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From ABC-CLIO's History Hub website
Time Period Overview for Exploration and Colonization, 1350-1760

Time Period Key Understandings

  • New advancements in technology can produce widespread social, cultural, and political change
  • Events can have multiple outcomes and include unintended consequences
  • Powerful nations' ability to control wealth and resources increases their ability to influence other nations
  • Cultural exchanges can occur intentionally and unintentionally
  • A civilization's success and growth is largely dependent on geographical location
  • Culture is the product of shared economic, religious, and political values
  • Regional characteristics can influence people's perspectives

Key Questions

Age of Exploration

  • Explain how one new technique or innovation in navigation led to an increase in naval expeditions?
  • In what way did Christianity contribute to the European Age of Exploration?
  • What was the Northwest passage and how did it play a role in creating a culture of European exploration?

Columbian Exchange

  • How should educators and historians present Christopher Columbus to future generations of Americans?
  • What foods or plants brought to America by the Columbian exchange do you think play the biggest role today in the U.S. diet and economy?
  • Do you think Christopher Columbus should be blamed for the havoc Europeans wreaked on native populations? Why or why not?

European Exploration

  • What were early European explorers hoping to accomplish when exploring new sea routes and territories?
  • Evaluate the success of early English and French exploration efforts. What were they hoping to find and how successful were they in obtaining new land or resources?
  • European monarchies were in a competition to find new territory and resources for the purpose of expanding their wealth. Do you think these monarchies were entitled to the resources they discovered in the new lands?

Spanish Encomienda System

  • Explain what was the Spanishencomiendasystem, and how the system affected that native population?
  • How did native populations resist and protest theencomiendasystem? To what extent were their efforts successful?
  • What circumstances made it possible for the Spanish conquistadores to dominate the native peoples they encountered?

French and Dutch Settlement

  • Compare and contrast early French and Dutch settlements. How were they unique and how were they similar?
  • What reasons did the Dutch have for giving up control of their colony to the British? Evaluate their decision; was it the best course of action?
  • How did the fur trade promote cultural exchange between the Native American and early European settlers?

Native Americans and Europeans

  • How were the social organizations of the Native Americans and the colonists similar and different?
  • In what ways did the Native American views on economy differ from colonists?
  • How did cultural differences between Native Americans and Europeans affect their interactions?


  • What were the intentions and motivations of the Virginia company?
  • What were some of the challenges and opportunities the Jamestown settlers encountered?
  • Evaluate the success of the Jamestown colony; to what extent was the colony prosperous?

Settling for Determinism

  • Compare and contrast Pilgrims and Puritans; how were their views and practices similar and different?
  • What were the early experiences of Pilgrims and Puritan encounters with Native Americans like?
  • Many early European colonists came to North American to practice religious freedom. To what extent were these colonists able to practice religion freely?

Regional Colonial Development

  • Compare and contrast the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies. What makes these colonies unique and similar?
  • How did the Great Awakening shape freedom of religion in the colonies?
  • How did different geographical and regional differences give way to distinct colonial characteristics among the colonies?



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Entry ID: 2142225