What does Pre-Columbian mean?Pre-Columbian literally means before Columbus (pre 1492), but it is used to refer totime periods in the history of the Americas before any European influence.
What does Pre-Columbian mean?All of the Americas were pre-Columbian before 1492, but Europeaninfluence didn’t happen everywhereall at the same time. Cultures in what Englandis now northern Canada would have Francebeen influenced much later than Netherlandsculture in what is now the eastern RussiaUnited States. Spain UnclaimedThe European influence would alsohave been different based on whatEuropean nations claimed whatterritory.
The problem of history in the AmericasPrehistory The period of time before written recordHow we know We know things about prehistory by looking at what cultures left behind like art, building, funerary artifacts, and other archaeological remains.Benefit Drawing information from artifacts leads us closer to unbiased information about a culture.Problem We don’t often have much left and have to fill in a larger picture about a culture. If a culture doesn’t leave much behind, we don’t know much. Nomadic cultures and cultures who did not use durable building materials don’t tend to leave a lot behind for us to find. These sort of cultures were prevalent in the Americas.
The problem of history in the AmericasHistory The period of time for which we have a written recordHow we know We still pull information from art, buildings, funerary artifacts, and other archaeological remains, but we become dependent on the information we can gather from a written record.Benefit Once we have a translatable written record, we know much more about a culture or civilization.Problem Written records aren’t always reliable, but the bigger issue is who the written record is provided by. If it is produced by the culture, we feel we get a more accurate picture of a culture. It is more problematic if what we know is based on a written record by another culture, especially when it is a conquering and/or more powerful culture because we see that record as distorted.
The Writing about the AmericasPre-Columbian cultures who had writingCulture Type of WritingOlmec Geometric and pictorial hieroglyphs Mi’kmaqMaya Logograms and syllabic glyphs OjibweAztec Pictographs and ideographs OlmecOjibwe Geometric and pictorial hieroglyphs Aztec MayansMi’kmaq Logographic, alphabetic, and ideographic glyphs
Time PeriodsThese are pre-Columbian time periods, and for the mostpart, they are prehistoric as well. Stage Dates Lithic Stage/Paleo-Indian Period Pre 8000BCE Archaic Stage 8000BCE – 1000BCE Formative Stage 1000BCE – 500CE Classic Stage 500CE – 1200CE Post-Classic Stage 1200 – European influence
Lithic Stage/Paleo-Indian Period Pre 8,000 BCE Cultures: Clovis culture Folsom CultureStage Defined by Plainview Culture• People migrated to and spread throughout the Americas anywhere between 50,000-17,000 years ago• Adaptations to hunt big game• Subsidence mainly based on megafunda (mastodon and bison antiquus).
Archaic Stage 8,000 BCE – 1,000 BCEStage Defined by Cultures: Archaic Southwest Artic small tool tradition• Climate becomes much like the current Poverty Point culture climate Mound builders Chan-Chan culture• Dramatic increase in population Northwest Coast• Megafunda becomes extinct.• Shift toward dependence on more abundant vegetation• Some development of sedentary lifestyle/organized society• Domestication of plants/rise of agriculture in some areas
Formative Stage 1,000 BCE – 500 BCE Cultures: Dorset CultureStage Defined by Zapotec Culture Mibres• Development of villages/permanent Olmec settlements and ceremonial centers Woodland cultures Mississippian cultures• Further development of agriculture Adena culture• Monumental earthworks• Establishment of trade• Development of technologies such as pottery and weaving
Classical Stage 500 BCE – 1,200 CE Cultures:Stage Defined by Great Civilizations Early Maya Toltecs• Rise of complex civilizations Cultures that developed during this period• Limited beginning of urbanism Hohokam people Mogollon Culture• Development of more cultures that Anasazi don’t achieve civilization status but are Hopewell Culture complex Teotihuacan• Craft Specialization• Beginning of metallurgy
Post Classical Stage 1,200 CE – European Influence Cultures:Stage Defined by Aztecs Late Mayans• Possessed developed metallurgy• Complex urbanism• Militarism• Secularization of society