First Week: Discovery

The Discovery section covers covers one week of class time (suggested) and begins with the discovery of the Americas by the First Peoples and ends with the catastrophic contact between Native Americans and Europeans. Time period: 15,000 BCE through the early 1500's.

The first contact between Natives and Europeans will impact the future history of both cultures and while the Europeans will dominate, it is important to understand the unique attributes that allowed the Europeans to be so successful. Further, it is important to understand the European motivation for exploration and the rich and varied achievements of Native civilizations. 

The Discovery section contains three separate days:
Day 1: Europe in the 15th Century examines the unique advantages that allowed for a European discovery of the New World
Day 2: Native Americans in the New World looks at the diverse cultures and accomplishments of the Natives living in the Americas prior to European contact
Day 3: Columbus and First Contact tells the brutal story of Columbus and the beginning of the Native American genocide.

  • All
  • Discovery
  • Explorers
  • Europe was one of the poorest regions on the Earth in the 15th Century. What unique advantages allowed Europeans to dominate New World civilizations?
    • Discovery
    • Explorers
  •   How were Native civilizations different from other cultures around the world? How were they the same? What did the Americas look like prior to the arrival of Columbus?
    • Discovery
    • Explorers
  •   Is Columbus a hero or a villain? Was he motivated by a desire for exploration - or simple greed? What should the legacy of Christopher Columbus be?
    • Discovery
    • Explorers