Timeline of Events
- 40,000–15,000 B.C.E.
- The earliest people to settle in the Americas begin their migrations to the North and South American continents.
- c. 15,000–12,000 B.C.E.
- People leave behind traces of their life at a camp now called Meadowcroft Rockshelter in present-day Pennsylvania.
- c. 11,000 B.C.E.
- People regularly camp at a tiny settlement now called Monte Verde in south-central Chile.
- c. 9000 B.C.E.
- A group of hunter-gatherers called the Clovis culture becomes widespread throughout the present-day United States and Mexico.
- c. 7000 B.C.E.
- Worldwide climate change alters the environments of the Americas.
- c. 7000–3000 B.C.E.
- Formerly nomadic people in the Andes Mountain region of South America begin to settle into rough homes, gradually forming tiny villages.
- c. 6000–4000 B.C.E.
- People begin to farm and raise animals in the Andean region.
- c. 5000 B.C.E.
- Simple farming begins in...
(The entire section is 1668 words.)
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Words to Know
- Native to the land; having existed in a region from the earliest times.
- A young woman chosen by the Incas to live in isolation from daily Inca life while learning how to weave and how to make chicha and foods for festivals; some acllas were eventually married to nobles, and others became religious workers.
- A house where young women chosen by the Incas were isolated from daily Inca life; these women were trained in the arts of weaving fine cloth and making chicha and foods for festivals, and some went on to become religious workers.
- The management and work (rather than the policy making or public relations) of running a public, religious, or business operation.
- administrative center:
- The place in a region or state in which the day-to-day operations of business, government, and religion are carried out.
- A person who manages or supervises the day-to-day operations of business, government, and...
(The entire section is 3634 words.)
Research and Activity Ideas
The following ideas and projects are intended to offer suggestions for complementing your classroom work on understanding various aspects of the early civilizations in the Americas:
Plan a tour of historic Inca sites:
Imagine that you are a travel agent and you are preparing a tour for a family that wishes to see the famous historic sites of the ancient Inca civilization in the Andes Mountain region of South America. What Inca cities should they travel to and why? Find a copy of a map of the area of the Inca civilization and plan their tour for them. Make a numbered list of at least six scenic stops they will want to make, marking the map with the corresponding number. Write down the highlights of what they will see there and why it is of interest. When you have completed the Inca tour guidebook and map, you may plan tours for people wishing to see the ancient Maya sites and the ancient Aztec sites as well. Find a map of the Mesoamerican region and start the plans.
Memoirs of a Maya teenager from 750 C.E.:
You are a Maya teenager who lives in the year 750. Write an autobiography: what is your name? What city do you live in? Describe the details of everyday existence. What kinds of clothes do you wear and what other adornments do you use to make you look more attractive? Describe the food you eat, the house you...
(The entire section is 1353 words.)
Where to Learn More
Adams, Richard E. W. Ancient Civilizations of the New World. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997.
Adovasio, J. M., with Jake Page. The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology's Greatest Mystery. New York: Random House, 2002.
Betanzos, Juan de. Narrative of the Incas. Translated by Roland Hamilton. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
Burger, Richard L. Chavín and the Origins of Andean Civilization. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992.
Clendinnen, Inga. Aztecs: An Interpretation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Coe, Michael D. Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs, fourth ed. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994.
Coe, Michael D., and Mark Van Stone. Reading the Maya Glyphs. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 2001.
Coe, Michael, Dean Snow, and Elizabeth Benson. Atlas of Ancient America. New York: Facts on File, 1986.
Davies, Nigel. The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru. London: Penguin, 1997.
Dewar, Elaine. Bones: Discovering the First Americans. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2001.
(The entire section is 1074 words.)