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The American Colonies

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Book Analysis for THE AMERICAN COLONIES- By Alan Taylor

Directions: Students are to read carefully the book by Alan Taylor. Each chapter will have a set of questions/list of topics for which short answer responses will be asked to probe for understanding. Since this assignment is done on MICROSOFT WORD, the student needs only to load the file on the computer and then bring it up on the computer screen where they can provide answers in paragraph or bulleted form based upon what is asked for in the question. The goal is not to fish for a specific answer(s), but to ask the student probing questions for a critical understanding of what the questions are asking. Short analytical quotes are permissible; however, we do not want the student to copy the material directly from Taylor’s book. It should be written in the student’s own voice as a summary of understanding. A reader could expect three to five points made on each topic listed here below.

Part One: The Encounters

Chapter One: Natives:

* Old world explorers encountered in the new world complex and diverse peoples—who, where, etc.?

The old explorers were the Indians that came from Alaska and Siberia to the New World. They crossed over a frozen oceanic Bering Strait (which is currently not frozen) that connects Alaska and Siberia. There were three waves of immigration: the first is Siberian hunters that are spreading southward and eastward all throughout America, after the Ice Age ended. The second wave of Indians only spoke Athabasca; they started in Alaska and northwest Canada and started moving down the To the Rocky Mountains, eventually they made it to the American southwest, they were named the Navajo and Apache. The third wave was the Eskimos, which settled in southwest Alaska on small islands, they were known as the Aleut Indians. They also settled on northern arctic coasts of Alaska and Canada all the way to Greenland, they were called the Inuit’s

* Pre-Columbian America is “fraught with controversy.” What conflicts were they?

Pre-Columbian America is fraught with controversies, which includes engaging the Indians in social debates about the environmental and social problems. Eventually, this would turn into the competition of what side was worse between the Indians or the Europeans.

* Without making Europeans out to be vile, cruel and violent, we should recognize that they had superior power but they gave new additions to Native Americans.

The Europeans did bring new things to the Native Americans such as, horses, technology, livestock, trade, weapons, and new beliefs. They were also good at causing others pain. They also learned how to have extremely long wars far from home.

* Some natives had a culture that demanded less of the environment than that of other natives—such as: the Paleo- Indians, whose main source of food was by fishing and hunting. The Pacific coast Indians only fished and gathered food, and then there were Mexico-Indians, who only needed to farm for food.

* What are Taylor’s three ideas which he argues about migration?

1) North and South America were the last continents occupied by people.

2) The first Americans migrated from Siberia in northeast Asia.

3) The difference between Siberia to Alaska is a good distance between the Old and New World.

Chapter Two: Colonizers:

* Taylor makes a big issue over environmentalism—why?

The environment is a big part of society for the North American and European colonies. Back then the environment controlled the quality of life for the people that lived there. In today’s generation we have learned to adapt too many circumstances and the environment doesn’t play as big of a role as it did before.

* What caused the expansion of Europe—and why?

The Europeans started looking westward for expansion. They were searching for islands or a way to get to the eastern countries. They instead found a completely new landmass that they did not plan for. Soon after, the Europeans started to import North America crops which had a big impact on the European population despite diseases and plagues.

* What were the two major religions of the age of expansion? How do they come to impact the new world?

Muslims and Christians were the two major religions during the time of expansion. Christians took up religious conquests in North America. Both groups were very competitive, but the Muslims were ultimately winning, so the Christians tried finding any way to create a Christian empire. The Christians started converting the Natives in the new world, which ended up being very successful.

* Why is the Atlantic Ocean such a central vital environmental concern for the colonizers?

Europeans had never explored the Atlantic Ocean before. The Europeans also estimated the ocean

being a lot bigger than it really is because they did not take the North American Continent into

consideration. The Atlantic waters were also more rough and brutal compared to the calm

Mediterranean currents.

* Once across the Ocean, what were contributions of the colonizers to the New York area?

The effects of the New England settlers had a big impact on environment and native people. Some of the contributions were disease, modernization of natives, environmental effects and decreasing animal population. Most of these were negative contributions to the New World.

* What does Taylor say about slavery in the new world?

During the extermination of the natives, the Europeans started to look towards importing Africans as a way of free labor. The Africans were already a lot more accustomed to European diseases.

* How significant was Renaissance science and technology for the colonizers?

The colonizers benefited immensely from the Renaissance inventions, mathematics, science and technological advances. The colonizers also got new techniques for farming and improving everyday life.

Chapter Three: New Spain. [Using bullets or short paragraphs, summarize

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