History 8-1, Roots of America




Packet One
The Peopling of the Americas and the Arrival of the Europeans

Deadline, Dec. 8, 180 points

Click here to go back to the website for History 8-1.



What do current theories say about the migration of humans to North America?

What supports these claims? What challenges them?

What were Native societies like before the Europeans arrived?

How did Native American societies respond to the arrival of the Europeans?

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Anthropologists teach us that humans migrated to the Americas from Asia through a land bridge that crossed what is now the Bering Sea. After arriving in North America, modern humans traveled south and eventually reached the southern parts of South America. Along the way, they left artifacts. Just how much survived the glacial ice sheets is not known, but what is known is that by the time the Europeans arrived in the Americas, complex and differing communities and nations covered the continents.

In this assignment, we will take a very brief look at just what those people left and how they are viewed today.


Students will identify and describe the key vocabulary words and essential questions relating to the peopling of the Americas.



See the printed assignment. The link to it is located in the upper right portion of this page.

Essential questions

1. How do archaeologists and anthropologists view evidence about the ancient peopling of the Americas? What factors support their theories?
2. How did Native societies live and work prior to the arrival of the Europeans?

3. Explain the variety and lifestyles of the Natives in the Americas prior to the arrival of the Europeans.
4. How did Native societies respond to the arrival of European colonists?

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Here are the topics for the seeds of an essay.

  1. The Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588 by the English under the command of Francis Drake.
  2. Henry VIII wanted to have his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled.
  3. Many other European nations, besides Spain and Portugal, became interested in colonizing and exploring the Western Hemisphere. 
  4. Elizabeth I authorized the creation of English colonies in North America.
  5. Henry VIII organized the Church of England as a religion separate from the Catholic Church.
  6. Many European nations were seeking routes around North America. This fabled route became known as the Northwest Pasage.
  7. The Pope did not want to alienate Spain by granting Henry VIII’s request to have his marriage to Catherine annulled.
  8. Columbus drew from navigation knowledge gathered by the Portuguese, but he also disagreed with them about the distance from Europe to the the coasts of China and Japan.
  9. The conflict between Spain and England had its beginnings over 50 yeras before the Armada set sail for England.
  10. Henry VIII and Martin Luther were both powerful religious reformers, but for very different reasons.
  11. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain were devout Catholics as was their daughter, Catherine of Aragon. 
  12. Shortly after the return of Columbus, Pope Alexander VI granted Spain control over most of the Western Hemisphere.
  13. Within about forty years of Columbus voyage, Spain had seized control of much Central America and the west coast of South America.
  14. By 1600 or so, Spain controlled almost all of modern-day Mexico, the west coast of South America, much of what is now the southwestern United States, and claimed the lower Mississippi River drainage.
  15. The Columbian Exchange introduced new species of animals, new plants, and diseases on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.



Printed files

Click here to open a printed copy of the assignment.

Media files

To view the first video about human migration to the Americas we used in class, click here.

To view the second video that discussed how humans populated the Americas, click here.

To view the PowerPoint about the peopling of the Americas, click here.

Click here to read a fairly traditional view of human migration to the Americas - and some great artwork, too.

Click here to read an idea about human migration to the Americas that leans on the idea that people lived in Beringia for thousands of years, and did not just pass through it.

To view the notes about Europeans Come to the Americas, click here.

To view the PowerPoint about the Europeans Coming to the Americas, click here.

To open a copy of the timeline, 1490 to 1640, click here.

Online files

Click here to access Chapter One of the textbook.

To view the entire online textbook > Click here.


Sound files