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Ch 1: First Contacts: Help and Review

About This Chapter

The First Contacts chapter of this High School U.S. History Help and Review course is the simplest way to master the history of colonists' first contacts in the Americas. This chapter uses simple and fun videos that are about five minutes long, plus lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to ensure students learn the essentials of colonists' first contacts.

Who's it for?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering high school U.S. history material will benefit from taking this course. There is no faster or easier way to learn high school U.S. history. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who have fallen behind in understanding the effects of colonization on indigenous peoples in the Americas
  • Students who struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning history (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who need an efficient way to learn about colonists' first contacts
  • Students who struggle to understand their teachers
  • Students who attend schools without extra history learning resources

How it works:

  • Find videos in our course that cover what you need to learn or review.
  • Press play and watch the video lesson.
  • Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
  • Verify you're ready by completing the First Contacts chapter exam.

Why it works:

  • Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Use the First Contacts chapter exam to be prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any first contacts question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.

Students will review:

This chapter helps students review the concepts in a first contacts unit of a standard high school U.S. history course. Topics covered include:

  • Origins of early people in the Americas
  • Mesoamerican civilizations
  • Pre-Columbian South America
  • North American Indians before Europeans
  • Effects of European colonization on Native Americans
  • Spanish explorers and Spanish colonies
  • The Columbian exchange and intercontinental contact

17 Lessons in Chapter 1: First Contacts: Help and Review
Native American History: Origins of Early People in the Americas

1. Native American History: Origins of Early People in the Americas

Because the first humans and civilizations got their start in Africa and the Middle East, historians and anthropologists have had to figure out how Native Americans got to the Americas. In this lesson we look at the three prevailing theories of the earliest migration to the New World.

Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

2. Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

This lesson focuses on the early cultures of Mesoamerica. The Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs developed great civilizations in Mesoamerica over millennia. Then, after all of this development and the building of a great empire, the Aztec were quickly defeated by Hernando Cortes.

The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America

3. The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America

The Incan Empire was an amazing empire of the early Americas. Their accomplishments rival those of many other great empires, but they were defeated by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in only a few years.

Pre-Columbian Civilization: North American Indians Before Europeans

4. Pre-Columbian Civilization: North American Indians Before Europeans

Watch this video for an overview of the cultural groups of Native Americans as they lived at the time of first contact with Europeans. Some of these groupings, like the tribes of the plains, changed so much due to the addition of European influences, such as horses, that there is only conjecture as to how exactly they lived before European contact.

Effects of European Colonization: Christopher Columbus and Native Americans

5. Effects of European Colonization: Christopher Columbus and Native Americans

The earliest explorers in the Western Hemisphere left a legacy that would shape the development of the Americas permanently. No matter what they came looking for, Europeans left behind death, horses, and metal.

New Spain: Spanish Explorers and Spanish Colonies

6. New Spain: Spanish Explorers and Spanish Colonies

Who are the most well-known explorers and conquistadors of the New World? In this lesson, we'll look at some of the most infamous explorers. We'll discover the difference between explorers and conquistadors, and then learn about the encomienda system.

The Columbian Exchange

7. The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange is a term used to denote the world-changing exchange of agricultural goods, slave labor, diseases, and ideas between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres that occurred after the year 1492 CE.

Cayuga Tribe: History & Overview

8. Cayuga Tribe: History & Overview

Who are the Cayuga? In this lesson we will learn about the origins, development, integration into the Iroquois Confederacy, and eventual defeat at the hands of the Americans of the Cayuga Tribe.

Cherokee Nation: Tribe History, Facts & Culture

9. Cherokee Nation: Tribe History, Facts & Culture

Many Native American tribes fought to keep their land and way of life, while others preferred appeasement, cooperation, and/or assimilation. Learn about the Cherokee, their approach to U.S. expansion and settlement, and their way of life in this lesson.

Cheyenne Tribe: Facts, History & Religion

10. Cheyenne Tribe: Facts, History & Religion

In this lesson, we'll explore the Cheyenne tribe, a Native American people that originated in the woodlands of Minnesota. Learn about the tribe's history and religion, as well as how it was forever changed by contact with white settlers and explorers.

Chickasaw Tribe: History & Facts

11. Chickasaw Tribe: History & Facts

The Chickasaw tribe originated as a relatively small tribe in the southeastern United States. Learn about their society, how they reacted to contact with European conquerors, and how they have maintained their identity to this day.

Choctaw Tribe: History & Facts

12. Choctaw Tribe: History & Facts

The American Government has a history of mistreating Indian Tribes, but few tribes have ended up helping the nation as much as the Choctaw. Learn here about the history and culture of the Choctaw Indian Tribe.

Creoles: Definition & Cultures

13. Creoles: Definition & Cultures

Creole peoples are a crucial part of the history of the New World. In this lesson, I review creole origins, the various definitions of the term, and the continuing legacy of creole cultures today.

King Pachucutec: History & Overview

14. King Pachucutec: History & Overview

King Pachucutec was the ninth king of the Incas and ruled from 1438-1471. He was known as a great statesman, philosopher, builder, warrior, and visionary. He built the Incan Empire to its greatest size and prestige and was the first ruler to retire.

Maya Class System and Structure

15. Maya Class System and Structure

The Maya civilizations of Mesoamerica were pretty complex, and this extended to their social organization. In this lesson, we'll talk about Maya class systems and see how their society was structured.

Bering Land Bridge: History, Definition & Facts

16. Bering Land Bridge: History, Definition & Facts

This lesson goes over something known as the Bering Land Bridge. You'll learn where it's located, how it came to be, why it no longer exists and how it's important in human history.

Bering Land Bridge: Evidence & Migration

17. Bering Land Bridge: Evidence & Migration

During the last ice age, the Bering Land Bridge connected Siberia and Alaska. People were able to migrate from Siberia to North America across this land bridge. In this lesson, learn about this migration and the evidence for what happened when people first came to the Americas.

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