What Was Native American Society Like Before European Contact Case Study

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1. What was Native American society like before European contact? What similarities and difference existed?

The indigenous peoples of what is now the United States were split into countess tribes, practiced a variety of religions and traditions, and developed different ways of life in different environments across North America. Some native tribes were nomadic hunter-gatherers, migrating based on seasonal changes, while others lived in settled communities with larger populations. Settled tribes had the advantage of larger food surpluses due to developed agricultural practices, a division of labor between men and women, and more time for leisurely work like weaving or ceramics. In native society, there were no poor or rich members of a community.
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This great exchange of things and ideas influenced the modern age of globalization. From the Americas to the Old World precious minerals like gold and silver, crops such as corn, potatoes and tomatoes, and an STD known as syphilis was exchanged. Brought from Europe to the New World was foodstuffs like wheat, coffee, rice and sugar, livestock such as horses, cows and pigs, and more harrowing was the exchange of African slaves and diseases. The production of sugarcane in the West Indies for European consumption bought over many enslaved Africans to work the sugarcane plantations of the New World. Crops that could be grown in mass quantities such as corn and sweet potatoes were needed to feed the expanding slave population. Horses brought from Europe were quickly adopted by North American tribes such as the Apache and the Sioux for transportation. The most significant and devastating effect of the Columbian Exchange was the death toll of the diseases exchanged between Old World and New World peoples. European invaders brought diseases such as smallpox, malaria, and yellow fever. Natives gave Europeans syphilis in return, but its effects did not ravage the European continent in the same way that European diseases did for the Americas. After being isolated from the Eastern Hemisphere for over a millennia, indigenous peoples were especially vulnerable …show more content…
There were two different directions of the Spanish conquest. One movement pushed from Cuba through Mexico, all the way into what is now the southwestern region of the United States. The other began in Panama, and made its way through Peru to the tip of Argentina. The already established islands of the West Indies were used as a rest stop where supplies and animals could be stored before conquistadores proceeded to conquer. The West Indies and its few remaining indigenous peoples also served as the the testing grounds of concepts designed to overpower natives on the two continents. The most important concept was encomienda, which allowed the government to indenture leftover natives to certain high class colonists in return for trying to ‘Christianize’ them and rid the natives of their ‘pagan’ ways. This was basically a form of slavery, as most natives were overworked and denied basic rights. Encomienda led to the erasure of native people’s culture, religion, and identity so that they could further assimilate with the new European

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