Text 1. From Early People to Colonies.



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Text 1. From Early People to Colonies.



Read the text and assimilate its information.

The first Americans were immigrants who travelled across a land bridge that once connected Siberia and Alaska. At the height of the Ice Age, between 34,000and 30,000 much of the world’s water was contained in vast continental ice sheets. As a result ,the Bering Sea was hundreds of meters below its current level, and a land bridge, known as Beringia, emerged between Asia and North America. At its peak, Beringia is thought to have some 1,500 km wide. A moist and treessless tundra, it was covered with grasses and plant life, attracting the large animals that early humans hunted for their survival.

The first people to reach North America almost certainly did so without knowing they had crossed into a new continent. They would have been following game, as their ancestors had for thousands of years, along the Siberian coast and then across the land bridge.

Eventually these people spread throughout North and South America.

Although some remained hunter-gathers, others learned agriculture and raised animals. In Central America the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec civilizations, and the Inca of South America, developed pueblos and the Hopewell constructed huge burial mounds. Elsewhere, the Iroquios language groups formed a strong, lasting political confederation.

Meanwhile, in Western Europe, a new Europe was emerging as Christianity unified the people and strong monarchs unified their territories. A wealthy middle class developed form the increase in commerce and growth of cities. Peace, prosperity and optimism helped to set in motion a far-reaching rebirth of interest in the classical heritage of Greece and Rome called the Renaissance. The Renaissance brought a profound cultural awakening in Italian, French, English and German lands.

Religious leaders like John Wycliffe, John Huss, Marthin Luther, and John Calvin called the reform of the Roman Catholic Church. During the Reformation, some groups broke entirely with the Church and founded Protestant churches.

In Asia and Africa, Muslim leaders established empires and expanded their territories. The trade that had flourished on these continents since ancient times continued to grow. Traders carried ideas as well as goods between the East and the West, usually along overland routes or a combination of overland and water routes. China, however, turned inward, halting trade to free its people from outside influences.

The development of nation-states, the Renaissance, the Reformation,and the growth of trade caused many Europeans to turn outward. Improved technology gave navigators the compass, the astrolabe, the quadrant and the faster and more seaworthy ships. Bankers, merchants and joint-stock companies provided the money to finance expeditions. In search of spices and luxury goods, explorers braved the uncharted seas to find all-water route from Europe to Asia. Portugese sailors rounded the tip of Africa and charted an eastern waterway to India.

Soon European nations other than Portugal were looking to establish direct trading links with the East. Not until the voyages of Christopher Columbus in the late 1490s,however, were Europeans aware that North America and South America existed.

The first Europeans to Arrive in the Americas were Norse seafarers from Scandinavia. Between A.D.800 and 1100 the Norse established settlements in Iceland, Greenland and present-day Newfoundland, which they called Vinland. The Norse settlements in Vinland were unsuccessful because of the conflicts with Indians and lack of support from home. The Vinland settlements soon disappeared. It was not until the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492 that the age of European discovery and exploration of the Americas began in earnest. After Europeans learned that Columbus had discovered continent not yet known to them, Spain, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and England sent expeditions to the New World. They pursued a passage to Asia through or around the Americas in search of precious metals. In time all these nations established colonies in the Americas.

Yet by 1500, Spain and Portugal competed for territories in the Americas. The pope drew a line of demarcation between Portugese and Spanish lands in South America. Soon this line was shifted and extended around the earth. Meanwhile, Portugal grew rich because it controlled the eastern route to the Indies. In1519 Spain made its bid for wealth from Asia by sending Ferdinand Magellan to find a westerly route. His expedition was the first to circumnavigate the world.

Commerce led to empire building. The Spaniards wanted wealth from the New World, but also glory and opportunity to spread Christianity. In 1519 Hernan Cortes began his conquest of the Aztecs. He defeated their emperor Montezuma and shipped huge amounts Aztec gold to Spain. His success encouraged other conquistadores, such as Francisco Pizarro who conquered the Incan empire, to seek their fortunes in the Americas. In the process, the Spaniards claimed vast territories that eventually formed a great colonial empire. The people of Spain’s colonies formed a structured society, with government officials at the top and native Americans and African slaves at the bottom.

Other countries envied the riches that Spain’s conquests in central and South America brought. As a result France, England and the Netherlands searched for a northwest passage to the East and made claims in the New World during the 1500s and 1600s.The French established a permanent colony at Quebec in 1608 along the St.Lawrence River and developed a lucrative trade in beaver furs. By 1642 French explores had claimed the Mississippi River basin. The Dutch settled in the rich Hudson River valley.

After the English destroyed the Spanish invasion fleet in1588, their interest in the Americas deepened. The first English colony on Roanoke Island failed in1578. But in 1607 the English founded Jamestown in Virginia – their first permanent settlement in the New World. Despite many hardships, the Jamestown colonists survived. Profits from the tobacco they grew lured new settlers to Virginia.In time the colonists there formed the first representative government body in North America, the House of Burgesses. The first Africans were brought to Jamestown in1619.

The Jamestown settlers came to America looking for wealth. Others, like the Pilgrim and Puritan settlers in New England, wanted freedom from religious persecution.Upon arrival in North America in 1620,the pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact and established the Plymouth colony in what is now Massachusetts.With the help of the American Indian Squanto they adapted to their environment. By 1629 thousands of Puritans, hoping to build a model Christian society, had migrated to Massachusetts. However, religious differences soon forced some of them to move on and found settlement in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Other colonies were created when the king granted huge tracts of land to proprietors. These proprietorships included the southern colonies of Maryland, the Carolinas and Georgia and the middle colonies of New York, New Jersey Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Although many diverse groups of people populated the colonies, their values and beliefs, government and educational institutions grew out of English traditions. By the mid-1700s these aspects of colonial society had a unique and many times religious character. Over time the social and political structure of the colonies became more democratic than in England. For example, the House of Burgesses, not the English Parliament, controlled the taxes that paid the governor’s salary, and the Act of Toleration in Maryland protected the religious freedom of all Christian settlers there. In short, the colonies offered a better life to most of the people who settle there.

However, many women, Africans and native Americans did not share in this better life. Women were given little formal education and were banned from the participation in government. Most Africans in the colonies were slaves. And native Americans fought constantly with the colonists over territory. Although few colonists were as skilled as Indian warriors at fighting , the colonists’ numbers and superior weapons gave them an advantage. European diseases wiped out whole native American communities because they had not developed immunities.

 

Word Check

Ex. 1.Give the English for the following words:

продолжать, возобновлять; смесь; смешивание; сырой, влажный

индейский поселок, пуэбло; движение, побуждение; сильный, основательный; внутренний; внутрь; задерживать; внешний, наружу, за пределы; вадрант, циркуль; прибыльный, выгодный; соблазнительный

 

Ex. 2. Match the words from A column with those from B:

A B
1) land bridge a) всеводный, водный
2) for one’s survival b) претендовать
3) set in motion c) преследование
4) joint-stock companies d) за выживание, чтобы выжить
5) all-water e) двигать, побуждать
6) make bid f) совместное предприятие
7) lucrative trade g) давать преимущество
8) be banned h) перешеек земли
9) give an advantage i) выгодная торговля

 

Comprehension

Ex. 1. Split the text into parts and think of appropriate titles for each one.

Ex. 2.Use the following words and word combinations in the sentences of your own.

- emerge

- to conquer

- the increase in

- in search of

- to complete for

- despite hardships

- persecution

- wipe out

 

Ex. 3. Complete the following sentences according to the text:

1. … gave birth to a unique American civilization in the New World.

2. The first Americans were immigrants who…

3. They reached North America without knowing…

4. … developed highly organized and sophisticated societies.

5. Peace, prosperity and optimism helped to…

6. The Renaissance brought…

7. In search of spices and luxury goods, explorers…

8. Other countries envied…

9. …their interests in the Americas deepened.

10. …wanted freedom from religious persecution.

11. Although many diverse groups of people populated…

12. … did not share this better life.

 

Ex. 4. Restore the order in which the events appear:

1. The age of European discovery and exploration of the Americas began in earnest with the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1942.

2. The Renaissance brought a profound cultural awakening in European lands.

3. Between 34,000 and 30,000 BC the early humans came to American Continent hunting large animals for their survival.

4. During the R acceptance of certain conditions. apparent eformation some groups broke entirely with the Church and founded Protestant churches.

5. Eventually these people spread throughout North and South America. Although some remained hunter-gathers, others learned agriculture and raised animals.

6. Improved technology and search of spices and luxury goods inspired explorers to find an all-water route from Europe to Asia.

7. In time the colonists in Jamestown formed the first representative government body in North America, the House of Burgesses.

8. By 1500 Spain and Portugal were competing for the territory in the Restore the order in which the events appear:

9. Americas.

10. After the English destroyed the Spanish invasion fleet, the Armada, in 1588, their interest in the Americas deepened.

11. Some settlers like Pilgrims and Puritans wanted to find freedom from religious persecution in New England.

12. The people of Spain’s colonies formed a structured society with government officials at the top and native Americans and African slaves at the bottom.

Ex. 5.Answer the following questions using as much information from the text as possible:

1. Who were the first people to reach the American continent? With what purpose did they come to it?

2. The first Europeans to arrive in the Americas were Norse seafarers from Scandinavia, weren’t they?

3. What civilizations throughout North and South America grew into societies?

4. What events in Europe and Asia caused the new era in exploration of the world and America in particular?

5. How did the competiting for territory and commerce influence the exploration and the settlement of the New World? What colonies were established in the New World?

6. Was the social and political structure of the colonies of unique character?

7. Can one consider the social and political structure of the colonies democratic? Why?

 

Discussion

1. Discuss in groups the following problems:

a) The reasons for the exploration and settlement of America.

b) The stages of the colonization of America.

 

2. Prove that

a) The exploration and settlement of America took a long period of time.

b) Religion helped shape events between the 1400s and the 1700s.

 

3. Prepare a short speech or write a composition on one of the following topics:

a) European Discovery and Exploration of America.

b) Colonial America.

 



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