U N I T E D S T A T E S H I S T O R Y 1 - U N I T 1
historical account #1
Kennedy, David M., Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas Bailey. Twelfth Edition. The American Pageant. (Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2002), pgs. 5-6
Peopling the Americas The Great Ice Age shaped more than the geological history of North America. It also contributed to the origins of the continent’s human history. Though recent (and still highly controversial) evidence suggests that some early peoples may have reached the Americas in crude boats, most probably came by land. Some 35,000 years ago, the Ice Age congealed much of the world oceans into massive ice- pack glaciers, lowering the level of the sea. As the sea level dropped, it exposed a land bridge connecting Eurasia with North America in the area of the present-day Bering Sea between Siberia and Alaska. Across that bridge, probably following migratory herds of game, ventured small bands of nomadic Asian hunters—the “immigrant” ancestors of the Native Americans. They continued to trek across the Bering isthmus for some 250 centuries, slowly peopling the American continents.
As the Ice Age ended and the glaciers melted, the sea level rose again, inundating the land bridge about 10,000 years ago. Nature thus barred the door to further immigration for many thousands of years, leaving this part of the human family marooned for millennia on the now isolated American continents.
Time did not stand still for these original Americans. The same climatic warming that melted the ice and drowned the bridge to Eurasia gradually opened ice-free valleys through which vanguard bands groped their way southward and eastward across the Americas. Roaming slowly through this awesome wilderness, they eventually reached the far tip of South America, some 15,000 miles from Siberia. By the time Europeans arrived in America in 1492, perhaps 54 million people inhabited the two American continents.* Over the centuries they split into countless tribes, evolved more than 2,000 separate languages, and developed many diverse religions, cultures, and ways of life.
historical account #3
Gavin Menzies, 1421: The Year China Discovered America (New York: William Morrow Paperbacks, 2008).
…The site was covered with a 40-foot layer of the accumulated sand and silt of centuries, so Dr. Furry began by taking magnetometer readings of the area. These showed a strong magnetic anomaly outlining a buried object 85 feet long and 30 feet wide, very similar in size and shape to the trading junks that accompanied (Admiral) Zheng He’s fleets. Core samples were then extracted from the site. The fragments of woods brought up were carbon-dated to 1410, indicating that the junk was built in that year, ‘a period that included a maritime highpoint for the ancient Chinese’…
I now had little doubt that the site contained the wreck of a Chinese junk; it was exactly the evidence I had been looking for…
…In 1874, Stephen Powers, an official inspector appointed by the government of California who had spent years collecting data on the languages of the tribes of California, published an article claiming that he had found linguistic evidence of a Chinese colony on the Russian River in California, some seventy miles north-west of the Sacramento junk. Powers also claimed that diseases brought by European settlers had decimated this Chinese colony as well as the other Indian people of California…
…Powers’ report was badly received by his government employers, and although he courteously and bravely attempted to maintain his position, his official report, published in 1877, is a watered-down version of his claims. Nonetheless, it makes for fascinating reading.
…On the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, some seventy miles south of the site of the Sacramento junk [wreckage of a Chinese trading ship], there is a small, stone-built village with low walls. In 1904, Dr. John Fryer, Professor of Oriental Languages at University College, Berkeley, California, states, ‘This is undoubtedly the work of Mongolians… The Chinese would naturally wall themselves in, as they do in all their towns in China.’ This accords with Powers’s succinct description of Chinese people who had created a colony and then intermarried with native Americans.
historical account #2
James Loewen, Teaching What Really Happened: How to Avoid the Tyranny of the Textbooks and Get Students Excited About History, (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010) pg. 105-106.
A Crash Course on Archeological Issues
…There turns out to be almost no evidence that the ancestors of today’s Native Americans walked across Beringia. They might have. But the archaeological record does not disclose older and older sites of human habitation as we move from British Columbia to Yukon, Alaska, and finally Siberia. To be sure, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Archaeologist have not done enough excavation in northwestern North America. In addition, most sites may now be underwater, since the ocean level has risen dramatically since the alleged crossing. Nevertheless, the Bering crossing remains only hypothesis, not fact.
Besides, it’s a hypothesis that disrespects Indians. Implicitly it assumes that, so long ago, people could not have come by boat because they were too “primitive.” Yet people reached Australia more than 40,000 years ago, and humans could never have walked from Asia to Australia, no matter what the ice was doing. Before a thousand years ago, few artifacts survive except those made from stone, and no people ever made stone boats. Hence, archeologists have no evidence of boats from this ancient period. Again, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
historical account #4
Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (New York: Random House, 1976), XIII- XV.
Six years ago, during my brief visit to America, I came across three volumes in the private library of a Princeton professor. They had been published half a century ago and their title fascinated me—Africa and the Discovery of America. They represented a lifetime of dedicated scholarship by a Harvard linguist, Leo Wiener. Professor Wiener had been working on a grammar of American languages in the early years of this century when he stumbled upon a body of linguistic phenomena that indicated clearly to him the presence of an African and Arabic influence on some medieval Mexican and South American languages before the European contact period. As I say, I was fascinated by the subject. The thesis was revolutionary…
…In the fall of 1970, at the request of a magazine editor, I sat down to simplify and summarize Wiener. I also began to examine some of his primary sources. I felt the case was an unproven case but by no means a closed case… Then something happened something happened that started me off on a hunt that has been like the leads of a detective story, from suspect to suspect, print to print, clue to clue, until finally I came upon what lawyers like to call “the smoking gun.”
On the very day I submitted my summary of the Wiener case to a magazine the novelist John Williams submitted to the same an interview with a lecturer in art of the University of the Americans in Mexcio City, Professor Alexander von Wuthenau. Professor von Wuthenau had done extensive searches of private collections and museums in the Americas and also his own excavations in Mexico. A generation of work in this area had unearthed a large number of Negroid heads in clay, gold, copper and copal sculpted by pre-Columbian American artists. The strata on which these heads were found ranged from the earliest American civilizations right through to the Columbian contact period. Accidental stylization could not account for the individuality and racial particulars of those heads. Their Negro-ness could not be explained away nor, in most cases, their African cultural origin. Their coloration, fullness of lip, prognathism, scarification, tattoo markings, bears, kinky hair, generously fleshed noses, and even in some instances identifiable coiffures, headkerchiefs, helmets, compound earrings—all these had been skillfully and realistically portrayed by pre-Columbian American potters, jewelers and sculptors… …Africans were here in the Americans before Columbus.