• Worlds Transformed

    Worlds Transformed

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ADA Text Version

Spanish conquistadors subdued many of the native populations, setting the stage for a Spanish empire in the New World. What were the effects of mixing Spanish, Indian, and African peoples and cultures in the New World?

A Blending of Cultures

Part of the Spanish empire reached into the area we now know as New Mexico. The blending of European and Indian cultures there reflected the dynamics of continuing contact in frontier regions, a process that played a vital role in the shaping of America. Why does cultural blending tend to happen in frontier zones? How is this blending reflected in American society today?

Download the transcript of A Blending Cultures.


Authority in America

Control in Colonial times rested in the hands of European rulers who dictated the early exploration and settling of America. A review of the documents included in the following activity will give you insight into how European rulers exercised this authority.

Early America: Dates and Documents

Download the transcript of Early America: Dates and Documents.

Download the transcript of Authority in Early America.

Lesson Study Questions

To evaluate your understanding of the lesson topics and prepare for tests, consider how you would answer these questions:

  1. How and why was Cortés able to conquer Mexico?
    • What technological advantages did Cortés have?
    • How and why was he able to get help from some of the indigenous peoples?
  2. Explain the role Portugal played in the age of European exploration.
    • Where was Portugal located?
    • Why did Portugal encourage voyages around Africa?
    • What technological advances are associated with Portugal’s efforts?
  3. How and why did a geographic revolution take place in the sixteenth century?
    • How did mapmakers depict the world prior to this time?
    • How did Martin Waldseemüller map the world? What information did he have?
    • What effect did the European "discovery" of the Pacific Ocean have?
  4. Why did Spain become the dominant European power in the New World in the sixteenth century?
    • What areas did Spain colonize? By what authority?
    • What resources in the Americas did Spain use to its advantage?
    • How were they able to control and use the native peoples?
  5. Why did Spain establish settlements in areas that became Florida and New Mexico?
    • How would a colony in Florida solidify its claim and protect its ships?
    • What were the Spanish seeking in New Mexico? What did they end up doing there?
  6. Describe and explain the meaning of the Columbian exchange. How did both the Old and New Worlds experience gains and losses because of the exchange? Which world benefited the most? Why? In what ways does the exchange continue today?
    • What is the Columbian exchange?
    • How did New World food products, crops, and mineral resources affect Europe and Asia? 
    • How did diseases affect both areas?
    • Did the New World gain anything from Europe? What?
    • How does the exchange of organisms continue?
  7. During the sixteenth century, Spain became the most powerful country in both Europe and the Americas. How and why did this happen? How did Spain transform America? How is the Spanish influence still visible in the United States today?
    • What geographic advantages did Spain have?
    • How did Spain use the resources it gained in the Americas?
    • Why was Spain able to establish its empire? What parts of their culture did they impose?
    • How is the influence reflected in people, language, religion, architecture, etc.?