaus are high, flat landforms, sometimes several thousand feet high. Large inland and coastal plains exist in both North and South America. Unlike

Mountains and Hills
Mountains are generally the highest, most rugged landforms on Earth. They usually occur in ranges, or groups. In both North and South America, the highest peaks and mountain ranges lie in the West.

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UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

mountains, these areas tend to be densely populated. Plateaus can also be heavily populated. Some of the earliest farmers in North America built their gardens on top of mesas—small, steep-sided plateaus— in what is now the southwestern United States.

Oceans and seas can affect the development of a region in many ways. They encourage fishing and trade, and can influence the migration and settlement of people. Oceans also affect weather, climate, and the living conditions of people.

Lakes and Rivers

5 Bodies of Water
About 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Geographers identify bodies of water by their shapes and sizes. The four major types include oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes.

Oceans and Seas
Oceans and seas, almost all of which contain salt water, are the largest bodies of water on Earth. The major oceans of the world include the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans. Seas, usually smaller than oceans, are often landlocked, or surrounded by land on all sides. An exception is the Caribbean Sea, which opens into the Atlantic Ocean.

Lakes and rivers crisscross the Americas. They supply freshwater, energy, and valuable transportation routes. In some cases, they serve as boundaries between nations and states. The Great Lakes, for example, form part of the boundry between Canada and the United States. The Rio Grande is a river that separates Texas from Mexico. In North America, the largest river system is the Mississippi River and its tributaries, or smaller rivers and streams. Reaching from Montana to New York, this river system draws water from about 41 percent of the continental United States. Another major river system lies in South America. The Amazon River system drains almost 3 million square miles (7 million sq. km).

Land Surface Relief and Elevation
25,000 7,600

20,000

6,000

15,000

4,500

10,000

3,000

High relief
5,000

High relief
0 Sea Level

Low relief

1,500

Low relief

Moderate relief

0

Land varies in relief and elevation all across the earth. After studying the chart, how would you describe the difference between surfaces with high relief and surfaces with low relief?

Meters

Feet

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

21

5 Regions of the United States
Geographers define the United States as a region within the Americas. Political borders, history, and other human traits set it apart from Canada and Mexico. The United States is a large area to study, however, so geographers often divide it into smaller regions. Geographers identify eight major physical regions of the United States. The physical features found include snowcapped mountains in the west; fertile, rolling plains in the center; and smoothly formed mountains in the east.

Hawaiian Islands
To find one of the nation’s westernmost physical regions, you must look outside the mainland of the Americas. About 2,400 miles (3,862 km) west of California lies the state of Hawaii, a cluster of 8 large islands and many smaller islands. These islands grew out of volcanoes that pushed their way up from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Some volcanoes, such as Mauna Kea, which is 13,766 feet (4,196 m) high, are still active. Most of the islands have white sand beaches. Black sand, which formed when molten lava flowed into the ocean, covers other beaches.

Physical Regions of the United States
130° W 120° W 110° W 50° N 100° W 90° W 80° W 70° W

SC AD ES

Wash.
Y CK RO

CANADA
L.
Superior

Mont.

Oreg.

N. Dak. Minn.

N.H. Maine
L.

Vt.
L. Ontario
r ie

CA

AINS UNT MO

Idaho Nev.
do R

Wyo.

S. Dak.

Wis.

L. Michigan

40° N

Mass. N.Y. R.I. Conn. N.J. Del. Md.

Hu

Ce

ro n

Utah
Colora

r ive

Colo.

uri Riv

Kans. Okla.

er

Ill.
Riv er

an Ind. Ohio d River W.
o Ohi

HI AN

Calif.
PACIFIC OCEAN 30° N
0 0

Mo.
Mississip pi

Ky.

Va.

Ariz. N. Mex.
200 mi. 200 km

Ark.

Tenn. Ala.

Miss.

Texas

La.

tic Atlan
Ga.

AC AL PP S.C. ain A l

MO UN TAI NS

SIERRA NEVA

l ra nt

Nebr.

Iowa L o

Mich.

at P Gre

wl

L. E

Pa.

o Miss

lains

Hawaii
20° N 160° W 70° N

ARCTIC OCEAN
130° W

DA
PACIFIC OCEAN

Va.

N.C.
ATLANTIC OCEAN

P

Gu

in lf Pla
Gulf of Mexico

Fla.

MEXICO

de ra n oG Ri

20° 0 N
0

500 mi. 500 km

Alaska

Hawaii Intermountain Rocky Mountains Interior Plains
0 0 250 250

Pacific Coast Canadian Shield Appalachian Mountains Coastal Plains
500 miles

180° 60° N 170° W

500 kilometers

160° W 150° W 140° W

Region The land of the United States varies greatly from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast. According to the map, in what region is Kansas?

22

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Picturing H istory

HI-MAUI, MOLOKAI ISLAND Hawaii has many distinctive features, such as its climate and topography, that make it unique among the 50 states. How were the Hawaiian Islands formed? carved the desert plateau into a web of canyons. One of the outstanding features of the Intermountain region is Death Valley. Tucked along the southern borders of California and Nevada, this desert is both the lowest and hottest place on Earth.

Pacific Coast
A dramatic landscape can be found along the United States’s Pacific Coast. Here a series of rugged mountain ranges run from Alaska south to Mexico. They include the Coast Mountains, the Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevadas. Their majestic peaks include the tallest mountains on the continent—California’s Mount Whitney at 14,494 feet (4,418 m), Washington’s Mount Rainier at 14,410 feet (4,392 m), and Alaska’s Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet (6,194 m).

Rocky Mountains
At the eastern edge of the Intermountain region, the elevation soars upward into the Rocky Mountains. Running southward from northern Alaska, the mountains extend all the way to Mexico. Here they take on a new name—the Sierra Madre, or “mother range.” The Rockies stand like a great wall across much of the continent. Throughout the 1800s, they posed a serious obstacle to the non-Native American settlers who headed west. “It’s not a trip for the fainthearted,” remarked one woman pioneer. “Perhaps only the foolhardy try [to cross them].”

Intermountain Region
As you head eastward from the Pacific Coast you enter the Intermountain region, where the land unfolds in a gigantic plateau. In the northern half of the region, the Great Basin hollows out the plateau like a huge bowl. The largest body of water found here is Utah’s Great Salt Lake. To the south of the Great Basin, dry deserts sprawl across the Intermountain region. Years of erosion by wind and rain and the constant flow of rivers have

Interior Plains
East of the Rockies, the land opens into a huge level to rolling expanse known as the Interior Plains. The open land seemed
CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

23

so vast to non-Native Americans of the 1800s that English author Charles Dickens called it “a sea without water.” Because so few trees grew on the dry grasslands at the western end of the Interior Plains, settlers called it the Great American Desert. Geographers call these western lands the Great Plains. The eastern part of the Interior Plains, called the Central Lowland, looked richer to farmers of the last century. Many settled and prospered there. Today this area, known as the Middle West, still forms the nation’s “breadbasket,” or major grainproducing region.

range is old enough to be the grandfather of the Rockies. The Appalachian peaks are much lower than the Rockies due to years of weathering. The highest peak— North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell—stands 6,684 feet (2,037 m) tall. To settlers in the 1700s, however, the Appalachians posed a great barrier to new, uncrowded lands. There were no paved roads or interstate highways to make crossing the mountains easier.

Coastal Plains
Most of the settlers who crossed the Appalachians in the 1700s were leaving the heavily populated Atlantic Plain. This lowland along the east coast of the United States begins as a narrow band in Massachusetts and gradually expands into the broad lowlands of the Southeast. Its rich, fertile soil and many Atlantic ports contrast sharply with the mountainous Pacific Coast. To the south, around the rim of the Gulf of Mexico, a second coastal plain unfolds like a giant fan. This Gulf Plain includes the mouth of the Mississippi River and major port cities.

Canadian Shield
This region covers a large part of Canada but extends over a small area in the north central United States. This lowland area lacks rich soil for farming. Its wealth of buried minerals, particularly iron ore, has been heavily mined.

Appalachian Mountains
The eastern Interior Plains end at the Appalachian Mountains. This mountain

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5 Section 1 35 Assessment5 SECTION ASSESSMENT

Checking for Understanding
1. Define isthmus, topography, elevation, relief, foothills, mesa, tributary. 2. What are the eight major physical regions in the United States? In which of these regions do you live?

4. Comparing Create a chart similar to the one shown here, and list the geographic similarities between North and South America.
North and South America: Similarities 1. 2. 3.

Critical Thinking
3. Comparing and Contrasting Choose a region in the United States other than the one in which you live. What physical characteristics of the other region might make you want to live there? What physical features of your region do you like?

INTERDISCIPLINARY ACTIVITY
5. Geography Make flash cards showing each type of landform and body of water mentioned in this chapter. On the back of each card, name regions where these physical features might be found.

24

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

BUILDING SKILLS
Technology Skills

Developing a Multimedia Presentation

You want to present a research report on geography or some other topic to your classmates, and you want to hold their attention. How do you do it? You might try using a variety of media.

Practicing the Skill
Ask yourself the following questions when developing a multimedia presentation: 1. Which forms of media do I want to include? Video? Sound? Animation? Photographs? Graphics? Other? 2. Which of these media forms does my computer support? 3. What kind of software programs or systems do I need? A paint program? A draw program? An animation program? A program to create interactive, or two-way, communication? An authoring system that will allow me to change images, sound, and motion? 4. Is there a “do-it-all” program I can use to develop the kind of presentation I want?

Learning the Skill
A basic multimedia presentation involves using several types of media. Suppose you wanted to present a report on the South American country of Chile. To discuss life there, you might show photographs of the nation’s different landscapes. You also could play a recording of the country’s language and music, or present a video showing the Chilean people at work and at play. You can also develop a multimedia presentation on a computer. Multimedia, as it relates to computer technology, is the combination of text, video, audio, and animation in an interactive computer program. To create multimedia presentations on a computer, you need to have certain tools. These may include traditional computer graphics tools, draw programs, animation programs that make still images move, and authoring systems that tie everything together. Your computer manual will tell you which tools your computer can support.

APPLYING THE SKILL
5. Using your answers to the questions above as guidelines, write a plan describing a multimedia presentation on the land and people of a specific region or country. Indicate what tools you will need and what steps you must take to put on a successful presentation.

25

SECTION 4
5555555555555555555555555555555555555555

Climate and Resources
GUIDE TO READING
Main Idea
The United States is home to many different natural resources and climates.

Read to Learn . . .
5 what factors help determine climate. 5 what climate regions and resources exist in the United States.

Reading Strategy
Classifying Information As you read about our country’s different resources and climates, use a chart like the one below to list the climate region in which you live and the natural resources in your state.
Climate Region Natural Resources

Terms to Know
5 5 5 5 5 climate weather precipitation current timberline

BEAR ON THE ALASKAN TUNDRA

n 1852, 17-year-old Samuel Clemens— American author Mark Twain—set out to see the United States. Over the next decade, Clemens visited the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast, and the Gulf Coast. “Why, I’ve counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours,” boasted Clemens at one point in his travels.

I

What Affects Climate?
Two main ingredients in climate are temperature and precipitation, or moisture that falls as rain, snow, or sleet. Some other major factors affect climate. One of these is latitude. Climates get hotter near the Equator and colder near the North and South Poles. Another factor affecting climate is elevation. Higher elevations generally have cooler temperatures than lower elevations. Mountains also affect the amount of moisture the land receives. Other factors affecting climate are the influence of ocean currents and wind currents. Currents are constantly moving forces of air and water that can be warm or cold.

5 Climate and Weather Patterns
Weather and climate do not mean the same thing. Climate is the usual weather pattern of an area over a long period of time. Weather is the condition of the earth’s atmosphere over a short period of time.

26

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

5 Climate Regions in North America
You can find most of the earth’s climate regions somewhere in North America. The United States itself experiences many different climates.

rience hot, humid weather for much of the year. That provides ideal growing conditions for crops such as citrus fruits and pineapple. Hawaii’s Mount Waialeale (wy•AH•lay•AH•lay), on the island of Kauai, is one of the wettest spots on the earth, receiving more than 460 inches (1,168 cm) of rain a year.

Tropical
Southern Florida and Hawaii, although many miles apart, have something in common. They both have a tropical climate. Florida and Hawaii are closer to the Equator than any other states. Both expe-

Mediterranean
The only place in North America where you can find a Mediterranean climate is in the state of California. Areas with Mediterranean climates tend to have

Climate Regions of the United States
120° W 110° W 100° W 90° W 80° W 70° W 50° N

Wash. Oreg. Idaho Wyo. Calif. Nev. Utah Colo. Mont.

CANADA
N. Dak. S. Dak.
Nebr.
.S

L

u p er i o r
L.

Maine
io tar On N.Y. L.

Minn.
L. Michigan

Vt.

Wis. Iowa

Mich.
L.

E ri

e

N.H. Mass. R.I.
40° N

Ill. Ind. Kans. Okla. Mo. Ark.

Ohio W.Va.

Ky. Tenn. Miss. Ala. Ga.

Hu

ron

Pa. Va.

Conn. N.J. Del.
Md.

Ariz.

N.Mex.

N.C. S.C.

ATLANTIC OCEAN 30° N

PACIFIC OCEAN

Texas

La.
Gulf of Mexico

MEXICO
155° W

Fla.

160° W PACIFIC OCEAN 20° N
0

Hawaii
140 mi

ARCTIC OCEAN 70° N

0 140 km

Alaska
130° W
350 mi 350 km

180°W 50° N

0 0

60° N

Marine Mediterranean Highland Steppe Desert
0 200 200 0

Humid continental Humid subtropical Cuba Tropical Tundra Subarctic
400 miles

20° N

170° W

160° W

150° W

140° W

400 kilometers

Location Climates in the United States vary as widely as its land regions. What state has a tundra climate region?

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

27

Washington and Oregon receive from 60 to 80 inches (152 to 203 cm) of rain a year. Farther north along the coast, portions of Alaska receive rainfall just as heavy.

Highland
Elevation influences the climate in the highland regions such as the Cascades, Sierra Nevadas, and Rocky Mountains. Here, temperatures tend to be cool for most of the year, and snow remains on many summits. Even if a highland area is close to the Equator, it will have a cool climate. In Hawaii, for instance, Mauna Kea is often cool enough in winter to provide snow for skiers.

Steppe
Picturing H istory
ZABRISKIE POINT, DEATH VALLEY Deserts such as Death Valley have hot days and cold nights and receive little or no rain. Where are desert climate regions located in the United States? mild, wet winters and dry, hot summers. As a result, farmers here can grow crops year-round. California produces an abundance of fruit and vegetables for America’s markets. East of the Rockies, in both the United States and Canada, sprawl the dry grasslands of the steppe. These regions covered in bushes and short grasses receive little rainfall. They also experience extremes in temperature with the blazing sun in the summer months and blizzards in the winter.

Desert
Desert climates receive the least rainfall of any climate region. In deserts, less than 10 inches (25 cm) of rain fall in an entire year. Desert climates can be found mostly in lands southeast of the Sierra Nevada and in the southwest United States. Because these areas lack rainfall, farmers have used irrigation, bringing water to the land. Ancestors of Native Americans, such as the Zuni and Hopi, dug irrigation ditches to make the deserts bloom.

Marine
Marine means “relating to the sea.” So as you might expect, this often moist and rainy climate occurs most commonly near a coast. In North America, marine climates can be found in the Pacific Northwest, a strip of land extending from southern Alaska to northern California. There, coastal mountains force rain-filled clouds to release their moisture. Coastal

Footnotes to History
To the Capital by Air or Sea
Juneau, Alaska, is the only state capital in the United States that cannot be reached by automobile. There are no roads leading into or out of the city to connect it with other Alaskan cities.

28

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Natural Resources of the United States
120° W 110° W 100° W 90° W 80° W 70° W 50° N

Wash. Mont. Oreg. Idaho Wyo. Nev. Calif. N. Dak. S. Dak. Minn. Iowa Nebr. Utah Colo. Kans. Okla. Ark.
PACIFIC OCEAN
Superior L.
L.

Maine Vt.
. rie .E

Wis.

rio Onta

Mich.
L

N.Y. Pa.

Ohio Ill. Ind. W.Va. Mo. Ky. Tenn. Miss. Ala. Ga. S.C. Va. N.C.

N.H. Mass. R.I. 40° N Conn. N.J.

Hu

L. Michigan

L

ron

Del. Md.

Ariz.

N.Mex.

ATLANTIC OCEAN 30° N

Texas

La. Fla.
Gulf of Mexico

160° W

155° W

Hawaii
70° N 20° N
0 140 mi 0 140 km

Alaska
130° W
0 0 350 mi 350 km

180° W

60° N

50° N 170° W 160° W 150° W 140° W

Aluminum Chromium Coal Cobalt Copper Gold
0 0 200

Iron ore Cuba Lead Magnesium Natural gas Oil Silver
200 400 miles 400 kilometers

Sulfur Tin Uranium Zinc Fish Forests

Place Forests, fertile soils, fish, and a wide variety of minerals help give the United States its great wealth of natural resources. What mineral resource is most common in Texas?

Tundra and Subarctic
The barren lands of northwest Alaska and upper Canada face cold climates— the tundra and subarctic—nearly yearround. The tundra is a vast rolling plain without trees. Summers are brief and warm with temperatures rising above freezing. Winters are cold and snowfilled. The lower layers of soil in the tundra are known as permafrost because they stay permanently frozen.

Humid Continental and Humid Subtropical
The humid continental and humid subtropical climate regions cover nearly half of the United States. In the humid continental region, people enjoy mild summers and cold winters and receive more precipitation than those living in the steppe. The lower latitudes of the southeastern United States produce warm and humid subtropical climates. As you might expect,
CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

29

this region can supply food and other crops, such as cotton, for the nation throughout much of the year.

nial leaders to map some of these resources and the expanse of the land itself. The map on page 29 shows many of the natural resources.

5 Vegetation
Before the arrival of non-Native American settlers, evergreen and deciduous forests covered almost half of the United States and Canada. Over the past two centuries, people have permanently cleared more than one-half million square miles (3,354,050 sq. km) of original forestland. Vast forests still span subarctic Canada up to the western mountain ranges until they reach the timberline, or elevation above which trees cannot grow. A wide variety of other vegetation from prairie grasses to cactus to tropical palm trees can be found in North America.

Biography 5555 Schoolcraft Finds the Source of the Mississippi
In 1820 explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft joined an expedition sponsored by the federal government to search for the source of the Mississippi River. That expedition failed. Twelve years later, in 1832, the federal government sent Schoolcraft and a group of soldiers on another search. Schoolcraft, who by that time was working as an Indian agent in the territories around the Great Lakes, got some Chippewa to act as guides. On July 13 the group came to a clear body of water in a weedy opening. They were looking upon Lake Itasca in central Minnesota, the source of the Mississippi. Schoolcraft, who was born in Albany County, New York, in 1793, was a geologist, author, politician, and anthropologist, in addition to being a government agent. He became a recognized expert on Native American cultures and settled many disputes in his territory. 555

5 North America’s Natural Resources
The wealth of natural resources of North America astonished European explorers when they first arrived on the continent. The area’s waterways, minerals, fish, wildlife, and timber created the rich backdrop to early settlement. Many expeditions were sent out by early colo-

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5 Section 1 45 Assessment5 SECTION ASSESSMENT

Checking for Understanding
1. Define climate, weather, precipitation, current, timberline. 2. How do latitude and elevation affect climate? 3. What climate regions exist in the United States? In which climate region do you live?

generalizations about U.S. physical features and landscape.
U.S. Landscape: Generalizations 1. 2. 3. 4.

Critical Thinking
4. Making Generalizations Create a chart like the one shown here, and list four

INTERDISCIPLINARY ACTIVITY
5. Geography Draw a map of Minnesota, showing where the Mississippi River flows through it.

30

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

History
AND

MATH

THE ARTS

GEOGRAPHY

ECONOMICS

SCIENCE

You and America’s Natural Resources
Did you know that the average person in the United States produces about 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of trash a day? That means you can expect to create about 1,460 pounds (664 kg) of trash a year! Currently about 30 percent of our country’s trash is recycled. Where does all that trash come from and where will it go? Almost every item in a garbage bin comes from a natural resource. We use petroleum to make all kinds of “throw-away” plastic items. We use aluminum for “throw-away” cans. We use the wood from trees to make “throw-away” catalogs, newspapers, and millions of tons of other paper products. Much of the world calls America the “throw-away” society. Unfortunately, Americans don’t really throw away garbage. We bury it in landfills, try to burn it, or dump it off our coastlines into the world’s oceans. Burning trash pollutes the atmosphere. Unless a landfill is lined with plastic, the garbage can pollute the soil and seep into underground water supplies. Garbage and refuse thrown into the oceans pollute the water and kill plants and animals. To solve the trash problem, the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended that Americans practice the three R’s of environmental protection. Reduce the waste that we create. Choose products packaged in recyclable materials. This includes packages made of paper, glass, aluminum, or cardboard. Reuse items instead of throwing them away. Look for products in refillable containers. Recycle garbage into new forms. If you don’t, the next century’s environmentalists will be

TEENS RECYCLING

cleaning up this century’s garbage. Try using the three R’s and join the movement to save our environment.

Making the Geography Connection
1. How much trash does a person create? 2. How does trash threaten our natural resources? 3. Why is it nearly impossible to “throw away” the trash problem?

ACTIVITY
4. The largest portion of our garbage comes from paper. More than 40 percent of all the trash in landfills originally came from trees, the source of paper-making materials. Turn some paper trash into a recycling reminder. Create a sculpture or a collage out of egg cartons, junk mail, pizza boxes, newspapers, and so on. Give your work of art a title.

31

Mountain range

Mountain Source of river

Valley Hills Tributary Plateau Canyon Bay Cape Ocean or Sea Swamp Seacoast Delta Mouth of river Cliff Plain Lowland plain
Ri ve r

A Dictionary of Geographic Terms
As you read about America’s geography and history, you will meet most of the terms listed and explained here. Many of the terms are pictured in the diagram above. Others you learned earlier in this chapter. absolute location–exact position of a place on the earth, described by global coordinates basin–area of land drained by a given river and its branches; area of land surrounded by lands of higher elevations bay–part of a large body of water that extends into a coastline canyon–deep and narrow valley with steep walls cape–point of land surrounded by a body of water channel–deep, narrow body of water that connects two larger bodies of water; deep part of a river or other waterway

cliff–steep, high wall of rock, earth, or ice continent–one of the seven large landmasses on the earth cultural feature–characteristic that humans have created in a place, such as language, religion, and history delta–land built up from soil carried downstream by a river and deposited at its mouth divide–stretch of high land that separates river basins downstream–direction in which a river or stream flows from its source to its mouth elevation–height of land above sea level Equator–imaginary line that runs around the earth halfway between the North and South Poles; used as the starting point to measure degrees of north and south latitude glacier–large, thick body of slowly moving ice, found in mountains and polar regions globe–sphere-shaped model of the earth

gulf–part of a large body of water that extends into a shoreline, larger than a bay harbor–a sheltered place along a shoreline where ships can anchor safely highland–elevated land area such as a hill, mountain, or plateau hill–elevated land with sloping sides; smaller than a mountain island–land area, smaller than a continent, completely surrounded by water isthmus–narrow stretch of land connecting two larger land areas lake–a sizable inland body of water latitude–distance north or south of the Equator, measured in degrees and minutes longitude–distance east or west of the Prime Meridian, measured in degrees and minutes lowland–land, usually level, at a low elevation map–drawing of all or part of the earth shown on a flat surface

32

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

Mountain peak

Basin Volcano

Di

v id

e

Upstre

am D ow n stream

River basin

Lake

Highland Glacier Channel Gulf Isthmus Sound Reef Island Strait

Penin

sula

meridian–one of many lines on the global grid running from the North Pole to the South Pole, used to measure degrees of longitude mesa–area of raised land with steep sides; smaller than a plateau mountain–land with steep sides that rises sharply from surrounding land; larger and more rugged than a hill mountain peak–pointed top of a mountain mountain range–a series of connected mountains mouth (of a river)–place where a stream or river flows into a larger body of water ocean–one of the four major bodies of salt water that surround the continents ocean current–stream of either cold or warm water that moves in a definite direction through an ocean parallel–one of many lines on the global grid that circle the

earth north or south of the Equator; used to measure degrees of latitude peninsula–body of land almost surrounded by water physical feature–characteristic of a place occurring naturally, such as a landform, body of water, climate pattern, or resource plain–area of level land, usually at a low elevation plateau–area of flat or rolling land at a high elevation Prime Meridian–line of the global grid running from the North Pole to the South Pole at Greenwich, England; used as the starting point for measuring degrees of east and west longitude relative location–position of a place on the earth in relation to other places relief–changes in elevation, either few or many, that occur over a given area of land river–large stream of water that runs through the land

sea–large body of water completely or partly surrounded by land seacoast–land lying next to a sea or ocean sea level–average level of an ocean’s surface sound–body of water between a coastline and one or more islands off the coast source–(of a river) place where a river or stream begins, often in high lands strait–narrow stretch of water joining two larger bodies of water tributary–small river or stream that flows into a large river or stream; a branch of a river upstream–direction opposite the flow of a river; toward the source of a river or stream valley–area of low land between hills or mountains volcano–mountain created as liquid rock or ash are thrown up from inside the earth

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

33

CHAPTER 1 5 ASSESSMENT

HISTORY
Self-Check Quiz
Visit the American History: The Early Years to 1877 Web site at ey.glencoe.com and click on Chapter 1—Self-Check Quizzes to prepare for the chapter test.

Understanding Concepts
Geography and the Environment
1. Why is the study of geography important to the study of history? 2. Using a web diagram such as the one shown here, list the ways in which early settlers in America altered their environment.

Using Key Vocabulary
Match the numbered items in Column A with their definitions in Column B. Column A 1. longitude 2. climate 3. elevation 4. immigrant Column B a. the height of a landmass above sea level b. imaginary lines that run north and south between the earth’s poles c. usual weather pattern over a long period of time d. person who enters a country to settle there

Early Settlers Alter Environment

Cultural Diversity
3. How does the geographic theme of movement help to explain the variety of cultures found in the United States? 4. Why is the name “Americans” not limited to people in the United States?

Physical Regions of the United States
130° W 120° W 110° W 50° N 100° W 90° W 80° W 70° W

Wash.
AD ES
Y CK RO
SC

CANADA
L.
Superior

40° N

Wyo.

S. Dak. Nebr.

L. Michigan

Reviewing Facts
1. Name the kinds of historical information absolute and relative location can provide. 2. List the physical characteristics of a region geographers use to describe it. 3. Tell about some of the problems with mapping the earth. 4. Describe the difference between a plain and a plateau. 5. Name the two greatest extremes in climate in North America.

Mont.
AINS UNT

CA

Oreg.

N. Dak. Minn.
Ce
nt

Vt.
L.
H ur

N.H. Maine Mass.

Idaho

Wis.

L. Ontario
r ie

MO

Nev.

Utah r ve Colo. Ri
Colora

do

PACIFIC OCEAN
30° N
0 0

Mississi ppi Rive r

HI AN

Calif.

Ariz.

N. Mex.
200 mi.

200 km

Hawaii
20° W 160° N 70° N
0 20° N 0

PACIFIC OCEAN

MEXICO

Gulf of Mexico

ARCTIC OCEAN
500 mi. 500 km

Alaska

130° W

180° 60° N 170° W 160° W 150° W 140° W

Hawaii Intermountain Rocky Mountains Interior Plains
0 0 250 250

Pacific Coast Canadian Shield Appalachian Mountains Coastal Plains
500 miles 500 kilometers

34

UNIT 1 America’s Beginnings: Prehistory–1700

in

MO UN TAIN S

DA SIERRA NEVA

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CHAPTER 1 5 ASSESSMENT
History and Geography
Physical Regions of the United States
Study the map on page 34. Then answer the following questions. 1. 2.

Practicing Skills
Developing a Multimedia Presentation
Work with another student to develop a plan for a multimedia presentation on the geography of the United States. Consider the following points to help guide you. 1. What specific examples would you use to show the different geographical and cultural aspects of the country? 2. For each example, what form of media would you use?

Region

What region covers the largest area of the United States? The second largest part?

Which regions would have been a barrier to settlers moving from east to west?

Movement

Critical Thinking
1.

Determining Cause and Effect

Death Valley is the driest, hottest spot in the United States. How do you think the Rocky Mountains, to its west, have affected its climate?

Technology Activity
Using the Internet
On the Internet, find out more about a country that interests you. Use the information to prepare a one-page travel guide detailing such facts as the country’s location, climate, language, resources, landscape, and any other information you think tourists might want to know. Present your guide to the class.
30 25 20 15 10 5 0

2.

Identifying Relationships How does the location of the Interior Plains help to make it America’s breadbasket?
Compare the advantages and disadvantages of using globes and maps.

3.

Making Comparisons

4.

Identifying Relationships The theme of movement has a strong connection to history in the United States. Explain why.

Writing
Cooperative

Learning

Interdisciplinary Activity: Geography

ABOUT

History

Working in groups, explore American rivers by creating a river system map on a large sheet of paper. First, have one member of the group draw the outline of the United States and each of the 48 continental states. Have another member label each state. Then draw and label the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, St. Lawrence, Rio Grande, and Colorado Rivers. Locate and label major cities along each river. Draw pictures or cut photographs out of magazines to represent important events, features, or a historical significance of each river. Paste the images in the appropriate place on your map.

n a post ca one of t he regio rd from ns described in Design a your journal. p a messa icture and write ge describin to a friend g what y ou have seen.

Using Your Jou rnal Desig

CHAPTER 1 The Geography of the Americas

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