Ch 1: First Contacts (28,000 BCE-1821 CE): Help and Review

About This Chapter

The First Contacts (28,000 BCE-1821 CE) chapter of this AP U.S. History Help and Review course is the simplest way to master early North and South American history. 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 first contacts in history.

Who's it for?

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

  • Students who have fallen behind in understanding Native American history and the first cultural and societal contacts in North and South America
  • 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 the 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 AP U.S. history course. Topics covered include:

  • Origins of American Indian cultures
  • Incan, Mesoamerican and Pre-Columbian civilizations
  • Impact of European colonization
  • Spanish explorers and colonies
  • The Columbian Exchange effects

15 Lessons in Chapter 1: First Contacts (28,000 BCE-1821 CE): Help and Review
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
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.

Amerigo Vespucci: Biography, Facts & Voyages

8. Amerigo Vespucci: Biography, Facts & Voyages

Today I'll be talking about Amerigo Vespucci, a cartographer who sailed to America and helped improve the navigation of his time. Vespucci also lent his name to the Americas.

Bartolome de Las Casas: Biography, Quotes & Timeline

9. Bartolome de Las Casas: Biography, Quotes & Timeline

This lesson will examine the life of a Dominican friar from Spain named Bartolome de Las Casas. He spent the majority of his life working to help the Amerindians in the wake of the Spanish conquest of the New World.

Crow Native American Tribe: History, Facts & Culture

10. Crow Native American Tribe: History, Facts & Culture

Through this course you will be given a basic introduction to the Crow people, including some significant events from their history. You will also learn about how Crow culture has contributed to the shaping of United States history.

Mayan History, Achievements & Facts

11. Mayan History, Achievements & Facts

In this lesson, you'll explore the sophisticated ancient Mesoamerican culture known as the Mayans, and increase your understanding of their history, society, and major achievements in art, astronomy, and architecture.

Mayan Disappearance: Theories & Concept

12. Mayan Disappearance: Theories & Concept

For many years, archaeologists have studied the collapse of the Maya civilization. Learn the different theories archaeologists believe were responsible for the downfall of the Maya.

Oceania Theory: Overview

13. Oceania Theory: Overview

The Oceania theory says that humanity came to the Americas first by crossing the Pacific Ocean from Australia and the South Pacific islands. Learn why some archaeologists believe this theory shows us how humans discovered the New World.

Cahokia Mounds: History & Map

14. Cahokia Mounds: History & Map

Cahokia Mounds are a complex of earthen hills built by Native American tribes from the Mississippian culture. The amazing city that surrounded the mounds in shrouded in mystery.

Guerrilla Warfare: Definition & Tactics

15. Guerrilla Warfare: Definition & Tactics

Throughout history, war has driven and affected many different ideologies, ranging from science to philosophy. Many of the tactics of war change as the science of it changes. Guerrilla warfare is one such adaptation.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the AP US History: Help and Review course