Origins - Chapter 01 One.docx

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Woodsworth College Courses
Thomas Socknat

Jason Ho Canadian History Page 1 JWH100Y1 September 16, 12 Origins: Canadian History to Confederation Textbook Notes Chapter One: The First Peoples Origin of the First Peoples  First Nations elders believe to have originated in North America  Hominid bones, dating back up to 40 000 years, have been found everywhere but the Americas.  Evidence suggests they migrated from Siberia to North America over a land bridge (Beringia) that existed from 70 000 to 14 000 years ago  After crossing over, they continued travelling south all the way to the tip of South America and eventually even settled in the high Arctic about 4000 years ago. Three Archaeological Hypotheses  Scientists disagree as to when the migration occurred and three differing hypotheses.  Radical theorists believe humans entered the Americas as early as 100 000 years ago though no evidence exist  Liberal theorists place the migration at around 30 000 B.C. sites like Monte Verde, Chile shows evidence of human habitation but no remains, or Yukon’s Bluefish caves show bone and stone artifacts dating back to 20 000 years ago  Conservative theorists only take into account artifacts that have been sealed with organic deposits that can be carbon-dated or distinctively styled artifacts such as weapons found at Fort Rock, Oregon dating back 11 000 B.C.  Three Canadian sites fit the “conservative” criteria, Debert, Nova Scotia; Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park; and Charlie Lake Cave, British Columbia, all of which confirms human inhabitance at least 10 000 years ago.  About 8000 B.C. a climate shift occurred and the ice shelf that covered 97% of Canada began to melt which caused the land bridge to disappear. This also caused new terrain such as forests and deserts to form and animals becoming extinct. Jason Ho Canadian History Page 2 JWH100Y1 September 16, 12 Civilizations of the Americas  About 5000 years ago the ice shelf receded and the climate became similar to present day, Bering Strait was formed and animals no longer could cross but hunters/fishers still traded across, elsewise Native American nations thrived on its own.  From 3500 to 2000 years ago, the Amerindian population underwent major economic and social developments. The most dominant one being the Aztec that emerged around 1200 A.D. agriculture and sea resources formed the basis of the Central American civilizations.  Lacking large domesticated animals the wheel was an useless invention to these civilizations and with insufficient supply of metals there was no viable replacement for stone tools.  Became advanced in science and arts. Maya flourished between 300 and 900 A.D. developed mathematics and concept of zero 500 years before Hindus, used astronomy and developed a 365-day calendar as well as the cycle of Venus.  Incas between 1200 and 1530 A.D. developed irrigation systems, impressive construction techniques and metalwork in gold and silver.  Amerindian farmers developed more than 100 species of plants that are still farmed today such as corn, potatoes, wheat and rice. The Mound Builders  About 2000 years ago farming and sedentary life replaced hunting/gathering nomadic life in the Ohio River valley, “Mound Builders” constructed gigantic sculptured earthworks some nearly 25 m high and 5 km in circumference, had an extensive trading network with other nations.  Mound Builders’ culture evolved slowly and started declining around 500 A.D. speculations are that it was attacked by other nations, or changes in climate undermined agriculture. Mississippian culture eventually took over from 700 to 1200 A.D. and it influenced less technologically advanced nations to the east. Population Growth  Agriculture supported a larger population than hunting/gathering; estimates of the Aboriginal population of the Americas in the mid- Jason Ho Canadian History Page 3 JWH100Y1 September 16, 12 fifteenth century indicate numbers as high as 100 million people. Population in North America may have reached 10 million before European contact.  Native population reached such numbers because they were relatively disease-free. Iroquoians domesticated high-yield cereals and tubers feeding a large population, while nations along the Pacific coast had their abundant and easily available resources.  Europeans reduced the Native population dramatically by exposing them to new diseases such as smallpox and measles. Death rates were as high as 90-95% in some areas, by the 20 thcentury Amerindians in North America was reduced to less than 1 million. Classifying the First Nations  First Nations have been classified according to three categories: linguistic, national, and cultural, all of which poses problems of their own. A linguistic division in Canada shows twelve separate indigenous language units and 50 different languages. Even if the people share the same linguistic family, the culture would be vastly different having being far apart. Even if the cultures are close together there are remote cultures close by that speak a different dialect and yet assimilated in culture. Native Culture Areas  Best classification of Native North Americans seems to be by cultural areas because climate and local resources influence the societies. With this there are six distinct culture areas: Northwest, Coast, Plateau, Plains, Subarctic, Arctic, and Northeast. The Northwest Coast  Encompasses British Columbia, Washington and Oregon bordered by the Cascade Mountains  Linguistic complexity of the region with its nineteen languages suggest it is an “old area” and likely starting point for subsequent migrations  With an abundant supply of sea life for food it became the most densely populated area in Canada Jason Ho Canadian History Page 4 JWH100Y1 September 16, 12  Used nearby forests (cedars and firs) for building material and each village was self-contained located near island coves or river mouths
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