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53 Frequently Tested AP US History Terms & Concepts
Terms in this set (10)
During the 16th century, the Spanish government established [THIS TERM] in the Americas to divide up the American Indian labor force. Under this system, a Spanish conquistador, or another male Spaniard of significant social status (known as an encomendero), was given the labor of a number of Native Americans living in the area. Additionally, the encomienda system provided the laborers protection from other tribes, and education in Catholicism. The native laborer paid tributes to the encomendero in the form of gold or other metals, or agricultural products.
Think of this system ultimately as a Spanish system designed to regulate and control Native Americans. APUSH test questions over the [THIS TERM] will require you to know about the system's structure, legacy, and how it affected the Native American peoples.
A joint-stock company is a type of business venture where any man with the resources to invest may purchase stock in a certain company. Therefore, the amount of stock you own determines your sway in the company's dealings. This plays a key role in U.S. history because it was through the dealings of many joint-stock companies that colonies were founded in North America. These English joint-stock companies sought to harvest the natural resources of North America and bring them back to England.
Think of the venture by the Virginia Company to found a colony in the state would come to be known as Virginia. Simply put, joint-stock companies are businesses owned by shareholders that invested in exploration and colonization. They will appear on the test in questions involving the early steps of colonization.
The Pueblo Indians are the Native Americans of the present-day southwestern region. They are known for their apartment-like structures made of adobe and mud that formed the towns of the Pueblo people. They flourished in developing a distinct world of art, culture, and extensive agricultural methodologies, and they led many successful revolts against the Spanish.
In 1598, the Spanish, led by infamous conquistador Juan de Oñate, invaded the Pueblo region and established a colony in New Mexico. They responded to native resistance with cruelty and terror, a conflict which eventually boiled into the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 which knocked the Spanish off their world pedestal. You won't need to know the gory details to answer Pueblo Revolt APUSH questions, but you should be familiar with Pueblo culture and the friction between them and the Spanish.
The Asiento System was a Spanish slavery system that laid the foundation for slavery in the Americas. It essentially worked like this: African slaves were carried to the Americas and a tax was paid to the Spanish crown for each slave imported. The Asiento System and the Encomienda System both served as foundational practices of commerce for slavery in the US. The Asiento System was a forerunner of the Triangular Trade System, and resulted in hundreds of thousands of slaves being brought to the New World. It will appear on the APUSH exam in questions about the origin of slavery in the colonies, so it is a very significant component to memorize.
In 1586, English settlers led by Walter Raleigh set out to establish an early colony in America. They landed at Roanoke Island just off the coast of North Carolina. However, when the governor of the colony, John White, returned from a supply-trip to England, he found his colony entirely deserted, not a settler in sight. There were no traces of violence or insurrection, but only the word "CROATOAN" carved into a tree. White interpreted the letters to mean that the colonists had moved to Croatoan Island, some 50 miles away, but a later search of the island found none of the settlers.
Roanoke represents the difficulties and the unknown fears surrounding English colonization of the Americas, and it will appear on the APUSH exam in questions involving the fears and dangers of colonization.
House of Burgesses
The precursor to Congress it was the first form of legislative power to appear in the colonies. Formed in 1642, the House of Burgesses was established by the Virginia Company to manage and administer aid to the needs of colonists. It was led by burgesses who were elected officials raised from within the population of the colony itself.
The House of Burgesses essentially foreshadowed many of the future powers and contracts that would be outlined in the Constitution, and it laid the blueprint for America's self-determined spirit. Think of the House of Burgesses as a forerunner of American government, and it most often appears on the test in questions asking you to think about the early strides toward self-governance.
The dominant economic theory in Europe during the period lasting from the 16th to the 18th century mercantilism. It argues that trade generates wealth and is stimulated by the accumulation of profitable balances, which a government should encourage by means of protectionism. The key requirements of mercantilism came from a nation's drive to establish colonies quickly and efficiently.
Moreover, anything the colony produced was to be shipped and sold only in the home country, and the home nation's exports must be greater than its import. This policy was the framework of the English, Spanish, and French colonies when expanding into the New World. Mercantilism will appear all over the test on DBQ questions about colonial expansion and MCQs about early America alike.
Since the colonial era is one defined by trade, money, and profit, cash was central to most if not all motivations. This is where cash crops come in to play. A cash crop is exactly how it sounds—a crop grown for cash instead of subsistence. Sugar (see The Atlantic System and United Fruit Company), for instance, was a key cash crop.
Before the arrival of Europeans into the Americas, sugar plantations comprised only a margin of the regional agricultural system. But after European arrival, it became a primary crop. Often, these crops were harvested through forced labor or coercion systems and had devastating effects on the environment. Cash crops are significant to the APUSH exam because they help drive colonial expansion
The triangular trade route refers to the route taken by trade ships from Africa, to the New World, and back to Europe. A ship looking to make a profit would begin in Africa and pick up a shipment of slaves and other goods to be sold in the New World. After, the ship sailed across the Atlantic and sold its shipment of slaves in the New World. These slaves would work on plantations, growing cash crops like cotton, tobacco, and sugar.
The trade ships would then pick up a shipment of these cash crops to sell back in Europe, thus forming a triangular model of trade. This trade system established the system of slavery that became prevalent in the New World for centuries while at the same time enriching Europe and depopulating Africa, and in this way, it proves essential to understanding slavery at large in America.
Order of Colonization of Colonies
In order from oldest to youngest the colonies were settled first in Virginia then New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Each of these colonies was founded for different reasons, cultivated different cash crops, and faced different challenges. But why is it important to know when they were colonized?
Not only is maintaining a solid understanding of the general chronology of the colonization process super helpful in managing the general AP® US History timeline, but it also plays a role in shaping each colony as a distinct, singular entity, which, in turn, subtly lays the foundation for the notion of state's rights.
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