Learning About Spanish Colonial AmericaA Note for Teachers...



Dear Fellow Teachers,

Early American History seems distant and disjointed to many students. Most know that Columbus sailed in 1492 and that Pilgrims landed in 1620, but not much in between. During that time European explorers, who called North America "Florida," penetrated this land and reported on many places we live at today. Native lifestyles were painted and described by them. But their histories of America's Southeast, Midwest and West have been ignored, due to one bias or another, for centuries.

A Real Native American VillageYour place in that area, however, may have an incredible post-Columbus pre-Pilgrim history, written on land first trod and made "home" by animals, then Native Americans, then European, African and Asian settlers. In fact, most American places share a common heritage: they have been lived upon for a very long time.

Who they were and what they did at your place might surprise you. They were different from us, but they all did similar things, just like we do. Many lived in houses with fireplaces; they planted gardens and traveled the same roads and rivers which we do. They were family oriented, with neighbors, friends and extended family nearby. They worked and ate the same foods which we do; they farmed, competed, traded news and goods, worshipped and dined together at festive times.

The object of this report is to point out similarities in the histories of various American places when its natives were first visited by Hernando de Soto's people during 5 years across 5,000 miles of America starting in 1539.

The concepts presented here were first published in The Florida Anthropologist in 1995. They are now recognized by scientists, universities, libraries, historians, scholars, teachers, reviewers and Internet Indices around the world. Teachers may use any material found here, including graphics, maps, text, first European paintings, modern drawings and place name data for classroom instruction. Licensed under Creative Commons. The Google Site Search Bar, below, is useful for finding additional places, states and tribes herein.

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Donald E. Sheppard
Tampa Bay,  Florida
April, 2016
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