Ch 1: The Pre-Columbian Era

About This Chapter

This mobile-friendly chapter provides an overview of the pre-Columbian era of history. Access these simple lessons and self-assessments to improve your pre-Columbian era knowledge for upcoming exams, class assignments, projects, homework or fun.

The Pre-Columbian Era - Chapter Summary

Follow along with our instructors to get an overview of the pre-Columbian era's most important civilizations. These short lessons break down the characteristics of these cultures' histories, religions, languages, lifestyles, artifacts and much more. Each lesson comes with a short quiz to help you reinforce your understanding of the information. You can study at any time using your computer or mobile device, and when you're finished working through the chapter, you should be equipped to:

  • Describe the language, food, art, religion and history of the Mixtec civilization
  • Evaluate the importance of the Mixtec's Codex Bodley and Codex Zouche-Noutall
  • Recognize the Zapotec god of rain and lightning, Cocijo
  • Assess the mythology of Ce Acatl Topiltzin
  • Explain the characteristics of the Nahua peoples' culture, language and religion
  • Summarize the history of the Chichimeca peoples
  • Discuss the people, lifestyles, artifacts and extinction of the Clovis culture
  • Identify pre-Clovis people, culture, sites and artifacts
  • Describe the history, culture and writings of the Norte Chico civilization
  • Interpret facts about the Yupik peoples' history, language, tools, clothing, music, culture and more
  • Analyze Huayna Capac's life and accomplishments

15 Lessons in Chapter 1: The Pre-Columbian Era
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Mixtecos: Culture, Language, Food & Art

1. Mixtecos: Culture, Language, Food & Art

In this lesson, we'll learn about the Mixtec people, an indigenous group living in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Find out about their customs, religion, and interesting food.

Mixtec Civilization: History, Religion & Facts

2. Mixtec Civilization: History, Religion & Facts

The Mixtec Civilization was a warring tribe that took over the Mexican Valley prior to the Aztec rule and the coming of the Spanish. Learn about their calendar system, religion, and history.

Mixtec Writing: Codex Zouche-Noutall & Codex Bodley

3. Mixtec Writing: Codex Zouche-Noutall & Codex Bodley

The Mixtec people developed a complex civilization, and they made sure the world would know by writing about it. In this lesson, we'll examine the Mixtec writing system and look at some famous works.

Cocijo, Zapotec God of Rain & Lightning

4. Cocijo, Zapotec God of Rain & Lightning

Cocijo, the god of rain and lightning, was one of the most important deities of the Zapotecs. This lesson examines Cocijo's abilities, appearance, and post-Zapotec legacy.

Ce Acatl Topiltzin: Definition & Myth

5. Ce Acatl Topiltzin: Definition & Myth

The stories of Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, or ''One Reed, Our Prince Plumed Serpent,'' are various and scattered throughout numerous Mesoamerican legends. However, as a historical figure, this mysterious individual was apparently as much man, as he was a myth.

Nahua Peoples: Culture, Religion & Language

6. Nahua Peoples: Culture, Religion & Language

The Nahua people of Mesoamerica are a group of Native Americans originally associated with the ancient Aztec people. While the modern Nahua people have very different views, the ancient culture, religion, and language continue to influence the Nahua.

Historical Chichimeca Peoples: Culture & History

7. Historical Chichimeca Peoples: Culture & History

Before the arrival of the Spanish, Mexico was home to a diverse array of cultures. In this lesson, we'll look at a few of them and see why they were all categorized under a single, slightly pejorative, name.

What is the Clovis Culture? - Significance, Timeline & Extinction

8. What is the Clovis Culture? - Significance, Timeline & Extinction

The Clovis people may have had the single most influential culture in the history of North America. In this lesson, we'll explore their contributions to the continent, and debate their origins and disappearance.

The Clovis Culture: People, Lifestyle & Artifacts

9. The Clovis Culture: People, Lifestyle & Artifacts

The Clovis people hold a unique place in the history of North America, but what was their life really like? In this lesson, we'll check out their culture and see what it can tell us about life in the late Ice Age.

Pre-Clovis Sites, People, Culture & Artifacts

10. Pre-Clovis Sites, People, Culture & Artifacts

Who were the first people to live in the Americas? It's an interesting question, and one that's hotly debated. In this lesson, we'll explore one proposed answer and see what evidence supports it.

Norte Chico Civilization: History, Culture & Writing

11. Norte Chico Civilization: History, Culture & Writing

Archeologists had many ideas about the necessary components of a civilization, but then they found Norte Chico. In this lesson, we'll examine this mysterious civilization and see how it defies expectations.

Yupik Peoples: History, Language & Tools

12. Yupik Peoples: History, Language & Tools

This lesson introduces students to the Yup'ik people, one of the 11 native peoples of Alaska. With such a rich culture, this lesson focuses on Yup'ik history, their fascinating language, and the tools used to survive in a harsh climate.

Yupik Tribe: Clothing, Masks, Music & Dancing

13. Yupik Tribe: Clothing, Masks, Music & Dancing

Some people create distinctive masks and clothing and develop unique ways of dancing. For the Yupik, this includes performing a dance without moving their feet! In this lesson, we'll explore traditions in the art and culture of the Yupik tribe.

Yupik People of Alaska: Culture, Food & Traditions

14. Yupik People of Alaska: Culture, Food & Traditions

What kind of people can thrive in the harsh, but beautiful Alaskan wilderness? The Yup'ik. They are one of Alaska's native populations and we will be learning about their culture, how they found food and their fascinating traditions.

Huayna Capac: Biography, Facts & Accomplishments

15. Huayna Capac: Biography, Facts & Accomplishments

The Inca Empire was once the most powerful states in South America. In this lesson, we'll get to know one of the emperors who helped make it that way, and see what role he had in the history of the Inca.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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