"History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are." ~David C. McCullough
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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…
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…
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…