September 12, 2013
The Native Nations of the Americas and the European Impact
Key Words Notes
Very early stuff:
- immigration to the Americans
- native distribution, nations
- what didn’t happen in 1500
About the background to the emergence of the organized political
entities in North America that would part the international system.
We can start at the ice age spread glaciers down through half of
North America. And what the glaciers tended to do was soak up
moisture, depressing ocean level- meaning that 15000, 20,000 years
bringe straigt: land bridge that ago there was a land bridge that existed between what is now
existed between Siberia and called Siberia and Alaska. Over the land bridge traveled Asians
Alaska which the Asians used to
and there isn’t much doubt that the origins of the native people
travel to the Americas. of North America is in northeast Asia.
We are not entirely sure of all this. The other possibility, in addition
to the land bridge, it might have happened as well as, that is by sea.
Also possibl that the Asians And it is possible that Asians from north East Asia moved along
from noth east asia moved along
the ocean because the weather the ocean. And arrived in Non-glaciated America that way.
In all probability what happened was that this immigration trickle
back then was at a climactic happening over thousands years moved down cordillera- that is the
maximim. (much warmer) rocky mountains, because we know that there was an ice free area
there. That would account for human beings arriving in New Mexico
and Texas. Establishing themselves and society.
And as earth warmed at the end of the last ice age they moved
north as the glaciers retreated.
So the broad outline how of north America as peopled is basically
When we think of the natives of North America there is no one
definition that one should have in your mind. Obviously they were
organized societies in the Americas during the European middle
Some of the native societies in the American were very well
organize and left behind quite striking monuments of architecture.
humans began to move around
the American’s around 7000- There were also some forms of writing, calendars and such.
8000nyears ago. By 1000 CE In that part of the Americans that includes Canada, sort of mid
US north, human beings had moved into this area around 7000-
there seem to be links to wh..? 8000 years ago. By 1000 in the Common Era they had societies
that we can recognized as linked to what the European settlers
societies in west coast: found in the 16 and 17 centuries.
- tend to be more settled and
focused on fishing Those native groups of the west cost tend to be more organized
- more sedentary life and settled and focused on fishing. Obviously that could stimulate
a more sedentary life. And they were really quite well organized
- well organized societies. On the plains there were hunter gathers, a little bit of
- on plains there were hunter agriculture, and of course in this period there was no horse. They
are in fact native to the Americas, but disappeared at some point.
However by the time humans arrived and exterminated the last wollymamoth there were no horses for them to ride. So the
native societies 1500 years ago in all of the America’s had no
Unlike the human societies of Asia, or north Africa, or Europe all of
which embodied what we call horse power.
In this part of North America around the great lakes very gradually
back then there were more formed their present form.
than 6 Iroquoian nations. This part of the continent was occupied by the Iroquoian
- they were relatively well
speakers. They Iroquoian nations are not simply what is
organized today’s Iroquois’s nations. There were more than 6 nations and
- they were semi-sedentary were spread over a vast geographical area. They were
- were skilled in warfare relativity well organized. What is important is that they were
semi-sedentary. They did move around, but had semi-fixed
villages, complicated social structure, and were skilled in
east coast had hunter-
warfare. do not think of North America in the 1500 as some kind of
gatherers, while the west coast Garden of Eden in which peace existed.
natives focused more on fishing However writers in the 18th century invented the myth “the noble
savage” meaning of course the natives of North America.
On the east coast there were societies that resembled those of great
lakes then those of the west coast. The east coast natives were
hunter-gathers, and had fishing but nothing like the west coast.
The natives of the north cost did not recognize the current national
boundaries of the continent. Those are European concoctions.
prior to 1200 years ago there There is a whole slew of fantasy literature that deals with Chinese
is no evidence that people from settlements, Japanese settlements, roman settlements and so on and
other continents reach north
America. so forth. There is no serous evidence that human beings from
other continents’ reached North America prior to about 1200
years ago. When people from other continent arrived at north
America, one that we do have evidence for was the Norsemen,
The first to arrive were the the Viking. They spoke a Germanic language. Came from
Norsemen Scandinavia. In Scandinavia there was a division of labor. People
- spoke a Germanic language
from Sweden and people from Russia went east, people from
- came from Scandinavia Denmark and Norway went west.
They basically plundered their way across Europe. Some even made
people from Sweden and it to Africa, however the plundering aspects were as promising so
Russia went east they moved out into the ocean. They had vessels that were able to
people from Denmark and th
Norway went west do this. In the 9 century, about 1200-1300 years ago they
reached a large island, which was densely forested and was
th called Iceland. So these guys had an impact on Iceland. Iceland is
In the 9 century they reached half way across the Atlantic.
Iceland In this period we have a favorable climate. So the world was
- partially due to favorable
climate definitely much warmer that it is today. It is true that there have
- They also had vessels been periods in human history when the temperature has been
higher than it is today.
The climate favors voyages out to the Atlantic. It wasn’t too cold and
when you got to the shore there wasn’t ice wasn’t as close as it
they also ventured out to would be later.
- Discovered by Then there is Greenland. Eric the red, who discovered Greenland.
But it is certainly true that in the late 10 century Viking and Norse men landed in Greenland and settled there. These Norse
settlement lasted around 980 to about 1430.
Because they were organized settlement they could serve as a base
for further exploration. The Viking set out further to the west
and they did it under Eric’s son Leif Ericson. Leif arrives in Baffin
Baffin land was largely inhabited during this period. And then onn
south to Labrador, close to Labrador, it is pretty clear that he
arrived in Newfoundland. At the northernmost tip. The L’Anse Aux
meadows was identified by archeologist as the first Viking settling
in North America in 1960.
Canada, Newfoundland certainly can claim that the first
European settlement occurred at L’Anse aux meadows.
The Newfoundland settlement did not last long. They have no idea
how long it actually lasted, but probably lasted a couple of years. It
ran into native resistance and opposition. These are very likely of
what are today’s version of the Inuit.
The Inuit were spreading across the arctic. The Inuit are the
most recently arrived of all the native nations of the
Americans. They are very closely linked to the Inuit in
northeastern Siberia, the language s even the same. So it is not
at all improbable that the inuit were still immigrating to this
continent during this period. There were waves of them who
crossed the arctic..
Today there is a question of who owns the arctic and who should
have the jurisdiction of the arctic. All of these are relevant in today’s
international law. The Inuit are arriving in northern north
America about the same time as the Viking.
The Viking retreat to their settlement in Greenland. The Greenland
settlement lasts about 450 years. Its disappearance is linked
- to climate change.
a. We are approaching a climatic minimum, which would occur
around 1600. The period in which the towns of London
freezes over and queen elizabeth has skating parties.
b. The Greenland colony faced a tough climatic environment.