Precolumbian America

U.S. History to 1877

Earliest Americans

            First arrivals

            50–35,000 years ago?

            Main invasion

            11,000 years ago


Mass extinctions of all large mammals: Did people do it?

Development of Agriculture

            10,000 years ago: NW Mexico or SW U.S.

            Beans, gourds, squash

            5000 years ago

            Cotton, corn, pottery

Rise of American civilization

            Olmec “mother culture”

            Mexican coast, 1500-900 BC

             Temple mounds & stone monuments

             Cities & social classes

             Priests & armies

Mayans in the Jungles of Yucatan

Mayan civilization

            Peak 600-900 AD


            Advanced astronomy, calendar, mathematics

Aztecs Conquer Central Mexico


            Established 1325

Aztecs Conquer Central Mexico

            Rise of empire from 1427 to 1521

Aztec Civilization

The Inca Empire

            Mountain civilization in the Andes of South America

            Rapid expansion from Cuzco, 1438-1525

Incan Civilization

            Densest population




            12,000 mi.
of roads

Incan Civilization




Mississippian Moundbuilders

Cahokia, Illinois

            Peak 1100-1200

            Up to 20,000 inhabitants

The Anasazi of
the Southwest

            Peak 1100-1300

Woodland culture


            Burial mounds

            Wigwam & longhouse

            Wampum, calumet, canoe

Contrast between New World & Old

Contact of New World and Old

            Epidemics & demographic disaster

            Trade, dependence, cultural change

            Contributions to the Old World