The Americas, Europe, & Africa Before 1492 Essay

The Americas, Europe, and Africa Before 1492

Pre-Columbian America consisted of a progression of tribal civilizations from the Olmec to the Inca, and extending from South America to the Eastern Woodlands of North America. These were nomadic people that began to build settlements and domesticate plants and animals. They led a life based on agriculture and developed a written language, created art and architecture, and found rich resources of gold. These civilizations had class systems and had their own form of worship. The multi ethnic people of this time period were proficient traders and were well established in their way of life.

During this same time, Europe was living in fear after much political upheaval and the effects of ravaging diseases. They also lived under different class systems and their lives were centered around formal religion and the Church. As Europe recovered from the plague and the population increased, trade from the East brought many new and desirable riches to the people of Europe. While Native Americans worshiped Gods of the natural world and believed in human sacrifice, the Europeans divided themselves into the Eastern Branch of Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church.

Another big difference in the two cultures was the rigid political system in Europe compared to the leaders of the smaller clans of natives and gender roles were different as well. Natives were still hunters and gatherers and both cultures farmed, but trade from east to west was about to explode. As Europeans became accustomed to the many wonderful new items flowing in from the East, they were also becoming frustrated with the slow and increasingly costly routes between the two regions. The Silk Road was laden with Muslim middlemen collecting taxes on the goods that passed through. In order to trade more efficiently and improve profits, Europe set out to find a better water route for their exports and the imports they sought. They set out for the East Indies and stumbled upon the New World.

Fantastic stories of great wealth, dreams of glory for making tremendous discoveries, and the idea of bringing faith in Jesus to all people, were the main motivations for efforts to explore the New World. Europeans knew improved trade would mean profits, better communication with other parts of the world, and the spread of Christianity. With the discovery of the New World came the revelation of the sugar and tobacco plantations that could bring great wealth to Europe.

As Portugal explored the west coast of Africa looking for a new route to the East, they discovered the slave trade used to work the sugar plantations on the Madeira Islands. The sugar and tobacco plantations in America needed a greater labor force and African slaves proved to be the answer. Servitude was not a new concept and was practiced in many different forms in most civilizations but it was the need for a sufficient labor force in the New World that brought about race based slavery.

African slaves were already familiar with farming. They were strong and hard working. Because of the color of their skin they were easy to identify. These things are what made them the perfect candidate for the New World plantations. Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500-1700 As England went in search of new territories and wealth in the rapidly developing New World, the adjustments they had to make were many. Creating a labor force to extract the profitable goods from America was one of the many challenges.

Colonists and Natives did not always agree with The English Crown, but everyone was looking to forge a place for themselves and benefit from their new societies. The Natives were not happy about the intrusion on their way of life but came to relish the English goods. Plantation and mine owners agreed to protect their colony as well as introduce Indian workers to Christianity when the Indians entered into the encomienda system of labor with them. This proved to be very unfair to the Indians and led to the repartimiento method of labor, where Spanish overlords used groups of Natives from a particular town as a labor source.

The fur trade was very profitable for England so the French and Dutch colonies used the Natives to harvest desirable pelts and then traded for them. Using the Natives in the areas that they were familiar with, worked well for the authorities. Many impoverished English migrants worked in the labor intensive tobacco fields in the Chesapeake Bay region to escape to what they thought would be a better life. Some came to Virginia and Maryland as indentured servants and worked for a definite period of time to pay for their voyage.

Basic necessities were provided as part of their contract, but this was often a very dangerous and harsh means of employment. A steady workforce was a top priority for those in charge of the colonies and so many labor methods were tried. Migrants were enticed to Virginia with the promise of 50 acres of land for themselves and 50 more for each servant or family member that came with them. This was known as the headright labor system. In New Netherlands, merchants paid the transit for farm workers under the rights of patroonships. The need for workers and citizens was severe in this region. New Netherlands was having trouble drawing settlers to their colony because it was considered undesirable.

The Dutch West India Company eventually used African slaves to complete the burdensome effort to establish the Dutch colony. The Chesapeake Bay region also used African slaves as well as Natives to to harvest both tobacco and sugar cane. The slaves were familiar with farming; they were strong and steady workers. The New England region of the colonies was settled by a group of religious minded people known as Puritans. They left England because of the conflict with the English State Church.

The Puritans wanted to reform the church by removing things they considered un-scriptural and finally eliminating any remnants of Catholicism. The Puritans vision of reform caused a great rift in English society and the state church considered them a national threat. They came to Massachusetts to lead a biblical scripture inspired life. Some wanted to reform while others wanted to separate completely from the Church of England. This created conflict within the Puritans and they were not a completely united group.

The towns they built centered around their church and their labor force consisted of the young people from within their own community. This assured constant work for their families and their economy was secure. Puritans encouraged literacy so everyone could read the Bible. They believed there were only a few that would be saved with all others damned. They could not be sure who was predestined for salvation so by studying scripture they sought redemptive grace. The right to practice their religion without persecution brought this group to the New World, but they were no more tolerant than the English state church they left behind. While the Puritans were dissenters from the Church of England, there were also dissenters from the Puritans.

When their own members disagreed or questioned their practices, they were banished. Challenging both Governor Winthrop and the taking of Indian land led to Puritan minister Roger Williams being found guilty of spreading dangerous ideas. Their intolerance included executing so-called witches in Salem Village, excommunicating Anne Hutchinson, who questioned their authority, and major conflicts with the Native people they were trying to convert to Christianity. This was an eventful time of adjustment and growth in the colonies.

The corridor that brought migrants to North America from Asia was a stepping stone to our world today. Following a path in search of food became a way of life that led to the exploration of our entire continent. The Beringia land bridge provided the access to the people that we have come to know as Native Americans. The importance of the arrival of these Natives is immeasurable. Without their help, the Europeans might not have managed to settle the colonies as they did, therefore Beringia holds a significant place in history .

Slavery is one of the most compelling issues of all time. In the form of servitude, it was a necessity for the survival of many Africans and it played an extremely important role in the settlement of the Americas. The Europeans settled here because it provided great wealth. Without the labor force provided by the slaves, this would have been much more difficult. It was in the form of chattel slavery, the owning of another person, that the dehumanization of African slaves occurred. Chattel slavery was the basis of the division in race as we know it today. This division is a product of history that has had and continues to have a negative affect on our society.

The practice of mercantilism created a definite separation between the authorities in Europe and the colonies. The exploration of the New World was expensive and by controlling the trade of raw minerals, mercantilists extracted the wealth from a region in order to colonize and maintain their home countries as well as their newly attained holdings. When these same authorities created laws and policies governing trade and then chose not to enforce them, colonists decided that they preferred the independence gained during this period of salutary neglect to the rule of the monarchy. Therefor mercantilism was one of the underlying causes for the colonists “need” to rebel.

In order for the settlement of the New World to even take place, there had to be a development of people and a means of survival for them. The Columbian Exchange brought the transference of people, goods, and agriculture advancements needed to support the economies of both the Americas and the European/African nations. The Natives benefitted from the introduction of new livestock, as well as the reintroduction of animals that had died out, they also became quite fond of European goods. Exchange was in both directions and the natural resources and cash crops exported to Europe allowed continued settlement.

Along with the positive exchanges, came the far reaching negative effect of disease that Europeans brought to the Natives. While tobacco and sugar brought wealth to England, the unhealthy result lingers today. While significant, the Columbian Exchange obviously had both positive and negative affects on all those involved.Because the success of the colonies depended on the labor intensive crops that brought in the funds to run both the colonies and the English government, creative incentives for migrants were established.

The Virginia Company set up the headright system of labor. Fifty acres was given to those who paid their own way to America. Any family members or servants that came with them were also given the same amount of land. This was an extremely important method of enticing new people to make the long and difficult journey to the New World. Land ownership was crucial to increase the number of colonial votes in the English government. The loyalty that the colonists still felt toward England depended on the idea that they were somehow still connected. This system gave the new colonists the motivation to make their property profitable.

Providing colonists to settle and develop the New World was as important as any other part of the exploration and creation of America. Those seeking religious freedom brought to America a different perspective on colonization. By signing the Mayflower Compact on their journey, they established the idea that they would come together as a united group of people with a purpose to create a better nation for themselves and their families. This promise they made to each other was in honor of their king, but ultimately for the good of the colony itself. While not actually a constitution, it was absolutely the first governing document of the American colonies.

A step toward the eventual separation from England.

As England was trying to straighten out their own form of government and reestablish the monarchy, the wealth from the American colonies became as important as ever. When Charles II decided that England needed to increase control over the colonies, in order to better utilize America’s assets, The Navigation Acts were put in place. These policies would have created an enormous hold on the colonies by limiting the export of profitable goods and creating the English monopoly of imported goods. But because Prime Minister Walpole did not enforce them, the colonists learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of unregulated trade. The real importance of the Navigation Acts came after the French and Indian War when England began the actual enforcement of these money making policies. This led to the colonist’s longing and eventual demand for independence.

After the Great Awakening, the period called the Enlightenment brought a great change in the way people thought. The uncritical acceptance of both faith and lack of reasoning was no longer tolerated by scientists and free thinkers. Their thirst for more knowledge led to the exchange of ideas in printed publications and they emphasized the concept that experience was an important way to learn. Benjamin Franklin, the great symbol of Enlightenment, gave us many useful inventions as well as much informative advice for everyday life. This era encouraged more religious tolerance, social reform, and the encouragement to grow into a strong nation seeking important advancements for future generations.

The Stamp Act was Britain’s way of emphasizing their power over the colonists and it brought a stream of protests that gave the British government a clear picture of the colonist’s wrath. The Sons of Liberty were a group that took to the streets in violent protest of this direct tax on colonists. Though they considered themselves patriots of Britain, they were determined to maintain their liberty as colonists. The Sons of Liberty enforced the boycotts promoted by the female colonists who were also upset over the stamp collections and their violent actions brought on the civilized protests of the more educated men who supported their cause. Every colony had a chapter of The Sons of Liberty. This was the first time the colonists had such a strong united front for any reason. Not everyone agreed with the violent approach, but The Sons of Liberty had managed to bring the colonists together as a group that would not back down from the fight for liberty.

The end of the French and Indian War brought tremendous relief to the colonists as well as Great Britain. But the huge debt that came with the war overshadowed the victory. The colonists that had fought in the war expected to move into the western frontier as had been promised but their plans were destroyed when the government issued the Proclamation Line of 1763.

This division through the Appalachian Mountains meant the colonists could not move west into what became the Indian’s reservation. Great Britain thought that by limiting the encroachment into the Indian territory they could avoid more unrest and a possible war. Colonists felt like this was a huge betrayal and it became a major point in their decision to seek independence from the Crown. The Proclamation set boundaries that are still used today. Conflict between the colonists and the Indians escalated to the point where both believed the other needed to be eliminated. The line that had been drawn was one of the original race wars. The idea of one race of people being more important than the other is still a war fought today.

The Americas, Europe, and Africa Before 1492

Pre-Columbian America consisted of a progression of tribal civilizations from the Olmec to the Inca, and extending from South America to the Eastern Woodlands of North America. These were nomadic people that began to build settlements and domesticate plants and animals. They led a life based on agriculture and developed a written language, created art and architecture, and found rich resources of gold. These civilizations had class systems and had their own form of worship. The multi ethnic people of this time period were proficient traders and were well established in their way of life.

During this same time, Europe was living in fear after much political upheaval and the effects of ravaging diseases. They also lived under different class systems and their lives were centered around formal religion and the Church. As Europe recovered from the plague and the population increased, trade from the East brought many new and desirable riches to the people of Europe. While Native Americans worshiped Gods of the natural world and believed in human sacrifice, the Europeans divided themselves into the Eastern Branch of Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church.

Another big difference in the two cultures was the rigid political system in Europe compared to the leaders of the smaller clans of natives and gender roles were different as well. Natives were still hunters and gatherers and both cultures farmed, but trade from east to west was about to explode. As Europeans became accustomed to the many wonderful new items flowing in from the East, they were also becoming frustrated with the slow and increasingly costly routes between the two regions. The Silk Road was laden with Muslim middlemen collecting taxes on the goods that passed through. In order to trade more efficiently and improve profits, Europe set out to find a better water route for their exports and the imports they sought. They set out for the East Indies and stumbled upon the New World.

Fantastic stories of great wealth, dreams of glory for making tremendous discoveries, and the idea of bringing faith in Jesus to all people, were the main motivations for efforts to explore the New World. Europeans knew improved trade would mean profits, better communication with other parts of the world, and the spread of Christianity. With the discovery of the New World came the revelation of the sugar and tobacco plantations that could bring great wealth to Europe.

As Portugal explored the west coast of Africa looking for a new route to the East, they discovered the slave trade used to work the sugar plantations on the Madeira Islands. The sugar and tobacco plantations in America needed a greater labor force and African slaves proved to be the answer. Servitude was not a new concept and was practiced in many different forms in most civilizations but it was the need for a sufficient labor force in the New World that brought about race based slavery.

African slaves were already familiar with farming. They were strong and hard working. Because of the color of their skin they were easy to identify. These things are what made them the perfect candidate for the New World plantations. Creating New Social Orders: Colonial Societies, 1500-1700 As England went in search of new territories and wealth in the rapidly developing New World, the adjustments they had to make were many. Creating a labor force to extract the profitable goods from America was one of the many challenges.

Colonists and Natives did not always agree with The English Crown, but everyone was looking to forge a place for themselves and benefit from their new societies. The Natives were not happy about the intrusion on their way of life but came to relish the English goods. Plantation and mine owners agreed to protect their colony as well as introduce Indian workers to Christianity when the Indians entered into the encomienda system of labor with them. This proved to be very unfair to the Indians and led to the repartimiento method of labor, where Spanish overlords used groups of Natives from a particular town as a labor source.

The fur trade was very profitable for England so the French and Dutch colonies used the Natives to harvest desirable pelts and then traded for them. Using the Natives in the areas that they were familiar with, worked well for the authorities. Many impoverished English migrants worked in the labor intensive tobacco fields in the Chesapeake Bay region to escape to what they thought would be a better life. Some came to Virginia and Maryland as indentured servants and worked for a definite period of time to pay for their voyage.

Basic necessities were provided as part of their contract, but this was often a very dangerous and harsh means of employment. A steady workforce was a top priority for those in charge of the colonies and so many labor methods were tried. Migrants were enticed to Virginia with the promise of 50 acres of land for themselves and 50 more for each servant or family member that came with them. This was known as the headright labor system. In New Netherlands, merchants paid the transit for farm workers under the rights of patroonships. The need for workers and citizens was severe in this region. New Netherlands was having trouble drawing settlers to their colony because it was considered undesirable.

The Dutch West India Company eventually used African slaves to complete the burdensome effort to establish the Dutch colony. The Chesapeake Bay region also used African slaves as well as Natives to to harvest both tobacco and sugar cane. The slaves were familiar with farming; they were strong and steady workers. The New England region of the colonies was settled by a group of religious minded people known as Puritans. They left England because of the conflict with the English State Church. T

he Puritans wanted to reform the church by removing things they considered un-scriptural and finally eliminating any remnants of Catholicism. The Puritans vision of reform caused a great rift in English society and the state church considered them a national threat. They came to Massachusetts to lead a biblical scripture inspired life. Some wanted to reform while others wanted to separate completely from the Church of England. This created conflict within the Puritans and they were not a completely united group.

The towns they built centered around their church and their labor force consisted of the young people from within their own community. This assured constant work for their families and their economy was secure. Puritans encouraged literacy so everyone could read the Bible. They believed there were only a few that would be saved with all others damned. They could not be sure who was predestined for salvation so by studying scripture they sought redemptive grace. The right to practice their religion without persecution brought this group to the New World, but they were no more tolerant than the English state church they left behind. While the Puritans were dissenters from the Church of England, there were also dissenters from the Puritans.

When their own members disagreed or questioned their practices, they were banished. Challenging both Governor Winthrop and the taking of Indian land led to Puritan minister Roger Williams being found guilty of spreading dangerous ideas. Their intolerance included executing so-called witches in Salem Village, excommunicating Anne Hutchinson, who questioned their authority, and major conflicts with the Native people they were trying to convert to Christianity. This was an eventful time of adjustment and growth in the colonies.

The corridor that brought migrants to North America from Asia was a stepping stone to our world today. Following a path in search of food became a way of life that led to the exploration of our entire continent. The Beringia land bridge provided the access to the people that we have come to know as Native Americans. The importance of the arrival of these Natives is immeasurable. Without their help, the Europeans might not have managed to settle the colonies as they did, therefore Beringia holds a significant place in history .

Slavery is one of the most compelling issues of all time. In the form of servitude, it was a necessity for the survival of many Africans and it played an extremely important role in the settlement of the Americas. The Europeans settled here because it provided great wealth. Without the labor force provided by the slaves, this would have been much more difficult. It was in the form of chattel slavery, the owning of another person, that the dehumanization of African slaves occurred. Chattel slavery was the basis of the division in race as we know it today. This division is a product of history that has had and continues to have a negative affect on our society.

The practice of mercantilism created a definite separation between the authorities in Europe and the colonies. The exploration of the New World was expensive and by controlling the trade of raw minerals, mercantilists extracted the wealth from a region in order to colonize and maintain their home countries as well as their newly attained holdings. When these same authorities created laws and policies governing trade and then chose not to enforce them, colonists decided that they preferred the independence gained during this period of salutary neglect to the rule of the monarchy. Therefor mercantilism was one of the underlying causes for the colonists “need” to rebel.

In order for the settlement of the New World to even take place, there had to be a development of people and a means of survival for them. The Columbian Exchange brought the transference of people, goods, and agriculture advancements needed to support the economies of both the Americas and the European/African nations. The Natives benefitted from the introduction of new livestock, as well as the reintroduction of animals that had died out, they also became quite fond of European goods. Exchange was in both directions and the natural resources and cash crops exported to Europe allowed continued settlement.

Along with the positive exchanges, came the far reaching negative effect of disease that Europeans brought to the Natives. While tobacco and sugar brought wealth to England, the unhealthy result lingers today. While significant, the Columbian Exchange obviously had both positive and negative affects on all those involved.Because the success of the colonies depended on the labor intensive crops that brought in the funds to run both the colonies and the English government, creative incentives for migrants were established.

The Virginia Company set up the headright system of labor. Fifty acres was given to those who paid their own way to America. Any family members or servants that came with them were also given the same amount of land. This was an extremely important method of enticing new people to make the long and difficult journey to the New World. Land ownership was crucial to increase the number of colonial votes in the English government. The loyalty that the colonists still felt toward England depended on the idea that they were somehow still connected. This system gave the new colonists the motivation to make their property profitable.

Providing colonists to settle and develop the New World was as important as any other part of the exploration and creation of America. Those seeking religious freedom brought to America a different perspective on colonization. By signing the Mayflower Compact on their journey, they established the idea that they would come together as a united group of people with a purpose to create a better nation for themselves and their families. This promise they made to each other was in honor of their king, but ultimately for the good of the colony itself. While not actually a constitution, it was absolutely the first governing document of the American colonies.

A step toward the eventual separation from England.

As England was trying to straighten out their own form of government and reestablish the monarchy, the wealth from the American colonies became as important as ever. When Charles II decided that England needed to increase control over the colonies, in order to better utilize America’s assets, The Navigation Acts were put in place. These policies would have created an enormous hold on the colonies by limiting the export of profitable goods and creating the English monopoly of imported goods. But because Prime Minister Walpole did not enforce them, the colonists learned what it was like to be on the receiving end of unregulated trade. The real importance of the Navigation Acts came after the French and Indian War when England began the actual enforcement of these money making policies. This led to the colonist’s longing and eventual demand for independence.

After the Great Awakening, the period called the Enlightenment brought a great change in the way people thought. The uncritical acceptance of both faith and lack of reasoning was no longer tolerated by scientists and free thinkers. Their thirst for more knowledge led to the exchange of ideas in printed publications and they emphasized the concept that experience was an important way to learn. Benjamin Franklin, the great symbol of Enlightenment, gave us many useful inventions as well as much informative advice for everyday life. This era encouraged more religious tolerance, social reform, and the encouragement to grow into a strong nation seeking important advancements for future generations.

The Stamp Act was Britain’s way of emphasizing their power over the colonists and it brought a stream of protests that gave the British government a clear picture of the colonist’s wrath. The Sons of Liberty were a group that took to the streets in violent protest of this direct tax on colonists. Though they considered themselves patriots of Britain, they were determined to maintain their liberty as colonists. The Sons of Liberty enforced the boycotts promoted by the female colonists who were also upset over the stamp collections and their violent actions brought on the civilized protests of the more educated men who supported their cause. Every colony had a chapter of The Sons of Liberty. This was the first time the colonists had such a strong united front for any reason. Not everyone agreed with the violent approach, but The Sons of Liberty had managed to bring the colonists together as a group that would not back down from the fight for liberty.

The end of the French and Indian War brought tremendous relief to the colonists as well as Great Britain. But the huge debt that came with the war overshadowed the victory. The colonists that had fought in the war expected to move into the western frontier as had been promised but their plans were destroyed when the government issued the Proclamation Line of 1763.

This division through the Appalachian Mountains meant the colonists could not move west into what became the Indian’s reservation. Great Britain thought that by limiting the encroachment into the Indian territory they could avoid more unrest and a possible war. Colonists felt like this was a huge betrayal and it became a major point in their decision to seek independence from the Crown. The Proclamation set boundaries that are still used today. Conflict between the colonists and the Indians escalated to the point where both believed the other needed to be eliminated. The line that had been drawn was one of the original race wars. The idea of one race of people being more important than the other is still a war fought today.

How to cite this essay: