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Lecture

3 The Peopling of the Americas.docx

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Department
Geography
Course Code
GEOG 2RC3
Professor
Walter Peace

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Land, People, Regions, Identity – The Peopling of the Americas Is that a Fact? -fact: thing certainly known to have occurred; what is true or existent -true: in accordance with fact or reality, not false of erroneous -reality: the property of being real -real: actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact The Peopling of the Americas -migration – major theme in human history, beginning 1.5 to 2 million years ago -movement out of Africa into Europe, Middle East -Australia reached 50,000 years ago -Native American oral history – no story about coming from elsewhere The Pleistocene Epoch -began 2 million years ago -most recent Ice Age – Wisconsin – began 100,000 years ago -maximum extent reached 20,000 years ago -global sea levels much lower during the Ice Age -rising more than 100m by the end of the glacial period -860,000sq km of late Pleistocene coastal plain submerged The Conventional Wisdom -when – end of the Wisconsin Ice Age (10-12,000 years ago) -from where – Siberia; northeastern Asia -how – migration into Alaska via Beringia (“land bridge” connecting Asia to Alaska) -subsequent dispersal via “ice-free corridor” (Mackenzie River Valley) into the interior of North America Questions about Conventional Wisdom -what were the origins of this conventional wisdom? -what alternative views have emerged? -what is the validity/credibility of these alternative views? -what are the facts? A Chronology of Discovery -1650s – James Ussher (bishop of the church) determined that Earth was created on October 23 4004BC -Earth less than 5,000 years old -late 1700s – James Hutton (Father of Geology) argued Earth was much older -unsure how much older -1830 – Charles Lyell “Principles of Geology” -sets people on the quest to determine how old the Earth is -1840 – Louis Agassiz published a study of glaciers -first comprehensive study -landforms the consequence of ice -1859 – French archaeologist Jacques Boucher de Crevecoeur de Perthes offers evidence that humanity is much older than the Bible suggests -1859 – Charles Darwin “Origin of Species” -1863 – Charles Lyell “Geological Evidence for the Antiquity of Man” -no real estimate -1900s – prevailing belief that the human presence in North America was no more than 4-5,000 years -1907 – Hrdlicka “America has been peopled by immigration from Asia at the end of or shortly after the last ice age” -earliest reference to conventional wisdom -1926 – discovery of artifacts at Folsom, New Mexico -1932 – discovery of artifacts at Clovis, New Mexico -late 1930s – “Clovis First Theory” -Clovis site determined to be older than the Folsom site -accepted as earliest evidence of humans in the New World -best guess – 10,000 years -1940s – radiocarbon dating methods of artifacts -late 1960s – “Clovis First Theory” accepted as conventional wisdom The “New Truth” -evidence contradicting the conventional wisdom: -Monte Verde, Chile – dated to be 12,500 years old (at which time Beringia was blocked by glacial ice) -possible as old as 33,000 years -first confirmed pre-Clovis site -Thomas Dillehay – principal investigator -Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Pennsylvania – radiocarbon dating of artifacts -19,000 years ago -James Adivasia – principal investigator -Pendejavo Cave, New Mexico – radiocarbon dating = 19,000 years old -earlier layer = 27,800 years old -lowest layer = 38,000 years old -Scotty MacNeish – principal investigator -overwhelming evidence for the presence of humans before 12,900-38,000 years What is the Truth? -paradigm: currently accepted ideas (conventional wisdom) which determine boundaries of knowledge/research -paradigm shift: as a result of anomalies and contradictions to an existing paradigm, a new paradigm is accepted, replacing the existing one -in the case of the first peoples in the Americas, the Clovis First paradigm is replaced by the Pre-Clovis Presence paradigm Possible Explanations 1) Pre-Clovis people migrated into southern parts of North America before the ice sheet developed 2) From Asia using a coastal route that is now submerged -sea levels much lower at this time 3) From Australia/southeast Asia by boat 4) From Europe on the southern edge of ice sheet (or by boat across the north Atlantic) Social and Economic Trends What is Social Geography? -geography: the study of spatial patterns and processes -social: culture, ethnicity, demography, welfare etc -the geography of human condition Important Trends -population: -1951 – 14 million -1981 – 24 million -1991 – 27 million -2001 – 30 million -2006 – 31 million -2011 – 34.3 million -population more than doubles in a half century -urban population as of 2006 – 80% urban -urban: places with 1000 or more people and a density of at least 400 persons per square km -urbanization: process of societal change whereby the proportion classed as urban increases -over time: -1851 – 13% -1911 – 42% -1931 – 52% -1971 – 76% -2006 – 80% -doubling time – 116 years -crude birth rate – 11 per 1000 -crude death rate – 8 per 1000 -life expectancy: -women – 83 years -men – 78 years -regional variation in life expectancy (male + female): -BC – 81 -Ontario – 81 -Nunavut – 72 -Yukon – 77 -NWT – 78 -immigration: -annual number of immigrants (1990s) – 225,000 -by 2006, nearly 20% of the total population was born outside Canada -provincial destinations of immigrants: -Ontario – more than 50% -Quebec – 20% -BC – 15% -changing pattern of immigrant origins -textbook: peak/low of immigration rates, changing orig
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