A People and a Nation: Chapter One

Table of Content

In chapter 1 it talks about the American society and ancient American, the Africa society, the European Society and well as the early European explorations. This chapter also talks about the voyages of Columbus, Cabot and their successors, the Spanish exploration and conquest and the Columbian Exchange. In addition, also talks about the Europeans in North American.

Humans originated from Africa. Due to climate changes and high sea levels human migrated to other regions of the world such as Asia, Africa, and Europe. The earliest people to come to America were known as the Paleo-Indians. They survived by hunting gathering plants. They spread through North and South America. They traded with other settlers and stayed independent. Early Mesoamerican civilization developed on the Gulf of Mexico four thousand years ago of the Olmec culture. The Mayas, and Teotihuacan later developed two thousand years later. Ancient natives’ societies in what is now the United States Learned to grow crops from the Mesoamericans. “The Hohokam, Mogollon, and ancient Pueblo peoples of the modern states of Arizona and New Mexico subsisted by combining hunting and gathering with agriculture in an arid region” (Norton et al. 4). The Aztecs people moved into the Valley of Mexico during the twelfth century. They established and built an empire where they sacrificed human and dominated people’s tribute.

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The Native Americas that lived north of Mexico adapted their cultures to the climate and terrain. Gender roles come into play in this society where men hunted, while women stayed home and cook, make clothes, and take care of the children. The tribes that live on the East had women farming and the ones that lived on the West men would be farming. Southwestern and eastern agricultural people live in villages with about thousand people living there. Before the Europeans came the Native America, they were engaged in wars against each other for hunting and fishing territories power, and agricultural land, or other source of essential items. Their political structures included the role of a women wide-ranging from tribe to tribe. In addition, the civil and war leaders divided political power in all North America amongst the Indian cultures. The Native people were polytheistic, where they believed in multiple gods.

In the African society, upper Guinea had an Islamic Mediterranean culture, while lower Guinea had practiced traditional African religions. In West Africa men and women had the same agricultural duties. Men hunted while women did house work, mange local trades and take care of the children. In Lower Guinea, society developed based on the “dual-sex principle.” Throughout Guinea, religious beliefs enforced complementary gender roles.

In the European society, the Europeans live in small villages where men and women shared same house duties. Men did all the farming and hunting while the women did the domestic work. Men were in control of the European society as women relegated to lower positions and children extremely controlled and discipline. Christianity was the dominated religion with authority from the Catholic Church. In 1346, the Black Plague struck Europe for the first time and then struck again in the 1360s and 1370s, killing a third of the continent’s population. The Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453), which dislocated overland trade routes. Merchants in the eastern Mediterranean to establish maritime links with Antwerp, which then led to the use of triangle sail. European leaders took advantage of the chaos resulting from the Black Plague and the Hundred Years’ War to retrieve power. Along with that political invention, a moveable type and printing press was introduced into their society, which made information easy to access.

The publication of Marco Polo’s Travels in 1477 led many European to believe that they could trade directly with china by sea instead by land. The developments in Europe made exploration easy to gain access to trading and spreading Christianity. European sailor learned navigation, wind and currents by sailing in the Mediterranean Atlantic. In the fifteenth century, Europeans, mainly Portuguese and Spanish, settled the Azores, Madeira, and Canary Islands and started plantation economies. The Portuguese established trading post in West Africa, which was beneficial to the Portuguese and the African kingdoms. On Sao Tome in the 1480s, Portuguese establishes sugar plantations by enforcing slave labor from the African land. European learned they can grow crops and livestock on the new land by enforcing slave labor so that they can profit from it.

Christopher Columbus sailed west hoping to reach Asia, but instead he come across the Bahamas a month after starting. Columbus made obvious his intentions by asking the native people about gold, pearls, and spices. He also admired the new plants and animals he encountered and described how they could be exploited. Columbus also reported that human inhabitants would be useful as converts and as laborers. Leif Ericsson Had established a short-lived settlement on modern Newfoundland in the year 1001. “The European generally credited with “discovering” North America is Zuan Cabboto, know today as John Cabot” (Norton et al. 17). John Cabot was Italian explorer who established English claims to the New World. Cortes embarked for the mainland in 1519. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan caught the smallpox in 1521. Spanish conquerors established a colonial system that enforced strict royal control, the predominance of male settlers, and slavery of Americans and African. The new world’s gold and silver was a success, but then the Spanish economy crushed, and Spain lost power.

Hundreds and thousands of Native Americans died from the European disease, the smallpox. By the 1520s, sugar was being transported from the Greater Antilles to Spain. The Portuguese cultivated sugar in Brazil for sale in the European market and after 1640, sugar was produced in the European Colonies in the Caribbean. The Spanish introduce Horse to the Americans in 1493. Europeans believed that tobacco had beneficial medicinal effects. Fishing banks off the coast of North America attracted many European to the New World. The European developed a lucrative fur trade with the Indians. The Indians be fond of the European goods but in the long run it effected the Indian cultures. Geopolitical conflict with Spain led to England to want colonies in North America. Early efforts by the English to Settle the area they called Virginia had tragic outcomes. Harriot, a scientist, publicized the benefits of Virginia, which includes its natural resources like copper, iron, fur, grapes, and people. To conclude all, Indians are the Natives to America, agriculture, and trading was a way of living centuries ago.

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A People and a Nation: Chapter One. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from


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