Showing posts from May, 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 …

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…

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 …

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…

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 began, 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, a…

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 th…

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 Ascen…

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…

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 Peri…

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 m…

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 Securi…

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 Pre…

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; "…

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 conques…


Hi, I'm Marie Frankson and I'm the Half-Pint Historian and the Albany, New York History Examiner on I grew up in a small town in the Lake George area of the Southern Adriondack Mountains, an area rich in French and Indian War and American Revolution history. To me, history is all about making connections, about drawing a proverbial line leading from event to event, about getting to know the area--what happened there, why, and who was involved. People don't often realize that; people don't often have the urge to want to know what went on. People think that history happens in other places but history happens right in our own backyards. As a lifelong learner and a lover of history, I believe that our greatest treasure is our past and that we should learn about the past so that we can be more conscious of the changes in our own time. Like Dr. Carl Sagan said, “You have to know the past to understand the present." I will lead you through history using wr…