Definitions for Early American History

Term Definition
January 15, 2002
  • Theocentric Central American Indian civilization
  • Sacrificed prisoners from neighboring tribes to the sun god
  • Discovered chocolate and cocaine
  • More peaceful South American Indian civilization
  • Largest known non-literate empire with 8-12 million people
  • Warred with their neighbors in Peru
  • Confederacy of Indian tribes in Eastern North America
  • Approximately 10000 members
  • Had a constitution
The Vikings
  • Viking means pirate
  • First European group to have reached the Americas for certain
  • Eric the Red made it to Greenland
  • Lief Ericson later made it to the Americas around 1000
  • Both were fleeing the law when they came
Prince Henry
  • Known as Prince Henry the navigator
  • From Portugal
  • Shows the effects of technology on conquest
  • Uses the new inventions of the compass, astrolade (sexton) and printing press to his advantage
  • Called a galleon in Spanish
  • Deep sea sailing ship
  • Requires a much smaller crew than the galley ships that it succeeds
  • Gunpowder and the cannon allow the transition to take place by equaling the fighting odds
Christopher Columbus
  • Italian explorer that believes he can go to China by traveling around the world
  • He calculated the distance to China to be 3000mi (it is 10000mi)
  • He goes to the Portuguese, but they are unwilling
  • Eventually Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain give him ships
  • He ends up in the Bahamas
  • Returns three times and never knows he didn't reach the Indies
  • A Spanish conquistador wanting to find gold
  • First European to see the Pacific looking west
  • Kills a tribe of Indians because the chief cross dresses
Hernan Cortez
  • Leads 600 men, 10 cannons, 17 horses to take over Mexico in the 1520's
  • Stay mostly in Central America where there is lots of gold
  • 25 million Indians drops to 1.5 million within 40 years between disease and war
John Cabot
  • An Italian sent by England to explore in 1497
  • He lands in Newfoundland and finds nothing interesting
  • Tries again and is lost at sea
  • England gives up for a while on colonizing
Henry VIII
  • Lived from 1509-1547
  • Had 6 wives one at a time
  • Catherine of Aragon is a Spanish princess that he marries first. She has a daughter (Mary) and several miscarriages
  • He gets Anne Boleyn pregnant before he can leave Catherine
  • He thinks the child will be a boy, but he is not allowed to divorce as a Catholic
  • He creates the Anglican church so he can get a divorce
Martin Luther
  • 1517 breaks away from the Catholic church called the Protestant Reformation
  • He forms the Lutheran Church primarily in Germany
Elizabeth I
  • Child of Anne Boleyn
  • Has to be Anglican for her throne to be legitimate
  • An excellent politician who gets what she wants from Parliament
  • Reign is marked by religious tolerance
  • Her navy defeats the Spanish armada in 1588
  • Restarts colonization in the Americans
Richard Hakluyt
  • Wrote books on the colonization of the Americas
  • Emphasized the military benefits; "a bit on the Spanish mouth"
  • Emphasized trade with the new colonies
  • Emphasized getting rid of social undesirables
Walter Raleigh
  • Dashing sea captain and poet who gets permission to colonize from Elizabeth
  • Not allowed to go himself
  • 1585 is the first expedition which finds North Carolina. It is 108 men wanting to be pirates that doesn't find much and piss off the Indians. Sir Francis Drake brings back the survivors
  • 1587 is the next try in Roanoke
  • Ends up in the Tower of London and is executed for treason
  • Colony formed in 1587
  • Family colony with men, women and children
  • Lands in a bad area and is stranded because of fighting with the Spanish Armada
  • When the supply ship arrives in 1590 it is gone
  • Only sign is the word Croatan written on a tree
  • Local Indian tribe called the Croations later wiped out by neighboring tribe
January 22, 2002
James I
  • Takes over after Elizabeth in 1603
John Smith
  • Mercenary who pulls things together in the decaying Jamestown colony
  • Much of his life story is known only from his autobiography (which might be embellished)
  • Starts a militia in the colony and puts everyone to work
  • Makes friends with the Powhatan Confederacy
  • Wounded in an explosion and returns to England in 1609
  • One of Powhatan's daughters
  • Likely did save his life and is saddened when she thinks he dies
  • Is taken hostage by the colony
  • Is converted to Christianity
  • Marries John Rolfe and that brings peace
  • Goes to England which encourages settlement
  • Dies on the return trip of disease
John Rolfe
  • Marries Pocahontas insuring a brief peace
  • Starts growing tobacco which makes the colony viable
Headright System
  • An incentive to get British to come to the colonies
  • Offers 50 acres to any man, woman or child coming over
House of Burgesses
  • First native colonial government
  • Only officially allowed to advise the London company, but starts making laws
  • When they are ordered to disband and a royal governor sent in they continue to control things
Tidewater Wars
  • Between the Powhatan Confederacy and the Jamestown colonists
  • Commences after the death of Pocahontas is learned
  • Starts in 1622 when the Indians kill a third of the colonists
  • 1644 is another major attack killing 500 colonists
  • The colonists response is to eradicate the Indians
John Calvin
  • A Frenchman who played a significant role in the Reformation
  • Called for local control of churches
  • Much less nationalistic than Luther who focuses heavily on Germany
  • As a result has more widespread appeal
  • Focuses heavily on Predestination (as opposed to Free Will)
  • People in England who want to "purify" the Anglican Church
  • They are dissatisfied with the money and political influence the church has
  • Allowed to have worldly possessions and take good fortune as a sign of being chosen
  • Victorian writers characterizing the Puritans as prudish for their own purposes created much of the stereotype
  • Puritan work ethic is real and pronounced
  • Believe in education and established Harvard
  • Puritans who think that England is too far gone and want to start over
  • Try going to Holland, but find it difficult to get work. Also their children are influenced by the culture
  • End up going to Virginia with the Puritans
  • Are called the Pilgrims on their journey
  • Only about a third of the Mayflower is Pilgrims
William Bradford
  • Leads the Pilgrims to Virginia
  • Misses Virginia and ends up in Massachusetts
Mayflower Compact
  • Perhaps the earliest American constitution
  • Lays down rules for the operation of society in Plymouth Colony
  • Agreed to by 35 "saints" and 67 "strangers"
  • The Pilgrims make the rules
  • Indian brought in to Plymouth Colony who speaks English
  • Starts a tradition of good Indian relations by the Pilgrims
Charles I
  • Successor to James I
  • Better at being stately than James
  • Gets along poorly with Parliament and tries to rule without them
  • Eventually beheaded
John Winthrop
  • Upper class Puritan who goes off to start a "city on the hill"
  • Starts a more diverse society than the Puritans; with artisans, traders and fishermen
Roger Williams
  • A popular Puritan preacher who despises the Anglicans
  • Preaches for separation of church and state
  • Believed the Indians should be compensated for their land
  • He is banished by Winthrop
  • Starts the Rhode Island colony
  • Rhode Island is a place of genuine tolerance
Anne Hutchinson
  • Charismatic wife of a merchant
  • Arrives while Williams is getting kicked out
  • Starts holding prayer meetings that she leads
  • Develops a following in the community
  • Is critical of the local leaders
  • Claims to talk to God and is touched in the middle of her trial
  • Is banished and goes west
  • Runs into some Indians and dies
Pequot War
  • Between the Puritans and the Pequot Indians
  • Seen as a holy crusade by the Puritans
  • Ends when the Puritans ally with other Indian tribes and annihilate the Pequots
Metacom's War
  • Also called King Philip's War after the Indian leader
  • Against the Wampanogs in 1675-6
  • 20000 Indians versus 40000 Puritans
  • 1 in 20 Puritans killed
  • Local groups of fighting men
  • Closest modern equivalent is the National Guard
  • Exist in all the colonies for protection
Salem Witch Trials
  • Young girls start experimenting with voodoo and fortune telling with the help of a West Indian slave
  • They start faking possessions
  • People are put on trial for being witches
  • 19 people hanged and one crushed to death trying to get a confession from him
  • Wide variety for a 4.5 year old girl to a 71 year old woman
  • Stops when the governor's wife is put on trial
New Amsterdam
  • Group of eccentric Puritans who start Pennsylvania
  • Focus on simplicity and humility
  • Very communal and pacifistic
  • No formal churches and focus on individual interpretation and experience
  • Use The and Thou to avoid gender specific language
  • Believed everyone had a spark of the divine
  • Founded b George Fox
William Penn
  • Rich Quaker whose father was a royal admiral
  • Starts Pennsylvania
  • It is a very successful colony
  • Very tolerant with a good population and good Indian relations
  • Inhabited by many Germans from which the term Pennsylvania Dutch (Doiche) originates
Lord Baltimore
  • Sir George Calvert who founded Maryland
  • Attempted to make Maryland a refuge for Catholics facing persecution in England
  • Not especially popular since there were easier places for Catholics to escape persecution
Indentured Servants
  • Poor people who agreed to work for a certain period in exchange for passage
Bacon's Rebellion
  • 1676 Nathaniel Bacon led an uprising against the Jamestown government
  • Burned Jamestown down
  • Ended when Bacon died of illness and the men deserted
Middle Passage
  • Part of the triangular trade route
  • Would bring slaves from the top of Africa to the Americas
  • Most slaves end up in the Caribbean with a few in South Carolina
  • 5 years was a long time to live in the sugar islands
Terms for January 29
Navigation Acts
  • Import/export taxes passed by Britain
  • A demonstration of the English mercantalist philosophy
  • Difficult to enforce and smuggling is rampant
Oliver Cromwell
  • Leader of the military in the civil war started by Charles I in the 1640's
  • Eventually becomes the leader of Britain
  • Staunch Puritan he outlaws common place acts like kite flying and pubs
  • His death is celebrated in 1659
Glorious Revolution
  • Enthronement of King William and dethronement of James I by Parliament
  • Demonstrates Parliaments power in Britain
  • Creates a bill of rights that William and Mary must sign before taking control
John Locke
  • Extremely important social philosopher during the late 1600's
  • Wrote about societies arrangement with government as a social contract
  • Said the basic needs are Life, Liberty, Property and Happiness
  • His statement that a poorly run government may be removed had wide reaching effects
Salutory Neglect
  • A period from 1689-1760 when the colonies are largely ignored
  • An important formative period when the colonists grew accustomed to self rule
Great Awakening
  • A religious revival across the colonies in the 1720's and 30's
  • Spearheaded by the traveling preacher George Whitfield
  • Attacks university taught preachers and intellectualism
  • Spreads the different religions around and makes the colonies more homogeneous
  • Fosters a general moralizing atmosphere
Ben Franklin
  • Founding father; classical example of a Renaissance man from the Enlightenment
  • Begins as an apprentice printer, but makes his own way
  • Invented the Franklin stove, bifocals and confirmed the electrical nature of lightning
  • A diplomat before and after the war
Cartier & Champlain
  • 1530's Cartier travels for France to explore the Americas
  • He takes the St. Lawrence river all the way to Quebec
  • Is looking for gold; hangs around for about 10 years and returns to France
  • 1604 Champlain returns to the same area permanently
  • Claims a good deal of the area around Canada and the great lakes
  • French Protestants (living in a Catholic country)
  • Many flee to different parts of the world
  • More end up in British colonies than French ones
  • British colonists take Nova Scotia from the French in Queen Anne's war
  • The displaced French travel all the way down to Louisiana
  • Cajun is an altered form of Catia
Cartagena and Louisbourg
  • Cartagena is in the south
  • The British take 4000 colonists down to take it from the French
  • 2/3 die; mostly from disease
  • Louisburg is taken by the colonists in the north of their own accord
  • The British come and take all the goods
  • The colonists are left to hold it at the cost of 800 people
  • The British trade it back to France for Medras, India
  • Both of these events drive the colonists and England farther apart
Fort Duquense
  • Part of a line of French forts built in 1754
  • They blocks colonial expansion to the west
  • George Washington and 300 colonists try to take it
  • They are overrun by many more French and Indians
  • This begins the French and Indian war
George Washington
  • Leads the colonists against Fort Duquense
  • Later leader of the Continental Army
William Pitt
  • Prime Minister of England during the Seven Years War (French and Indian War)
  • Sends over lots of troops and takes Duquense, Louisburg and Nova Scotia
  • The war triples the British national dept
Peace of Paris, 1763
  • Ends the French and Indian War
  • Gives Britain all of Canada and west to the Mississippi
  • Spain gets everything else
  • France gets a couple of islands
George III
  • English born son of German George III
  • Dumb, arrogant and autocratic
  • Tries to significantly increase the role of monarchy in ruling
Proclamation of 1763
  • Forbids the colonists from crossing the Appalachians
  • An attempt to keep peace with the Indians
  • Resented by the colonists
Sugar Act
  • Tax on sugar by the new Prime Minister George Grenville
  • Increases the taxes by double
  • Sends in new enforcers of the Navigation Acts
  • Targeted specifically at the colonies
Stamp Act
  • Taxes all paper documents in 1765
  • Requires a stamp be placed on any document showing tax has been paid
  • Staunchly opposed by the colonies
Sons of Liberty
  • Formed to prevent the Stamp Tax from being collected
  • Beat up stamp collectors and people trying to pay the tax
  • They burn the ships with the stamps in them
  • Keep causing civil unrest throughout the rebellion
Townshend Acts
  • Grenville wants to send in the army, but loses his job to Charles Townsend before he can
  • The Stamp Act is lifted in 1766
  • Townsend places new taxes on lead, paper, tea, glass, etc.
  • These taxes are also resisted
Quartering Act
  • Requires colonists to house visiting British troops in their homes
  • The British Army recruits heavily from the prisons and pubs
Boston Massacre
  • Confrontation between colonists and British troops in 1770
  • Soldiers get hit with snowballs and rocks
  • They start shooting without command
  • 5 colonists killed; 6 or 7 wounded
  • Marks the beginning of a lull in tensions
February 6, 2002
Boston Tea Party
Intolerable Acts
First Continental Congress
Bunker Hill
Second Continental Congress
Common Sense
Declaration of Independence
Johnny Burgoyne
George Germain
Valley Forge
Cowpens/Kings Mountain
Treaty of Paris, 1783