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One of the most significant prehistoric sites in the United States found in Miami

One of the most significant prehistoric sites in the United States found in Miami

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Archaeologists who have spent the last few months excavating a planned development site in the middle of downtown Miami have discovered an ancient and extensive Native American village , which researchers believe may be one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the United States.

The finding includes eight large circles comprised of uniformly carved holes in the native limestone, which are believed to be foundation holes for Tequesta Indian dwellings dating as far back as 2,000 years, as well as hundreds of postholes that mark the foundation for other structures, possibly boardwalks connecting the dwellings. The site has also yielded thousands of Tequesta artefacts, including bone and shell tools.

“What’s unusual and unique about the site is that it’s this huge chunk of land where a major part of this ancient Tequesta village site is preserved,’’ said veteran South Florida archaeologist Bob Carr. “It’s one of the earliest urban plans in eastern North America. You can actually see this extraordinary configuration of these buildings and structures.’’

Unfortunately, the Tequesta village site covers roughly half of a long-vacant, two-acre city block on the north side of the river where the developer, MDM Development Group, plans to build movie theatres, restaurants and a 34-story hotel. The city of Miami granted MDM zoning and development approvals for the Met Square project, though not a final building permit, before the full scope of the archaeological finds was known or understood.

MDM says it could lose a substantial amount of money if their plans are curtailed and they are not making any promises to preserve the ancient site. The best they have offered at this stage is a mere token gesture of carving out the limestone holding one or two of the larger circles on the site and displaying them in a planned public plaza. However, preservation officials are pushing the city council to consider alternatives that would salvage a significant portion or even the full archaeological site. After all, MDM were well aware from the outset that their development site was inside a designated archaeological zone and that they were taking a risk when they purchased the property a decade ago.

Preservationists say there is strong and growing support for measures to save and create a major exhibit around at least some of the archaeological site. “It’s extremely important,’’ said city preservation board member Gerald Marston. “If they gave it a name, it’s the birthplace of Miami.’’

Featured Image: C.W. Griffin / Miami Herald Staff

    A farmer in Xi’an named Yang was drilling for water when he found the Terracotta Army in 1947. The Army was carved by 700,000 forced workers and was buried underground in front of the tomb of Qin Shi Huang so they could protect him in the afterlife. Qin Shi Huang was the first Emperor to unify China and is as much reviled for his tyranny as he is admired as a visionary. Tens of thousands of human and animal statues were created in several pieces and then assembled, each of which is unique. Actual weapons and armor were used in the manufacturing of the warriors but they were stolen shortly after the creation of the tomb. Despite the impressive discoveries in Xi’an, the tomb of the emperor has yet to be found.

    The Terracotta Army is our doorway to understanding how the real Qin Dynasty army functioned. By examining these clay warriors we can determine the formations of the army and what kind of weapons they used as well as their quality. Fine bronze swords, daggers, billhooks, spears, halberds, axes, crossbow triggers and arrowheads were all found in the pits at Xi’an.

    Cahokia Mounds

    The most striking feature of Cahokia is the earthen mounds. Experts believe thousands of workers moved an estimated 55 million cubic feet of earth over a span of several decades. The workers didn’t have complex technology or building techniques, so these weren’t exactly the pyramids of Egypt.

    Laborers carried earth up each mound by hand in woven baskets, making multiple trips each day.

    The largest is called Monks Mound and is assumed to have been the center of the Grand Plaza of Cahokia – the plaza itself occupying 40 acres. Monks Mound is 92 feet (28 m) high, 951 ft (290 m) long, 836 ft (255 m) wide, and covers 14 acres.

    The top of Monks Mound had a large, flat reinforced area which historians believe was home to a massive 5,000 square-foot temple about 50 feet tall. This temple was thought to have been the residence of the paramount chief and was said to be visible from anywhere in Cahokia.

    Of the 120 earthen mounds the Cahokians constructed, only 80 remain today. Unfortunately farming and industrialization of the area has taken its toll: an estimated 40 mounds have been leveled or razed over the last 200 years for various reasons.

    Of the 40 since-razed mounds, 29 have been located by archaeologists.

    At underwater site, research team finds 9,000-year-old stone artifacts

    An underwater archaeologist from The University of Texas at Arlington is part of a research team studying 9,000-year-old stone tool artifacts discovered in Lake Huron that originated from an obsidian quarry more than 2,000 miles away in central Oregon.

    The obsidian flakes from the underwater archaeological site represent the oldest and farthest east confirmed specimens of western obsidian ever found in the continental United States.

    “In this case, these tiny obsidian artifacts reveal social connections across North America 9,000 years ago,” said Ashley Lemke, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at UT Arlington. “The artifacts found below the Great Lakes come from a geological source in Oregon, 4,000 kilometers away—-making it one of the longest distances recorded for obsidian artifacts anywhere in the world.”

    The unique study was a multi-faceted pursuit with divers in the water and researchers in the laboratory from UTA, the University of Michigan, Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center, the Northwest Research Obsidian Studies Laboratory and the University of Georgia. Their combined work, “Central Oregon obsidian from a submerged early Holocene archaeological site beneath Lake Huron,” was published last month in the journal PLOS One.

    Because the site was underwater and undisturbed, researchers systematically and scientifically recovered the obsidian, a form of volcanic glass that was used and traded widely throughout much of human history as a prized material for making sharp tools.

    “These are very small pieces that have very large stories to tell,” Lemke said. “Obsidian from the far western United States is rarely found in the east.”

    Lemke is a leader and innovator in the field, serving as the chair of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology, an international group dedicated to underwater archaeology and the preservation of underwater cultural resources. She is an expert on submerged ancient sites in the Americas and has researched other areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.

    The find in Lake Huron is part of a broader study to understand the social and economic organization of caribou hunters at the end of the last ice age. Water levels were much lower then scientists have found, for example, ancient sites like stone walls and hunting blinds that are now 100 feet underwater.

    “This particular find is really exciting because it shows how important underwater archaeology is,” Lemke said. “The preservation of ancient underwater sites is unparalleled on land, and these places have given us a great opportunity to learn more about past peoples.”

    7 Poverty Point

    In Louisiana, there is an extensive complex of earthworks known as Poverty Point. The complex contains a series of mounds and ridges and was built by Native Americans sometime between 1700 and 1100 BC. What makes Poverty Point interesting is it&rsquos the only known example of large construction done by a hunter-gatherer society.

    No one knows exactly what purpose Poverty Point served. Some archaeologists suggest that the site was used for periodic ceremonial events, while others contend it was a permanent settlement. Similarly, we don&rsquot know which culture built it, as there have been few artifacts found to link to any specific people.

    4. Houston

    Houston from Buffalo Bayou Park | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

    Houston is the perfect city for a friends getaway, a couples' retreat, or a family vacation. With direct flights from cities across the United States and Canada, you can easily fly in to see a sports game, wander through Houston's Museum District, lounge by a pool at one of the many luxury hotels, and spend your evenings enjoying incredible meals. Houston has developed into a hot spot for dining in the United States and is now well known for extraordinary cuisine.

    If you want a relaxed but outdoor urban experience, rent a bike and peddle your way through the miles of paved trails in the parks or on the downtown streets. Rent a kayak and paddle along Buffalo Bayou in Buffalo Bayou Park.

    In less than an hour, you can be on the nearby beaches at Galveston, and along the way, you can make a stop at Space Center Houston.

    Indiana History Timeline

    Prehistoric Native Americans arrive in the area that would be Indiana around 11,000BCE. Some of the prehistoric people are hunters-gatherers while others are farmers. They leave behind mounds that were used as burial sites, temples, platforms for religious structures, and earthen forts. When European explorers enter the region, only a few hundred Native Americans remain. Most belong to the Miami tribe Indiana sits, as its motto claims, at "the crossroads of America."

    Indiana borders Lake Michigan and the state of Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south, and Illinois to the west, making it an integral part of the American Midwest. Except for Hawaii, Indiana is the smallest state west of the Appalachian Mountains. Indiana was admitted on Dec. 11, 1816, as the 19th state of the union

    17th Century Indiana History Timeline

    1614,1615 - Samuel de Champlain, governor of New France and the founder of Quebec, was believed to be the first of the French explorers to be connected with the Maumee region. He is believed to have seen the Maumee in 1614 or 1615.

    1671 - Simon Daumont de Saint-Lusson declared the lands of the western interior for France at Sault Ste. Marie. Louis Jolliet was one of the signers of this declaration which included the area that later became Indiana. Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle (1643-1687) enters the area that was to become Indiana.

    1679 - Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle (1643-1687) & Louis de Baude de Frontenac, Governor of New France, decided on plans which would enable them to gain control of the area enabling the Maumee-Wabash trade route (via the portage of 1670). One part involved relocating the Miami Indians to the headwaters of the Maumee River to secure the area. This Miami village, located at the site of the present city of Fort Wayne, was known as Kekionga, or Kiskakon, and later became known as "Miamitown". It was used as a trading post by 1686, and is reported to be "the oldest continually occupied community in subsequent Indiana and the general area to the south of the Great Lakes.

    1689-1697 - King William's War

    18th Century Indiana History Timeline

    1702-1713 - Queen Anne's War

    1702 - A major transportation complex of the midwest, the territory that is now known as Indiana was first explored by the French. Mostly fur traders, they established the first permanent settlement at Vincennes

    1717 - French Fort Quiatenon was established, near the present city of Lafayette, to protect the western frontier

    • Fort Philippe, later called Fort Miami, was built on the St. Mary's River, near the area in Fort Wayne, where the St. Mary's, St. Joseph's and Maumee Rivers meet.
    • Pierre Charlevois describes the Miami Indian game which is the ancestor of the modern game of LaCrosse.

    1732 - Vincennes fortified in 1732 and Vincennes becomes the Indiana's first permanent settlement

    1744 - King Nicolas War (known as "King George's War" in Europe) began.

    1747 - British influenced Huron chief, King Nicolas, attacking the French Fort Miami.

    1749 - Second French fort

    1752, 1753 - A smallpox plague struck the Indian population causing dramatic loss of life.

    1754-1763 - The French and Indian War

    1763 - England gains control of the Indiana region and Vincennes The proclamation of 1763 forbid the settlement of lands west of the Appalachian Mountains. From their posts north of the Ohio River the British sent Indian war parties against those settlers who ignored the proclamation line.

    1772 -General Gage ordered the French in the Wabash Valley to leave their settlements, & demanded the title deeds to their lands.

    1774 - (June 2nd) British Parliament passed the Quebec Act, permitting the Canadians to retain French laws and customs, and allowing the Catholic Church to maintain all its rights. "The French settlements at the West, in our present Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, were by the act included in the province of Quebec."

    1776-1787 - The Revolutionary War

    1777 - Indians on the Trans-Appalachian Frontier were encouraged by the British to attack the frontier Americans.

    • (Summer) An expedition from Virginia, headed by Colonel George Rogers Clark proceeded down the Ohio River, then went on to capture the British posts at Kaskaskia and Cahokia along the Mississippi River, near St. Louis. Although under British rule after the French and Indian War, these posts were populated by French settlers that had no great affection for the British. Clark quickly gained their support. Father Pierre Gibault and Dr. Jean Laffont volunteered to travel to Vincennes on behalf of the Americans and soon that settlement also gave its support to Clark. The French at Detroit and other northern posts however, maintained the outward support of the British.
    • British Gov. Henry Hamilton retook Fort Sackville
    • Francis Vigo (born in Italy in 1747) rendered aid to Clark and the Americans which helped Clark to gain the surrender of Fort Sackville in 1779.

    1779 - British Lieutenant-Governor Henry Hamilton surrendered Fort Sackville to American Colonel George Rogers Clark

    1783 - Indiana area given to the United States Territory. "Declaration Signed in Paris by the American Commissioners - February 20, 1783 By the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, for making Peace with Great Britain. A Declaration of the Cessation of Hostilities as well by Sea as Land, agreed upon between His Majesty, the King of Great Britain, and the United States of America. "
    The British Province of Quebec lost all the lands below the Great Lakes with the signing of the 1783 Treaty.

    1787-1800 - The Northwest Territory

    1787 - Treaty of Fort Harmer was signed, and a war began in the summer which would last until 1794.

    • John Jay obtained the signing of a Treaty with England which provided that British should withdraw troops from posts within the boundaries of the United States by 1 June 1796.
    • Tecumseh led the Shawnee Indians in the battle near the rapids of the Maumee. Anthony Wayne overwhelmed the Indians.
    • Anthony Wayne establishes a Fort at Kekionga, and names it "Fort Wayne".

    19th Century Indiana History Timeline

    1800-1816 - The Indiana Territory

    • Indiana Territory was established from the Northwest Territory with William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) as the first Governor and Vincennes the capital.

    1803 - Potawatomi and others signed treaties at Fort Wayne, Fort Industry (1805), and Grouseland (1805), ceding portions of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. "

    • Elihu Stout printed the laws of the Territory, and the "Indiana Gazette".
    • Vincennes, the capital of the Indiana Territory, also served as the capital of the Louisiana Purchase for nine months in 1804.
    • Elihu Stout printed the laws of the Territory, and the "Indiana Gazette".

    1805 - Michigan Territory separated from the Indiana Territory.

    1809 - Illinois Territory separated from the Indiana Territory.

    1811 - Indians are defeated in the Battle of Tippecanoe under W. H. Harrison

    1811-1812 - Earthquakes in the midwest

    1813 - Territorial Capital moved to Corydon.
    Michikinikwa (Chief Little Turtle) died in Fort Wayne July 14, 1812.

    1814 - The War of 1812 which ended 24 December 1814 with signing of the Treaty of Ghent July 22, 1814: "A treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America, and the tribes of Indians called the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanoese, Senecas, and Miamies. "

    September 8, 1815: Treaty between the United States of America and the Wyandot, Delaware, Seneca, Shawanoe, Miami, Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatimie, Tribes of Indians, residing within the limits of the State of Ohio, and the Territories of Indiana and Michigan

    1816 - Indiana becomes the 19 th state with the capitol at Corydon. Jonathan Jennings (1784-1834) was the first Governor of Indiana.

    1818 - St. Marys, Ohio, several Indian tribes (Delawares, Wea, Kickapoos, Miamis and Potawatomis) gave up their claim to a portion of central Indiana, called the "New Purchase."

    1822 - Indiana and Illinois joined together in a plan to connect the Maumee and Wabash Rivers, and in 1826, the canal became a reality, with the first section, linking Fort Wayne with Huntington, completed in 1835.

    1825 - Indianapolis becomes the state capital

    1842 - The University of Notre Dame is founded in South Bend

    1851 - Indiana adopted a state constitution that included a measure protecting the property rights of married women.

    1889 - The Standard Oil Company builds an oil refinery in Whiting

    1897 - Tribal status of the Indiana Miami was terminated, however there were still 90 Miami listed on the 1910 census of Indiana.

    20th Century Indiana History Timeline

    1906 - US Steel Company builds steel plant and founds the city of Gary

    1911 - The first Indy 500 car race takes place

    1915 - Workmen's Compensation Act becomes law

    1932 - One-fourth of the workforce was unemployed.

    1956 - The Northern Indiana Toll Road is completed.

    1963 - Studebaker Automobile Corporation ceased auto production at South Bend plant

    1974 - Series of 148 tornadoes struck the Midwest and Southern states (including Indiana - many killed with severe property damage

    1980 - Indianapolis businessman, Herbert Baumeister, killed 16 men, most gay

    1984 - NFL Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis

    1985 - AIDS patient, Ryan White, barred from attending public school

    1987 - Air Force jet crashed into Ramada Inn near Indianapolis Airport, ten killed

    1988 - Indianian J. Danforth Quayle, elected U. S. Vice President

    1998 - Explosion at Southern Energy Co. in Hammond killed 16

    1999 - Lilly Endowment Inc. presented $50 million grant to Hispanic Scholarship Fund

    21st Century Indiana History Timeline

    • Cicero's town president, nine others, charged with stealing $10 million in taxpayer monies
    • Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, executed at Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute

    2003 - Governor Frank O'Bannon suffered massive stroke, died

    2004 - Indianapolis Colts' Peyton Manning broke Dan Marino's pass record

    2005 - Measles outbreak among school children tornado struck Evansville, 22 killed, 200 injured

    2007 - Indianapolis Colts won Super Bowl XLI

    2010 - Eight teenagers shot at skating rink during concert in Gary

    2011 - Five people killed, more than 40 injured in stage collapse at Indiana State Fair

    2012 - Series of powerful storms and tornadoes left 13 dead, destroyed town of Marysville

    Top 10 Great Monuments Of Ancient Egypt

    4 Washington Monument, Washington D.C

    Washington monument is an iconic structure and historic monument built to honor the first president of the United States, George Washington. Standing at 169.2 meters it is the tallest stone structure in the world. The construction of the monument was started in 1854. But the lack of funds and American civil war halted the construction of monument between 1854 and 1877. It finally completed in 1884. The architectural style of final monument also differs much from that of originally planned one.

    The 2001 Virginia earthquake results in severe damage to Washington monument. It took two and half years for its restoration work. The Washington monument has an obelish shape and made of marble and granite. There are 897 steps to reach the top of the monument. The interior of the monument has a collection of hundreds of the commemorative stones from different countries around the world. Today Washington monument attracts more than half a million visitors every year.

    3 Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

    Mount Rushmore national memorial represents four huge sculptures of the heads of four influential U.S presidents. The presidents on mount Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The sculptures are carved on the granite face of mount Rushmore. The historic monument of South Dakota was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and Lincoln Borglum. The 60 foot high faces on mount Rush represent presidential greatness and one of important works of art in the country.

    It was historian Doane Robinson of South Dakota suggested an idea of carving needles on face of mount Rushmore to attract more tourists to the state. To make his idea a reality he approached famous American sculptor Doane Robinson in 1920. But considering the quality of rock face and national interest sculptor Doane Robinson suggested another idea to carve the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln on mount Rushmore.

    The project started in 1927 and after two years president Calvin Coolidge raised $25000 for the project. It took fourteen years for the completion of sculptures with the help of 400 workers. Approximately 45000 tons of rocks were removed from the rock face during the construction suing dynamite. The noses of the sculptures on mount Rushmore are 20 feet long and mouths are 18 feet wide. The monument not only attracts millions of visitors around the globe but also spread the greatness of four greatest presidents of U.S for generations.

    2 United States Capitol, Washington D.C

    The U.S capitol is an important historical monument and seat of the house of representative and senate. The capitol building constructed in different period of time and to day stands as an outstanding example of 19th century neoclassical style. The capitol building houses senate offices, supreme court, gallery, library of congress and house office. There are 540 rooms in total in the monument.

    The cornerstone of the capitol monument was laid by the first president of United States, George Washington on September 18, 1873. The construction of first the part of the capitol building completed in 1800, designed by three successive architects of that time including Stephen Hallet, George Hadfield and James Hoban. By the end of 1811 the house wing was added to the monument. Unfortunately the British troop set fire on U.S capitol in 1814. Supreme Court building and senate were added in 1819. The enlargement and renovation of the monument completed in 1850.


    At least 10,000 years ago, people lived in the area now called Indiana. About 2,000 years ago a mysterious culture now called Hopewell Tradition filled earthen mounds with tens of thousands of artifacts, giving Indiana one of the most important archaeological sites in the United States. Native American tribes, including the Illini, Miami, and Shawnee, lived on the land thousands of years later. (And the Miami, Shawnee, and Potawatomi tribes still live here today.)

    Around 1614 French explorer Samuel de Chaplain visited the area, one of the first Europeans to see the land. By the late 1600s the land was controlled by the French. Between 1754 and 1763, the French and English fought for control of the region in the French and Indian War. The English were victorious and won the land. Later these lands would become known as the Indiana Territory.

    At the end of the American Revolution, in 1783, Britain ceded Indiana to the United States, and in 1816 Indiana became the 19th state. During the Civil War (1861-1865) the state fought in favor of the Union.


    Indiana was named after the American Indian tribes who lived there when Europeans arrived.

    The nickname Hoosier was first used to describe a person during the 1820s, but experts don’t agree on its meaning. The word might come from an old English term for “hill” that was used as slang for people who lived in Indiana’s hill territory.

    Hispanic and Latino Heritage and History in the United States

    Within the United States, “America” serves as shorthand for the country alone—but the national borders that separate the United States from the rest of the landmass that constitutes “the Americas,” North and South, are relatively recent creations. Even with the introduction and evolution of those borders, the histories of the United States and what we now call Latin America have remained thoroughly entwined, connected by geography, economy, imperialism, immigration, and culture.

    Since 1988, the U.S. Government has set aside the period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month to honor the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make to the United States of America. Our Teacher's Guide brings together resources created during NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes, lesson plans for K-12 classrooms, and think pieces on events and experiences across Hispanic history and heritage.

    Guiding Questions

    Who is included in your curriculum and who can be added when teaching Hispanic history?

    What are the lasting contributions of Hispanic people and groups to the culture and history of the United States?

    How is Latino history woven into the fabric of U.S. history?

    What are some historical and cultural connections between Latin America and the United States?

    Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Spanish version: Misión de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, San Antonio, Texas, 1755) is one of the oldest surviving stone churches in America. In the EDSITEment lesson plan, Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World, students are invited to use the image of the mission to explore the way Spanish missionaries and native American tribes worked together to build a community of faith in the Southwest in the mid-17th century. The NEH Summer Landmark for School teachers, The Fourteenth Colony: A California Missions Resource for Teachers produced a collection of K-12 instructional resources with multimedia spanning Native Californians, Missions, Presidios, and Pueblos of the Spanish, Mexican, and early American traditions and eras. Key resources for the study of this cultural heritage include primary sources, maps and images to document the cultural and historical geography of the California missions.

    Another valuable resource is the NEH-funded PBS series Latino Americans, which chronicles the rich and varied histories of Latinos from the first European settlements to the present day. The website contains trailers from all episodes, a timeline, and an opportunity to upload your own video history. It contains a new education initiative which invites teachers and learners to explore the many ways that Latinos are woven into the fabric of the United States' story.

    Accounts of ventures into uncharted territories by Hispanic explorers and missionaries of the Southeast and Southwest form a vital part of U.S. literary and historical heritage. A prime example, the journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, can be found by visiting the EDSITEment-reviewed resource New Perspectives on the West. Students can then embark on The Road to Santa Fe: A Virtual Excursion to journey to one of America's oldest and most historic cities along the ancient Camino Real to discover the multilayered heritage of the peoples who call New Mexico their homeland. For another perspective on Spanish exploration and settlement, visit Web de Anza, an EDSITEment-recommended website, packed with primary source documents and multimedia resources covering Juan Bautista de Anza's two overland expeditions that led to the colonization of San Francisco in 1776.

    This section provides historical context and framing for EDSITEment’s resources on Latin American and Latino history, as well as ways to integrate NEH-funded projects into the classroom. Lessons are grouped into four thematic and chronological clusters: the indigenous societies of Mesoamerica and the Andes the colonization of the Americas by Spain the Mexican Revolution and immigration and identity in the United States. By no means are these clusters exhaustive their purpose is to provide context for learning materials available through EDSITEment and NEH-funded projects, and to serve as jumping-off points for further exploration and learning. For each theme, a series of framing questions and activities provides suggestions for connecting and extending the lessons and resources listed for that topic.

    Indigenous Mesoamerica and Andes

    Model of Tenochtitlan as it may once have stood. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, Mexico.

    Indigenous peoples inhabited the Americas long before their “discovery” by Europeans at the end of the fifteenth century. Major civilizations had risen and fallen here, just as they had in Eurasia. One of the most famous archaeological sites in the Americas, Teotihuacan, was home to a complex and wealthy society that collapsed nearly a millennium before Christopher Columbus set out from the Spanish port of Palos in 1492. Students can explore the history and culture of the best-known of the major Mesoamerican civilizations in the lessons The Aztecs: Mighty Warriors of Mexico and Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle Has Landed. In the South American Andes, the Incas came to control a vast territory crisscrossed with an impressive network of roads traversed by couriers. Students can learn more about the Inca empire and its communication system in Couriers in the Inca Empire: Getting Your Message Across. The NEH-funded project, Mesoamerican Cultures and Their Histories, provides dozens of additional lesson plans about indigenous societies and cultures.

    Framing questions and activities:

    • Terminology and periodization: Often, names and time periods are taken for granted. These discussion questions prompt students to think critically about the names used to refer to groups of people and to the ways they think about the division of time around the period of European contact with the Americas.
      • While we use the term “the Aztecs” most commonly today, this was not what the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan would have called themselves. Historians usually use either Nahuas/Nahua-speaking, to refer to the language these people spoke (and which is still spoken to this day), or Mexica, which refers to the most powerful of the three groups in the Triple Alliance that controlled Tenochtitlan and the Valley of Mexico when Hernán Cortés arrived in 1519. Ask students to reflect on these different names. Why might “Aztec,” which is not what the Mexica specifically or Nahuas generally would have called themselves, have become so common? What is gained from a better understanding of the history of these names and their meanings?
      • Ask students to read and explore this timeline of Mesoamerican civilizations. Reflect on the words often used to describe these civilizations and what happened to them after the arrival of Europeans to the New World. What words come to mind? Have students research indigenous language use in Mexico. This map, from Mexico’s National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, is a good place to start. How does what they find complicate the use of tools like a timeline to understand indigenous civilizations and cultures, or the use of common phrases like “the fall” of a particular civilization? Ask them to reflect on the terms “Pre-Hispanic” and “Pre-Columbian.” What do these terms communicate, and what do they omit? Why do these questions about terminology and periodization matter? Can they think of alternative ways to refer to these time periods? What are the pros and cons of these alternatives?

      Contact, Conquest, Colonization

      A segment of Diego Rivera's mural in the Palacio Nacional (Mexico City), depicting the burning of Maya literature by the Catholic Church.

      When Spanish conquistadors reached the New World, they encountered these complex indigenous societies with their sophisticated, surplus-producing economies, as well as smaller, nomadic societies. The early Spanish colonizers, far fewer in number than the populous New World civilizations they sought to conquer, often attempted to graft onto existing tribute systems to extract this surplus wealth, with major indigenous cities like Tenochtitlan (situated where Mexico’s capital city is to this day) serving as the geographic loci of early colonization. Spanish colonization was helped along by Spain’s military technology, alliances with rival indigenous groups, and, most crucially, disease. The Spaniards introduced contagious diseases, such as smallpox, to which indigenous people had little immune resistance. Indigenous populations were decimated by the combination of warfare, disease, and harsh labor on Spanish plantations. As Spain’s empire expanded, the Spanish crown depended heavily on the Catholic Church to subjugate indigenous peoples, both settled and nomadic, and integrate them into the colonial economy. Along New Spain’s northern frontier, which stretched into the present-day United States and where contact and conflict with other burgeoning European empires was likely, fortified missions relying on coerced indigenous settlement and labor were important institutions for expanding the geographic and demographic reach of the Spanish empire. In the EDSITEment lesson plan, Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World, students are invited to use the image of the mission to explore one instance of the missionary institution in the mid-17th century. This lesson might be further enriched with an exploration of Spanish mission sites in California in The Road to Santa Fe: A Virtual Excursion.

      The processes of conquest and colonization were often carefully documented by Spaniards, creating a rich—and problematic—historical and literary record. A prime example, the journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, can be found by visiting New Perspectives on the West. For another perspective on Spanish exploration and settlement, visit Web de Anza, which is packed with primary source documents and multimedia resources covering Juan Bautista de Anza's two overland expeditions that led to the colonization of San Francisco in 1776. Surviving indigenous perspectives are more difficult to find. Even when available, these sources pose significant interpretive challenges because they were often mediated through Spanish individuals or institutions. For grades 11-12, The Conquest of Mexico provides a plethora of primary and secondary sources (including texts produced by indigenous people), lesson plans, and exercises in historical analysis. Finally, Southwest Crossroads offers lesson plans, in-depth articles, and hundreds of digitized primary sources that explore the many narratives people have used to make sense of this region, from colonization to the present.

      Framing questions and activities:

      • Source interpretation: In several EDSITEment lessons about Spanish colonization, students are asked to analyze images to glean information about colonial institutions and practices. They have also confronted the problem of authorship and perspective in primary sources from this period, with the archive of the colonizer serving as the main paradigm through which the processes of conquest and colonization are understood. Two lessons from the NEH-funded website, Southwest Crossroads: Cultures and Histories of the American Southwest, throw this problem into sharp relief. In Encounters—Hopi and Spanish Worldviews, students work with texts written by both Hopi and Spanish authors, as well as maps and images, to learn about missionaries’ violent attempts to convert Hopi villagers to Catholicism and to reflect on the lasting impacts of those attempts for Hopi culture and society. In Invasions—Then and Now, students work with a Spanish account of a sixteenth-century expedition, a map of similar expeditions, and a twentieth-century poem to reflect on the echoes and reverberations of the colonial past.
      • Image analysis: The EDSITEment lesson Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World is based on the analysis of a watercolor painting of the mission. Students can learn more about the architecture of Spanish missions from the National Park Service, and use their insights to analyze the architecture of other missions pictured in the University of California’s digital exhibition of Spanish mission sites in California. They can explore additional photographs of Spanish missions, as well as get a sense for the distribution of missions in what is now the United States, from Designing America, a website created by the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos and the National Library of Spain. Ask students to think critically about this last source in particular as they read through its descriptions of mission architecture and function. How does this information compare with, for example, this Hopi author’s account of the construction of a Spanish mission? Why might this be?

      The Mexican Revolution

      Stereograph cards, like this one of Pancho Villa's headquarters in Juárez, could be viewed with stereoscopes to create the illusion of a three-dimensional scene. They were popular souvenirs this one was produced by the Keystone View Company, in Pennsylvania.

      Beginning in 1910 and continuing for a decade, the Mexican Revolution had profound ramifications for both Mexican and U.S. history. The EDSITEment Closer Readings Commentry on the Mexican Revolution provides background on the conflict and its cultural, artistic, and musical legacies. A lesson plan for the Mexican Revolution covers the context for, unfolding of, and legacies of the Revolution for later social movements. Students can learn about the role played by the United States in the Mexican Revolution in the EDSITEment lesson plan “To Elect Good Men”: Woodrow Wilson and Latin America.

      Framing questions and activities:

      • Guided research: Ask students to explore the Mexican Revolution in greater detail. Useful sources, in addition to those already mentioned, include:
        • The Newberry’s Perspectives on the Mexican Revolution
        • The Library of Congress’s The Mexican Revolution and the United States
        • The Getty’s Faces of the Mexican Revolution
        • Journalist John Reed’s 1914 analysis of the Mexican Revolution

        The following questions and prompts can guide their research:

        • Describe Mexican political, economic, and social conditions during the Porfiriato.
        • What were some of the causes of the Mexican Revolution?
        • Who were some of the major military actors in the Mexican Revolution? Why were they involved, and what were they fighting for?
        • How have different people experienced and understood the Mexican Revolution? Provide at least two different individuals’ perspectives.

        Before students begin their research, ask them to review the sources provided and give examples of primary and secondary sources. As they answer the guiding questions, they should use at least one primary and one secondary source to support each of their answers.

        • Comparing and contrasting: After studying the Mexican Revolution and U.S. involvement in it, ask students to make comparisons with another revolution or conflict that they have studied. They might consider the following factors:
          • Major divisions and conflicts
          • The role of foreign intervention
          • Outcomes of the conflicts
          • Major actors involved in the conflict
          • The way the conflict was represented in contemporary accounts (for example, by researching coverage in historic newspapers on Chronicling America)
          • Ways the conflict is commemorated today

          Students should create presentations of their findings to present to each other. As they listen to their classmates, ask students to take notes about the various revolutions. Use their observations to start a discussion about the word “revolution.” What should be classified as a revolution? Could a coup be a revolution? A civil war? Why do they think some civil wars are classified as such, while others are labeled revolutions, even though the impacts of both might be equally profound?

          Immigration and Identity in the United States

          Photo of Cesar Chávez with farm workers in California, ca. 1970.

          The border between the United States and Mexico has changed over time, and much of the territory that now forms the southwestern United States was at one point Mexican. But the movement of people, goods, money, and ideas has always been a feature of this border. That movement, especially of people, has not always been voluntary. During the Great Depression, many thousands—and by some estimates as many as two million—Mexicans were forcibly deported from the United States. Over half of those deported were U.S. citizens.

          Less than a decade later, U.S. policy changed completely: rather than deporting Mexican-Americans and Mexicans, the United States was desperate to draw Mexican laborers into the country to ease agricultural labor shortages caused by World War II. As a result, the Mexican and U.S. governments established the Bracero Program, which allowed U.S. employers to hire Mexican laborers and guaranteed those laborers a minimum wage, housing, and other necessities. However, braceros’ wages remained low, they had almost no labor rights, and they often faced violent discrimination, including lynching. Oral histories from braceros, as well as several lesson plans about the program, can be found at the NEH-funded Bracero History Archive

          The Bracero program ended in 1964. Two years before, in 1962, César Chávez had co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta. The NFWA would later become the United Farm Workers (UFW). In response to the low wages and terrible working conditions experienced by farmworkers, Chávez and Huerta organized migrant farmworkers to press for higher wages, better working conditions, and labor rights. Students can learn more about Chávez and Huerta in the EDSITEment lesson "Sí, se puede!": Chávez, Huerta, and the UFW.

          The UFW was part of the larger civil rights movement of the 1960s and beyond. The Chicano movement fought for the rights of Mexican-Americans and against anti-Mexican racism and discrimination. It was also important in the creation of a new collective identity for, and sense of solidarity among, Mexican-Americans. Other ethnic categories sought to include a greater number of people of Latin American heritage and to capture aspects of their shared experience in the United States. In the 1970s, activists pushed for the inclusion of “Hispanic” on the U.S. Census in order to disaggregate poverty rates among Latinos and whites. Since then, different terms have emerged to describe this diverse population, including Latino and Latinx. The PBS project Latino Americans (available in English and Spanish) documents the experiences of Latinos in the United States and includes a selection of lesson plans for grades 7-12, as well as shorter, adaptable classroom activities. Additional resources for teaching immigration history include the Closer Readings Commentary “Everything Your Students Need to Know About Immigration History,” which provides an overview of immigration history in the United States, and Becoming US, a collection of teaching resources on migration and immigration created by the Smithsonian Institution.

          Framing questions and activities:

          • Terminology and identity: There are many words to describe the experiences and identities of Latinos in the United States. The words “Hispanic” and “Latino” are intentionally broad and meant to capture a wide diversity of identities and experiences, which means that they can also erase or diminish specific individuals and their stories. Teaching Tolerance has created and compiled a selection of educational materials, including readings, discussion questions, and suggestions for teachers, to help address this topic in the classroom. Within this Teacher’s Guide, the lessons in the section “Borderlands: Lessons from the Chihuahuan Desert” address questions of identity, belonging, and difference in greater depth.
          • Comparing and contrasting: Like "Sí, se puede!": Chávez, Huerta, and the UFW, the EDSITEment lesson Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and the Power of Nonviolence addresses the civil rights movement and the use of nonviolent protest to fight racism, discrimination, and exploitation. Ask students to research a specific protest organized by the UFW and one by leaders of the movement for African American civil rights. They might return to the lessons for some ideas, or work on a protest not included in the lesson plans. Ask them to discuss the following questions with respect to their chosen protests:
            • What actors were involved? What united them?
            • What were they protesting?
            • What strategies did they use? Describe the mechanics of the protest: its location and duration, what actions the protesters took, how they responded to any resistance or confrontations, how and why the protest ended. Depending on the protest they have chosen, a timeline and/or map may be a good way to represent this information.
            • Were there any divisions, controversies, or conflicts within the movement?
            • What responses met the protest? How was the protest represented in different media outlets from the time?
            • How has the protest been commemorated or remembered since it took place? How have those commemorations changed over time?
            • If you were to design a monument, event, or other public commemoration of this protest, what would you create? Why?

            A large selection of reviewed websites that explore the cultural legacy of Mexico, Central America, parts of the Caribbean, as well as other Latin American nations is also featured on EDSITEment. NPR’s Afropop Worldwide introduces the great variety of music with African roots today in countries like Colombia. A Collector's Vision of Puerto Rico features a rich timeline. Other EDSITEment resources focus on the history and culture of other countries. The EDSITEment lesson plan, Mexican Culture and History through Its National Holidays, encourages students to learn more about the United States’ closest southern neighbor by highlighting Mexico’s Independence Day and other important Mexican holidays.

            Additional EDSITEment-created resources help students attain a deeper understanding of the history and cultural wealth of that large and diverse country. EDSITEment marked the Mexican Revolution’s centennial (1910-2010) with a special EDSITEment-created bilingual spotlight that explores the revolution’s historical background, including the muralist movement, and the musical legacy of the corrido tradition. EDSITEment also notes Mexico’s vital role in world literature by saluting one of the most important poets in the Spanish language and the first great Latin American poet, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in a fully bilingual academic unit. Here, teachers and students will find two lesson plans, accompanying bilingual glossaries, an interactive timeline, numerous worksheets, listening-comprehension exercises, and two interactive activities, one of which entails a detailed analysis of her portrait.

            Contemporary authors writing about Hispanic heritage in the United States include Pam Muñoz Ryan, whose award-winning work of juvenile fiction is featured in the EDSITEment lesson plan, Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over (the lesson plan is also available in Spanish). Set in the early 1930s, twenty years after the Mexican Revolution and during the Great Depression, Esperanza Rising tells the story of a young Mexican girl's courage and resourcefulness when, at the tender age of thirteen, she finds herself living in a strange new world. Pam Muñoz Ryan also enriches her story with extensive historical background. Students are given an opportunity to engage in interesting classroom activities that encourage them to imagine the difficult choices facing those who decide to leave home and immigrate to the United States.

            On the literature front, both Latin America and Spain have a rich heritage. Set in the Dominican Republic during the rule of Rafael Trujillo, In the Time of the Butterflies fictionalizes historical figures in order to dramatize heroic efforts of the Mirabal sisters to overthrow this dictator’s brutal regime. EDSITEment lesson plan, Courage In the Time of the Butterflies, has students undertake a careful analysis of the sisters to see how each demonstrates courage. Students additionally analyze a speech delivered in 2006 by a daughter of one of the sisters to understand the historical legacy of these extraordinary women.

            A new EDSITEment curriculum unit of three lessons, Magical Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude for the Common Core, has students uncover how Gabriel García Márquez meshes magical elements with a reality which is, in his view, fantastical in its own right. García Márquez actually recapitulates episodes in the history of Latin America through the novel's story of real and fantastical events experienced over the course of one century by the Buendía family.

            Students can learn more about some of the most important poets from the Spanish Golden Age and from the twentieth century through the feature Six Hispanic Literary Giants (this feature is also available in Spanish).

            Borderlands narratives have historically been seen as peripheral to the development of American history and identity and the binational spaces border people occupy have been portrayed as dangerous, illegitimate, and as part of a distinct counter-culture. During "Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: Borderlands Narratives about Identity and Binationalism," a summer institute for educators (grades 6-12) sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and offered by The University of Texas at El Paso, scholars and teachers examine debates about American history and identity by focusing on the multicultural region and narratives of the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez metroplex.

            The lessons and materials provided below were created by institute attendees in the interest of developing "their own creative ways of implementing diverse storytelling methodologies into their teaching philosophies in order to more holistically reflect on the complex histories and identities of border peoples and of the binational spaces they inhabit." The complete portfolio of lesson plans is available at the "Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: Borderlands Narratives about Identity and Binationalism" homepage.

            Smokestack Memories: A Borderlands History During the Gilded Age—The second industrialization also known as the Gilded Age from about 1870s-1900s is one of the most significant time periods in American history. In 1887, a smelter was established in El Paso which would become known as ASARCO. The purpose of this lesson is to understand and contextualize the global, national, border, and regional impact of industry during the Gilded Age. (Grade: 7, 8, 11) (Subject: U.S. History, AP U.S. History)

            Push/Pull Factors and the Quest for God, Gold, and Glory—Through these two lessons that connect early European exploration of US territories with contemporary immigration, students draw upon the familiar to understand the past and the long history of the United States as a nation by and for people of many cultures. (Grade: 8) (Subject: U.S. History, World History)

            Making a Nation—Through these lessons, students will produce an interactive map of North America in the earliest days of colonization that demonstrates the multiple nations and borderlands that cut across the physical space that we now consider to be clearly defined that they can then use throughout their study of American history. (Grade: 8) (Subject: Language Arts and Social Studies)

            Borders Near and Far: A Global and Local Investigation of Borderlands—This lesson is designed as an introduction for exploring the theme of borders and borderlands throughout a literature course. Compelling questions and text-based examples are provided to prepare students for independent close readings and discussions of borders at multiple points during the school year. (Grade: 11-12) (Subject: Literature and Language Arts)

            Know Thyself—This unit focuses on the topics of identity, stereotypes, culture, and biculturalism. It is a four-part unit intended to extend throughout the semester with supplemental activities and resources in between. This unit is presented in English to serve lower level Spanish courses, however, it can be adapted and taught in Spanish with additional vocabulary instruction and scaffolding. (Grade: 9-12) (Subject: Language, Spanish level 1, 2)

            Borders: Understanding and Overcoming Differences—Students will examine the concept of borders, both literal and figurative, as well as what a border is and how it is created. They will use this knowledge as they learn about the U.S.-Mexico border and will delve deeper into the idea of borders as they examine their own lives. (Grade: 8-10) (Subject: Spanish and Social Studies)

            Latino Americans is an NEH-funded documentary series that chronicles the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos from the first European settlements to the present day. The website contains trailers from all episodes, a timeline, and an opportunity to upload your own video history. The related education initiative invites teachers and learners to explore the many ways that Latinos have contributed to the history and culture of the United States.

            To accompany Episode 3: War and Peace, Humanities Texas offers a collection of resources to explore the contributions of Latino Americans during the second world war and the experience of returning servicemen who faced discrimination despite their service. These lesson plans and activities include viewing guides to support students as they watch the episode and primary sources to draw out key themes and events introduced by the film.

            Social Studies and History

            The Mexican Revolution —In order to better understand this decade-long civil war, we offer an overview of the main players on the competing sides, primary source materials for point of view analysis, discussion of how the arts reflected the era, and links to Chronicling America, a free digital database of historic newspapers, that covers this period in great detail.

            Chronicling America's Spanish-language newspapers—The Spanish-language newspapers in Chronicling America, along with those published in English, allow us to look beyond one representation of the communities and cultures pulled into the United States by wars and treaties of the 19th century. Spanish-language newspapers reveal how these communities reported on their own culture, politics, and struggles to form an identity in a brand new context.

            Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World—Focusing on the daily life of Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, the lesson asks students to relate the people of this community and their daily activities to the art and architecture of the mission.

            Literature and Language Arts

            Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over (also available in Spanish)—In this lesson students will explore some of the contrasts that Esperanza experiences when she suddenly falls from her lofty perch as the darling child of a wealthy landowner surrounded by family and servants to become a servant herself among an extended family of immigrant farm workers.

            Magical Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude (Curriculum Unit)—Author Gabriel García Márquez meshes magical elements with a reality which is, in his view, fantastical in its own right. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, García Márquez vividly retells episodes in the history of Latin America through the story of real and fantastical events experienced over the course of one century by the Buendía family.

            Women and Revolution: In the Time of the Butterflies—In this lesson, students undertake a careful analysis of the main characters to see how each individually demonstrates courage in the course of her family’s turbulent life events in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorial rule of Rafael Trujillo.

            Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The First Great Latin American Poet (Curriculum Unit, also available in Spanish)—Through this curriculum unit students will gain an understanding of why Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is considered one of the most important poets of Latin America, and why she is also considered a pioneering feminist writer and poet.

            "Every Day We Get More Illegal" by Juan Felipe Herrera—In his poem “Every Day We Get More Illegal” Juan Felipe Herrera, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, gives voice to the feelings of those “in-between the light,” who have ambiguous immigration status and work in the United States.

            "Translation for Mamá" by Richard Blanco—Richard Blanco wrote the poem “Translation for Mamá” for his mother, who came to the United States from Cuba to create a new life for herself and her family. Using both English and Spanish language translation, Blanco honors the bridge between his mother’s new identity and the losses she faced in emigration.

            Culture and Arts

            Picturing America (Available in Spanish)—The Picturing America project celebrates Hispanic heritage with a handsome visual reminder of the Spanish influence on American history, religion, and culture.

            La Familia—Students will learn about families in various Spanish cultures and gain a preliminary knowledge of the Spanish language, learning the Spanish names for various family members.

            De Colores—This lesson plan is designed for young learners at the novice or novice-intermediate level of proficiency in Spanish. The vocabulary, the colors, is appealing to young learners because colors are easy for them to comprehend and observe while connecting the newly acquired vocabulary to familiar objects.

            Origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead—This EDSITEment feature can be used with students as a framework for discussing the origins and history of the Halloween festival and introducing them to the Mexican festival, the Day of the Dead (el Día de Muertos), recognizing the common elements shared these festivals of the dead as well as the acknowledging the differences between them.

            Mexican Culture and History through Its National Holidays—This lesson will focus on holidays that represent and commemorate Mexico's religious traditions, culture, and politics over the past five hundred years.

            Watch the video: Miami 4K - Night Drive (June 2022).


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