Lesson 1: Foundations (Where We Began) and Colonization

 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.

1.      Reminder about the deeper past:

·        Roman Republic and the words republic and Senate and where you heard the word Senate before

·        Roman Empire and the words empire, emperor/empress, imperialism, and colony

·        Middle Ages and the words medieval, Roman Catholic, monastery, pope, serf, noble

Caution:  All had slavery. Serfdom and slavery are both forms of servitude, but they are different.


2.      How we got here – Expansion of Europe from the Middle Ages to the Age of Exploration and—later--the Protestant Reformation

·        From feudalism (a term for the economic and political system in western Europe) with serfs bound to the land and nobles owning that land and passing the entirety of that land to their first-born male heir so the next generation would remain powerful

·        To the rise of a “middle class” and of towns and cities

·        To the Renaissance after the 1300s and its focus on science and tools for exploration and the rise of the nation-state (with a people that were homogeneous and with a government that was sovereign)
If you need help, click here for Why you need to recognize prior eras (Link Address:  http://www.cjbibus.com/0500BC_1600sAD_Eras_and_Why_You_Want_to_Recognize_Them.htm)


You cannot understand the period until you realize how different these people are from today.

·        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.

3.      European events with Spain and Portugal

·        Portugal – sails East and also develops the plantation system and 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?

4.      1494 - Treaty of Tordesillas (also known as the Line of Demarcation) dividing the world – page 14-15 (map)—between two nations:

·        Portugal – the East

·        Spain – the West

The pope's division of the world with the Treaty of Tordesillas had a practical consequence. In the east, the treaty continued the Portuguese dominance in trading with Africa. As Native Americans died in the west, the Portuguese became slave traders who supplied the Spanish with Africans to buy. Other nations will take over the slave trade in later years.

5.      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

·        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


These religions will splinter into different groups. (Optional and handwritten: 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

Tip: To understand future events, notice:

·        Differences between the religions in their Major Beliefs and in their Organization.

·        Which religious groups go to the English colonies and to what part of those English colonies?


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

·        Algonquians and Iroquois in North America. This area is frequently called the Eastern Woodlands because it was East and had Woods (trees) and was very fertile.—Page 10 (a map). They will be part of the events later in Unit 1 with the French and the English.

·        1519 Aztecs and the Spanish conquistadores, especially Hernán Cortés—Page 14-18

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.

7.      Columbian Exchange (It is an exchange, but do notice how much the Native Americans lost in that exchange.) – pages 13-14

8.      Spain in the Americas in the years that follow

·        You have looked at one of the nations that will come to North America. Three more will come. Pause for a second and click on the links to start to notice how the 4 are different and then look at the remaining three. Comparing their traits shows you will win the struggle for North America. Tip:  Realize how much is going on and where (Look, think, but do not memorize.)


·        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

9.      French beginnings

·        When do they start to come? 1608, with the first colony at Quebec - page 77

·        Where in the Americas? – See the map below this link with French areas marked. They are in Canada and down the interior rivers, such as the Mississippi and go all the way to New Orleans.

·        Role of religion – The French do not let Protestants leave France to move to their new world colonies in the beginning so their colonies in the Americas do not grow.  - page 77.

·        In the interior, the coureurs de bois (runners of the woods), young men who migrated, did fur trading. – page 78
Think about it: you do not

·        Relationship with the Native Americans? Allies in war – page 77. Partners in trade -– page 78


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

·        When do they start to come? 1623-1624, with their colony at New Amsterdam - page 77

·        Where in the Americas? – See the map below this link with Dutch colony marked.

·        Role of religion - Protestant - religious war by Spain against the Dutch until 1648 – page 41-42


11.   English beginnings

·        When do they start to come? 1585, with the failed colony of Roanoke - page 22

·        Where in the Americas? – See the map below this link with English colony marked. They will be along the Atlantic seacoast

·        Role of religion – Became Protestant in the late 1520s with Henry VIII – page 22--and then struggles at home between the Catholics and Protestants that abated with his daughter Elizabeth I – page 23

·        Initial action pirates who went after Spanish shipping of gold (English term “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. 2003-2019


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History – Dr. Bibus

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