Chapter 1 13 Themes
New World Beginnings
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching theme of chapter 1 is the Old World meeting and clashing with the New World.
- In the New World, before Columbus, there were many different Native American tribes. These people were very diverse. In what’s today the U.S., there were an estimated 400 tribes, often speaking different languages. It’s inaccurate to think of “Indians” as a homogeneous group.
- Columbus came to America looking for a trade route to the East Indies (Spice Islands). Other explorers quickly realized this was an entirely New World and came to lay claim to the new lands for their host countries. Spain and Portugal had the head start on France and then England.
- The coming together of the two world had world changing effects. The biological exchange cannot be underestimated. Food was swapped back and forth and truly revolutionized what people ate. On the bad side, European diseases wiped out an estimated 90% of Native Americans.