About This Chapter
Below is a sample breakdown of the First Contacts chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||Native Americans: origins and civilization||Roots and characteristics of Native American culture and society|
|Tuesday||Mesoamerican civilizations||Culture and society in present-day Central America and Mexico, the Olmecs and the explorations of Cortes|
|Wednesday||Incan civilization||Life in Pre-Columbian South America and the explorations of Pizzaro|
|Thursday||Consequences of European colonization||Christopher Columbus, purpose of European exploration and Old World-New World relationships|
|Friday||New Spain and the Columbian exchange||Transfer of culture, crops, disease and other elements from the Old World to the New World; Spanish colonies and long-term consequences of intercontinental contact|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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