First Contact


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Powerpoint about the European "Discovery" of the Americas (ch.8)

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First Contact

  1. 1. First ContactEuropeans come to the Americas
  2. 2. Early Contact - Vikings• According to oral history, Leif Ericson was the first Viking explorer to find North America. He established a colony in what he called Vinland in around 1000 A.D.• In 1960, archaeologists found evidence of a Viking colony (probably that of Leif Ericson) in northern Newfoundland.
  3. 3. Early Contact - What about others?• There are many theories about other people arriving in the Americas before Columbus. Theories exist about voyages by the Welsh, West Africans, and Chinese.• Most of these theories have very little actual evidence to support the theory. Until any solid archaeological evidence is found, these theories can remain only speculation.
  4. 4. Europe In 1492 • Much of Western Europe was still recovering from the end of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance had begun in Italy and spread through Western Europe throughout the 1400s. • Things were getting better now, but there were still many problems.
  5. 5. Europe In 1492• England and France had recently finished the 100 years war and were still recovering.• Populations throughout Western Europe were still lower than they had been in 1300, due to the plague.
  6. 6. Europe In 1492• Records are inexact and historians differ on the numbers, but estimated populations in Western Europe (according to The Encyclopedia of World History, 2001) were:Country Population Population in 1300 in 1500Italy 10 million 7.5 millionBritish Isles 5 million 3 millionFrance 17.5 million 12.5 millionIberia (Spain & Portugal) 9 million 7 millionGermany & Scandinavia 11.5 million 7 million
  7. 7. Europe In 1492• Spain emerged from a long war to gain control of the Iberian Peninsula. A series of battles against the Muslim Moors had driven them out, leaving behind only the remnants of their sophisticated culture.
  8. 8. Europe In 1492• A very important marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile united the country in the hands of one Christian monarch.
  9. 9. Early European Explorers • Now, Spain was ready to expand its power and looked across the ocean to do so. • Ferdinand and Isabella gave Columbus the money and ships to explore. HeChristopher “discovered”Columbus the Americas.
  10. 10. Early European ExplorersThere were many explorers involved in the exploration of the “New World”by the Europeans. Some of the important early explorers are listed here.Year Explorer Area Explored (with today’s names)1492 Christopher Columbus Several islands of the Caribbean1497 John Cabot Newfoundland1501 Amerigo Vespucci South American Coast – Brazil1519 Hernando Cortes Mexico – Conquered the Aztec Empire1531 Francisco Pizarro South America – Conquered the Inca Empire1535 Jacques Cartier Canada – Maritime provinces
  11. 11. Early European Explorers• These explorers represented several different European countries. The ones that came to dominate large parts of the Americas were Spain, Portugal, France, and England.• Though there were some differences between these countries, they tended to follow very similar patterns in their exploration and colonization.
  12. 12. Steps to Exploring & Colonization • Send out explorers.1. • Claim land for the home country. Conquer any Native people who inhabited the land. Accidentally spread disease amongst those2. Natives, to make conquest easier. • Begin exporting the wealth of the new land (e.g. Gold, silver, lumber, and furs) to the home country. Steal these natural resources from the3. Natives first.
  13. 13. Steps to Exploring & Colonization • Send colonists to set down more permanent roots. The settlers should steal more land from the few remaining Natives and engage in activities like4. farming, mining, lumber, and the fur trade. • Import slaves (usually from Africa) to provide cheap labour on farms and in mines.5. • Fight with other European nations when necessary to defend or expand colonies.6.
  14. 14. Why did the Europeans defeat the Natives?• A Case Study of the Aztec and Inca• Despite the strength of the Aztec Empire, it was conquered in 1521 by Hernando Cortes.• Cortes had an army of 600 soldiers (plus some native allies), 20 horses and 10 cannons.
  15. 15. Why did the Europeans defeat the Natives?• Despite the strength of the Incan Empire, it was conquered by Francisco Pizarro in 1532. Pizarro’s army of 168 soldiers defeated 80, 000 Incan soldiers.
  16. 16. Why did the Europeans defeat the Natives? • Why were Europeans so successful in defeating the Natives, in both of these cases and in many more?Guns Germs Steel Conquest
  17. 17. Guns, Germs, and SteelWeapons (Guns)• The Spanish had steel swords against the blunt clubs and bronze knives of the Aztec and Inca.• They also had guns (harquebuses) – though these were not yet very advanced
  18. 18. Guns, Germs, and SteelDisease (Germs)• Europeans brought diseases they had developed from contact with farm animals – examples: Smallpox, Influenz a, Measles
  19. 19. Guns, Germs, and SteelTechnology (Steel)• Europeans had steel armour vs. the quilted armour of the Aztec and Inca• Europeans had horses, and the equipment to ride them into battle
  20. 20. Guns, Germs, and SteelTechnology• Europeans had written language and learned through writing of other battles against Natives. The Incans had none and didn’t learn about the Aztec Codex Zouche-Nuttall experiences Aztec Writing
  21. 21. End Result = Conquest• These same three things (Guns, Germs, and Steel), gave Europeans an advantage over the Natives in every part of the two continents.• The battle was not always so easy. Sometimes the Natives fought on for a long time. Inevitably though, the Europeans won the battles and established colonies, while the Native populations were almost wiped out.
  22. 22. European Land Claims by 1750