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Thousands of years ago, hunters from Asia followed herds of wild animals to the Americas. As they gradually spread through North and South America, they developed a variety of cultures. The economic activities, religious beliefs, and societies of these first Americans reflected the environments in which they lived, from the icy north to the dry desert of the Southwest. Farther south, in Mexico and Central and South America, several great civilizations arose. The world of these first Americans changed dramatically after Europeans reached American shores. At the same time, aspects of Native American culture spread to other parts of the globe. SECTION 1: EARLY PEOPLE AND CULTURES
1. Where did the first Americans come from? 2. How did archaeologists learn about the past? 3. How did early people adapt to the desert of the Southwest? Words to Ponder Glacier archaeology culture adobe Mound Builder Hohokam Anasazi pueblo Crouched low, the small band of hunters crept slowly toward. Ahead, a herd of bison grazed at the edge of a swamp. At a signal, the hunters leaped up, shouting loudly. The startled herd stampeded into the swamp. As the bison struggled in the deep mud, the hunters hurled their spears. Scenes much like this one took place on the Great Plains more than 10,000 years ago. Tracking herds of bison or woolly mammoths, skillful hunters were among the first people to settle the Americas. Over many thousands of years, their descendants spread out across two continents. In the process, they developed many different ways of life. The First Americans Migrate From Asia Like other early people, the first Americans left no written records to tell us where they came from or when they arrived. However, scientists have found evidence to suggest that the first people reached the Americas sometime during the last ice age. The Last Ice Age According to geologists, the Earth has gone through four ice ages. The last one took place between 100,000 and 10,000 years ago. During the last ice age, thick sheets of ice, called glaciers, spread out from the arctic regions. Almost one third of the Earth was buried under these sheets of ice. In North America, glaciers stretched across Canada and reached as far south as Kentucky. As they moved, glaciers changed the lands they covered. They pushed soil, rocks, and huge boulders across the land. They created islands such as Long Island, New York, as well as Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. Water from melting glaciers drained into channels, creating rivers such as the Missouri.
Mr. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 1
Crossing the land bridge Because glaciers locked up water from the oceans, sea levels fell. As a result, land that had been under water was uncovered. In the far north, a land bridge joined Siberia in northeastern Asia to Alaska in North America. Today, this land bridge is under the Bering Strait. Scientists think that the first Americans were probably hunters. Traveling in small bands, they followed herds of woolly mammoth, bison, and other game across the land bridge. Some groups may have wandered along the southern coast of the land bridge, catching fish and sea mammals. Experts date the arrival of these first Americans anywhere from 30,000 to 15,000 years ago. Once they reached the Americas, they continued searching for better hunting grounds led the newcomers across the land. Over thousands of years, they spread out through North America, Central America, and South America. Adapting to new conditions About 12,000 years ago, the ice age ended. Temperatures rose around the globe. Glaciers melted, and the ocean once more covered the land bridge. At about the same time, the woolly mammoths and mastodons died out. The people of the Americas adapted to the new conditions. They hunted smaller animals, gathered wild berries and grains, and caught fish. Then, about 5,000 years ago, some people learned how grow crops such as corn, beans, and squash. Farming changed those people's lives. People who farmed no longer had to move constantly in search of food. Instead, they built the first permanent villages in the Americas. As farming methods improved, villagers produced more food. In turn, the increased food supply allowed populations to grow. Studying the First Americans Today, experts in many fields are working to develop a clearer picture of the first Americans. Some are studying the remains of ancient people of northeast Asia. They hope to learn how these Asian people might be related to the first Americans. Other experts are analyzing the languages of Native American groups today. Native Americans are the descendants of the first people to reach the Americas thousands of years ago. Through the study of Native American languages, scholars are trying to trace how these people spread out across the Americas. Still other scholars are examining stone tools, weapons, baskets, and carvings found across the Americas. Objects such as these made by humans are called artifacts. Artifacts are the building blocks of archaeology; the study of evidence left by early people in order to find out about their way of life.
Mr. Moore’s The First Americans Unit
Inside the mounds. Scholars call the people who built these earthworks Mound Builders. too. probably for important leaders. The mounds are scattered across a region stretching from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi Valley and from Wisconsin to Florida. archaeologists often dig up ancient sites. Theories about Ancient Cultures From artifacts and other evidence. through sheer luck. clothing. arts. and copper weapons. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 3 .000 years ago until the 1700s. tools. Mr. They might study kernels of ancient corn through a microscope to find out about the climate in which it grew. archaeologists have found carved pipes. and ornaments. they have grown more aware of the need to respect Native American landmarks and traditions. very little evidence survives about an ancient people. They have also found shells from the Gulf of Mexico and turquoise from the Southwest. The first mounds were burial grounds. have become more respectful of Native American concerns. In recent years. Some laws have been passed to protect Native American burial grounds. ideas. they can date it to within a few hundred years. "When was it made?" and "Who made it?" In laboratories. archaeologists can learn much about the people who made them. By testing the level of carbon in a piece of pottery or bone. In their search for evidence about the past. and government. A culture is the entire way of life that a people have developed. Government officials. This evidence shows that the Mound Builders traded with people from other parts of North America. archaeologists form theories about the cultures of ancient people. It includes their homes. Each object can provide valuable information. A bulldozer clearing land might dig up a buried campsite. It also includes the customs. experts use technology to analyze new finds. A finely carved arrowhead suggests that a people knew how to make weapons and hunt. At the same time. A flood might wash away a river bank and uncover ancient bones. Often. They might compare clay pots from different areas to find out about the people who made them. archaeologists find evidence in unexpected places. Each new find or new method of studying ancient artifacts helps to fill in the story of early Americans. and skills that they pass on from generation to generation. The Mound Builders Among the artifacts that archaeologists have found in North America are thousands of earthen mounds. Purpose of the mounds The mounds served different purposes.Artifacts provide valuable clues By studying artifacts. stone sculptures. The two main groups were the Hopewell and the Mississippians. each new find raises questions such as. The Mound Builders lived at various times from about 3. Sometimes. beliefs. however. Woven plant fibers suggest that they were skilled basket makers. economy.
The Navajos replied that the mounds were built by the Anasazis. As many as 30. archaeologists began to study thousands of abandoned stone buildings that dotted the Southwest.000 years ago. they placed circles of evenly spaced posts. To reach rooms on the upper floors. In time. the Native Americans who live in the region today. Longer ones showed that autumn was near. When the Spanish explored the Southwest in the early 1500s. At Pueblo Bonito. the Mississippians built a large city at Cahokia.000 people may have lived there at one time. More than 2. On the flat surfaces. Some archaeologists think the posts served as a kind of calendar. the Cuhokians moved tons of soil. Monk's Mound Some time between 700 and 1500. Hopewell builders created the twisting Great Serpent Mound in presentday Ohio. Still. it looks like a snake with a coiled tail. About 2. Annual rainfall is only 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm). people climbed steep ladders. The meaning of this and other animalshaped mounds remains a mystery. Shorter shadows announced the coming of spring. or villages. They are shaped like pyramids with flat tops. Most were built between 750 and 1300. They dug a vast system of irrigation ditches to bring water to dry land. basket load by basket load. including the Hohokams and Anasazis made their homes there. several major farming societies. To farming people like the Mississippians. they called these houses pueblos. squash. outdoor courtyards. Over the years. In the Navajo language. pueblos could shelter hundreds of families. and beans.000 people.000 years ago. Who built these structures? Archaeologists asked the Navajos. The irrigation ditches channeled water from the Salt and Gila rivers into fields that then produced corn. knowing when to plant and when to harvest crops was important. Similar in some ways to modern apartment buildings. From the top of Monk's Mound." Anasazi pueblos As the Hohokams did. Its 800 rooms are tiny. From above. The house has no stairways or hallways. they developed ways to turn the dry desert into fertile farmland. This desert region may seem like a poor place to farm. Early Cultures of the Southwest Through careful study.000 years ago. at least 3. Cactus and sagebrush cover the desert floor. archaeologists have also learned much about the early people of the American Southwest. Beyond this fence. in present-day Illinois. Anasazi means ''ancient one. Walls were made of stone and sun-dried bricks. but the Anasazis spent much of their time in sunny. the Anasazis farmed the desert by using irrigation. This vast platform mound covers 16 acres— equal to 14 1/2 football fields! Hundreds of other smaller mounds stand nearby. a giant house was once home to 1. The Anasazis built large. to build Monk's Mound. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 4 . multistoried houses. The Mississippians built a wooden fence around Cahokia. in New Mexico's Chaco Canyon. the people built temples and homes for the ruling class. called adobe. temperatures can soar above 100° Fahrenheit (3S"C). In the daytime. In the late 1800s.Some mounds were used for religious ceremonies. The Hohokams lived in present-day southern Arizona. people in the Southwest learned to grow crops such as corn. rulers could see the shadows cast by the posts. Mr.
they built adobe houses along the cliffs that dotted the region. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 5 . Recognizing Points of View Why have archaeologists and Native Americans sometime clashed over the digging up of burial grounds? Mr. they planted corn and other crops. How does the information in this subsection support the idea that geography affects history? 6. One legend speaks of such a disaster: “Snow ceased in the north and the west. (d) Anasazi. Comprehension How did ancient people first arrive in the Americas? 4. A network of roads connected Anasazi villages. hit the region. d) culture. (c) Hohokarn. when the rain stopped long ago. Toeholds cut into the rock let the Anasazis climb up and down the cliff walls. descendants of these early people preserve traditions of the ancient Anasazi culture. Today. some Anasazis sought protection from. sandals made from yucca leaves. How did the Hohokams farm the desert? Why did the Anasazis abandon their villages? Critical Thinking and Writing 5. (f) pueblo. 2. Identify (a) Native American. Define (a) glacier. In the late 1200s. however. rain ceased in the south and the east. Applying Information Review the subsection The First Americans Migrate from Asia. (e) adobe. (b) Mound Builder. the mists of the mountains above were drunk up. traders carried cotton. (b) artifact. Describe three kinds of evidence that archaeologists study. (g) drought.Cliff dwellings Sometime between 1. or long dry spell. (c) archaeology. the Anasazis abandoned most of their villages. Most.” Later. Questions 1. Archaeologists think that a drought. warlike neighbors. To make their villages harder to attack.. 3. Along these roads.000 and 800 years ago. Some Anasazi traders headed into present day Mexico to trade with there. On top of the cliffs. some of the Anasazis may have gone back to their homes. became part of other cultures.. and blankets woven from turkey feathers. the waters of the valleys below were dried up Our ancients who dwelt in the cliffs fled .
reason. there were many different tribes." or "the Indians. In Columbus's time. By the time they realized Columbus's error. Native Americana included many different people with many distinct cultures. winter temperatures drop to -30 Fahrenheit (-34 C). stretched across the far northern part of North America.SECTION 2: People of North America Explore These Questions • Why did many different cultures develop in North America? • What ways of life did the Native Americans develop? • What role did religion play in the lives of Native Americans? Define & Identify culture area igloo pot latch hogan tepee Inuit kachina Navajo Iroquois long house tribe kayak kiva travels clan Pueblo Apache Natchez League of the Iroquois sachem When Italian explorer Christopher Columbus reached the Americas in 1492. language. Culture Areas and Tribes A culture area is a region in which people share a similar way of life. A tribe is a group of villages or settlements that shares common customs. Throughout history. and rituals. In North America alone. tribal organizations have played an important role in Indian life. more important. Native Americans spoke hundreds of languages. they were used to the term. Snow stays on the ground much of the year. a group of inlands off the coast of Asia. from simple to highly complex. Their cultures also varied greatly." Soon. Members of a tribe saw themselves as a distinct people who shared the same origin. Within each culture area. Mr. In the Arctic. and animals in the region where they lived. The tribe felt a strong bond with the land. all Europeans were calling the people of the Americas Indians. He called the people he met "los Indies. the Arctic and Subarctic. he thought he reached the East Indies. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 6 . In both regions. plants. People of the Far North Two culture areas. Native Americans do not belong to a single group. As they hunted animals or raised crops or gathered wild plants. members of the tribe tried to keep a balance with the forces of the natural world. The name Indian is misleading for another. Their religious ceremonies and daily customs were designed to help them maintain that balance. as now. people adapted to harsh climates.
they collected driftwood from the ocean shores to make tools and shelters. they built Igloos. they sang songs of praise and thanks to the animals. Subarctic Like their Arctic neighbors. to spear seals. friend Swimmer. The fishers of one Northwest Coast group. After a successful hunt.” Mr. They. They gathered rich harvests offish from the sea. Swimmer. that I may spear you. many subarctic peoples supplied furs to traders. In winter. When the summer came. To show their gratitude. whales. treeless plains made up the world of the Inuits. In spring. Inuits believed that each animal had a spirit. When Europeans arrived. the Inuits could not live in the same place all year round. you Swimmer. The longer the string of dentalia shells. do not feel wrong about what I have done to you. Lamps filled with seal oil kept the igloos warm even in the bitterest cold. Inuit women made warm clothing out of furs and waterproof boots out of sealskins. Supernatural One. Inuit religious beliefs reflected their close ties to the natural world. you. the greater was the value. There on the thick sea ice. They believed that the Salmon Beings would grow new bodies and continue to provide food. the Kwakiutls. me and my wife. they moved inland in smaller bands to hunt caribou or to fish in inland rivers and lakes. Before the hunt. the people of the Subarctic faced a severe environment. or walruses. that I may eat you. Because food was scarce. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 7 .Arctic Frozen seas and icy. They fashioned caribou and rabbit skins into robes and leggings. Long-Life-Giver. or small skin boats. In some areas. called dentalia. Sea creatures provided more than just food. large bands set up camp at a favorite spot near the sea. In summer. moved from place to place. The Inuits used all of the limited resources of their environment in order to survive. people caught shellfish. the rivers were full of salmon. too. chanted this prayer of thanks when they caught their first fish of the year: “We have come to meet alive. hunting moose and caribou or fishing in rivers and oceans. for that is the reason why you came. the people of the Arctic. People of the Northwest Coast The people of the Northwest Coast enjoyed a favorable climate and abundant food supplies. to use as money. In autumn. Now protect us. they offered gifts to the animal they hoped to catch. In winter. the people returned salmon skeletons to the water. they paddled kayaks. or houses of snow and ice. they hunted for seals.
At one pot-latch. 54 elk skins. few plants or animals survived. In winter. they made rope. To improve their standing. Families sometimes competed for rank. or ceremonial dinner. baskets. The forests also were home to deer. which took years for the family to prepare. Some groups traded with the Northwest Coast people and were influenced by their way of life. From the soft inner bark. In the northern valleys. They built permanent villages and prospered from trade with nearby groups. As a result. In summer. people hunted deer. They had few possessions beyond digging sticks. With little water. they held a potlatch. and elk or collected berries and nuts. and bears that the people hunted for meat and hides. like the Nez Perces adopted customs from the peoples of the Great Plains. California Differences in climate and resources helped create diverse cultures in California. to show off their wealth. They cut down tall cedar trees and floated the timber by water to their villages. Their main source of food was fish from rivers. Plateau The people of the Plateau lived between two mountain ranges: the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Cascades to the west. In the southeast desert. they developed very different cultures. Great Basin The Great Basin lies in the dry Inter-mountain region of the United States. they built temporary shelters out of willow poles and reeds. nuts. baskets. only a few related families traveled together in search of food. Because the land offered so little. they set up lodges. The more the family gave away. 7. they lived in earth houses that were partly underground. When they camped. the more respect it earned. rabbits. and berries.The Northwest Coast people also benefited from nearby forests. small bands lived much like the people of the Great Basin.000 silver bracelets. The family invited many guests and gave everyone presents. and clothes. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 8 . They also hunted and gathered roots. Great Basin people like the Utes and had to spend most of their time looking for food. With plenty of food. Mr. or from smaller streams. As people adapted to these environments. Coastal people fished in the ocean and rivers. temporary shelters made by placing rush mats over cottonwood frames. They hunted rabbits or dug for roots in the desert soil. moose. families gained status according to how much they owned. the people of the Pacific Northwest could stay in one place. and other tools or weapons needed for hunting. 2. like the Columbia and Fraser.000 brass bracelets.000 blankets! Other People of the West Climates and resources varied in other parts of the West. Others. There. and 33. Within a village. they split the tree trunks into planks for houses and canoes. gifts included 8 canoes.
Mr. the Navajos accepted many Pueblo ways. they tried to please the spirits of nature. They included such groups as the Hopis. cries rang out: “The kachinas are coming!" Kachinas. Zunis. Both women and men among the Pomos were skilled at weaving baskets. Pueblo way of life Like their ancestors. They traded dried buffalo meat and animal skins to the Pueblos in exchange for corn arid woven cloth. he went to live with his wile's family. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 9 . only the Hopis still farmed on cliff tops as the Anasazis had done. like the Pomos. The Pueblos traced their family lines through their mothers. Other groups lived in villages along the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The Apaches. and squash. or underground chamber. were descended from the Anasazis. or houses made of mud plaster over a framework of wooden poles. Both groups lived as hunters. People of the Southwest The Pueblos. the Pueblos built adobe houses and grew corn. Pueblo wives owned most of the family property. Through prayers and other rituals. beans. If the dance was pleasing to the spirits. At planting or harvest time. They began to farm and to build hogans. Most Pueblo villages had a Kiva. they would return as rain to water the next season's crops. Navajos and Apaches About 1500. Women harvested the nuts in autumn and later pounded them into flour. two new groups reached the Southwest: the Apaches and the Navajos. Their religious belief's reflected the importance of farming. rain. represented the spirits. such as wind. which they decorated with fine designs. In the villages. where men held religious ceremonies. and thunder. and Lagunas. or masked dancers. the Spanish name for people of the Southwest. By 1500. In time. Also. the Hopis held ceremonies to ensure rainfall and good crops. Acomas. but they often raided Pueblo fields for food. continued to follow herds of buffalo and the other game they hunted. acorns were the basic food. however. This custom gave women special importance. When a man married.For many Californians.
or sled. It didn't kick or jump. Plains people became skillful riders. deer. Mr. Large herds of animals grazed on the Plains. Plains people hunted the animals on foot. A Blackfoot tale describes their reaction to seeing horses for the first time: “After a time. pulled by dogs. squash. chunks of thickly matted grass. They then planted corn. In spring.' They made a larger travois and attached it to one of the gentler horses. They carried their belongings with them on a travois. including buffalo. In winter. They led the horse around with the travois attached. A New Way of life During the 1700s. They hunted more. elk. They began to catch and tame wild horses that appeared on the Plains.People of the Great Plains Centuries ago. These horses descended from animals brought to the Southwest by Spanish settlers some 200 years earlier. and sunflowers. however. beans. a woman mounted the horse and rode it. they often traveled for miles in search of buffalo and other animals. Plains people built their homes of sod. Because there were few trees. antelope. Until then. a woman said. In summer. women broke up the soft ground using hoes made from animal bones. Because they could travel farther and faster than before.” Soon. there had been no horses in North America. 'Let's put a travois on one of them just like we do on our small dogs. The chief was respected by other council members because he spoke well and judged wisely. men hunted near the village. they raised fewer crops. They also began to live in tepees cone-shaped tents made of buffalo hides that could be carried easily on a travois. and bighorn sheep. Finally. Farming and hunting Some Plains people fanned along river banks. moving often to follow huge herds of buffalo that roamed the plains. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 10 . vast grasslands extended across the Great Plains from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. Each village had a ruling council that included the best hunters. the way of life of the Plains people changed.
pumpkins. and plentiful rain helped Southeast people produce good crops. By law. and finally Stinkards. Mulberry. Deer. the Natchez hunted. and harvested the crops. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 11 . Farming and religion Men and women had clearly defined roles in the community. weeded. They also grew squash. they plastered the walls with a mixture of clay and dry grass. Women planted. the Green Corn Ceremony. called Little Suns. In time. Little Corn. Most people lived in villages and farmed nearby land. In this way. The Natchez ruler. Marriage laws ensured that membership in each class kept changing. The most important. Men cleared the land and hunted doer and other animals. They built their homes from saplings. Even the Great Sun chose a Stinkard as a wife. and sunflowers. when the corn ripened. Each month was named after a food or animal that the Natchez harvested or hunted. were the majority of the people. fertile soil. was worshipped as a god. fished. and farmed along the fertile coast of the Gulf of Mexico. or commoners. on the last day. they planted beans that climbed up the cornstalks. Priests kept a fire going day and night in a temple dedicated to the sun. the Great Sun. Natchez society One Southeast group. Turkey. They divided the year into 13 months. even descendants of a Great Sun became Stinkards. He lived atop a giant pyramid mound. or young trees. Natchez religious beliefs centered on worship of the sun. Most religious ceremonies were linked to farming. was the lighting of the sacred tire followed by a dance around its flames. the new year began. A warm climate. took place in midsummer. The Natchez believed that fire came from the sun. It marked the end of the year. no one family could hold the position of Great Sun forever. Among rows of corn. The Great Sun's feet never touched the ground. Below the Great Sun were other members of his family. noble men and women had to marry Stinkards. Then. He either was carried in a litter or walked on mats. Months included Strawberry. The highlight. Celebrations lasted several days. then Honored People. With this event. They split the trees into strips and wove them to make a frame for walls.People of the Southeast The Southeast was home to more Native Americans than any other region. and Bear. Mr. Next Nobles.
Our strength shall be in union. It became known as the League of the Iroquois. a Mohawk. Like a Pueblo man. In the forests and open lands. They lived in present-day New York State. A clan was a group of two or more related families.People of the Eastern Woodlands Many groups lived in the Eastern Woodlands. a religious leader named Dekanawida inspired Hiawatha. They also planted crops of corn. League of the Iroquois The Iroquois included five nations: the Mohawk. ran the length of the long house. Families living across from each other shared a fireplace in the hallway. an Iroquois man moved in with his wife's family when he married. Onondaga. the women could remove him from his position. Iroquois women also shared in political power because they chose clan leaders. our way the way of reason. the founders of the League of the Iroquois made this promise: “We bind ourselves together by taking hold of each other's hands. The Iroquois: a complex society The most powerful people of this region were the Iroquois. According to legend. pumpkins. Seneca. Each nation had its own ruling council. O chiefs. Around 1570. to organize the alliance. Oneida. arid other game. and Cayuga. righteousness. They built long' houses out of wood poles sided with bark. The Iroquois called themselves House Builders. If a clan leader did not do his job well. and squash. they hunted deer. the nations formed an alliance to end the fighting. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 12 . Carry no anger and hold no grudges. with small rooms on either side. Constant warfare disrupted the Iroquois nations. A hallway. moose. They owned all household property and were in charge of planting and harvesting. and peace— Be of strong mind. According to Iroquois tradition. Each room was home to one family.” Mr. A typical long house was about 150 feet long and 20 feet wide. Women had a special place in Iroquois society.
(b) Pueblo. (g) hogan. the Tuscarora joined the League. 8. (g) Iroquois. Identify (a) Inuit. The League helped end warfare among the Iroquois nations. Section 2 Review 1. 2. Which would be most suited to a settled farming community? Explain. (d) kayak. Define (a) culture area. (c) Kachina. (b) Explain how each adapted to its environment. (b) tribe. 4. (f) kiva. the council discussed problems and voted on ways to solve them. (h) League of the Iroquois. How did cultures that relied on farming for food differ from those that were mainly hunters 5. Comprehension (a) Name two Native American cultures that developed in North America. At meetings. The council could take action only if all of the nations agreed. (I) sachem. Critical Thinking and Writing Synthesizing Information 7. (j) long house. (c) igloo.Later. (d) Apache. How did religion play a major role in the everyday life of most Native American cultures? 6. or specially chosen tribal leaders. Linking Past and Present: The Iroquois League helped settle disputes and keep the peace. Again. (h) travois. met once a year to make decisions for the League. (k) clan. (f) Natchez. Each nation had one vote. 3. a sixth nation. and gave them a united defense against their enemies. a. Iroquois women chose the sachems. (e) Navajo. A council of 50 sachems. (i) tepee. What institutions perform this role in American society today? Mr. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 13 . Which of the three kinds of home shown here would you expect to find in a culture that relied on hunting for its way of life? Explain. (e) potlatch.
a people who flourished in Mexico and Central America. The most dramatic Olmec artifacts are the giant carved stone heads found near a religious center. Olmec temples were decorated with designs of grinning snakes and dragons. parrot feathers. Mr. the canoes made an impressive sight. and other valuable goods across a wide area. specialized jobs. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 14 . the Olmecs moved these colossal 40-ton stones from distant quarries. Cutting swiftly through the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. The Earliest American Civilizations A civilization is an advanced culture.500 years ago. turquoise jewelry. a system of social classes. Similar designs in later buildings suggest that the Olmec civilization influenced the later. around 3.SECTION 3: GREAT CIVILIZATIONS IN THE AMERICAS Explore These Questions • Where did the Mayans. cocoa beans. Even more impressive were the riches inside the canoes. Other features include a well-organized government. Archaeologists know very little about the Olmecs. Perhaps the most important is the building of cities. rich tombs and temples suggest a powerful class of priests and nobles stood at the top of Olmec society. Traders carried jade statues. The earliest known American civilization was that of the Olmecs. a complex religion. Historians identify several basic features of early civilizations. The canoes belonged to the Mayas. and some method of keeping records. and Incan civilization flourish? • What were the main achievements of these civilizations? • How were religion and learning linked in Aztec society? Define & Identify Civilization hieroglyphics Absolute power terrace Maya Olmec causeway aqueduct Cuzco chinampas Inca Tenochititlan SETTING Some 1. The Olmecs emerged in the forests along the Gulf of Mexico. The Mayas were one of several Native American people who built great. complex societies in the ancient Americas. more advanced Mayan civilization. Aztecs. large oceangoing canoes sped along the Caribbean coast of Mexico. However. Without the use of pack animals or wheeled vehicles.500 years ago.
priests performed ceremonies to please the Mayan gods. Disease-carrying insects infested the swamps. Jaguars and other wild animals prowled the forest floor. und warriors also enjoyed high rank. Towering above the cities were huge stone pyramids. they tried to predict the future. Poisonous snakes hung from trees.000 years ago. Nobles. they could honor the gods who controlled events. Lowest of all were slaves. and hunts. The rain forests were difficult and dangerous places to live. A visitor to a Mayan city could easily spot priests and nobles. With the knowledge they gained. Concern with time and the seasons led the Mayas to explore astronomy and mathematics. government officials. they grew corn to feed a growing population. On the cleared land. Slaves were generally prisoners of war. On top each pyramid stood a temple. the Mayas built great cities in many parts of Mexico and Central America. Great cities In time. In that way.Mayan Civilization Mayan civilization emerged about 3. By studying the sun and the stars. Social classes Priests were at the top of Mayan society. Advances in learning Mayan priests paid careful attention to the passage of time and to the pattern of daily events. and colorful cotton garments. They also developed an advanced number system that included the concept of zero. they cleared the jungle and drained the swamps. Each city had its own ruler. Mr. Mayan records and carvings indicate that sometimes women governed on their own or in the name of young sons. Roads that cut through the jungle linked inland cities to the coast. They wore gold jewelry. Although rival cities sometimes fought. Near the bottom of Mayan society was a large class of peasant farmers. From earlier people. they created an accurate 365-day calendar. Only priests had the knowledge to perform the ceremonies that the Mayas believed were necessary to guarantee good harvests and victory in battle. With much work. Two of these cities were Tikal and Copan. the Mayas learned to grow corn and to build stone structures. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 15 . including harvests. They lived in simple homes with mud walls and thatched roofs. It grew up in the rain forests of present-day Mexico and Guatemala. There. While most rulers were men. they also enjoyed times of peaceful trade. trade. fine headdresses.
Then. Aztec causeways connected the island to the mainland. With long stakes. Soldiers and merchants traveled the causeways between Tenochtitlan and the mainland. Canoes darted up the canals that crisscrossed the city. Aztec farmers harvested as many as seven crops a year on these chinampas. We are unsure why the cities were left to decay. Decline of the Mayas About 850. more than 2 million people in southern Mexico and Guatemala speak Mayan languages. Aztec engineers built causeways. Today. On that spot. a god told the Aztecs to look for a sign. Tenochtitlan on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco. Aztec Civilization To the north of the Mayan cities. "There are daily more than 60. Mr. these "lost cities" of the Maya remained hidden in the thick rain forests of Central America. the Mayas abandoned their cities and the forests once more took over the land. Farmers learned to grow crops on the swampland. or floating gardens. in central Mexico. They adopted many beliefs and ideas from these defeated people. Riches from trade and conquest turned Tenochtitlan into a large. the Aztecs built a powerful empire. out of packed earth. Perhaps peasants rebelled against heavy taxes imposed by their rulers. according to legend. the Aztecs should build their capital. they attached reed mats to the swampy lake bottom. the Aztecs expanded their power by conquering neighboring people. The Mayas carved records on stone columns or painted them on paper made from bark. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 16 . They were to search for an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak. Tenochtitlan The Aztecs built their capital. Drawbridges on the roads could be raised in case of attack.To record their findings. or writing that uses pictures to represent words and ideas. the Aztecs were wanderers.000 people bartering and selling. the god instructed. or raised roads. Until the 1300s. Even though their cities declined. After more wandering. Then. City marketplaces offered an abundance of goods." wrote a Spanish visitor in the 1500s. bustling city. For centuries. moving from place to place in search of food. they piled mud onto the mats and planted their crops. Mayan priests invented a system of hieroglyphics. the Mayan people survived. the Aztecs found the eagle in swampy Lake Texcoco. Maybe farming wore out the soil. They dug canals and filled in parts of the Sake. Not until recent years have scholars deciphered Mayan hieroglyphics. In the 1400s.
The priests divided the year into 18 months. Servants carried him from place to place on a litter. They compared the sun's battles to their own. he had total authority over the people he ruled." To ensure a successful journey across the sky. One Aztec poet boasted: “Who could conquer Tenochtitlan? Who could shake the foundation of heaven?” In fact. the Incan empire stretched for almost 3. the Incas ruled more than 10 million people living in coastal deserts.Religion Religion was central to Aztec life. the Incas adapted customs and ideas from earlier cultures. The Aztec emperor was treated almost like a god. Heavy taxes and the demand for human sacrifices fueled revolts among the neighboring people conquered by the Aztecs. Each month was governed by its own god. the Incas united the largest empire in the Americas. Farming Like the Mayas and Aztecs. however. If the emperor did walk. By 1492. The Aztecs sacrificed tens of thousands of prisoners of war each year to please their gods. the sun battled its way across the heavens. Each day. the sun required human sacrifices. enemies of the Aztecs would help to destroy Tenochtitlan and end the Aztec empire. The emperor had absolute power. the Aztecs believed. taking even more prisoners to be sacrificed to the gods. Aztec books contained knowledge about thy gods as well as special prayers and hymns. who lived along the Pacific coast of South America between about 250 and 700. Powerful Aztec armies. Among them were the Moche. nobles scattered flower petals in his path ho that his feet never touched the ground. Like the Mayas. lowland jungles. Aztec priests studied the heavens and developed advanced calendars.. put down any uprising. Young men and women attended special schools where they trained to become priests and priestesses.000 miles along the western coast of South America. and high mountains. the "foundation of heaven" was not as strong as the poet thought. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 17 . From there. They used these calendars to determine--when to plant or harvest and to predict future events. and the Chimu people. Mr. Ordinary people lowered their eyes when he passed. who carne after them. calling themselves "warriors of the sun. The Incan capital at Cuzco was high in the Andes Mountains. the Aztecs ruled millions of people from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. in the 1520s. that is. A powerful empire By 1500. The sun god was especially important. Incan Civilization Far to the south of the Aztec empire.
Most gardens produced two crops a year. the Incas built a complex network of roads. Officials kept records of what each family in the empire produced. A runner from Cuzco. the Incas worshipped the sun. they believed. The newcomers melted down the golden treasures of the Incan empire and sent them to Europe. In the 1530s." Nobles and priests adorned themselves with golden ornaments. were unable to fight off the invaders. The emperor. the Incas moved into place massive stones that weighed as much as 200 tons. More than 19. The government stored their surplus. They called gold "the sweat of the gods. Their huge stone temples and forts showed their expert engineering skills. would carry a message to a nearby village. Besides their success as farmers and engineers. This system helped the emperor to control his people. Stonemasons chiseled each block so that it fit tightly to the next without any kind of cement. Even a knife blade could not fit between blocks. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 18 . and wooden rollers. ropes. Incan armies could move swiftly along the network of roads to crush it. land shaped like wide steps. the Spanish rode up Incan highways to the golden city of Cuzco. Stone aqueducts or raised channels. Religious beliefs Like the Aztecs. With only human labor. including more than 100 varieties of potatoes. Teams of runners carried royal commands and news quickly across the empire. another runner would race to the next relay station. Sturdy stone walls kept the rains from washing the soil off the terraces. and also discovered medicines to lessen pain. To unite and control their sprawling empire. known as the Sapa Inca. into the steep mountainsides. the Incas made several important advances in medicine. or extra. as you will read. Incan engineers carved roads through rock mountains and stretched rope bridges across deep gorges. From there. The Incas. If a runner brought news of a revolt.Expanding on farming methods of these earlier Andean peoples. for example. the Incas carved terraces.000 miles of roads linked all parts of the empire. performed successful brain surgery. Incan buildings survived hundreds of earthquakes. They used quinine to treat malaria. Some remain standing today. The emperor. Mr. was descended from the sun god. weakened by civil war and disease. carried water to the terraces from distant rivers. Incan officials used much of the food in these warehouses to feed the sick or victims of famine. crops in warehouses owned by the emperor. controlled all the land and riches of the empire. the Incas lined the walls of palaces and temples with sheets of gold. Engineering and medicine The Incas perfected highly advanced building techniques. Very little Incan gold has survived. To honor the sun. Specially trained class of "chosen women of the sun" attended the emperor and performed religious rituals.
Synthesizing Information Review the definition of a civilization. How are they similar and different? Mr. (f) terrace.(b)Aztecs. (b) hieroglyphics. 3. Describe one achievement of each of the following: (a) Mayas. (c) Incas. (g) aqueduct. How was religion central to Aztec life? Critical Thinking and Writing 6. Identify (a) Maya. Then. Comprehension (a) What civilizations emerged in present-day Mexico? (b) Where did the Incas build their civilization? 4. 5. (b) Olmec. 7. (f) Cuzco 2. (d) Tenochtitlan. Compare the major features of two of the civilizations discussed in the section. (d) chinampas. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 19 . choose one of the groups discussed in this section and explain why it should be considered a civilization. Define (a) civilization. (c) causeway. (e) Inca. (e)absolute power. (c) Aztec.SECTION 3 Review Recall 1.
wooded territory they called Vinland. the arrival of Europeans would have a dramatic impact on people throughout the Americas. if they occurred at all. Italian-born sailor Christopher Columbus led a Spanish fleet into the Caribbean. The settlers were Vikings. Most experts agree that such voyages were very rare. in 1492. Early contacts with outsiders were limited.000 years ago. many archaeologists believe that the Viking settlement was located in presentday Newfoundland. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 20 . Viking sailors led by Leif Erickson reached the northern tip of North America. seafaring people from Scandinavia in Northern Europe. Mr. The voyage set off a chain of events whose effects are still felt throughout the world today. Others claim that fishing boats from China and Japan blew off course and landed on the western coast of South America Encounter in 1492 If these early contacts did in fact take place. There. who carried packs made of fur and skins. Then. Today. Still. The Viking settlement was brief and had no long-term effect on Native Americans. they had little impact either on Native Americans or the rest of the world. This meeting was one of the earliest encounters between Native Americans and Europeans. No one is sure why they left. some believe that even after the last ice age ended. in Canada. There arc also many stories about seafaring people from Asia reaching the Americas. Early Contacts For thousands of years. Viking stories. In 1001.SECTION 4: AFTER 1492 Explore These Questions • How did the 1492 encounter with Europeans affect Native Americans? • What is the Columbian Exchange? • What elements of Native American culture did Europeans adopt? Identify • Viking • Christopher Columbus • Leif Erickson • Taino • Vinland • Columbian Exchange Approximately 1. changed history. They settled for a brief time in a flat. The "Skraelings" were Inuits. The Vikings did not stay in Vinland long. The encounter in 1492. however. an expedition from Spain sailed into the Caribbean Sea. This time. however. people continued to cross the Bering Sea from Asia into North America. describe fierce battles with the Inuits. a group of seafaring men and women sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle on an island they called Vinland. they met local traders. Native Americans had little knowledge of the world beyond their shores.
Everywhere. squash. the arts. Others died from European diseases. They forced Tainos to work ia gold mines. elements of Native American culture gradually spread around the world. Europeans contribute in many ways to the culture of the Americas. Within 100 years of Columbus's arrival. or in Spanish households. They also taught Native Americans how to use metals to make copper pots and iron knives. Europeans carried the new foods with them as they sailed around the world.Columbus first landed in the Americas on a small Caribbean island. Europeans also brought new diseases to the Americas. Italians made sauces from tomatoes. Tragically. People in West Africa grew manioc and maize. people used American hot peppers and chilies to spice their curries. Many Tainos died from harsh conditions. Cultural Exchange The 1492 encounter between Native Americans and Europeans had other effects. and blueberries. Millions of Native Americans died of smallpox and other diseases to which they had no resistance. almost half the world's food crops come from plants that were first grown in the Americas. Native American Influences For their part. this transfer is known as the Columbian Exchange. That pattern was repeated again and again throughout the Americas. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 21 . Today. beans. Native Americans had learned to grow a variety of crops. At the same time. Europeans learned much from Native Americans. did not last. Food and farming Over thousands of years. Because it began with Columbus. It covered a wide range of areas. and language. It started a worldwide exchange of goods and ideas that transformed people's lives around the globe. In South Asia. The exchange went in both directions. they introduced Europeans to valuable food crops such as corn. pineapples. or stews. Mr. Millions of Chinese peasants began growing sweet potatoes. potatoes. government. The Taino’s experience with Europeans set a tragic pattern for Native Americans. Native Americans introduced Europeans to new customs and ideas. the entire Taino population had been destroyed. people's diets changed and populations increased. After 1492. including food. medicine. Friendly relations with the Tainos the Native Americans he met there. Beginning with the encounter in 1492. tomatoes. on ranches. peanuts. They claimed Taino lands for themselves. They introduced domestic animals such as chickens and horses. manioc (a root vegetable). technology. Columbus and the Europeans who followed him were convinced that their culture was superior to that of the Indians.
or coyote. (b) Leif Erickson. moccasin. Do you think that the world was harmed or enriched by the Columbian Exchange? Defend your position with details. including a respect for nature. Native American cultures influenced the arts. Comprehension: How did the arrival of Columbus affect the Tainos? 3. Identify (a)Viking. Benjamin Franklin saw the League of the Iroquois as a modal and urged Americans to unite in a similar way. In an essay titled "The Indian All Around Us. Many rivers bear Native American names. What kinds of evidence might prove that the historians are correct? 6. Europeans also learned to respect Native American medical knowledge. They preserved many traditions. Critical Thinking: Some historians think that the Asians explored the Americas years before Columbus arrived. SECTION 4 REVIEW 1." historian Bernard DeVoto noted: “Depending on what part of the country you are in. Describe two effects of the Columbian Exchange on the Native Americans? 4. the Potomac. If that harmony was disrupted. The names of these animals are Indian words…. and inventions (toboggan. Americans play versions of such Indian games as lacrosse. Technology and medicine Native Americans helped European settlers survive in North America. Today. (c) Vinland. Other influences As time went on. Alabama. Indians often treated the newcomers with medicines unknown to Europeans. Indians taught them hunting skills suitable to the American land. Indian designs in pottery and leather work are highly prized. Some of the early leaders of the United States studied the Native American political structures. trees (pecan. you may see a chipmunk.Twenty-six of our states have Indian names. In the North. and even government. many people have come to admire and share this concern for nature. Indians showed Europeans how to use snowshoes and trap fur-hearing animals. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 22 . Name three ways that Native Americans influenced our society today? 5. Mr. parka). They led explorers on foot along Indian trails and paddled them up rivers in Indian canoes. including the Mississippi. hickory). all Native Americans felt the effects of European conquest. despite attacks on their culture. woodchuck. misfortune would result. Texas. sports. In time. and Missouri are all Native American words.Language Native American influences also show up in language. Today. hammock). Still. (d) Christopher Columbus. Michigan. they believed. Native Americans sought to live in harmony with the natural world. muskrat. and the Monongahela. Native Americans survived throughout the two continents. Europeans adopted words for clothing (poncho. (f) Columbian Exchange 2.” Massachusetts. Besides showing the newcomers how to grow foods such as corn. (e) Tainos.
( a) what was one advantage of the Natchez rule regarding marriage? (b) What was one disadvantage? 4. the five Iroquois nations formed a league to end warfare. and ideas both to the Americas and to the rest of the world. • The Aztecs of Mexico ruled a huge empire with millions of people. Linking Past and Present: Compare the communication technology of the Incas with our communication technology today. 3. Moore’s The First Americans Unit 23 . • In South America.Sum It Up Section 1 Early People and Cultures • The first Americans crossed a land bridge from Asia between 30. • The first Americans adapted to the desert Southwest by learning to grow crops under dry conditions and building adobe houses. Understanding Chronology (a) Place the following in correct chronological order: the height of the Mayan culture. (b) How do you know that Columbus never ate tomato sauce when he was a boy? 2. Analyzing Ideas: Review what you have read about Natchez society .000 and 15. Section 3 Great Civilizations in the Americas • The Mayan civilization boasted skill in astronomy. the arrival of Columbus. the crossing of the land bridge. mathematics. How did the Aztecs treat people captured in warfare? 5. • The religious beliefs of Native Americans reflected their close ties with the natural world. Section 4 After 1492 • Contact with Europeans had tragic consequences for Native Americans. Critical Thinking and Writing 1. Section 2 People of North America • Native American cultures varied widely depending on geography. and writing. Exploring Unit Themes Origins: Is it valuable for Americans to study early American cultures? Support your answer by citing examples from this chapter. Identify two American products that Europeans adopted.000 years ago. Explore the Main Ideas 1. the Incas perfected advanced building techniques and built roads and bridges to unite their empire. Describe one skill Native Americans learned from Europeans. as millions died of European diseases. What evidence suggests that early Native Americans traded with one another? 2. the founding of the League of the Iroquois. What was one important purpose of the religious ceremonies of Native Americans? 3. What role did women play in Iroquois society? 4. technology. • In the Eastern Woodlands. Mr. • The Columbian Exchange brought new products. 6.
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