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Native Americans

The first humans to make a showing in the Americas.

land bridge

The way that the first people may have arrived in the Americas. It connected Siberia and Alaska around 40,000 years ago.

Sioux (Pawnee, Pueblo, Iroquois)

Large North American Native American tribes.

Mayas, Incas, Aztecs

The three Native American cultures that built large cities in Central or South America.


European rebirth of classical learning and outburst of artistic and scientific activity in the late 1400s/early 1500s.


Major changes in this occurred during the Renaissance.


Adopted from the Arabs, who adopted it from the Chinese, this item allowed navigation to become much more precise.

printing press

Invention of this aided the spread of knowledge across Europe.


Country that funded Columbus' voyages. One of the first two countries to lay claim to lands in the Americas.

The Moors

Driven out of Spain by Isabella and Ferdinand in 1492.

Ferdinand and Isabella

Catholic monarchs of Spain during Columbus' voyages.

Protestant Reformation

Series of revolts against the authority of the Pope in northern Europe.


Major incentive for exploration.


Country the the west of Spain; ruled by Henry the Navigator. One of the first two countries to lay claim to lands in the Americas.

Henry the Navigator

Portuguese monarch who sponsored many exploratory voyages.


A country in which the majority of people share a common culture and common loyalties toward a central government.

Christopher Columbus

Discovered lands across the Atlantic Ocean (the Americas).

New World

The Americas, as referred to by the Europeans until someone came up with a better name.

Amerigo Vespucci

Explored the east coast of South America; the person that America gets its name from.

papal line of demarcation

Determined which lands the Spanish had a claim to and which lands the Portuguese had a claim to. Draw straight down a map of the world by the Pope.

Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)

Treaty that moved the papal line of demarcation a few degrees to the west.

Pedro Alvares Cabral

His explorations established Portugal's claim to Brazil.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

Crossed the isthmus of Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean.

Juan Ponce de Leon

Discovered Florida while searching for the mythical fountain of youth.

Ferdinand Magellan

One of his ships was the first to ever circumnavigate the globe.

Hernan Cortes

Conquered the Aztec Empire.

Francisco Pizarro

Conquered the Inca Empire.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

Explored a vast swath of North America from present-day New Mexico to Kansas.

Hernando de Soto

Explored from Florida westward to the Mississippi.


Conquerors of the New World.

asiento system

System that took slaves to the New World to work for the Spanish. Required that a tax be paid to the Spanish ruler for each slave brought over.

John Cabot

Explored the coast of Newfoundland for England. Gave grounds to the earliest English claims to the New World.

Giovanni de Verrazano

Searched for a northwest passage to the Pacific for the French.

Jacques Cartier

Explored the St. Lawrence River for the French.

Samuel de Champlain

Established the first permanent French settlement (Quebec) in the New World. Regarded as the "Father of New France."

Father Jacques Marquette

Explored the upper Mississippi River with Louis Jolliet.

Robert de la Salle

Explored the Mississippi basin, which he named Louisiana.

Henry Hudson

Explored the Hudson River for the Dutch.

joint-stock company

English method of pooling the resources of people of moderate means in order to support potentially profitable trading ventures.

Father Junipero Serra

Founded the mission chain in Alta California.

Virginia Company

Joint-stock company that established the first permanent English colony (Jamestown) in the Americas.


The first permanent English colony in the Americas.

Captain John Smith

Forcefully led the people of Jamestown away from starvation.

John Rolfe

Established Jamestown's tobacco industry.


John Rolfe's American Indian wife.

royal colony

A colony under the direct control of a monarch.


Wanted to "purify" the Anglican Church of Catholic influences. Frequently persecuted in England.

Plymouth colony

Colony established by the Pilgrims.


Puritans with ambitions of creating a completely new Christian church outside of the Anglican Church, rather than reforming the Anglican Church.


Separatists who set sail for America.


The boat that the Pilgrims sailed upon.

Mayflower Compact

Document that pledged the Pilgrims to make decisions by the will of the majority.

Massachusetts Bay Colony

Colony founded by non-Separatist Puritans.

John Winthrop

Led about a thousand Puritans to found Boston and several other towns.

Great Migration

When some 15,000 settlers ran to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to escape the English Civil War.

Virginia House of Burgesses

The first representative assembly in America.

corporate colonies

Colonies operated by joint-stock companies.

royal colonies

Colonies under the direct rule of a monarch.

proprietary colonies

Colonies under the authority of individuals granted charters of ownership by the king.

Chesapeake colonies

Colonial Virginia and Maryland.

George Calvert (Lord Baltimore)

Was given control over Maryland by the English king. Was Catholic.

Cecil Calvert ( Lord Baltimore)

The son of the first Lord Baltimore. Attempted to further his dead father's plans.

Act of Toleration (1649)

The first colonial statute granting religious freedom to all Christians. Called for the death of anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus.


The first of England's colonies.

Sir William Berkeley

Royal governor of Virginia from 1641-1652 and 1660-1677.

indentured servant

Someone who came to America by agreeing to work for nothing but room and board for four to seven years.

headright system

System under which Virginia offered 50 acres of land to anyone who paid for an immigrant's passage to America.


Practice that started in the mid-1600s in Virginia.

Roger Williams

A Puritan, exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Founded Providence.

Bacon's Rebellion

Poor gentleman farmer who rebelled against Berkeley's government. Led an army of poor white man-virgins from the hills. Died of dysentery.


Colony founded by Roger Williams.

Anne Hutchinson

Dissident who was banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony. Founded Portsmouth.


The idea that faith alone (not good deeds) is necessary for salvation.

Rhode Island

Created through the joining of Providence and Portsmouth. Offered religious freedom for all.

Thomas Hooker

Led a large group of disgruntled Boston Puritans into the Connecticut River Valley to found Hartford.

Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639)

The first written constitution in American history.

John Davenport

Founded New Haven.


Colony formed by the joining of New Haven and Hartford.

New Hampshire

Last colony to be founded in New England.

halfway covenant

Allowed zeal-lacking second-generation Puritans to take part in church activities without making a formal declaration of their total belief in Christ.

New England Confederation

Military alliance between the New England colonies. Created because of frequent attacks by Indians, the Dutch, and the French, and because England was in the throes of a civil war and wasn't going to send aid. Lasted until 1684.


Indian tribe led by Metacom (aka King Philip).

Metacom, aka King Philip

Chief of the Wampanoags.

King Philip's War

Vicious Indian vs. New England Confederation conflict. Thousands dead, Indian resistance in New England virtually gone by the end of it.

Restoration colonies

Colonies founded during the period of English history known as the Restoration.

the Carolinas

Granted to eight nobles by Charles II as a reward for helping him gain the English throne.

rice plantations

Plantations commonly found in mid-18th-century South Carolina. Worked by African slaves.

tobacco farms

Frequently found in North Carolina. A lack of good transportation prevented these from growing into large plantations.

New York

Taken from the Dutch (who called it New Amsterdam) by the Duke of York.

New Jersey

Divided from New York by King James in 1664. The piece of land between the Hudson River and Delaware Bay.

Peter Stuyvesant

Last Dutch governor of New Amsterdam.


"Paid" to William Penn by the crown in 1681 to repay a large debt owed him.


Pacifist Christians with highly radical beliefs.

William Penn

Young convert to the Quaker faith. Founded Pennsylvania.

holy experiment

William Penn's plan to make Pennsylvania a place where persecuted peoples and liberal ideas could thrive.

Frame of Government (1682-1683)

Guaranteed Pennsylvanians a representative assembly elected by landowners.

Charter of Liberties (1701)

Guaranteed Pennsylvanians freedom of worship and unrestricted immigration.


Created when William Penn granted the three lower counties of Pennsylvania their own assembly.


The last colony to be chartered. Was created to provide a buffer against Spanish Florida and to serve as a penal colony.

James Oglethorpe

First governor of Georgia. Led the founding of Savannah.


Economic policy that looked upon trade, colonies, and the accumulation of wealth as the basis for a country's military and political strength.

Navigation Acts

English-implemented laws stating that 1.Trade to and from the colonies could only be carried by English or colonial crews on English or colonial ships. 2.All goods imported into the colonies, except for some perishables, could pass only through ports in England. 3.Specific (or "enumerated") goods from the colonies could only be exported to England.

Dominion of New England

The result of King James' combining of various New England colonies into a single unit.

Sir Edmund Andros

Governor of the Dominion of New England.

Glorious Revolution

Succeeded in deposing James and replacing him with William and Mary.

triangular trade

Trade between the British colonies, West Africa, and the West Indies.

slave trade

Increased massively as the colonies shifted towards more labor-intensive crops and grew in size.

Middle Passage

The route African-bearing ships took to get to the West Indies from West Africa.

Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692)

Almost 20 hanged by accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. Ended by the governor when his wife was accused of witchcraft.


A practice created in England where the first born son receives all land from father.

Puritan Church Members

These free white men were allowed to vote in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for representative positions yearly for the colony's governor, his assistants, and a representative assembly.

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