1 Week 3 The American World at Contact •Great Plains Droughts


1 Week 3 The American World at Contact •Great Plains Droughts
Week 3
The American World at Contact
•Great Plains Droughts
•8000-5000 yrs bp (3000 years of dry conditions – the “altithermal”)
•Late 13th century – 38-year drought
•1300s – another “repopulation” of Great Plains
•Late 1500s - horses
North American Encounters:
•New Spain
–Southeast (Soto 1540s) – most tribes in the “Shatter Zone” (Creeks, Choctaws, Cherokees,
Chickasaws, Natchez, Tupelo, & more.)
–New Mexico (Estabanico 1530s, Coronado 1540s) – Tohono O’Odhams, Maricopas, Pueblos +
Plains Apaches, Wichitas
–Florida (multiple throughout 1500s) – Apalaches, Timucuas, others
–California (several coastal stops, late 1500s-1700s) – Tillamooks (N), Yuroks (N), Pomos (S),
•Spanish Colonization:
–Caribbean (1493-) Tainos, Arawaks, Caribs, others
–Mexico (1512-) Mayas, Tlaxcalans, Méxica, Purepechas, Chichimecas, others
–New Mexico (1598) – Pueblos, Hopis, Navajos, “Apaches,” Comanches, Utes, others
–Texas (1716-) East Texas missions: Hasinais/Caddos, Karankawas, Comanches, others
–California (1769-) “Mission Indians” (Ipai, Tipai, Luiseño, Gabrieliño), Pomos, Miwoks,
Yokuts, others
•tobacco (var.)
•squash, pumpkins
•peanuts, cashews
•papaya, guava
•avocado, pineapple
•sweet potato/yam
•sugar cane
•wheat, barley, rye
•European crops:
•Wheat - 4.2
•Barley - 5.1
•Oats - 5.5
Eurasian infectious diseases
- swine flu
- several avian flus
chicken pox
cow pox
small pox
yellow fever
Millions of calories per hectare:
•American crops:
•Maize - 7.3
•Potatoes - 7.5
typhoid fever
bubonic plague
& many more
Americas infectious diseases
Chagas disease
syphillis (var.)
tuberculosis (?)
First Warfare in N America (1493):
In 1493 Columbus returns (w 17 ships full of colonists) to find the men he left behind in 1492
- chooses to "believe" tales of Guacancanagari & goes to war with "head cacique"
- Indian tactic to remove to mountainous terrain to twart use of horses
- The Battle of Vega Real
- Christopher Columbus ordered his army to lay waste and pacify
In the open and densely populated valley of the Vega Real, mounted lancers, dogs, and
crossbows (used but not shown here) overwhelmed Taínos. The crux of the "battle" was likely a
pre-dawn Spanish attack instead of an organized confrontation anything like this image.
Spanish strategy of using a different kind of warfare extends to other islads & mainland
Indian Allies, Indian Resistance
- Cortez aided by tens of thousands of indigenous allies (especially Tlaxcalans)
- war against Mexica (Aztecs) one of Indian vs Indian (w Spanish allies)
- disease the biggest factor in victory
- Indian allies could disperse, city of Tenochtitlan concentrated crowd diseases
- after 2 1/2 years, Spanish enter city of unburied dead
- much more effective among mobile peoples
- cities easy for Europeans to apply siege tactics (as they did in European warfare)
- mobile peoples a problem for Europeans - must conquer all and hold territory
- once Indian gain horses (as early as 1530), they turn Europeans' weapons back against
- Eréndira stories: spread of equestrian warfare from Tarascan Empire (Michocacan) to
northern Chichimecs
La Gran Chichimeca
- northern Mexico becomes an unconquered space of resistance
- fighting, raiding, counterraiding continues for 350 years in this region
- far northern colonies (NM, TX) often cut off from Mexico proper