20 The Discovery of the Americas

North America Before the Arrival of Europeans

Prior to the “discovery” of what would become the United States, millions of people inhabited the land. Most of these native people organized into tribes and lived more in tune with nature than those that followed. The Europeans did not find the kind of civilizations they were familiar with or even the powerful empires of the Aztec or Incans, which may have made it easier for them to think of themselves as discovering the land rather than conquering it.


The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards: Crash Course US History #1.” YouTube, uploaded by Crash Course, 31 Jan. 2013.

Questions to Consider: For hundreds of years, American education has glorified the explorers who “discovered” America while diminishing the role of the indigenous people. Why? Why is the recognition of indigenous people vital to an understanding of the development of the West? What good was brought by these explorers? What bad?



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Being Human Copyright © 2023 by Jacqui Shehorn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book