Ch 1: WEST History: Indigenous Societies of North America

About This Chapter

Review what you know about early American history predating the arrival of Columbus. These video lessons and quizzes can help you correctly answer these types of questions on the Washington Educator Skills Test (WEST) History exam.

WEST History: Indigenous Societies of North America - Chapter Summary

The lessons in this chapter are designed to provide brief but engaging information about native American civilizations and Spanish and European explorers and colonies. Material covered in these lessons include key figures and historical events prior to 1791. After successfully reviewing these videos, you should possess the following abilities that will help you answer U.S. history questions found on the WEST History exam:

  • Understanding theories about how Native Americans arrived in North America
  • Defining 'Mesoamerica' and discussing the civilizations that existed in this region
  • Relating the characteristics and fall of the Inca civilization
  • Identifying Native American tribes by the areas in which they lived
  • Describing how European colonization affected the lives of Native Americans
  • Listing other Spanish explorers in addition to Columbus who traveled to the New World
  • Realizing the changes that came about due to what is known as the 'Columbian Exchange'

Though a lot of history is summarized in these lessons, you will find them to be informative and helpful in preparing for the WEST History exam. You can further prepare by taking accompanying self-assessment quizzes, which are presented in the same multiple-choice format that you'll find on the actual exam.

WEST History: Indigenous Societies of North America Objectives

The WEST History exam assesses your knowledge of social studies concepts and both U.S. and world history figures and events. The Indigenous Societies of North America chapter allows you to review early American cultures and the explorations and settlements that affected the North American region. These types of questions are found in the first domain of the WEST History exam, which covers U.S. history and accounts for 36% of the test's entire content.

WEST exams are teacher certification exams administered in the state of Washington. They are used for both new and current teachers. The basic WEST exam covers fundamental concepts in reading, writing and math, while nearly 30 endorsement exams are given in a wide range of content areas including history, biology, health, music and visual arts. Endorsements are added to new or existing teaching certificates. A passing score of 240 is needed on endorsement exams.

7 Lessons in Chapter 1: WEST History: Indigenous Societies of North America
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.

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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