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The American Nation
Chapter 2
Before the First Global
Age, Prehistory–1600
Copyright © 2003 by Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. All rights reserved.
The American Nation
Chapter 2: Before the First Global Age, Prehistory–1600
Section 1:
The First Civilizations of the Americas
Section 2:
Native American Cultures
Section 3:
Trade Networks of Africa and Asia
Section 4:
Tradition and Change in Europe
Copyright © 2003 by Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. All rights reserved.
The First Civilizations of the Americas
Chapter 2, Section 1
• How did people first reach the Americas?
• What were the Olmec, Mayan, Aztec, and
Incan civilizations like?
• How did early cultures develop in North
America?
Theories About How People Reached the Americas
Chapter 2, Section 1
Land-bridge Theory
• Thousands of years ago, glaciers, or thick sheets of ice,
stretched across Canada. The glaciers locked up water
from the oceans, causing sea levels to fall and uncovering
the land beneath the sea. This situation exposed a land
bridge joining Siberia and Alaska. Bands of hunters might
have crossed this land bridge from Asia to the Americas.
Coastal-route theory
• People might have reached North America by crossing icy
arctic waters by boat.
Other theories
• People might have reached the Americas from Europe,
Africa, or South Pacific islands.
The Olmecs
Chapter 2, Section 1
• Some farming communities in Central America grew
surplus, or extra, food—enough to support large
populations.
• With enough food available to feed large populations,
the first cities emerged. These cities marked the rise
of the first civilization in the Americas.
• The earliest known civilization in the Americas was
that of the Olmecs. They lived in the lowlands along
the Gulf of Mexico, about 3,500 years ago.
• The Olmecs left behind huge, carved stone heads and
smaller carved figures. They built stone temples and
developed a calendar.
The Mayas
Chapter 2, Section 1
•
•
•
•
•
•
Early Mayas lived in the rain forests of present-day Guatemala and
Mexico. About 3,000 years ago, they began clearing the rain
forests and draining swamps to create farmland.
Mayan cities sprang up from Central America to southern Mexico.
Trade flowed along a network of roads.
Priests were at the top of Mayan society. Nobles, who served as
warriors and government officials, also had high status. Laborers
and farmers were near the bottom. Below them were slaves, most
of whom were prisoners of war or criminals.
Mayan priests made advances in astronomy and mathematics.
They learned to predict eclipses and created an accurate, 365-day
calendar. They developed a system of numbers that included the
concept of zero.
Around A.D. 900, the Mayas abandoned their cities. Historians are
not sure why.
The Aztecs
Chapter 2, Section 1
•
•
•
•
•
A new civilization arose north of the abandoned Maya cities—the
Aztecs. The early Aztecs were nomads. In the 1300s, Aztecs
settled around Lake Texcoco in central Mexico.
The Aztecs built their capital, Tenochtitlán, in the middle of the
lake. They constructed a system of causeways, or raised roads
made of packed earth, to link the city to the mainland. In some
places, they dug canals. In other places, they planted crops on the
floating gardens they had created.
Aztec priests developed complex calendars.
The Aztecs paid special attention to the sun god, to whom they
sacrificed thousands of captives each year.
By 1500, the Aztecs ruled a huge empire from the Gulf of Mexico
to the Pacific Ocean. Heavy taxes and the sacrifice of prisoners of
war sparked revolts.
The Aztecs
Chapter 2, Section 1
The Incas
Chapter 2, Section 1
•
•
•
•
•
The Incas built one of the largest empires in the Americas. By
1500, their empire stretched for almost 2,500 miles along the
west coast of South America.
The center of the empire was Cuzco, a city high in the Andes. It
had massive palaces and temples made of stone and
decorated with gold. At the center was the palace of the
emperor.
The Incan empire was very well organized. The Incas
maintained 10,000 miles of roads.
Runners carried royal orders across the empire. They carried
with them a device known as a quipu—a cord or string with
knots that stood for quantities, such as bags of grain.
The Incas were skilled engineers. They built massive stone
temples and forts. In order to farm the steep mountains, they
created terraces, or wide steps of land.
Some Early Cultures of North America
Chapter 2, Section 1
Culture
Location
Hohokams
present-day southern Arizona
Anasazis
Mound Builders
Characteristics
About 2,000 years ago, they dug networks of
irrigation ditches so they could farm the desert.
They grew corn, squash, and beans.
Four Corners region where
Colorado, Utah, New Mexico,
and Arizona meet
1. They irrigated the desert.
2. They traded along the network of roads they
built.
3. They built large houses of stone and adobe,
or sun-dried brick. In the 1500s, the Spanish
called these houses pueblos, meaning
“village.”
From the Appalachian Mountains
to the Mississippi Valley and from
Wisconsin to Florida
1. Beginning about 3,000 years ago, various
groups built large earth mounds. At first, the
mounds were used for burials. Later, the
mounds were used for religious ceremonies.
2. The Hopewells and the Mississippians were
the best-known groups of Mound Builders.
The Mississippians built a large city at
Cahokia in present-day Illinois.
culture—the entire way of life of a people, including homes,
clothing, economy, arts, and government.
Section 1 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 1
The Olmec civilization arose in South America when
a) Olmec warriors drove the Mayas into the rain forest.
b) Olmec hunters arrived from Asia and settled down to gather nuts and
wild berries.
c) Olmec farmers were able to grow enough food to support large
populations.
d) the Aztecs shared the secret of digging canals and farming swamps.
The best definition of the word culture is
a) the entire way of life of a people.
b) the ability to build large cities.
c) the building of massive palaces, temples, and other structures.
d) learning, such as engineering and astronomy.
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Section 1 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 1
The Olmec civilization arose in South America when
a) Olmec warriors drove the Mayas into the rain forest.
b) Olmec hunters arrived from Asia and settled down to gather nuts and
wild berries.
c) Olmec farmers were able to grow enough food to support large
populations.
d) the Aztecs shared the secret of digging canals and farming swamps.
The best definition of the word culture is
a) the entire way of life of a people.
b) the ability to build large cities.
c) the building of massive palaces, temples, and other structures.
d) learning, such as engineering and astronomy.
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Native American Cultures
Chapter 2, Section 2
• How did people live in different culture
areas of North America?
• How did climate and resources affect
Native American cultures?
• What beliefs did different Native American
groups share?
• What was life like among the Iroquois?
Introduction to Culture Areas of North America
Chapter 2, Section 2
• A culture area is a region in which people share a similar
way of life.
• Each culture area was home to many different tribes.
• A tribe is a community of people who share common
customs, language, and rituals. Members of a tribe saw
themselves as a distinct people who shared a common
origin.
• In different culture areas, people met their basic needs for
food, clothing, and shelter in different ways:
• hunting and gathering
• fishing
• farming
• trading
Examples of How Climate and Resources Helped Shape Culture
Chapter 2, Section 2
Region
Some of the
People
Far North
Inuits
Plateau
Utes, Shoshones
1. Frozen seas and icy, treeless plains.
2. Lived in pit houses, houses dug into the ground and covered with wood
and skins.
3. Clothing made out of furs and sealskins.
1. Cold and dry environment with hardy plants and animals.
2. Collected pine nuts and dug for roots.
3. Hunted mountain sheep and rabbits.
4. Had few possessions.
1. Mild temperatures and abundant food; forests.
2. Fish from the sea.
3. Houses and canoes of planks.
4. Permanent villages.
5. Families held potlatches, or ceremonial dinners where the family gave gifts
to the guests.
Northwest
Coast
Southeast
Characteristics
Natchez
1. Warm, moist climate.
2. Hunted, fished, and farmed the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
3. 13-month calendar, each month named after a food or animal.
Culture Areas of North America
Chapter 2, Section 2
Culture Areas of North America
Chapter 2, Section 2
Shared Beliefs of Many Native American Groups
Chapter 2, Section 2
Respect for the earth and the forces of nature
• Prayers and ceremonies were designed to keep a balance
between people and forces of nature. Native Americans
believed that people must adapt their ways to the natural
world.
• The world was full of powerful unseen forces and spirits,
which Native Americans honored.
Special ceremonies
• In farming areas, tribes held special ceremonies to ensure
good rainfall. At Pueblo festivals, some dancers were dressed
to represent kachinas—spirits with the power to bring good
harvests.
• In the Southeast, when the corn ripened in the fall, the Green
Corn Ceremony marked the end of the old year and the
beginning of the new one.
Life Among the Iroquois
Chapter 2, Section 2
Location
• The Iroquois lived in the Eastern
Woodlands, in present-day New
York State.
Dwellings
• They called themselves “The
People of the Long House,” for
their sturdy dwellings, which
were about 150 long and 20 feet
wide. Several families lived in a
long house.
Role of women
• Women owned all the household
property and were in charge of
planting and harvesting. When a
woman married, her husband
moved in with her family.
Political organization
• A clan was a group of two or
more related families. Women
chose the clan leaders
The Five Nations
• The Iroquois included five
nations—Mohawk, Seneca,
Onondaga, Oneida, and Cayuga.
League of the Iroquois
• Around 1570, the five nations
formed an alliance to end the
fighting between the nations. The
alliance became known as the
League of the Iroquois.
• A council of 50 tribal leaders,
called sachems, met once a year
to make decisions for the League.
Section 2 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 2
A culture area is a region in which
a) people developed many, very different ways to meet their basic needs.
b) most of the people share a similar way of life.
c) there are many different cultures.
d) everyone speaks the same language.
Although there were many different groups of Native Americans, they shared
some basic ideas, including
a) the practice of worshipping their rulers.
b) the belief that people must marry outside of their social class.
c) the practice of putting on a ceremonial dinner to give away some of
their wealth.
d) a deep respect for the earth and the forces of nature.
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Section 2 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 2
A culture area is a region in which
a) people developed many, very different ways to meet their basic needs.
b) most of the people share a similar way of life.
c) there are many different cultures.
d) everyone speaks the same language.
Although there were many different groups of Native Americans, they shared
some basic ideas, including
a) the practice of worshipping their rulers.
b) the belief that people must marry outside of their social class.
c) the practice of putting on a ceremonial dinner to give away some of
their wealth.
d) a deep respect for the earth and the forces of nature.
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Trade Networks of Africa and Asia
Chapter 2, Section 3
• Why did trade flourish in the Muslim
world?
• What trading states rose in Africa and
what was life like for people in many
African cultures?
• How did China’s overseas trade expand in
the early 1400s?
Trade Flourished in the Muslim World
Chapter 2, Section 3
In Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, long-distance trade and travel
grew dramatically in the 1400s, marking the beginning of the first
global age.
• Arabia is at the center of trade routes linking the Mediterranean
world with Asia and Africa. Arab merchants played a role in the
growing trade.
• The religion of Islam emerged in Arabia in the early 600s. Muslims,
or Islam’s followers, believe that their holy book, the Quran,
contains the word of God as revealed to Muhammad. Muslim
traders carried their religion to people along their trade routes.
• Muslim sailors developed expert knowledge of the Indian Ocean.
They sailed to the many ports of Africa and India.
• Muslim traders also traveled overland across Central Asia. The
Central Asian routes linking China and the Middle East are known
as the Silk Road. Because the Silk Road was dangerous, traders
formed caravans—groups of people who traveled together for
safety.
The Trading States of Africa
Chapter 2, Section 3
City-states of East Africa
(Kilwa, Sofala)
• Gold was carried to African
coastal cities and across the
Indian Ocean to India and
China
• Wealth from trade helped East
African rulers build strong
city-states—large towns that
have their own governments
and control the surrounding
countyside.
• Many rulers became Muslims.
A new language, Swahili,
blended Arab words and
African languages.
Trading kingdoms of West
Africa (Mali, Songhai)
• Several trading kingdoms grew
up in a region of grasslands
called the savanna.
• Many rulers adopted Islam.
Ways of Life in Africa
Chapter 2, Section 3
Where people lived
• Most people of Africa lived in small villages away from the powerful
trading states.
How they earned a living
• Most people made a living by herding, fishing, or farming.
Family life
• Family relationships were important. Many people lived within an
extended family—several generations living in one household.
Importance of kinship
• Ties of kinship, or sharing a common ancestor, linked families. People
related by kinship owed loyalty to one another.
Religious beliefs
• Beliefs varied widely. However, common beliefs included the idea that
links among family members lasted even after a person died. Africans
honored the spirits of their ancestors as well as the forces of nature.
China’s Overseas Trade in the 1400s
Chapter 2, Section 3
• China was ruled by an emperor.
• An emperor who came to power in 1402 was
eager for trade. He ordered a fleet of more than
300 ships to be built. The fleet was commanded
by Admiral Zheng He.
• Zheng He made seven voyages. His fleet traded
in Southeast Asia, India, Arabia, and East Africa.
• After Zheng He’s death in 1435, China’s overseas
voyages abruptly ended. No one is sure why.
Section 3 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 3
Which statement best describes Islam in the 1400s?
a) Islamic traders would trade only with other Muslim merchants.
b) Islam’s followers believed in many gods.
c) Islam was spread by the Chinese admiral, Zheng He.
d) Islam began in Arabia and spread across a vast area including North
Africa.
Which statement best describes Chinese trade in the 1400s?
a) Eventually a Chinese fleet crossed the Pacific and rounded the tip of
South America.
b) In the early 1400s, a large Chinese fleet traded in many foreign ports;
then, after thirty years, it suddenly stopped.
c) In the 1400s, the Chinese built a new fleet patterned after the many
Chinese fleets before it.
d) The Chinese established several trading cities on the west coast of
Africa.
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Section 3 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 3
Which statement best describes Islam in the 1400s?
a) Islamic traders would trade only with other Muslim merchants.
b) Islam’s followers believed in many gods.
c) Islam was spread by the Chinese admiral, Zheng He.
d) Islam began in Arabia and spread across a vast area including North
Africa.
Which statement best describes Chinese trade in the 1400s?
a) Eventually a Chinese fleet crossed the Pacific and rounded the tip of
South America.
b) In the early 1400s, a large Chinese fleet traded in many foreign ports;
then, after thirty years, it suddenly stopped.
c) In the 1400s, the Chinese built a new fleet patterned after the many
Chinese fleets before it.
d) The Chinese established several trading cities on the west coast of
Africa.
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Tradition and Change in Europe
Chapter 2, Section 4
• What Jewish and Christian traditions
influenced European civilization?
• How did ancient Greek and Roman
traditions affect later Europeans?
• How did the Crusades and the growth of
trade change Europe in the Middle Ages?
• How was the Renaissance a time of
expanding horizons?
Jewish and Christian Traditions
Chapter 2, Section 4
Judaism
• Jews believe in one God and feel
a duty to obey God’s rules.
• Jews credit Moses with bringing
God’s laws to them, including the
Ten Commandments, which is a
set of religious and moral rules.
• Every Jew must obey religious
and moral rules. Not even a ruler
is above God’s laws.
Christianity
• Christians are followers of
Jesus, who believed in the Ten
Commandments and other
Jewish traditions. He preached
that there is one God.
• Jesus preached about God’s
goodness and mercy.
• Jesus taught that anyone could
achieve salvation, or
everlasting life. Everyone was
equal in the eyes of God.
• Christians organized a strong
church. The church sent out
missionaries, people who
spread Christian teachings
Greek and Roman Traditions
Chapter 2, Section 4
Greek traditions
• Around 400 B.C., Greece entered a golden age. Greek artists
created fine marble statues and elegant temples. Poets and
playwrights created works that are still read today.
• Greek thinkers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, valued
human reason. They believed that by using reason,
individuals could understand the natural world.
• Greek thinkers made important contributions to science
and mathematics, including the study of geometry and
medicine.
• The people of ancient Athens created direct democracy, a
form of government in which ordinary citizens have the
power to govern. Athenian democracy was limited to free
men whose parents had been born in Athens.
Greek and Roman Traditions
Chapter 2, Section 4
Roman traditions
• In 509 B.C., the Romans overthrew their king and set up a
republic, a system of government in which citizens choose
representatives to govern them. A Senate and an assembly
made the laws.
• The republic came to an end. Julius Caesar named himself
dictator for life. His nephew Octavian declared himself
emperor in 27 B.C. As emperor, he was called Caesar
Augustus. The empire lasted for almost 500 years. In that
time, Rome spread its language, Latin, across a wide area.
• Romans also spread their ideas about law. Everyone was
equal before the law. Accused people were considered
innocent until proven guilty. There were rules about the use
of evidence in court.
Europe in the Middle Ages
Chapter 2, Section 4
The period from about A.D. 500 to 1400 is known as the Middle Ages.
Feudalism
• Kings and queens divided their lands among warrior nobles. In return,
the nobles owed the monarch loyalty and military service. This
system is called feudalism.
• The king and the most powerful lords were at the top of feudal society.
Next came lesser nobles. Last were the peasants who farmed the
lord’s lands and could not leave without his permission.
Feudal life
• Life revolved around the manor, which included the lord’s castle and
the lands around it.
• Each manor was self-sufficient.
• The most powerful force was the Roman Catholic Church. The Church
owned large amounts of land. The Church was also the source of
education.
Europe in the Middle Ages
Chapter 2, Section 4
The Crusades
• Between 1100 and 1300, European life began to change
more rapidly. Christians fought a series of wars to control
the Holy Land—the Crusades. In the end, they were
unsuccessful.
Growth of trade
• The Crusades sparked trade. Returning Crusaders
demanded more of the Asian foods, spices, silks, and
woven rugs that they had seen on the Crusades. Italian
merchants increased their trade with the Muslim world.
New navigation tools
• Trade brought new knowledge—increased sailing skills, the
magnetic compass, and the astrolabe, an instrument that
helped sailors determine their latitude.
Europe During the Renaissance
Chapter 2, Section 4
Increased trade and travel made Europeans want to learn about the world.
They began to look to the learning of ancient Greece and Rome. As they
studied ancient learning, they began to make their own discoveries in art,
medicine, astronomy, and chemistry. This great burst of learning was called
the Renaissance, a French word meaning “rebirth.” The Renaissance lasted
from the late 1300s until the 1600s.
The Printing Press
The printing press helped to spread
Renaissance learning. Now that
books no longer had to be copied by
hand, they were less expensive.
More people could own books.
People began to read, and learning
spread more quickly.
The rise of strong kings and queens
During the Renaissance, trade
brought prosperity. Rulers began to
increase their power. They saw that
profits could be made through trade.
Europe During the Renaissance
Chapter 2, Section 4
New trade routes
Muslim and Italian merchants controlled the trade routes across
the Mediterranean Sea. So, Europe’s rulers began to look for new
routes.
Portuguese voyages
• Portugal was a leader in the search for new routes.
• Portugal’s Prince Henry set up a school of navigation and
shipbuilding.
• The Portuguese designed a new type of ship, the caravel.
Caravels could sail into the wind.
• Slowly, Portuguese explorers ventured south along the coast
of Africa. In 1488, Bartholomeu Dias reached the southern tip
of Africa.
• In 1497, Vasco da Gama rounded the tip of Africa and sailed
across the Indian Ocean to India.
Europe During the Renaissance
Chapter 2, Section 4
Section 4 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 4
Over the centuries, the ideas of ancient Greece helped shape European
traditions. Early Greek thinkers said that
a) it was a sacred duty to obey God’s rules.
b) God had given Moses the Ten Commandments.
c) anyone, rich or poor, could achieve salvation.
d) by using reason, individuals could understand the natural world.
The Renaissance was a time when
a) Christians fought a series of wars to control the Holy Land.
b) increased trade and travel made Europeans thirst to learn more about
the world.
c) the Roman empire declined and invaders overran many regions.
d) Europeans turned their backs on the rest of the world.
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Section 4 Assessment
Chapter 2, Section 4
Over the centuries, the ideas of ancient Greece helped shape European
traditions. Early Greek thinkers said that
a) it was a sacred duty to obey God’s rules.
b) God had given Moses the Ten Commandments.
c) anyone, rich or poor, could achieve salvation.
d) by using reason, individuals could understand the natural world.
The Renaissance was a time when
a) Christians fought a series of wars to control the Holy Land.
b) increased trade and travel made Europeans thirst to learn more about
the world.
c) the Roman empire declined and invaders overran many regions.
d) Europeans turned their backs on the rest of the world.
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