The engraving shows the first meeting between King Atahualpa of the Inca Empire and Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto.
European perceptions of Native Americans in the 16th century were shaped by the engravings of Theodor de Bry, an artist who never set foot in North America.
America was born in ice.
Tens of thousands of years ago, glaciers some two miles thick inched southward from the top of the globe during a time known as the Ice Age.
All the land in the path of the ice was stripped bare.
The areas covered by the ice sheets are now Canada, Alaska, the Upper Midwest, New England, Montana, and Wash ington.
The ice began to melt as the climate warmed.
The melt of the ice caused sea levels to rise more than 400 feet.
The world's richest farmland was deposited in the Midwest as the ice sheets retreated.
The first immigrants were able to roam the continent because of the opening of valley pathways.
The debate rages about when and how humans first arrived in North America.
"America is a nation of immigrants, a society of strivers attracted by a new world promising new beginnings and a better life in a new place of unlimited space," said senator John F. Ken nedy.
Without people of determination and imagination, geography would have been destroyed rather than sustained by the first Americans.
During the Ice Age, the tundra of eastern Siberia and Alaska was devoid of trees.
The first aboriginal peoples, called Paleo- Indians, arrived in North America at the age of 14,400 years ago at the site of Broken Mammoth.
Archeologists in central Texas have found evidence of people dating back 16,000 years.
As the climate kept warming and the glaciers and ice sheets continued to melt, small nomadic kinship groups, typical of a few dozen, fanned out from Alaska on foot, or by boat down the rugged coast, eventually spreading across the Western Hemisphere.
The Paleo- Indians were skilled hunters and gatherers who hunted game ani mals, whales, seals, fish, and wild plants.
They lived in huts covered in animal skins or grasses.
mammoths, mastodons, giant sloths, camels, lions, saber- toothed tigers, cheetahs, and giant wolves were among the massive animals that people hunted across the prairies and plains.
Recent archaeological discoveries in California, Florida, Oregon, Pennsyl vania, Virginia, and Chile, Brazil, and Venezuela suggest that prehis toric humans from various parts of Asia could have arrived as early as 25,000 or 50,000 years ago.
Some may have traveled from the southern Pacific to southwestern Europe in boats.
Regardless of when, where, or how humans first set foot in North America, the continent eventually became a dynamic crossroads for adventurous people from around the world.
As the climate warmed, many of the largest mammals-- mammoths, mastodons, and camels-- became extinct.
Deer, ante lope, elk, moose, and caribou are some of the abundant mammals hunted by hunters.
The Ancient Indians adapted to their environments over time.
Others fished or trapped small game, while others continued to hunt with spears, bows and arrows.
Some gathered wild plants and herbs and others used stone hoes.
Once nomadic people were able to settle down in vil ages because of agriculture.
Corn was viewed as a gift of the gods by Maize based societies.
They made hominy by soaking dried kernels in a mixture of water and ashes.
Corn cobs and husks were used to make mats, masks, and dol s.
Farming towns appeared in Mexico around 1500 b.c.e.
The Mayas, who ruled Central America for more than 600 years, created elaborate works of art.
Nested farms and spectacular pyramids were some of the features of the Maya civilization.
In about a.d. 900, the Maya culture apsed.
It's not clear why it vanished, but a major factor was the ecology.
The rain forest was destroyed by the Mayas, who were 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 888-349-8884 Widespread farmland destruction led to side erosion and a loss of food resources.
Civil wars began because of the strain on the society.
Most of the region in the tenth century was taken over by the warlike people of the Toltecs.
After a series of fires, the Toltecs mysteriously withdrew around a.d. 1200.
There are at least twenty different languages spoken by the people of the Inca Empire.
In the western part of South America, the Incas' vast realm stretched 2,500 miles.
There were networks of roads made of stone.
The city of Tenochtitlan was built in 1325 on an island in Lake Tetzcoco, at the site of present- day Mexico City.
One of the greatest cities in the world would be Tenochtitlan.
The fresco depicts the social divisions of the society.
A high priest is dressed.
When the Spanish invaded Mexico in 1519, they found a vast Aztec Empire connected by a network of roads.
The Mexica preferred to sacrifice their enemies in order to capture them.
terracing of fields, crop rotation, large- scale irrigation, and other engineering marvels were advanced efficient new farming techniques.
Their architecture was magnificent and their arts flourished.
The Mexica rulers were invested with godlike qualities, and nobles, priests, and warrior- heroes dominated the social order.
The emperor's palace had 100 rooms and 100 baths, amazing statues, gardens, and a zoo, and the aristocracy lived in large stone dwellings.
The Mexica were intensely spiritual and worshiped multiple gods.
The sun, moon, stars, rain, mountains, rivers, and animals are some of the natural elements that their religious beliefs focused on.
The gods sacrificed themselves to create the sun, moon, people, and maize.
They were obliged to feed the gods with the help of human hearts and blood.
The Mexica has a tradition of offering live human sacrifice by the thousands.
The Mexica had a sacred ritual of warfare.
Warriors wanted live captives to sacrifice to the gods and to work as slaves, so they fought with wooden swords.
Gradu al y, the Mexica conquered many neighboring societies and forced them to pay for goods and labor as a tribute to the empire.
Priests using ceremonial knives made of obsidian cut out the beating hearts of captured warriors and virgin girls and offered them to other people at the temple platform.
There was a display of the victims' severed heads in the central plaza.
The scale of slaughter is mind blowing.
Thousands of prisoners were sacrificed in the dedication of a new Great Temple.
The prisoners were standing in four columns.
The priests were exhausted after tearing out hearts.
The Mexica had a constant need for human sacrifice.
The city of Mexico- Tenochtitlan is proud of its warrior code.
There is no fear of dying in war here.
Europeans began to explore the area that is now the United States in the early 1500s, as many indigenous societies blossomed in the lands north of Mexico.
The blanket shows supernatural beings surrounded by a rainbow and a maize plant.
Although few had an alphabet or written language, the different societies developed rich oral traditions that passed on spiritual myths and social beliefs, as well as a deep respect for elders.
The Great Spirit, Wakan Tanka, ruled over all the spirits.
The Holy People were the Sky, Earth, Moon, Sun and Changing Woman.
Many Native Americans believed in ghosts.
Courage in combat was the highest virtue in the war rior ethic because of the importance of hunting.
The spirits are invited to unleash their magic when war dances the night before a battle.
Native American warfare mostly consisted of small- scale raids to enable individual warriors to demonstrate their courage rather than to seize territory or destroy vil ages.
Casualties were very low.
Taking a few captives signaled victory.
The indigenous peoples of North America developed vastly different ways of life.
When the first Europeans arrived in North America in 1492, there were millions of native peoples who had been converted to speak many different languages.
Diverse customs and religions were practiced by the Native Americans.
Some wore clothes they had woven or made using animal skins, others wore nothing but colorful paint, tattoos or jewelry.
Some lived in stone houses and others in timber wigwams.
Others lived in sod- covered or reed- thatched lodges or in portable tipis made from animal skins.
Some cultures built stone pyramids while others built huge burial or ritual mounds.
Most North American Indians did not allow absolute rulers.
The "power of the chiefs" is an empty sound according to a British trader.
Exile from the group was the most feared pun ishment for Native Americans.
Men were hunters, warriors, and leaders.
Women tended children, made clothes, blankets, jewelry, and pottery, cured and dried animal skins, wove baskets, and built and packed tipis.
Women were in charge when the men were fighting or hunting.
The Cher okee and the Iroquois gave women political power.
The Southwest has a landscape of high mesas, deep canyons, vast deserts, and snow covered mountains.
In Mesa Verde National Park, villages were built into the cliffs.
The Anasazi, or Basketmakers, were the most widespread and well-known of the Southwest pueblo cultures.
The leaders and warriors worked the same as the rest of the people.
Shellfish, salmon, seals, whales, deer, and wild plants were abundant along the narrow coastal strip from northern California to Alaska.
There was no need to rely on farming here.
Many people in the Pacific Northwest needed to work only two days to provide enough food for a week.
Totem poles with decorative figures of animals and other sym bolic characters are from the Collision of Cultures.
Groups of families lived together in large cedar plank houses that were 500 feet long.
They created sturdy, oceangoing canoes made of red cedar tree trunks that were large enough to carry fifty people.
They were divided into slaves, commoners, and chiefs.
It was usual for warfare to be used to acquire slaves.
The Arapaho and Blackfeet are two of the many tribal nations living on the Great Plains, a flat land of cold winters and hot summers west of the Mississippi River.
As nomadic hunter- gatherers, they tracked herds of buffaloes across a sea of grassland, collecting seeds, nuts, roots, and berries as they grazed.
The idea that the hunted animal is a sacrifice made by the gods is at the center of most hunter-gatherer religions.
The nomadic peoples performed sacred rituals to ensure a successful hunt.
Once a buffalo herd was spotted, hunters would set fires to drive the animals over cliffs and kill more animals than they could harvest.
The cultures that flourished in the East of the Great Plains were mostly agricultural societies that grew crops of corn, beans, and squash.
Corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers were grown for tobacco use.
The Adena had an extensive trading network with other societies from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.
The Mississippians built large cultural towns around central plazas and temples.
Their ability to grow large amounts of corn in the fertile floodplains spurred population growth around regional centers.
The largest of its kind in the world, the burial mound in Adams County, Ohio, is 1,300 feet in length and 3 feet high.
The Cahokians built an enormous farming settlement with monu mental public buildings, spacious ceremonial plazas, and more than eighty flat- topped earthen mounds with thatch- roofed temples on top.
The largest of the mounds was ten stories tall and encompassed fourteen acres.
The largest city north of Mexico is Cahokia, which had a population of 15,000 at the height of its influence.
Its people dispersed around 1300 c.e.
The overcutting of trees to make fortress wal s may have set in motion ecologi cal changes that doomed the community when a massive earthquake struck.
The loss of trees led to flooding and the erosion of the topsoil, which forced people to seek better lands.
As Cahokia disappeared, its former residents took its advanced ways of life to other areas across the Midwest and into the American South.
The Iroquoian, the Muskogean, and the Algonquian are all distinct by their different languages.
Europeans would first encounter these societies when they arrived in North America.
The speaking peoples of the Algonquian stretched from the New England Seaboard to lands along the Great Lakes and into the Upper Midwest and south to New Jersey, Virginia and the Car olinas.
They ranged in size from 500 to 2,000 people.
The inland Algonquians were better at hunting than the Atlantic coast.
They traveled the region's waterways using canoes made of tree trunks.
The Algonquians foraged for wild food and burned dense forests to improve soil fertility.
Women broke up the ground with hoes that were tipped with deer's shoulder blades.
They planted corn, beans, and squash in the spring.
From the ing bean plants wrapped around the notebook of John White, cornstalks for support.
The large squash is a depiction of a Native American leader.
The Iroquoian speaking peoples of the west and south were also known as the Cherokee and Tuscarora.
Their lands are spread from upstate New York southward through Pennsylvania and into the upland regions of the Carolinas and Georgia.
The bark-covered longhouses in the towns of 3,000 or more people were shared by the farmers and hunters of the Iroquois.
The key leadership roles in the Iroquoian culture were held by women.
In our society, women are the center of everything.
A French priest who lived among the Iroquois for five years thought that women's superiority was more real than anything else.
Men and women operated in different ways.
No man could head a clan.
Women selected the chiefs, con trolled the distribution of property, supervised the slaves, and planted and harvest crops.
They arranged marriages as well.
The man moved in with the wife's family after the wedding.
The Iroquoian matriarchy reflected the absence of skilled hunters and traders who traveled extensively for long periods, requiring women to take charge of domestic life.
There was war between rival groups of Native Americans.
A warrior's highest honor was success in fighting.
In the 18th century, a Cherokee said that they couldn't live with out war.
The peoples along the Gulf of Mexico who farmed and hunted and spoke the Muskogean language were part of the third major Native Amer ican group.
They were matrilineal societies, meaning that ances try flowed through the mother's line, but they had a more rigid class structure.
The Muskogeans lived in towns around a central plaza.
Many of the thatch- roofed houses along the Gulf had no wal s because of the mild winters and hot, humid summers.
The native North Americans have displayed remarkable resilience over thousands of years, adapting to the uncertainties of warfare, changing climate, and different environments.
They would show their resilience against the challenges created by Europeans.
Key developments during the fifteenth century resulted in the European exploration of the Western Hemisphere.
Dramatic intellectual changes and scientific discoveries, along with sustained population growth, are some of the things that have happened.
The resurgence of old vices-- greed, conquest, exploitation, oppression, racism, and slavery-- helped fuel European expansion abroad.
Medieval feudalism's static agrarian social system, in which peasant serfs worked for local nobles in exchange for living on and farming the land, began to break down at the end of the fifteenth century.
People no longer had to stay in the same area or keep their social status the same.
A new middle class of profit-hungry bankers, merchants, and investors emerged.
They were committed to an increasingly dynamic trade economy fueled by innovations in banking, currency, accounting, and insurance.
The growing trade- based economy in Europe freed kings from their dependence on feudal nobles, allowing them to unify the scattered cities ruled by princes into large kingdoms with stronger, more centralized governments.
The rise of towns, cities, and a merchant class gave kings new tax revenues.
The landed nobility was displaced by the new class of monarchs, merchants, and bankers.
The process of centralizing political power was justified by the fact that European kings were appointed by God and not the people.
The transition from medievalism to early modernism was aided by the Renaissance.
The educated people of Europe began to challenge prevailing beliefs as well as the absolute author ity of rulers and churchmen.
They discussed controversial new ideas, engaged in scientific research, and unleashed their artistic creativity.
The phrase "to discover" first appeared in 1553.
The Age of Exploration was started by the Renaissance.
The construction of larger sailing ships was possible because of new knowledge.
The invention of gunpowder, cannons, and firearms, as well as the printing press, was brought about by the fifteenth and sixteenth cen turies.
The Middle East, Africa, and Asia were experiencing a boom in trade by 1500.
The Portuguese had expert sailors and fast, three masted ships called caravels that could sail into the wind.
Grains, gold, ivory, spices, and slaves were collected by ships along the west coast of Africa.
They found exotic goods in China and Japan, such as sugar made from cane, herbal medicines, and silk cloth.
The emergence of four powerful nations in western Europe made global trade possible.
The marriage of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabel a I of Castile in 1469 unified their two kingdoms into one formidable new nation, Spain.
It remained a loose confederation of separate kingdoms and jurisdiction, each with their own cultural and linguistic traditions.
The new king and queen were Christian expansionists who wanted to spread the Catholic faith around the world.
Ferdinand and Isabel declared victory for Cathol icism on January 1, 1492, after nearly eight centuries of warfare between Spanish Christians and Moorish Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula.
A version of ethnic cleansing was instituted by the mon archs.
Europe's global explorations at the end of the fifteenth century were aided by the forced exile of Muslims and Jews.
Other factors include the rise of centralized nations, advances in knowl edge technology, and religious zeal to spur efforts to find alternative routes to the Indies.
Merchants were forced to focus on seaborne options after the Chinese rulers shut off the land routes to Asia's spices.
Christopher Columbus wanted to find a faster route to Japan and China by sailing west across the Atlantic.
Columbus took to the sea at an early age, teaching himself geography, navigation, and Latin.
He wanted to win glory and wealth for himself by spreading Christianity around the world.
Columbus spent a decade trying to convince European rulers to finance a western voyage across the Atlantic.
He was turned down by England, France, Portugal, and Spain.
He persuaded Ferdinand and Isabel to fund his voyage.
The mon archs agreed to give him a tenth of the money he got.
They traveled west to the Canary Islands, where they spent a month loading supplies and making repairs.
They headed west across the open sea in order to see the shore of east Asia.