"On a North American continent controlled by American Indians, contact among the peoples of Europe, the Americas and West Africa created a new world."
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Did Christopher Columbus truly discover a "New World?" Work by modern anthropologists, archeologists and historians has revealed that the cultures in the Americas were much more diverse and complex than originally believed. What is certain is that European contact radically changed the cultural, social, political, and economic framework of the Americas. The result is not necessary the discovery of a "new world," but the creation of one called the "Atlantic World." It is a blending of American, European and African influences and exchanges driven primarily by two Europeans desires: (1) to extract the resources of the Americas for their own economic and political advantage and (2) to remake the Americas into an image of the world they left behind.

Key Concepts:

  • 1.1 Before the arrival of Europeans, native populations in North America developed a wide variety of social, political, and economic structures based in part on interactions with the environment and each other.
    • I. As settlers migrated and settled across the vast expanse of North America over time, they developed quite different and increasingly complex societies by adapting to and transforming their diverse environments.
  • 1.2. European overseas expansion resulted in the Columbian Exchange, a series of interactions and adaptations among societies across the Atlantic.
    • I. The arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere in the 15th and 16th centuries triggered extensive demographic and social changes on both sides of the Atlantic.
    • II. European expansion into the Western Hemisphere caused intense social/religious, political and economic competition in Europe and the promotion of empire building.
  • 1.3.Contacts among American Indians, Africans, and Europeans challenged the worldviews of each group.
    • I. European overseas expansion and sustained contacts with Africans and American Indians dramatically altered European views of the social, political. and economic relationships among and between whites and nonwhite peoples.
    • II. Native peoples and Africans in the Americas strove to maintain their political and cultural autonomy in the face of European challenges to their independence and core beliefs.

Newman Notes:

Introductory Lecture:

Activities and Exercises:

Flipped Lecture: Part 1, Exchange of Culture & Conflict in the Southwest, Prof. Brian DeLay
and Bartolome de Las Casas Primary Source Reading:

Homework: Flipped Lecture: Part 1, Exchange of Culture & Conflict in the Southwest, Prof. Brian DeLay

Supporting Video Links:
TED Talk: The Pueblo Indians:
The Iroqouis
The Anasazi
Guns, Germs and Steel: Episode #2 Conquest
Crash Course: Native Americans, Spanish Conquest and Black Legends
Crash Course: Columbian Exchange