Thursday, December 29, 2011

England and Africa: A Vexed History (1500-1650)

Initially, the British had a clandestine trading relationship with the African Kingdoms, which grew more open as the British naval forces grew. England and Africa were connected in an Atlantic world of commerce and information in what was called the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, more commonly known as the Triangular Trade. Through the Triagular Trade, as you can see from the map above, goods and slaves were traded among Africa, England, the Caribbean, and the Colonies. This was a product of merchanitlism. Merchantilism is when lumber is used to make products and those products are sold throughout the Colonies and the known world all to the benefit of the Mother Country (England, in this case).

Because of the Triangular Trade, there was a creation of Creole Culture. Creole Culture was a fusion of African and European trading practices, dress, and languages. It featured powerful African traders, knowledgeable African translators and clerk, and Africans as human merchandise. People transported in the first half of the 1600s have a greater knowledge of their captors and the religious/cultural systems that they’ll be enslaved in. The British had a grudging respect for African kingdoms and African trading partners during this period. However, the African slave trade was growing increasingly violent; regions plunged into chaos and prosperous peoples have wound up very poor. The British began to imagine that the Africans were just poor, violent, disorderly people and refused to see (for the most part) their own role in creating these conditions.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Brief History of Slavery

It may seem like I am digressing by compiling this post but, I assure you, I am not. To write about American history and to study and learn about American history, one must also learn about slavery. Slavery is often said to be a dark spot on America's history, but it also helped to sculpt our identity as well.

Slavery wasn't just present in the English settlement of Jamestown, slavery was also present in Africa. However, there were differences in African and Old World Slavery compared to the slavery system utilized in the Chesapeake. I will explain the differences in all three slave systems in this blog post.

Traditional African Slavery
~There was no permanent slave status and slaves were socially absorbed into the lineage after the first generation.
~Bartering of adults during famine was common.
~People would pawn themselves in hope for a better life or because of an inability to pay a debt.
~Compensation for serious crimes was paid in people.
~Criminals were sold out of the kin group--no one wanted criminals in their "family".
~Kidnapping was practiced by the Saharan Tuareg.

There were different uses for for African slaves, such as:
~To provide extra wives to expand the kin group through reproduction.
~To provide labor for gold mining.
~To work in salt pits for Trans-Saharan Trade.
~To increase soldiers in king's army.
~To serve as domestics.
~Agricultural production.
~Court officials (eunuchs).
~Menial work.

Old World Slavery
~Ethnically diverse --> had nothing to do with race.
------Saxons, Angles, and various Germanic groups were sold in European slave markets throughout the Middle Ages.
------Christian slaves were sold in the Mediterranean basin to Muslims where they built mosques.
------Muslim slaves were sold to Christians where they built Catholic Churches.
~Slavery was often a result of warfare.
------Rulers of the Greek and roman Empires gained their slaves through warfare...think "Spartecus".
------After the fall of Rome, slavery continued in Europe as continual fighting ensued between various groups and monarchies.
------Manhunts for Celtic slaves occurred.
------Eastern European peoples were raided frequently-- "Slav" is the root term for "Slave".
~Slaves used for diverse reasons.
~Social mobility was possible.
~Church condoned and owned slaves.
~Slavery was not necessarily hereditary.
~Manumission was a decision made by the owner.
~By the 11th century, manumission became frequent and serfdom replaced slavery. By 1200, slavery disappeared in England and much of Northern Europe all together.

Colonial Slavery
~British colonizers viewed North America as a place for the younger sons of the English gentry to make their fortune (ie: have economic freedom).
~English authorities also desired to rid England of undesirable elements from their population such as the poor, landless, unemployed, and the rebels.
~English desired to check the spread of Catholicism.
~People were kidnapped and shipped to the New World without their consent.
------France--brought women to their settlement in Louisiana where the sex trade and prostitution in New Orleans ran rampant.
------England--brought poor to the colonies to get them out of the country.

Colonial slavery was ever evolving, starting first with indentured servitude, as already briefly explained in a previous post and then changing to the exploitation of Native Americans before settling on African Slavery with the first 20 African slaves arriving in Jamestown in 1619.

From the 1620s to the 1660s, Africans were considered servants and had the same freedoms that the indentured servants had. During the 1660s, there was a recorded 1700 free land-owning Africans in the Chesapeake. After the codification of slavery, free blacks lost many of their rights; no longer were they able to own land, carry guns, raise livestock, serve in the local militias, or vote. Free blacks were subject to special taxes and often times, they were also sold back into slavery and their land was confiscated. The mixed race children of black men and white women were enslaved for 13 years.

To maintain a race-based society in the Chesapeake, the romantic and reproductive choices of women had to be controlled. The Planters didn't want to have to compete with a mullato race. Adoption and abortion rates both increased because of the harsh penalties white women endured if they became pregnant and/or gave birth to a mixed-race child of African or Native American decent. However, there was still affection under s system of oppression; white fathers of mullato children often left something to the children in their wills.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Characteristics of the Chesapeake

Each part of the New World was unique and each of what would later be the Thirteen English Colonies had their own characteristics.

1) Periodically, the Chesapeake was really violent, with many revolts and battles between the Jamestown settlers and the Powhatan.

2) Because of the overproduction of tobacco, there were freqent boom/bust cycles.

3) Because more men came over to the New World seeking economic freedom and glory, the Chesapeake was extremely unequal when it came to the sexes.

4) There was an extreme wealth gap--the wealthy planters known as the Gentry were early arrivals who survived to transmit their wealth to the next generation. They were able to get the few English women and start families, they were able to buy laborers, they were able to get into politics, they lived on the favorable land near the coast, they were able to diversify into Indian trade, and they were able to make policies that benefitted the Gentry class. The poor got the crappy land in the backcountry, had no wife and no kids, and had no money to buy labor.

5) There were huge plantations on the coast and tiny hard-scrabble farms upriver because everyone needed water access to move good around.

6) There was very little to no "natural increase"--adult men died quickly in the 17th and 18th centuries. The women lived longer and would marry multiple times, amassing comfortable fortunes.

7) Immigration is how the population builds.

8) The settlers were not at all religious--there were no missionaries and very few churches.

9) Racial inequality grows between the 1640s-1670s due to indentured servitude and the start of African slavery.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Founding of Jamestown: England's First Permanent Colony con't...

The Introduction of Tobacco

In 1620, John Rolfe and other new settlers came to Jamestown, Virginia to make a difference. Once they arrived there, they came across a down-trodden group of colonists...all that remained of the settlers of Jamestown was about 1/10th of its original population when they had arrived and set up the colony, thanks to the lack of proper food, water, shelter, and diseases. The difference that John Rolfe was set on making was that he would find some other way for the colony of Jamestown to prosper, as it was evident that looking for gold wasn't going to be the way.

John Rolfe had brought tobacco seeds from the Spanish Caribbean to the colony. Tobacco was a cash crop and a vast amount of the English were addicted to it, to the point where King James had even had it banned. But it wasn't just in England where tobacco was a luxery product, there was great demand for it all over Europe.

Although tobacco demanded large investments (presses, barrels, laborers, etc.) and the planters had to plant huge fields to maximize the profits, tobacco promised exceptional profits. The planters planted more and more tobacco crops in eagerness; however, the disease climate made them feel, rightly, that the life expectancy in the colony was short. Because of how intensive the tobacco crops were and how qickly they used up the nitrogen in the soil, the fields had to be moved every three years. This action fueled the demand for land and created great tension between the English settlers and the Powhatan nation. "Tobacco Culture" created more than just social friction between the English and Powhatan people, it also shaped colonial Chesapeake society geographically, socially, and ideologically. And, although there was a need for labor, the English prided themselves on not enslaving the Powhatan (much).

The Headright System of Colonization

Due to the cultivation of tobacco, there was a shortage of labor as more and more land had to be used, so the English created the headright system. What this meant was that the English advertised the colonies as an economic opportunity and the planters received huge tracts of land for sponsoring indentured servants to go to the colonies and work for them for a period of time before becoming freed peoples and receiving freedom dues.

Most indentured servants, both male and female, served for four to seven years. The masters were obligated by law to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter to all of the servants. Once the servant finished serving their allotted amount of time with the master, the master presented them with freedom des which included land, money, clothes, and a gun to protect them against the Indians.

The servants of Jamestown were from the British Isles, meaning that they were primarily English, Welsh, Scots, and Irish. Some people were not obtained legally. Many were kidnapped and shipped to the colonies without their consent. The French were running a sex trade and prostitution was rampant in New Orleans. The English brought their poor to the colonies to get them out of the country. The Africans who had arrived prior to the codification of slavery also served as servants and later became free people. The servants worked, lived, and slept together in the early years of the 1610s to 1660s.

During the 17th century, servants, slaves, and masters worked side-by-side. However, as profits increased, masters became harsher towards the servants and slaves. After the codification of slavery, free blacks lost their rights to own land, carry guns, raise livestock, serve in the militia, and vote in the House of Burgesses. Free blacks became the subject of special taxes and were even sold back into slavery. Mixed-race children of black men and white women were enslaved for 13 years. To maintain a race-based society, the romantic and reprodctive choices of women had to be controlled because the planters/masters didn't want to compete with a mullato race.

English Beliefs About Land, Farming, Animals, ect (Received vs. Acquired)

1) Owning property made you a cut above the wandering poor
2) Strong solid buildings=Rich
3) Owning livestock was a good way to become prosperous (meat, milk, fertilizer, increase in herds every couple of years)--it's the mark of civilization
4) Poor men who didn't work must be lazy (they thought the Indian men were poor)
5) Laziness was a sin AND against the law if one was poor; only the Elites could lay around hunting, smoking, and having fun
6) There were no predators in the Chesapeake big enough to harm a cow or tough enough to harm a pig; cows and pigs can therefore roam in the woods and fend for themselves
7) There's an inexhaustible supply of land, wood, etc. For this reason, the English expanded rapidly; their population rose (both through natural reproduction and immigration) and they used a lot of land since every man wanted at least 100 acres.

Changes in Tactic

After the death of Pocahontas in England and the death of her father, Powhatan, Opecancanough took over. With his take over of the Powhatan people, the era of appeasement ended and the Second Anglo-Powhatan War (1622) occurred.Despite the war, the English slowly grew dominant. Their territory expanded and settlement (both forced and voluntary) quickly overwhemed the Powhatan and other interior nations. In 1644, another precision strike occurred by resisting Indians acting in alliance with the Powhatan people, but this was quickly put down. The survivors of Powhatan's village empire withdrew to assimiliate into interior tribes where their ethnogenesis fact, we'll see these guys again later on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Tessentass Arrive--The Chesapeake--The Founding of Jamestown, England's First Permanent Colony

The Chesapeake was a for-profit corporation headed un the Virginia Company founded to make money for English investors; however, the Crown would take over in the 1620s for reasons I will get to later on.

The Chesapeake was founded near a strong coastal empire controlled by the Powhatan Indians who had already acquired immunity to some European diseases. The Powhatan initially reach out to the settlers of the Chesapeake for trade and tribute, but the English are aggressive and are clumsy using diplomacy with people they feel are inferior to themselves.With the introduction of tobacco and livestock, competition for land increases and intercultural violence also increases. With the migration of strangers, mostly poor whites who had no other options, Jamestown was not a very socially cohesive or community-minded place. There was a short life expectancy, so Europeans introduced African slavery in 1619, although it was not dominant until the 1690s. Jamestown was a very unequal society.

The Powhatan Indians were led by a man named Powhatan--he and his family built the empire out of many villages over the last half-century before the English arrived and their empire was held together by strong family networks and the mutual need for protection. The Powhatan Indians were survivors of several decades of pandemic collapse; and they inhabited the most densely populated part of the Eastern seaboard.

Early Contact 1608-1611 (from the Powhatan view)

At first, the Powhatan perceived the English settlers to be a remnant band of survivors, because the English came without women and were thought to be culturally broken, so they made attampts to assimilate the English into their society and permitted them to occupy the swampy undesirable lands. The Powhatah and the English engaged in trade. At first, unequal exchanges were temporarily tolerated by the Powhatan because they understood the trade as tribute offerings by a weak and struggling people. The also engaged in pawn exchange, where adolescents from each group go to live among the others for a given amount of time.

Early Contact (from the English view) a la Professor William-Searle at the College of Saint Rose

~~We're from a much superior culture than you are
~~We've got better technology than you do
~~Of course, you're eager to trade with us and be friendly
~~You guys are suckers. What a bad deal you made. This must mean that your stupid.
~~Hey, why aren't you trading with us anymore?
~~You're lucky all hundred or so of us don't come and kick your butts...
~~Wait, we're all getting sick
~~And no one knows how to famr really...
~~Oh wow, we're really hungry
~~Maybe we can steal some food from the Powhatan

Diplomacy to Avert War

John Smith, one of the settlers of Jamestown, was captured by the Powhatah in 1609. Unlike Disney would like to tell us, John Smith and Pocahontas was never married. When they first met, she was 12-years-old and Powhatan was going to have Smith killed. Pocahontas interceded for his life, as is her right to do as an important woman. Instead of letting her father kill Smith, Pocahontas stopped it and she and Smith were put through a ritual adoption ceremony. By incorporating Smith into his kin network as a subordinate, the werowance (Indian chief of Virginia or Maryland, in this case, Powhatan) hoped to formalize the tribute relationship and make Jamestown one of the Powhatan villages. This, however, did not work and in 1611, the first Anglo-Powhatan War was in full swing as desperate Englishmen, who will not plant corn and do not know how to hunt, attack villages in order to get food.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Roanoke--the Lost Colony

When I first heard about the lost colony of Roanoke, Virginia (now a part of the Carolinas) I was in the fifth grade and I found it fascinating how a colony could just vanish and all that was left behind was the word "Croatoan" carved into the bark of a tree. Even today, it's unknown what happened to the colonists of Roanoke, but one thing is for certain and that is that colony of Roanoke is the first English colony established in North America.

Virginia Dare was born in the short-lived English colony of Roanoke on August 18, 1587. She was the first English person born in America.

Plans for America

And now we come to the bread and butter of this blog, the English colonization of North America, where the rest of the 'story' can now unfold from.

King James I came to the throne in 1603 and rules until 1625, not only was he the king of England, but he was also the king of Scotland, so he united the two--hence, the "United Kingdom" or "Great Britain".

King James wanted to raise revenues but didn't want to spend his own money to do so. So, he began to charge licensing fees for overseas companies and this looked like a good, low-risk bet. He began to allow various people to travel to the Americas so they could colonize them. Some of the early colonies, as you will see, will not be as successful as the ones made famous in this time period such as Jamestown and later Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Effects of the "Price Revolution" and Elizabethan Policy

~~Certain industries, like woolens, get an artificial boost from Elizabeth's new direction in policy and treaty-making
~~Aristocrat estates are rented on long leases--not very responsive to rising costs or sudden changes in economic plans--noble class grows weaker and poorer (allowing the monarch to get more powerful)
~~Gentry and yeomen switch to short-term leases, more responsive to short-term market trends (like enclosing lands to pasture sheep when wool prices are strong and kicking peasants off the land, or growing new varieties of wheat and making a lot of money)
~~Gentry and yeomanry grow powerful, aristocrats struggle, poor grow dramatically poorer and more numerous--75% of population are living below the poverty line and crime sky-rockets
~~Poor Laws--for the poor to work (not a lot to do, work habits slacken) or indenture them if they won't do so willingly
~~Young men and women are looking for a new place to start
~~~~~> Elizabeth's eyes turn towards Ireland
~~~~~~~~~~~~> The Irish Peace Policy
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~> "Treat my subjects with civility" (The Irish, Elizabeth thinks, are a most "ungentle" people)

Early Elizabethan Policies
~~"Exemplary Plantations"--small model communities of English farmers to provide examples or orderly behavior and religious training for the hopelessly inferior Irish
~~Trade opportunities would bridge cultural differences

"Incivility" as a Justification for Use of Extra-Legal Methods Against the Irish
~~Speak "babble" (Gaelic, not English)
~~Practice trans-humance (shepheards following flocks, not many fixed residences)
~~Had vastly different views of ownership
~~Did not practice primogeniture (where the eldest son inherits most of the family's wealth)--the Irish divide their lands and livestock amongst all children
~~Not primarily agriculturalists (English perceive the Irish as lazy)
~~Ruled by clan leaders ("disorder"--hard to negotiate, little of the grandeur of a European court)
~~Diffuse authority structure--used concensual political model, no central city to occupy
~~Didn't need to buy Irish wool--the English thought the Irish wool was inferior and were irritated by the lack of trade opportunities with the Irish
~~Syncretic religion--a blend of Catholicism and animism
~~Resisted English occupation
Elizabeth saw the Irish as beasts and their land a wilderness and a threat to civil order. She authorized a war by all means necessary.

Punitive Plantations
~~1556--Plantation of Leix--lands were confiscated from the Irish as punishment for resistance. On those lands, the English poor from western England were settled and this became the dominant policy.
~~The local Gaels withdrew to the bogs and hills which surrounded the planstations, living in great poverty but still carrying on attacks against the settlements for the next 40 years.

The Rules of (English) Engagement
~~Strike terror into your enemies
~~Kill women and children "for the nits therein do make lice anon"
~~Break the will of the population and its means of providing for itself
~~Destroy property
~~Sell leaders into slavery
~~Reduce the population into submission by terror, then engage them in a massive religious reeducation campaign to make them fit to be English subjects

In 1588, the Spanish Armada was sunk due to a powerful storm refered to now as the "Protestant Winds", dubbed so by Queen Elizabeth because of the English (Protestant) defeat of the Spanish (Catholic). This meant that the shipping lanes to America were now open!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Elizabeth I and the Problems of Queenship

Hey y'all. Before I begin to write on the subject of Elizabeth I and the Problems of Queenship, I would like to apologize for not being on lately to post an entry or two. I had some trouble with my internet last week, but everything is fixed now and I'm ready to get back in to the swing of things! As always, I hope you enjoy this post.

Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was born a princess but her mother was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizaneth was labeled an illegitimate child. Elizabeth reigned as Queen regnant of England and Ireland after her half-siblings Edward VI and Mary I from November 1558 until her death. She is often referred to as the Virgin Queen because she never married, and is known for the leader during the time of defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, giving credit to "Protestant winds" (a storm at sea).

Now, the problems of queenship
~~Salic Law forbade female monarchs on the "Continent"
~~She was an illegitimate daughter
~~She was taking over from the turbulent rule of legitimate (Catholic) Queen Mary, her half-sister
~~Could she lead troops? Would she lose grip of the kingdom through marriage? Was she tough enough to rule in the rough world of British politics? Can a woman be the Supreme Authority of the Church of England?
~~She needed to overcome significant negative stereotypes about women in the public sphere

Married to the Nation
~~She called her own shots and used her sexuality to gain allies
~~She believed in religion without fanaticism
~~She was tough enough--she signed her own cousin's death warrant

Problems to Solve

Just like there are problems to solve with a kingship and a presidency, Queen Elizabeth I also had many problems to solve during her reign as Queen of England.

~~The currency supply in Europe doubled thanks to Spanish mining which triggered mass inflation.
~~The English are early adapters of calorie-dense American foods like potatoes and the new frost-resistant wheat.
~~The population soars from 3 million in 1500 to 5 million by 1630; there is a lot of productive potential but wages are falling even as prices are going through the roof--poverty is a huge problem.

To solve these problems, Elizabeth I aggressively pursues policies designed to build economy--assisted manufacturers, looked outward to new markets, competed with more established mercantile nations such as East India, the Turks, and Africa, and also hired privateers like Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins who would steal from the Spanish to benefit the Crown.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

England's Early Empire

England, 1500-1600s

England, as is common knowledge, is an island shared with Wales and Scotland. In the 16th and 17th centuries, England was considered to be a very violent and ill-educated backwater by the rest of Europe. England had tried to colonize Ireland in the 12th century, but their effort had petered out.

Due to natural reproduction among the lower social classes, population increased and with it came the beginnings of urban migration due to the poor economically integrating with the rest of Europe; there was little to sell and mass poverty was growing increasingly worse and inflation was rising.

Also during this time, political factions were held down by a strong king, Henry VIII, with a civil war, the War of the Roses, not long past. Henry VIII wanted total sovereignty in legal and spiritual matters. This came to a head when he wanted a divorce so he could get a new wife and (hopefully) a male heir. He broke from the Catolic Church and declared himself the head of the Church of England. Because of this, there was religious turmoil; England became enemies with Spain and France; and the dynasty was not secured. A male heir, Prince Edward, was late in coming and he was sickly. There were plenty of threats to domestic security and England was in need of money.

Beginnings of "Reclamation"
~~1539--King Henry VIII asserts his rights to ownership of all Church property (knocks down monasteries and takes stuff)
~~1540--King Henry VIII declares himself King of Ireland on the basis of old claims (invitation, right of conquest)
~~Violet religious reforms--attacks on Catholicism and "folk religions" (beliefs in the supernatural, animism, druidism--the "old ways" that predated Christianity in Ireland)
~~Henry VIII dies and great turmoil ensues in England
~~A series of Henry's children (Edward, Mary, Elizabeth) take the thrown and all have to deal with civil unrest
~~Irish projects go on the back burner for about 25 years.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Creating Empires Changes Europeans (short post)

~~Changes their political systems
~~Changes their economy
~~Changes their moral and religious lives
~~Changes their view of human rights and liberty--albeit very inconsistantly (as will be seen in later posts)

Rivals in the Caribbean: French v. Dutch (short post)

(pictured: Dutch Man-of-War and various other ships)

Although the Spanish and English were known for their colonies in the Caribbean, a little known fact is that the French and Dutch also had colonies in the Caribbean.

The French had established colonies at St. Christopher, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and other islands in the West Indies after 1625. The Dutch, through their West India Company, expanded into islands in search of a lucrative trade in sugar cane and slaves.

The presence of so many Europeans vying for supremacy in the Caribbean made it a very violent and pirate-ridden place...think "Pirates of the Caribbean" on crack.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rivals for the Northeast: The Dutch

From 1492 to the early 1600s, Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands were in a race to see which empire could not only spread their influences far and wide but also to see which could find an all-water route to the Asian subcontinent of India.All four empires failed, but all four empires found success in the New World. In New York, it was the French, Dutch, and later the English who found great success.

Albany, formally known as Fort Orange, was settled by the Dutch in early 1600s after being discovered by Henry Hudson. Looking for a faster route to Asia in 1609, he explored the river which was later named for him, northward from the island of Manhattan.

Hudson's crew on his ship, the Half Moon (pictured), were under stress and angry that that no route to Asia had been found. The crew mutanied and sent Hudson, his son, and any supporters onto a small rowboat adrift in what is now Hudson Bay without food and palpable water.

Despite that, the Dutch set up New Amterdam in 1626 at the mouth of the Hudson River as a way to protect its valuable upriver posts, which was later named New York by the English who took over, was founded with Fort Orange at the hub.

By 1664, nearly 10,000 Dutch were settled in Fort Orange when the English captured the fort and renamed it Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany. Though it was technically part of Britain's crown until the American Revolution, Dutch merchants continued to influence the city. Under Dutch guidance, Albany played an inportant role in maintaining communication between the French British, and the Iroquois.

Unlike the French and the Spanish at the time, the Dutch didn't want cultural change, they just wanted profits. The Dutch made no attempt to convert Indians and even prided themselves on religious tolerance and their ability to mind their own business--this made the Dutch colony unusually attractive to the Protestant religious dissenters and Jewish exiles. New Amsterdan had the official policy of taking everyone who will behave themselves and pay taxes; from its earliest beginnings, it was a thriving port town with people of multi-racial and multi-lingual decents.

The Dutch traded with the Indians upriver because the Indians were eager to get guns they had seen and been able to field-test in 1609. However, not everything was well and good. The Dutch bullied the Indians around modern-day Kingston and tried to seize farmland so they would leave. The Dutch authorized large tracts of land to anyone who would bring over 50 settlers, these people were called Patroons and an example of a Patroon would be the famous Killean Van Rennsalaer. Although many Dutch settlers came over, it was hard to get very many people since the introduction of guns had made the Dutch colony a very violent place.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The French, continued...

Although the previous post is titled "The French in Mainland North America", it was primarily about the first and second voyages of Jacque Cartier and there is so much more to information about the French in mainland North America to be provided. This blog post will briefly discuss the French cultural adaptation, the significance of the fur trade, religious development, and the founding of Quebec by Samuel de Champlain.

French Cultural Adaptation

Coureur des bois was a term meaning "Runners in the Woods". They acted as field representatives to deliver French-made goods to the Indian villages and to take back packs of fur to the French villages. The Coureur des bois adopted indigenous dress, learned the different languages, sought cultural knowledge, and entered into long-term relationships with the women. This kind of relationship was called marriage a la facon du and was absolutely essential to develop kin networks. The Coureur des bois embraced intercultural marriage and raised bi-racial children. Both males and females who were born from such intercultural marriages rose to positions of importance in the fur trade in the 17th century.

Significance of the Fur Trade

~~Allowed cultural integration--trade was part of a network of kinship and social obligations; trade gave French a foothold in this world, otherwise they would have been outsiders.
~~Gave the French influence without the expense of an army.
~~The fur trade was perceived as mutually beneficial by hosts--swapping technology for by-products of teh hunt; both sides think they're getting the better end of the deal.
~~Labor-saving from French--hunting done by Indian men, hide prep and transport done by Indian women.
~~However, in conjunction with pandemics, touches of a contest for territory and population will shake Northeastern America.

Religious Development

Jesuit priests arrived in New France inspired by the success of the Spanish Franciscan monks; they wanted to convert North American Indians to Catholicism, but realized that they would have to do it without the benefit or an army or, often, the support of the other Frenchmen in the colony, especially the coureurs des bois who saw the Jesuits as prissy nuisances.

The Jesuits abandoned the idea early on that the Native Americans will flock to them or that they can gather everyone together in agricultural peasant communities because in coastal New France, most of the Indians were light and mobile farmers.

The Jesuits went with the Indians and with the coureurs des bois into the woods and would preach to them along the way. By doing this, the Jesuits tried to create a feeling of shared suffering and sacrifice.

"Flying Missions", or the set of letters written by these Jesuit missionaries produced historians' most important body of knowledge about Northern Woodland Indians and was published in Jesuit Relations.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The French in Mainland North America

Early French exploration began in 1534 because King Francis I was eager to catch up to Spain and their colonization efforts of the New World.

And idea circulating at this time was that of the Great River of the West, better known as the Northwest Passage. This idea was borrowed from discoveries in human anatomy. Early modern Europeans thought that oceans were like the circulatory system and that there should be an east-west artery through the huge land mass of North America.

Jacque Cartier was assigned to seek out gold, silver, and this all-water route through North America to Asia. He headed way to the northeast, sailing through the Strait of Belle Island between the Canadian mainland and Newfoundland down into the Gulf of St Lawrence so he could avoid the Spanish Armada, Spain's fleet of warships designed to protect their holds in the Americas.

Cartier's first voyage was brief and in the summer of 1534 where it was warm and land was bountiful. Cartier, after he was met by men waving fur on stick, was excited by the possibilities for trade and welcomed opportunities for exchange. Cartier came in contact with the coastal Indians in what is now Quebec Providence; they lived simply and the French had much of what the Indians wanted. Cartier and his men had to return to France, but Cartier promised to return shortly.

Cartier returned in 1535 and stayed until 1536, bringing with him more men and having the intention of full exploration despite objections of the coastal Indians to push upriving, as they had wanted to preserve their status as the gatekeepers to interior trade. Cartier wanted to open diplomatic negotiations with the powerful town of Hochelaga, which is now the modern-day city of Montreal. Negotiations are a flop, the French seem to be a very inferior trading partner to the prosperous people of interior Canada, so Cartier and his men continue upriver to seek the Northwest Passage to Asia.

Cartier's second trip was miserable. There were black flies, heat, and La Chine, formidable rapids in the middle of Canada in which Cartier and his men can't portage (carry a canoe or other small boat to be able to traverse). To make matters worse, the crew experienced the early snowfall of North America and the harsh weather nearly killed them. The crew was eager to go back to France and the Indians were eager to see them leave.

Cartier, because of his two voyages, was considered a failure. He didn't find an interior passage to Asia, he didn't fond gold or silver like the Spanish had in South America, he discovered that the North American Indians were very unlike the great Mexican and South American civilizations. Cartier discovered that Canada seemed to be a very difficult place to farm--there was a very short growing season as Canada had less than 130 frost-free days; they could grow corn but the French don't like corn very much and wheat needed a longer growing season. It wasn't immediately apparent what one could do there to make money--coastal fishing didn't require land settlement but fur trapping did. However, it would still be decades before the French return to the mainland.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Significance of the Spanish Empire

First, because of the Spanish Empire, there was a new wealth of knowledge going back to Europe about the New World. This also triggered indigenous intellectual revolution as groups absorbed and then refined new technology to meet their needs.

The Spanish Empire was very durable and influencial from 1492 to the 1840s in the lower half of what is now the United States and the Pacific coast. However, there were many environmental changes brought upon by the Columbian Exchange, along with new breeds of livestock, pests, and new DNA combinations from the conquistadors mating with the natives.

Because of the new DNA combinations from the conquistadors mating with the natives, there are new bi-and tri-racial populations. The Spanish also help to perfect the Trans-Atlantic slave routes from Africa, because of the need for even more mine workers after the discovery of gold, and to create European expectations that slave labor, whether Indian or African, would be fundamental and beneficial to colonial society and its success.

During this time, there was a 600% inflation rate in Europe which made Spain the most powerful nation in the 16th century. Every other European nation of means wanted to score rich empires in the Americas.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Spanish in the Americas: Northern Expansion

Like with every empire, the early conquistadors of the Spanish Empire wanted to expand their holds in the New World, especially in pursuit of rumors of El Dorado, the City of Gold, of which they heard about from the natives which reside in what is now the country of Columbia. However, all of the explorations from such conquistadors/explorers as Cabeza de Vaca, Hernan de Soto, and Coronado for such a city came up empty-handed and this created a fifty-year period of indifference.

By the 1590s, about a hundred years after Columbus ventured to the New World. merchants and mine owners wanted to develop trade, the Crown wanted to secure the northern border to protect valuable mines, and the Church wanted to spread Christianity.

Although the term wouldn't be coined until 1845 by John L. O'Sullivan, this was a perfect example of "Manifest Destiny". "Manifest Destiny" is the spreading of your influence as far north, south, east, and west as possible. We'll get to more examples of "Manifest Destiny" as we go further in time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Age of Colonization: The Spanish in the Americas

An important development at this time was the idea of human rights, the idea that one deserves to live with certain inherent liberties and quality of life by the virtue of being human. This idea developed as a result of the colonization of the Americas.

Key: Red=The Spanish Empire; Pink=Regions of Spanish influence after periods of time; Purple=Land lost at or before the Peace of Utrecht in 1714.

The Spanish in the Americas raised fundamental questions about: the nature of creation, their right to govern this new place, and the duties that they owe these new (and obviously culturally different) people.

At first, the conquistadores would act as they would against any infidel--they would treat them as non-humans. It wasn't a sin to rape them, take their land, and kill them if they were infidels and didn't have the same ideals they had, as what could have also been witnessed during the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula and the Crusades. The Monarchy was horrified when they got word of this and demanded that the conquistadores shape up--however, Spain is a long way away and had trouble governing over their people in the Americas.

Because of how the conquistadors were treating the natives, the Crown decided to do something about it. One of the missions of the Crown was to create a Christian world and so they had the current Pope draw up the Requiermento.

The Requiermento was a list of what the conquistadors had to tell the people; if the people didn't agree with the conquistadors and didn't do what was told of them, the conquistadors had the right to do what they had done before the Requiermento was issued. Of course, the list was read in Spanish and the natives had no idea what was being read to them, so their lives were made a living hell.

The Requiermento:
~~There is one God and He created all of us.
~~God appointed the Pope and the Pope says we have the right to rule you.
~~If you do exactly as we say and convert to Catholicism without resistance, you can be our allies.
~~If not, we have the right to enslave you, take your property, drive you off your lands, and otherwise make your life a living hell.

"How could [anyone] think that Indians would believe a mere statement unsubstaniated by proof, read by men held to be infamous and cruel evil-doers, purporting that God in Heaven had given the government of the world to a man called the Pope who in turn had given all the kingdoms of the Indies to the Castilian kings, and that should they fail within two months to swear obedience to the Castilian King, it was lawful to declare war against them?" ~~Bartolome de las Casas.

Because of the Requiermento, an event known as the Great Debate was held. On April 16, 1550, a royal decree was passed to stop all conquests, expeditions, and exploration until a special group of scholars and royal officials could hear a debate about the morality of Spanish colonization. This Great Debate was held in August 1550 in Valladolid, Spain. For five days, Bartolome de Las Casas and Juan Gines de Sepulveda presented their arguments. In the end, the Council of the Indies never declared a winner in the debate. Both Sepulveda and Las Casas claimed victory. Most importantly, though, this debate marked the first time issues about the rights of native peoples were raised and seriously discussed.

Highlights of the Great Debate
~~Settling theological and legal questions
~~Takes place in Spain
~~Involved Papal representatives, Crown representatives, lawyers--a very serious setting with exceptionally high stakes
~~A chance for the Catholic Church to regain moral high ground (had been battered in reputation), but had to give an answer that Spain wanted to hear (because Spain had a huge army). Could not be too critical of what had been done.

Questions for the Great Debate
~~Do indigenous people have souls?
~~Do they share a common creation as Europeans--are they children of Eve?
~~Do they possess sufficient reason to learn basic Christian doctrines?
~~How must we treat these people?
~~What makes our victory just?

New Laws (1540s)

The New Laws were written in order to improve conditions for Indians. Slavery of the Indians was prohibited; they had to be given sufficient time to farm, harvest, build their own houses, rest, and had the right to live in the same place as they worked; they had to build churches and the Spanish had to give the Indians the time to worship if they wanted to but could not force the Indians to practice Catholicism.

The New Laws were not very well complied with. However, the New Laws introduced the idea that humans are humans despite cultural differences and deserve a standard of treatment. Humans as a species are still struggling with this even in this day and age.

Expansion of African Slavery

From the 1550s onward, Spain began to escalate their importation of African slaves. The Spanish Empire and slavery are inseparable. The development of profitable overseas plantations and mines, the feeding of the army, and the conquering of new territories all rest on slave labor. Seven out of 10 humans who came across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World between 1500-1800 were enslaved; nine out of 10 humans who came across the Atlantic Ocean owed service to someone else, meaning that they were indentured servants. Inequality, not equality, was the defining human experience in the colonial era.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Columbian Exchange and the Disease Frontier

The Columbian Exchange is a term coined by ecologist and historian Alfred Crosby to describe the profound transformation of both sides of the Atlantic when species of all sorts started traveling around in the Era of Exploration. Before European exploration had begun, regions had been remote from one another. Particles and other wind-borne things could travel or would be carried by birds, but at a very slow exchange rate prior to European travel by ships.

The Disease Frontier

Pathogens reproduce themselves every 20 seconds and because of this, there were many epidemics during this era. Death rates were between 20-30% at first contact on the virgin soil, mostly killing people in their prime years (early to mid-20s) first. The next pass killed young children and pregnant women. Opportunistic infections, followed by weakened immune systems, were made worse by crowded conditions or densely populated areas. Collateral damage included the curtailing of reproduction, social disintegration, and political turmoil. There was up to 98% population reduction of the native people and the Europeans who traversed into the New World over a 100-year period, which at the same time also served as an unintentional advance force paving the way for European entry and the spread of buffalo and deer, which were being hunted as food sources.

~No place is pristine
~Columbian Exchange has a lopsidedly negative effect on North American indigenous populations
~Within 100 years, North America becomes more like Europe (non-European), creating many "widowed" areas
~Rapid changes effect everyone
~BUT Europeans have some advantages in settlement

Spanish Overseas Exploration

Lucrative exploitation of Atlantic islands off the shore of Africa in the 15th century had led the Spanish to have an additional reason to find populated tropical islands elsewhere, and they thought Columbus could help them.

With the discovery of the Atlantic islands (Azores, Madeiras, and the Canaries), the Iberians discovered that they were perfect for sugar cultivation. And the Iberians learned a lot of lessons from their interactions on the Atlantic islands. They witnessed the effectiveness of steel weapons, mounted men, and war dogs on the native; they learned how to exploit rivalries between indigenous peoples; they turned natives into commodities as slaves; and they pioneered a profitable combination of the plantation system and the slave trade, but they still wanted more.

What were the many motives for Spanish overseas exploration? Columbus said that he could easily and quickly get to Asia, and the Asian subcontinent of India, by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean and that there would be great profit in it for a modest investment.

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, colonizer, and navigator. On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus left the Palos de la Frontera with three ships. The largest was the carrack called the Santa Maria, and the two others were smaller caravels called the Pinta and the Santa Clara (nicknamed Nina after its owner Juan Nino of Moguer). The Santa Maria and the Pinta were the property of Juan de la Cosa, who was an explorer, conquistador, and cartographer, and the Pinzon brothers, who were sailors, explorers, and fishermen. The Spanish Crown made the Palos de la Frontera inhabitants give up their possessions in order to contribute to Columbus's expedition.

Another motive was because the Spanish could get rich quick and would be able to compete for share of the Asian trade.

Another motive was to pursue a mission to extend the reach of Chrsitianity and work on making a Christian world like Isabells and Ferdinand started when they expelled the Jews and Muslims from Spain. Through this, they planned on unifying the Spanish around a central mission as a way of creating a national identity and gaining international prestige among European nations.

Another motive was to find jobs for demobilized soldiers; this would forestall economic decline and/or civil war in a country which is not yet unified.

Christopher Culombus made landfall on an island known as Hispaniola, what is now the current Haiti and the Dominican Republic, in the West Indies.

News circulated very rapidly and this changed European ideas about geography. It challenged religious notions about creation and race, because there were obviously other people in the world. And it introduced a world of new organisms, ideas, and trade items to Europe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Summing up 1492

Why did European exploration start in 1492?
~Preconditions all came together
~~~Technological advances make overseas exploration possible
~~~Spain finishes Reconquista and has need of a new place to mobilize and send decommisioned Hidalgos
~~~Expulsion of Spanish Jews and seizure of their properties, combined with seizure of Moorish money, provided the financial backing necessary for exploration.

Early European Atlantic Exploration (before 1492)

The success of European explorers and mercantile adventurers appeared unlikely at the start of the 15th century. Europe was a backward place, geographically hemmed in by the more sophisticated Muslim world. At the end of the 15th century, the Spanish and Portuguese had overcome eastern barriers by looking to the West and developing new technologies and ideas that would provide the basis of Atlantic exploration, colonization, and exploitation.

Before 1492, Vikings made temporary habitations in Vinland and Greenland, but climate change and opposition from indigenous "Skraelings" doomed their settlements.

Why didn't other Europeans follow suit immediately? Well, there were a lot of reasons why the other Europeans didn't follow suit immediately such as: domestic turmoil, disease, lack of technological capacity, religious rivalries that drew their attention to the Mediterranean rim, Black Death (around 1350 which wiped out nearly 75 million Europeans), and Islamic Ascendancy.

Islam spread to the Iberian Peninsula, what is now Spain, from the Middle East into Morocco after the death of the prophet Muhammad. The Moors (as the Muslims were called because they were from Morocco) helped the Iberians. The Moors helped provide clean and running water which led to better diets, literacy, science, scholarship, and standardized legal codes. However, religious conflict increased. The Catholic Church noticed that the Iberians were turning towards Islam through learning Arabic, dressing the same, going to the Moor's courts for disputes and got upset.

The Iberian Reconquista (711-1492) was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages in which several Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula succeeded in retaking the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim Al-Andalus province (what is now Andalusia). The Reconquista made Spain a military-driven society, which led to its unification in 1469. Hidalgos were knights and/or warriors who served the kings of the Iberian kingdoms and fought on La Frontera (the line between the Spanish holdings and the Moorish holdings, emblematized by cities under occupation) who developed a vicious method for taking places over. In 1270, the Iberian Peninsula was reconquered by the Catholic Church, although war still raged in Europe. From 1270-1492 was the Consolidation of Fragmented Iberian Kingdoms. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand married to reunite the kingdoms of Castille and Argon to form modern Spain. After the Fall of Granada in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella gained the Moorish treasury and could now finance their ambitions. Since Hidalgos only knew how to fight and wage war, the Spanish Crown had to figure out a way to get the decomissioned Hidalgoes out of Spain.

During this period, as well, were the Crusades (1095-1291) which were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns waged by much of Roman Catholic Europe, particularly the Holy Roman Empire and the Franks of France.

Because of the Crusades and other events in Christian Europe, officials there began to police others who they considered "deviant." Jews were expelled from England in 1290 during this time, almost all except those who were considered scholars, and the Moors were expelled in 1492 from the kingdom of Granada. During this time, Pope Adrian IV issued a papal bull which gave England permission to colonize Ireland.

The fragmentation of the Catholic Chruch going on during this era, such as criticisms, dissentsion, and internal disputes, led up to the Protestant Reformation. Before Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of his church, those who practiced folk religions in Europe were persecuted for their heretical practices. Religious imerative added to exploration and colonization. Spain expelled the Jews and the Moors from the country because the Crown wanted to produce a totally Christian world.

Prince Henry the Navigator gathered Muslim and Jewish scholars to his school of navigation in Lisbon. Explorers, men of science, early modern cartographers, and mathematicians gather to develop navigational formulas to sail around the west coast of Africa. I took 83 years of trial and error before Vascao de Gama circumnavigated Africa in the 15th century. Because of this navigation school, first Portugal and then Spain saw the loss of a lot of young men. Many died trying to sail around the African coast trying to make a name for themselves. Portugal allied with African coastal kingdoms proved lucrative for all parties. This made maritime trade seem worth investing in and deep sea navigation seemed possible. Through this trade, slaves could be bought and sold along with various spices and other goods from places like China and India which were very valuable to Europeans.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Native American Culture and Society before 1492

Native American cultures before 1492 were diverse, dynamic, and interconnected. They shared a general world view--animism (the attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena)--that would lead to conflict with European explorers and colonizers.

Evidence indicates that the peoples came from Asia to the Americas during the Ice Age, when the sea level was much lower than today and a large land bridge known as Beringia connected the continents.

As scholars learn more about the advances and retreats of the ice sheets, the camping sites of the migrating peoples, and changes in vegetation zones, a much more complete picture of the Americas emerge.

Current scholars hold that migrating peoples initially traveled on the narrow strip of ice-free land along the Pacific Coast. As the area between the Cordilleran and the Laurentide ice sheets lost its cover of ice, probably between 14,000 and 12,000bce, migrants may have also used the inland routes from present-day Alaska to the American interior.

Another theory is that these early people crossed the Atlantic Ocean on skin boats from Palenesia, thus being dubbed Paleo-Indians.

The Archaic Indians, who were around from 9,000-3,000bce, encouraged decentralization in their way of life. Decentralization has two definitions which fit the Archaic Indians: first, decentralization is the social process in which population moves from urban centers to outlying districts; this fit the Archaic Indians because they started to plant crops and needed land to farm, so they couldn't live in small cities. Second, decentralization is the spread of power away from the center (a leader) to smaller branches of government (the people).

The Archaic Indians were an ingenious people who invented horticulture. Horticulture was extremely innovative for this time because the ancient people discovered that there were different times a year where plants would thrive and in what climates; they started to hibridize their crops to make them drought and frost resistant such as high yield grains and root crops.

The changes the Paleo-Indians wrought were both positive and negative. Religion, social development, politics, health/population increase, trade v. garbage, diseases, empires, and violence were all the effects of the Paleo-Indians.

There were two main Mesoamerican civilizations: the Mayans who occupied the Yucatan Penninsula and the Aztecs who occupied Tenochtitlan. In Mesoamerica were north-south trade routes which ran through Hohokum (also known as Snake Town) and Anasazi which included Chaco Canyon and Acoma.

The Missippians, also known as the Mound Builders, moved up from Mesoamerica to the Mississippi River Valley to get away from violence. Cahokia was the center of the empire; there were man-made mounds, Woodhenge, a market place, a trade center, and temples. Overexpansion and climate change probably led to the empire's deline.

The Eastern Woodlands Peoples, or the Iroquois and Algonquin, benefitted from the collapse of the Mississippian markets. They moved the trade routes east-west instead of north-south.

~Long history of social change
~Technological adaptation
~Social flexibility
~Plentiful food
~Experience in the area

~Long historic separations from global disease environment
~Political systems that encourage deliberation over violence
~Metallurgical technology disadvantages

Time Periods

Although the majority of this blog will be events which have taken place in the Contact Period (about 500 years ago to the present day), it's important to know what the time periods are since I will also be writing about the Native Peoples of North America.

~~Paleoindian Period (about 11,500-10,000 years ago)--This period marks the most recent glacial retreat. During it, small groups of hunting, fishing, and gathering peoples entered what is now New York. The landscape they confronted differed from today's. Mastadons and other now extinct mammals roamed here.

~~Archaic Period (10,000-3,000 years ago)--Around 6,000 years ago, the region's climate and environment were beginning to be like today's after gradually moderating for 4,000 years. Human populations and the size and number of their communities grew. Soapstone vessels and ceramic pots were first used near the end of this period.

~~Woodland Period (3,000 to 500 years ago)--By the beginning of the Woodland Period, trade networks linked Upstate Native Peoples with communities on the Atlantic Coast and in the Upper Great Lakes regions. Towards the end of thhis period, tobacco pipes and ceramics became more common and the bow and arrow replaced the spear as the primary hunting tool. Native People began to cultivate corn, beans, and squash-what they called the "Three Sisters".

~~Contact Period (about 500 years ago-present)--European contact and the fur trade introduced new factors to Native Peoples' communities. New York's history during the past 500 years is a story of confrontation and accomodation in this altered cultural environment. Artifacts, oral traditions, written records, maps, drawings, and photographs document this story.

Timeline (2001-present)

2001--George W. Bush becomes president; September 11th terrorist attacks alert America; Taliban removed

2003--Iraq War

2008-09--Global finance crisis and recession

2009-10--Health care reform births Tea Party

2009-present--Barrack Obama becomes first black president

2010--CERN scientists trap anti-matter

2011--Web social networking facilitates revolution; Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda leader, killed by US forces

Timeline (1960-1999)

1960-65--Civil Rights Movement

1961--Inauguration of John F. Kennedy; US Peace Corps established

1962--Cuban Missile Crisis

1963--Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvy Oswald; Lyndon B. Johnson sworn in as president

1965-70--Demonstrations against Vietnam War, such as Kent State

1966-69--Hippie Movement

1969--Inauguration of Richard Nixon; Cold War's Arms/Space Race between US and USSR leads to the Apollo 11 mission which sent Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin to the moon

1970s--Sixties energy starts to win specific battles like feminism

1970--US invades Cambodia

1973--War Powers Act; Nixon resigns due to Watergate Scandal

1974--Gerald Ford becomes president

1975--South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam

1977--Jimmy Carter becomes president

1978--Jerry Falwell founds Moral Majority

1979--Revolution in Iran, Americans held hostage

1980s--War on Drugs jails 1/5 of young black men

1981--Ronald Reagan becomes president

1983--Reagan proposes STAR WARS and increases military funding

1989--Geroge HW Bush becomes president

1989-1991--USSR dissolves into republics; the Cold War is over

1991--Gulf War is first US reduction of a regional power; Japan is world's largest automobile maker

1992--NAFTA forms

1993--William Clinton becomes president; Internet expands with World Wide Web

1996--Welfare reform

1997--Robust economy creates longest prosperity in US history

1999--Budget goes into surplus

Timeline (1901-1955)

1901--President McKinley shot by anarchist; inauguaration of Theodore Roosevelt

1902--Roosevelt begins conservation of forests

1904--Roosevelt asserts US right to intervene in Latin America

1905--Albert Einstien proposes Special Theory of Relativity

1909--NAACP founded in New York City; inauguration of William H. Taft

1910--Fundamentalism begins with "Five Points"

1913--Inauguration of Woodrow Wilson

1914--World War I begins

1917--selective Service Act creates draft; Russian revoltions, USSR is formed

1919--Treaty of Versailles; League of Nations

1920--Panama Canal completed; Eighteenth Amendment prohibits alcohol

1921--Inauguration of Warren Harding

1924--Citizenship Act makes Native Americans citizens without impairing status as tribal members

1925--Inauguration of Calvin Coolidge

1929--Inauguration of Herbet Hoover; stock market crashes and Great Depression begins

1933--Inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Roosevelt begins "New Deal"

1935--Social Security Act provides retirement insurance

1941--Japan surprise attack on Pearl Harbor

1944--Normandy landings

1945--US A-bombs Japan at Hiroshima and Nagasaki; United Nations formed; inauguration of Harry Truman

1947--Marshall Plan

1948--Israel created; NATO formed; Cold War begins

1948-54--Communism quashed in US

1953--Inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower

1955--Montgomery Bus Boycott; Supreme Court oders school desegregation

Timeline (1860-1897)

1860--Tax-supported school system established; South Carolina secedes

1861--Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln; Fort Sumter fired upon; Battle of Bull Run

1862--Monitor v. Merrimac sea battle; Seven Days' Campaign; Battle at Antietam; Battle at Fredericksburg

1863--Emancipation Proclamation; New York City draft riots; Homestead Act; Battle at Gettysburg; Battle at Vicksburg; Lincoln introduces his Ten-Percent Plan

1864--General Grant begins a war of attrition; Wade-Davis Bill; General Sherman marches to the sea; Union Pacific and Central Pacific

1865--Freedmen's Bureau established; Thirteenth Amendment ratified; Union capture of Richmond, VA; General Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House; Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes Boothe; Special Field Order 15

1865-67--Presidential Reconstruction

1866--Ex parte Milligan ruling; Civil Rights Bill; Ku Klux Klan established

1867--Reconstruction Act; Tenure of Office Act

1867-77--Radical Reconstruction

1868--Impeachment of President Johnson; Fourteenth Amendment ratified

1869--Women's feminist organization splits into two groups; inauguration of Ulysses S. Grant

1870--Hiram Revels becomes the first black Senator; Fifteenth Amendment ratified

1872--Liberal Republicans established

1873--National economic depression begins; Slaughterhouse cases

1875--Civil Rights Act of 1875; Charles Stewart Parnell begins movement for Irish independence

1876--United States v. Cruikshank

1877--Bargain of 1877; inauguration of Rutherford B. Hayes

1879--Women lawyers permitted to argue cases before the Supreme Court; Thomas Edison invents incandescent light bulb

1881--Inauguration of James Garfield; inauguration of Chester Arthur

1883--Civil Service established; Maxim invents machine gun

1885--Inauguration of Grover Cleveland

1886--Geronimo surrenders after 15 years of war; Haymarket Square labor riots in Chicago leads to eleven people dead

1889--Inauguration of Benjamin Harrison

1890--Sherman Antitrust Act; massacre at Wounded Knee, SD

1892--Ellis Island opens on New Years Day; strike at Carnegie steel results in ten deaths

1886--Supreme Court rules "separate but equal" legal

1897--Inauguration of William McKinley

Timeline (1770-1859)

1770--Boston Massacre

1772--Somerset case

1773--Tea Act; Boston Tea Party

1774--Intolerable Acts; Continental Congress convenes; Thomas Jefferson's "A Summary View of the Rights of British America"

1775--Lord Dunmore's Proclamation; Battles at Lexington and Concord

1776--Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"; Declaration of Independence; Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations"; John Adams's "Thoughts on Government"

1777--Battle of Saratoga; Vermont state constitution bans slavery; Articles of Confederation drafted

1778--French Treaty of Amity and Commerce; Rhode Island forms a black regiment in its state militia; Molly Pitcher serves during the Battle of Monmouth

1779--Thomas Jefferson writes "Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom"; Pittsburgh Proclamation

1780--Robert Morris becomes director of congressional fiscal policy

1781--Articles of Confederation ratified

1782--Deborah Sampson enlists in the Continental Army; "Letters from an American Farmer"

1786-87--Daniel Shay's Rebellion

1787--Northwest Ordinance of 1787; Constitutional Convention convenes; first Shaker community established in Upstate New York

1788--"The Federalist" papers; Constitution ratified

1789--Inauguration of George Washington; French Revolution begins

1790--Naturalization Act; first national census

1791-1804--Hatian Revolution

1791--Bill of Rights ratified; Little Turtle defeats Arthur St. Clair's forces

1792--Sarah Morton's "The African Chief"; Mary Wollstoncraft's "A Vindiction of the Rights of Woman"

1793--Washington's Neutrality Proclamation; King Louis XVI executed; British and French War begins; Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin

1794--Jay's Treaty; Whiskey Rebellion; Little Turtle defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers

1797--Inauguration of John Adams

1798--XYZ Affair; Alien and Sedition Acts

1799--John Fries's Rebellion

1800--Gabriel's Rebellion

1801--Inauguration of Thomas Jefferson

1803--Louisiana Purchase; Marbury v. Madison

1804--Hamilton-Burr duel

1804-1806--Lewis and Clark Expedition

1806--Congress approves funds for the Cumberland Road

1807--Embargo Act; Robert Fulton develops steamship

1808--Congress abolishes the Atlantic Slave Trade

1809--Inauguration of James Madison

1811--Battle of Tippecanoe; Bank of the United States charter expires

1812-1814--War of 1812

1814--Hartford Convention; Treaty of Ghent

1815--Battle of New Orleans

1816--Second Bank of the United States established; American Colonization Society founded

1817--inauguration of James Monroe

1819--Panic of 1819; McCulloch v. Maryland; Transcontinental Treaty with Spain; Darmouth College v. Woodward

1820--Missouri Compromise; Moses Austin receives Mexican land grant; Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints established

1823--Monroe Doctrine

1824--Gibbons v. Ogden; Owenite community established at New Harmony

1825--Erie Canal opens; inauguration of John Q. Adams

1826--American Temperance Society founded

1827--"Freedom's JOurnal", the first black newspaper, is established in the United States

1828--Construction begins on Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; "Tariff of abominations"

1829--Lydia Maria Child's "The Frugal Housewife"; David Walker's "An Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World"; Inauguration of Andrew Jackson

1831--Cyrus McCormick introduces the reaper; Cherokee Nation v. Georgia; William Lloyd Garrison's "The Liberator" debuts

1833--American Anti-Slavery Society founded; Lydia Maria Child's "An Appeal in Fovir of that Class of Americans Called Africans"

1834--Female Moral Reform Society organized

1836--The Alamo

1837--Texas declares its independence from Mexico; John Deere introduces the steel plow; Depression begins; Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The American Scholar"; Harriet Martineau's "Society in America"; Elijah Lovejoy killed

1839--Theodore Weld's "Salvery As It Is"

1840--Orestes Brownson's "The Laboring Class"; Second Great Awakening begins

1841--New England transcendentalists establish Brook Farm; inauguration of William Henry Harrison; Dorr War

1844--Telegraph put into commercial operation

1845--John L. O'Sullivan coins the phrase "Manifest Destiny"

1845-51--Ireland's potato famine

1846--Henry David Thoreau is jailed; Wilmot Proviso

1848--John Humphry Noyes founds Oneida community in New York; Free Soil Party organized; Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; Gold discovered in foothills of Sierra, Nevada and California

1850--Compromise of 1850; Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

1852--Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; Frederick Douglass's speech "What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?"

1853--Gadsden Purchase

1854--Henry David Thoreau's "Walden"; Kansas-Nebraska Act; Know-Nothing Party established; Ostend Manifesto

1856--Bleeding Kansas

1857--Dred Scott decision

1858--Lincoln-Douglas debates

1859--John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry

Timeline (9000bce-1769)

To start, here is a timeline of American history.
(bce=before the common era, ce=common era)

9000bce--Agriculture invented in Mexico and Peru

5000bce-1000ce--Mound builders thrive in Mississippi Valley

900-1200--Hopi and Zuni tribes establish towns

1000--Vikings sail to Newfoundland

1142-1451--Great League formed among Iroquois Indians

1215--Signing of the Magna Carta

1430s--Gutenberg develops printing press

1434--Portuguese explore African coast below the Sahara

1487--Bartolmeu Dias reaches the Cape of Good Hope

1492--Columbus's first voyage to the New World

1497--John Cabot reaches Newfoundland

1498--Vasco de Gama sails to the Indian Ocean

1500--Pedro Cabral claims Brazil for Portugal

1502--First African slaves transported to Caribbean Islands; Nicolas de Ovando establishes settlement on Hispaniola

1516--Thomas More's Utopia

1517--Martin Luther launches the Protestant Reformation with his Ninety-Five Theses

1519--Hernan Cortes arrives in Mexico

1530s--Pizarro's conquest of Peru

1542--Spain promulgates the New Laws

1585--Sir Walter Raleigh sets up an establishment on Roanoke Island in what is now failed

1588--Sinking of the Spanish Armada

1607--Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement, is established

1608--Samuel de Champlain establishes Quebec; Henry Hudson claims New Netherland

1610--Santa Fe established

1614--John Rolfe marries Pocahontas

1619--First black slaves arrive in Virginia

1620--Discovery of tobacco; Pilgrims sail on Mayflower to America

1622--Uprising led by Opechancanough against Virginia colony

1624--Dutch West India Company settles Manhattan

1630--Massachusetts founded

1636--Roger Williams kicked out of Massachusetts Bay Colony and establishes Rhode Island

1637--Anne Hutchinson placed on trial in Massachusetts; Pequot War

1638--"Oath of a Freeman"

1639--Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

1642-49--English Civil War

1649--Maryland (established 1632) adopts "An Act Concerning Religion"

1651--First Navigation Act issued by Parliament

1662--Half-Way Covenant proclaimed by Puritans in Massachusetts

1664--English seize New Netherland which becomes New York

1669--The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina

1670--First English settlers arrive in Carolina

1675-76--King Philip's War

1676--Bacon's Rebellion

1680--Pueblo Revolt

1681--William Penn granted Pennsylvania

1682--Charter of Liberty drafted by Penn

1683--Charter of Liberties and Privileges drafted by the New York assembly

1686-88--Dominion of New England formed

1688--Glorious Revolution in England

1689--Parliament enacts a Bill of Rights; Maryland Uprising; Leisler's Rebellion

1690--Toleration Act passed by Parliament

1691--Virginia outlaws English-Indian marraiges; Plymouth Colony absorbed into Massachusetts

1691-92--Salem Witch Trials

1707--Act of Union creating Great Britain

1712--Slave uprising in New York City

1713--Treaty of Utrecht

1715--Yamasee and Creek uprising is crushed

1720-23--Cato's Letters

1727--Junto Club founded by Benjamin Franklin

1728--Pennsylvania Gazette established

1730s--Great Awakening

1733--Georgia colony founded

1735--John Peter Zenger put on trial for libel

1737--Walking Purchase

1739--Stono Rebellion

1749--Ohio Company awarded land from Virginia

1754-63--Great War for Empire (French and Indian War)

1754--Albany Plan of Union drafted by Benjamin Franklin

1757--William Pitt sits as British Prime Minister

1760--George III assumes the British thrones

1763--Pontiac's Rebellion; British government issues Proclamation of 1763

1764--Sugar/Molasses Act

1765--Stamp Act; Sons of Liberty organized

1767--Townshend Acts

1769--Father Serra establishes first mission in California

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