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HIST257 Lecture Notes - Paleo-Indians, Encomienda

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John Sbardellati

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History 257
September 12, 2013
Three Worlds Collide
America Before 1492
Paleo-Indians : First group, came over from Asia across Beringia (the land bridge which is now
the Berring Straight)
Big debate about when the Paleo-Indians came : 12,000 – 30,000 years ago
They were hunter gatherers, encountered crisis with onset of the ice age, when most large
mammals disappeared
oHad to start crop cultivation, and not be hunter-gatherers
There was a diversity of groups
General Characteristics:
oSocial organizations:
majority was matrilineal – kinship groups followed the female line of descent.
Agricultural societies: matrilineal groups determined where / how they lived:
with extended families
oReligion: Polytheist: worshiped many gods
Agricultural tribes: gods associated with cultivation, celebrations centered
among the harvest
Hunter-Gatherer Tribes: Gods associated with animals
oPolitical Organization:
Pueblo: Ruled by village councils – no government structure
Iroquois: linked villages to nations
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