“1491” Questions 1. Two scholars, Erikson and William Balée believe that almost all aspects of Native American life have been perceived wrong. Although some refuse to believe this, it has been proven to be the truth. Throughout Charles C. Mann’s article from The Atlantic, “1491”, he discusses three main points: how many things that are viewed as facts about the natives are actually not true, the dispute between the high and low counters, and the importance of the role disease played in the history of the Americas. When the term “Native American” is heard, the average person tends to often relate that to a savage hunter who tries to minimize their impact on their surrounding environment. For the most part, this is not the case. In reality, …show more content…
In, The Earth Shall Weep, by James Wilson, the western hemisphere is described as “larger, richer, and more populous than Europe.” Many of the advancements and cities of the Americas stunned the Europeans. For instance, the conquistadors were amazed at how the streets were not covered in garbage and sewage. Accomplishments like those have been proven, unlike however, the size of the population in 1491. This topic has a great deal of controversy over it because there is currently no way of proving who is correct on this matter; only estimates and claims can be made. An example of this would be the differences in the claims made by Dobyn and Ubelaker. One of the most influential factors on the population size then was disease. When the Europeans came to the Americas, they also brought along many of their diseases, which although they were accustom to, posed a horrific threat to the natives. Mann’s overall thesis in “1491” was backed up with evidence from various people, statistics, his own accounts, and …show more content…
In 1910, James Mooney made the first scholarly estimate of the indigenous population. He believed that in 1491, North America had 1.15 million people living there. Given his reputation, many accepted his estimates to be facts. However, as time progressed, other estimates were made, despite Mooney’s claims. In 1966, for example, Henry F. Dobyns published “Estimating Aboriginal American Population: An Appraisal of Techniques With a New Hemispheric Estimate” in Current Anthropology. He claimed that there had to have been around 90 to 112 million natives there before Columbus; this meant that there would have been more people living in the Americas than in Europe at the time. With all of the new claims being made, many people have been choosing a side to debate over. It is the high counters verses the low counters; Dobyn’s revised figure of 18 million is debated against Douglas H. Ubelaker’s estimates of 1.8 million natives. For the time being, no definitive data exists. 3. This dispute between the high counters and the low counters displays how unless something has been historically proven, there will always be a debate over that topic. Other examples of this would be the theory of evolution, how the Earth was created, or even if the Vietnam War was necessary or not. The debate between which side is right will not stop until the actual amount of natives has been calculated with evidence and one side is proven right. This dispute illustrates how the study of history is taken
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These diseases completely wiped out the 10 million or so Native Americans on the islands and at least ½ of the more than 100 million on the mainland of North America.” The Europeans that came brought diseases that killed many Native Americans and destroyed entire empires. This
Michael Wang AP Euro, Period 4 Primary Source Analysis Assignment October 5th, 2016 Summary: Prior to the arrival of the European settlers, the indigenous people of the Americas were varied in culture and tradition and their population was around fifty million. However, once the Europeans arrived in 1492 with Christopher Columbus, the lives of the indigenous people were changed remarkably. The Europeans took advantage of the indigenous and used them as laborers to work cattle ranches, sugar plantations, and silver mines. The physical condition of the indigenous peoples worsened as they were fatigued from the labor and had little resistance to the diseases brought by the Europeans.
It was October 12, 1492 when Christopher Columbus arrived in the new world and it is also the day in which citizens of the United States celebrate this cultivated man. Many see Columbus as the hero that discovered America, but countless people only know that one perspective. Howard Zinn, the author of Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress deepens the story of Columbus sailing the ocean blue and exhibits a whole different outlook on the events that took place. Zinn’s eloquent depiction spawned interest everywhere due to the graphic and unique portrayal of the so-called 1400’s hero. The author tries to prove (his thesis) the cruelty and immorality of the Italian explorer by giving a commoner’s perspective and clear evidence on how Columbus
In the introduction of 1491 by Charles Mann, he tries to disprove that Native Americans came across the Bering Strait 25,000 years ago and had little to no effect on their environment that after years of living there the land remained mostly wilderness. Mann uses recent re-assessments of views about the pre-Columbian world, based on new findings in demography, climatology, economics, botany, genetics, biochemistry, and soil science to support his ideas. In Part One Mann says that the scientists are currently acknowledging population levels in the Native Americans were probably higher than they were first believed. Part One continues with Mann talking about how humans most likely arrived in the Americas earlier than people previously thought.
Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in the year of 1492 affected the Native Americans both positively and negatively. One positive impact was transforming their lives into a highly mobile one. Nevertheless, its negative impact affected the Native Americans dramatically; it initiated the decline of the Native American population. Along with the rediscovery of the Americas, Columbus established the Columbian exchange, which introduced several new things to the Americas.
Another example of the great magnitude of the Indian populations were the Caddo community cemeteries. Sado claimed when he visited the Caddo that their population consisted of 200,000 people. (Pg. 45) he also witnessed public platforms and mausoleums in the great city. Hernan Cortes claimed that the Aztec capitol of Tenochtitlan was larger than the city of Paris and the streets could hold thousands of men commuting around the city. (pg. 49) B. Against Large Populations: By the time that the English began inhabiting the new world, researchers claim that 95% of the Indian population was wiped out by European diseases but many experts claim that immense Indian populations are just "Wishful thinking" because of the lack of evidence.
Cronon was careful to cite sources from scientific data, historical records, explorer’s descriptions, and more. Although a portion of the data collected from these sources is tainted, whether by bias, exaggeration, ignorance, etc., Cronon made sure to alert his readers to these flaws. Perhaps, the only criticism of this book is that, in addition to drawing from and quoting European sources, Cronon could have included more Indian sources. Although he presents both cultures in an unbiased approach, he could have used more Native American sources to support his information about the natives and the land. Only twice in the entire book was there any citation of Indian sources—one was a receipt of land and the other was a sachem’s speech.
As ethnologist Lenore Stiffarm says, “The smaller the number of indians...the easier it is to regard the continent as empty, and hence up for grabs” (Mann, 109). Even though the estimation may not be based on pure scientific extrapolation, the conclusion creates an important political statement that it justifies the imperfect method. By recognizing that dense societies populated the continent, historians legitimize the legacy of native people and their push for contemporary political
There are many archeological sites and legends that lead historians to believe that before 1492 there were millions of Native Americans living in the Americas. Some theories explain us that the cause of the native population’s reduction was the European contact and the diseases they brought over. Others theories explain there were no so many millions of Native Americans and that the European contact didn’t have any impact in the reduction of this populations. Historians cannot agree about this topic because of the many theories that have been developed.
“Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress”, chapter one of “A People’s History of the United States”, written by professor and historian Howard Zinn, concentrates on a different perspective of major events in American history. It begins with the native Bahamian tribe of Arawaks welcoming the Spanish to their shores with gifts and kindness, only then for the reader to be disturbed by a log from Columbus himself – “They willingly traded everything they owned… They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” (Zinn pg.1) In the work, Zinn continues explaining the unnecessary evils Columbus and his men committed unto the unsuspecting natives.
Before the Spanish ship that changed it all, which arrived in the “New World” in 1492, thriving organized communities of native people had centuries of history on the land. That ship, skippered by Christopher Columbus, altered the course of both Native American and European history. 1492 sparked the fire of cultural diffusion in the New World which profoundly impacted the Native American peoples and the European settlers. Prior to European contact, Native Americans lived as hunter-gatherers, living and traveling in groups of typically less than 300 people. These Native Americans spoke over 400 languages and practiced a myriad of different religions (The American Pageant).
This resulted from the arrival of the Spaniards in 1492. In only 100 years, the Native American population was only about 750,000; 24 million less than the original 25,000,000 plus. Christopher Columbus had an incredibly negative impact on the world because he enslaved the Native Americans, didn’t help the kind Natives when they got infected by diseases that the Spaniards had brought to America, and killed off most of the Native American population. The tactics he chose to use were violent and destructive by the standards back then and now prove he was a not a hero but a
Although many history classes have taught us that Native American societies were primitive, Charles Mann along with other historians argued that Native Americans did possessed a complexed history prior to Columbus, closer examination shows that they had large rich societies in, architecture, and agriculture. Mann believes the “Indian” population was larger, and their societies more accomplished, than was earlier believed. He estimates 40-60 million, but the count keeps rising. Another false belief was that the Indians lived on the land without touching it. In fact, they used "slash and burn" to clear and create grasslands for cultivation.