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Between 40,000 and 12,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers migrated across the Bering Strait land bridge from Asia and began to populate the Americas. The early North American cultures were less developed than those of South America and Mesoamerica. The Pacific Northwest from Oregon to Alaska was rich in resources and supported a sizable population. To the Kwakiutl, the Nootka, and the Haida peoples, the most important resource was the sea. They hunted whales in canoes. These canoes held at least 15 people. In 1500 BC, the peoples of the Southwest were beginning to farm the land. The Hohokam of central Arizona were the most succesful. They used irrigation systems to produce harvests of corn, beans, and squash. In the north, a people called the Anasazi. “built impressive cliff dwellings, such as the ones at Mesa Verde, Colorado. These large houses were built on top of mesas—flat-topped hills—or in shallow caves in the sheer walls of deep canyons. By 900 AD, the Anasazi were living in pueblos. These were small towns of large houses made of stone and adobe. Around 1200 AD some pueblos were abandoned due to a drought. Northeastern woodlands tribes developed a variety of cultures. Theses tribes fought with each other over land. In some areas, tribes formed alliances to protect tribal lands. The Iroquois was a group of tribes that had a strong political alliance. In the late 1500s, five of these tribes, the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca formed the Iroquois League.

Whale hunting in canoes

Hohokam irrigation canals

Anasazi pueblos

Iriquoise league symbol

16.1 Glosgter Summary



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