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HIS271Y1- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 161 pages long!)


Department
History
Course Code
HIS271Y1
Professor
Erin Black
Study Guide
Final

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UTSG
HIS271Y1
Final EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Native Peoples and Europe’s Expansion
The First Americas
-The antebellum refers to pre-Civil War America.
-America is often referred to as the “New World,” which is incorrect. The continent did
not come to be with European “discovery.” In fact, America’s history dates back
centuries.
-It is overly simplistic to speak of the conquest of one world—i.e. Europe—of another.
What we sometimes refer to as “discovery” is actually an encounter of peoples.
-The first people to come to America came from Northern Asia. They came from
hunting cultures that were attracted to big-game. The separation of the hemispheres
(where the Bering Straight is—or Beringia) was closed with the second ice age. Ergo,
these hunters did not realize they were entering a new continent and leaving
traditional territories. They entered an environment that was easily able to sustain
large populations.
-After the third ice age, the Straight melted and the continents were again separated.
This means that the societies that lived on the Eurasian land mass lived in complete
isolation from those in America. They thus became incredibly different, often as a
result of environmental differences.
Take for example the Iroquois and the Shoshone. The Iroquois inhabited the
Eastern Woodlands and they lived an agricultural lifestyle, while the Shoshone
were hunter-gatherers because their environment could not sustain long-term
agriculture. They were forced to move around, while the Iroquois were able to put
down roots—literally. As a result, the Shoshone did not have a large population and
they did not accumulate a vast array of material goods, as they could not transport
them around with ease. This led to them being a more egalitarian society, because
they did not have goods to distinguish people. On the other hand, the Iroquois were
able to acquire a concept of property, which led to societal divisions amongst them;
although these divisions nothing like the divisions amongst people in Europe.
-By the 1490s, when Europeans were encountering America, 1/3 of the native
population lived in the Eastern Woodlands. The Great Basin and the Great Plains
added to a much lesser population than the Eastern Woodlands and the Pacific Coast
because of their more difficult ways of life.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
-The more agricultural and sedentary the society, the greater the population density.
From a European perspective, however, even the most densely-populated areas felt
empty. This thus resulted in the myth of the empty continent, which psychologically
facilitated European colonization. By no stretch of the mind, however, was America an
empty continent.
-Major differences between the native peoples living in—what would become—the
United States and Europeans included belief systems. Native peoples see people as
one species among many, while Europeans see humans as the dominant being on
Earth. Native societies do not believe in structural religion, but they are, indeed,
spiritual (typical origin story: Land Driver). They also have different concepts of land
ownership. To the extent that ownership existed, it was communal. They did not own
the land, even, but they made use of what the land provided. In Europe, however,
people individually owned land and they titled this land by building a dwelling or some
sort of structure. If you did not build or put a stake in your land, your ownership is null.
Natives also did not have a form of currency. For that reason, Europeans did not see
native peoples as owners of America. They traded, but their system was one of
barter. Further, very few societies employed writing, and most were oral. The cultural
resources of native societies did not include many of the features of European
society. For all of these reasons, most Europeans saw natives as lesser beings,
because they did not have the trappings of civilization that they had come to know.
Europe Looks Westward
-Europeans began to look westwards because of transformations in European Society,
including and predominantly, the revival and development of commerce. Europe’s
commercial interests were predominantly east, but to get to that part of the world, one
would have to travel through the Middle East. However, at this time, Islam was
expanding and the Middle East was not a safe route. Europeans thus tried to get east
the “other way.” They had no idea that other continents existed beyond Eurasia and
Africa.
-Portugal and Spain were the countries first responsible for exploration. Spain was the
initial pioneer westwards.
-Christopher Columbus wanted to find a route to the Far East, but the Portuguese
would not fund him as they wanted to go around Africa. He found a funder in the
Queen of Spain. He landed upon the West Indies, and explored the Caribbean. He
left behind 35 men and he returned home with some native men, gold, and parrots—
!2
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