APUSH Summer Work - Period One Timeline: 1491-1607

  • 1492

    Europeans "Discover" the New World

    Italian explorer Christopher Columbus accidentally discovers the New World while sailing for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain in search of a westward sea route from Europe to Asia. The discovery of the Americas by Europeans sparked an extensive series of events that eventually culminated in the establishment of America as an independent country. New resources found in the New World led to a fortuitous relationship between Europe and the Americas which radically transformed both continents.
  • 1492

    The Columbian Exchange

    The Columbian Exchange is an extensive flow of people, plants, animals, and disease between the Old World (Europe), Africa, and the New World (the newly "discovered" Americas). This trading of goods had significant consequences for the environment of all continents involved. For example, a significant percentage of the Native American population died due to foreign diseases brought to the Americas from Europe, which was a direct result of the Columbian Exchange.
  • 1494

    Treaty of Tordesillas

    The Treaty of Tordesillas was an agreement between Portugal and Spain to move the Line of Demarcation (established one year earlier) a thousand miles west of it's current location, allowing Portugal to claim more land in the New World. This Treaty allowed Portugal to eventually claim Brazil (when it was discovered), which gave Portugal a formidable claim in the New World. While the treaty did not include other European powers, most European countries ignored the treaty altogether.
  • 1497

    Explorations by John Cabot

    John Cabot's exploration of the New World for England resulted in the first English claims in North America, including the claiming of Canada as well. These claims laid the foundation for British colonies to be erected along North America's eastern coastline. Without English claims in North America, the colonization of the New World could have taken a drastically different path than the one history knows it to have taken.
  • 1501

    The Transatlantic Slave Trade Begins

    Approximately nine years after Columbus discovered the New World a slave ship made its first voyage to the Americas. This marked the beginning of a twenty-year-long exchange of African slaves from Europe (and eventually Africa) to the Americas. The introduction of African slave labor to colonies in the New World created an extremely cheap yet extensive labor force. This labor force enabled the growing of certain cash crops, like tobacco and sugar, in large quantities to be exported to Europe.
  • 1512

    Encomienda System Established

    The Ecnomienda System (originally used during the Reconquista) was a form of extracting labor, produce, or military service from the Native American population through legal means. Spanish conquistadors would use this system to force the Native Americans to perform many types of labor necessary to recreate Europe in the New World. This included building infrastructure, working as personal servants, working in fields, and mining for precious metals such as gold and silver.
  • 1517

    Religious Battles in the Old World

    In 1517, a German monk named Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation after posting his 95' Theses on the door of a church. This event triggered a tsunami of kingdoms in northern Europe to convert to Protestantism. These kingdoms, now filled with a new vigor for stunting the spread of Catholicism, poured massive amounts of resources into establishing colonies in the New World to contest those of Catholic countries.
  • 1555

    Tobacco Arrives in Europe

    Once English settlers discover tobacco and grow it in large quantities, England is able to frequently export it to other European countries in exchange for other precious commodities which England does not have access to. The discovery of tobacco by English colonies gives England a viable product to be traded with other European countries through the mercantile system. In addition, this gave England a reason to further expand their colonization of the New World to gain more valuable products.
  • 1570

    Iroquois Confederacy

    The Iroquois Confederacy (a.k.a. the Iroquois League) was an agreement of peace and cooperation made between the Five Nations of the Iroquois (and later the Six Nations when the Tuscaroras joined the League). This agreement allowed the Iroquois to survive European colonization significantly longer than other Native American tribes because of their ideal geographic location, prowess in diplomacy, and impressive military. These factors forced European colonists to work with the Iroquois.
  • Jamestown, Virginia, Founded

    In 1607, England's first successful permanent colony in the New World, Jamestown, was established in present-day Virginia. The colony's future was looking bright in 1625 after the defeat the Powhatan Indians (who had been problematic to the colony's success for nearly 20 years) and the massive demand for tobacco exports to Europe. The numerous hardships this colony was forced to overcome created a map to success which all other successive English colonies would follow.