Explain how life in California before the arrival of the Spanish could be viewed as a terrestrial paradise.

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California before the Spanish could be considered a paradise for a number of reasons. First, the California Indians were a very peaceful group. Because they were isolated by the many geographic features of California (deserts, coastlines, marshes, mountains,) they did not feel the need to form large military alliances with other tribes. The geography of the land was their greatest protection. Instead of creating military alliances, the Indians focused on trade alliances that greatly improved their economic and social lives.

The tribes organized into very small political units, which allowed for local rule and decision-making. This allowed the people a great deal of autonomy and freedom. The Indians of California were experts at utilizing the land. They understood the wildlife and plant species that existed in their area. For this reason, they were self-sufficient and did not have a need to raid their neighbors. Because they did not have to waste time and energy on warfare, the Indians built homes that were comfortable and sturdy. The Indians did not need to resort to a nomadic existence because they understood how to hunt different animals at different times of the year.

All of these advantages were made possible by the diversity of land, wildlife and plant life that existed in California before the arrival of the Spanish.

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