Unit 2: Europeon Exploration and Colonization of Americas

Essential Questions

  • How was the European worldview demonstrated in maps, artwork, and writing from the time?
  • How can misconceptions lead to stereotyping?
  • What were the major causes and effects of European exploration?
  • How have the events of exploration and colonization been interpreted throughout history?

Content

A. European knowledge was based on a variety of sources

  1. Accounts of early travelers and explorers
  2. A variety of different maps
  3. Writing of ancient scholars
  4. Guesswork
  5. Oral traditions and histories

B. Different worldviews and ethnocentrism resulted in many misconceptions

C. Motivating factors

  1. Technological improvements in navigation
  2. Consolidation of political power within certain countries in Europe
  3. Desire to break into the Eastern trade markets
  4. Missionary zeal

D. Geographic factors influenced European exploration and settlement in North and South America

  1. Effects of weather and natural hazards on the Atlantic crossings
  2. Characteristics of different physical environments in the Americas and where different Europeans settled
  3. The development of “New England,” “New France,” “New Netherland,” and “New Spain”

E. Effects of exploration and settlement in America and Europe— human-induced changes in the physical environment in the Americas caused changes in other places

  1. Introduction of new diseases to the Americas was devastating
  2. The continued growth of population in the colonies resulted in the unjust acquisition of Native American lands
  3. New types of foods improved both European and Native American health and life spans
  4. Economic and political changes in the balance of power in Europe and the Americas
  5. Introduction of African slaves into the Americas

F. Exploration and settlement of the New York State area by the Dutch and English

  1. Relationships between the colonists and the Native American Indians
  2. Similarities between the Europeans and Native American Indians
    • The role of tradition
    • The importance of families and kinship ties
    • The hierarchical nature of the community and family
    • The need to be self-sufficient
  3. Differences
    • Ideas about land ownership
    • Roles of men and women
    • Beliefs about how people from different cultures should be addressed
  4. Rivalry between the Dutch and English eventually resulted in English supremacy