Lesson 1: Foundations (Where We Began) and Colonization

Click here if you want the prof’s textbook version explained in class. Link Address: http://www.cjbibus.com/Topics_1301_1400s_to_1500_Backgrounds_Lesson_1_TBversion.pdf

 Caution: Do the 1st 3 Learning Quizzes before you use Lesson 1.  For most students, they are better off if they use the 1st 3 Learning Quizzes before they look at the Lesson 1.  Why?

·        They introduce you to the vocabulary of this very different time.

·        They also cover the location of the newly developed nations in 1492.

Lesson 1—unlike the other Lessons--states the page numbers from The Brief American Pageant because the information cannot be readily found in the index. It also provides background to help students with different prior experiences.

Lesson 1—like the other Lessons—provides a copy of the section of the Study Guide for this lesson.

Lesson 1 –Use its 3 Learning Quizzes 1st

1.      Portuguese- plantation system and slave trade

2.      Spanish - Christopher Columbus

3.      Columbian Exchange

4.      Treaty of Tordesillas (Line of Demarcation) – parts to Portugal and to Spain

5.      Spain and the Aztecs

6.      Spain and the encomienda system

7.      Representative Native Americans encountered:

  • Aztecs
  • Algonguin and Iroquois

8.      Traits of earliest wave of exploring nation states:

9.      Protestant Reformation-what it was and these religions with consequences on North America:

  • Roman Catholicism
  • Calvinism (in England Separatists and Puritans)
  • Anglicanism (Church of England)

10.   Location of colonization in the Americas, response to Native Americans, and who will win:

  • the Spanish (Spain)
  • the French (France)
  • the English (England)
  • the Dutch (the Netherlands)


Tip: Why all the tables (also called charts) in these Lessons? You can compare related information before your learn it and frequently you can understand it only after you put in a table.

Vocabulary – Why Cover Vocabulary?

·        Roman Republic

·        Republic

·        Senate

·        Roman Empire

·        Empire

·        Emperor/empress

·        Imperialism

·        Colony

·        Middle Ages/medieval

·        Feudalism and primogeniture

·        Hierarchy of government and classes

·   King

·   Nobles

·   Small middle class, primarily craftsmen and some merchants

·   Servitude

·        Serfs

·        Slaves

Key concept: Vassal or Subject (a term still in use) Tip: A subject of the king not only owed the king, but the king owed the subject protection. We are still calling ourselves subjects of the king until just before the revolution.

·        Hierarchy of the church --Roman Catholic – in the West

·   Pope (where)

·   Bishops and other levels

·   Two paths: parish/priest   and monastery/monk

·        Renaissance

·   Rebirth – science, art,  (and the vision of that rebirth is Roman Empire)

·   Rise of nation-states (with a people that were homogeneous and with a government that was sovereign)

·   Slow rise of a “middle class” involved in trade in towns and cities

·        Age of Exploration (1400s) - below

·        Protestant Reformation (major events after 1517) - below


·        All the time periods had servitude (serfdom and slavery)

·        All of the time periods are different from today in most places. Examples:

·        They are fine (no guilt at all) about enslaving people. If you were a slave, you would get no pay but instead work for enough to survive another day and to avoid the owner’s violence against you.

·        They are fine with torturing you and killing you if you have a different religion from the king of the country.

Major Events in the Age of Exploration

1.      European events with Spain and Portugal

·        Portugal – sails East and also develops:

·         the plantation system

·         the slave trade – pages 12-13

·        Spain – 1492 – the Italian Christopher Columbus sails west expecting to reach India, thus naming the people Indians – page 14
Tip: Think about why the Italian Columbus (and many others) were willing to sail for another country?

2.      1494 - Treaty of Tordesillas (also known as the Line of Demarcation) dividing the world – page 14-15 (map)—between two nations:

a.      Portugal – the East

b.      Spain – the West



c.      Portugal/slave trade in east and seller in west (for a while)


3.      The race by the nation-states that follows

Changes in Religion from Roman Catholicism to the Protestant Reformation

·        1500 and prior eras– Roman Catholicism dominant in Western Europe

·        1517 Martin Luther and Lutherans  – page 35

·        1530s King Henry VIII and Church of England (AKA Anglican) –page 22

·        Established church

·        John Calvin and Calvinism –page 22

Tip: For believers in a religion and for nation-states, religion was a reason:

·        To kill each other in Europe and in the New World

·        To try—for some nation-states--to try to convert Native Americans to their faith

Thinking about the Religions

·       The money?

·       The church hierarchy of that faith?

·       The desires of princes or kings for a nation-state?

·       The implications of some religions in the New World?


Optional and Hand-written per a student-request: content in the 4th column of the table as a hierarchical chart—something a student requested and I drew for him.)  Link Address: http://www.cjbibus.com/0500BC_1650s_Religious_Splintering.jpg

Representative Native Americans before Columbus arrived (thus the term Pre-Columbian)

·        Algonquians and Iroquois in North America

·        Location (Eastern Woodlands—where? Page 10, a map)

·        Economy

·        Government

Video:  A World Apart   Search Word:  Iroquois     Tip: This will also show Algonquians.


·        Aztecs  

·        Location

·        Economy

·        Government

Video: A World Transformed   Search Words:  Aztec and Columbus


If you want more information about Native Americans, there is an optional resource at the bottom of this webpage. Click Ctrl-End to move there quickly.

Columbian Exchange

-        Exchange: crops and foods and animals (and horses)

-        Reality: 90% death rate of Native Americans from disease -- and servitude

Spanish Conquistadores

Spain in the Americas in the Years That Follow

The Race of Other Nations

·        Without answers for self-testing: Major Issues in Colonization: Comparing Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands  Link Address: http://www.cjbibus.com/1500_1700_Major_Issues_Colonization_Answers_forselftesting.htm

·        With answers for observing patterns: Completed Table Comparing Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands Link Address: http://www.cjbibus.com/1500_1700_Major_Issues_Colonization_Answers.htm

4.      French beginnings

·        When? 1608, with the first colony at Quebec - page 77

·        Where?

·        Role of religion in coming to the New World? –- page 77.

·        Relationship with the Native Americans, including in war (page 77)?   coureurs de bois (runners of the woods) – page 78

5.      Dutch (the name for people from The Netherlands) beginnings

·        When? 1623-1624 at New Amsterdam - page 77

·        Where?

·        Role of religion in coming to the New World?  page 41-42


6.      English beginnings and the end of Spanish dominance

·        When? 1585, with the failed colony of Roanoke - page 22

·        Where?

·        Role of religion in coming to the New World? Tip: late 1520s with Henry VIII – page 22—and continuing divisions at home – page 23

·        Role of “sea dogs”) – page 22

·        The shift -  1588 defeat of the Spanish Invincible Armada – page 23


If You Want More about Native Americans – as with other things in this course I had a student ask for this.


Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2020


WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

Contact Information:

281.239.1577 or bibusc@wcjc.edu

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