Image Source The British Library

Pre-Colonial Web Sites

The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame
The Sport of Life and Death was voted Best Overall Site for 2002 by Museums and the Web and has won a slew of other web awards. The site is based on a traveling exhibition and bills itself as “an online journey into the ancient spectacle of athletes and gods.” The Sport of Life and Death features dazzling special effects courtesy of Macromedia Flash technology and its overall layout and organization are superb. Not just stylish, the site’s content is excellent and engaging as well. For instance, there are helpful interactive maps, timelines, and samples of artwork in the Explore the Mesoamerican World section. The focus of the site, however, is the Mesoamerican ballgame, the oldest organized sport in history. The sport is explained through a beautiful and engaging combination of images, text, expert commentary, and video. A must see for Middle School or 9th-grade World History teachers.

Columbus and the Age of Discovery
Created by Millersville University, this award-winning site is part of text retrieval system that contains over 1100 text articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, speeches, official calendars, and other sources relating to various encounter themes. There is an index of articles and categories, links to Discovery Literature and related sites, and you can email the webmaster Dr. Tirado. A great site for research on Columbus and European contact with native americans.

1492 Exhibit (Library of Congress)
This LOC exhibit examines the 1492 expedition and its consequences with sections on What came to be Called America, the Mediterranean World, Inventing America, Christopher Columbus, Europe Claims America, and an Epilogue. There are primary sources, artifacts, drawings, maps, and more.

Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga
This Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History site was created around an exhibit commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the Viking landing in the New World. Besides a cool Flash-generated introduction, the site contains extensive documentation on the contents of the exhibit, as well as a Virtual Viking Voyage, a multimedia feature including 3D animations of ship building, runes and sagas, video interviews with leading experts in the field, and detailed histories of Viking settlements and journeys from Scandinavia to Newfoundland.

American Indians and the Natural World
Through exploration of four different visions of living in and with the natural world-those of the Tlingit of the Northwest Coast, the Hopi of the Southwest, the Iroquois of the Northeast, and the Lakota of the Plains. North, South, East, West: American Indians and the Natural World from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History examines the belief systems, philosophies, and practical knowledge that guide Indian peoples’ interactions with the natural world. Concise essays with beautiful images

NativeWeb is an international, nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to using technology and the Internet to disseminate information from and about indigenous nations, peoples, and organizations around the world. It is also a comprehensive gateway for Native American studies. The Resource Database contains many, many subcategories; the United States sub-categories include 1400s through 1600s, 1700s through 1800s, 20th Century, Biographies, Living History / Reenacting, and Tribal Histories. Explore and you’ll find abundant annotated links. You may also want to explore the Nations Index and Geographic Region Index. It is also a great site for Native news, current events, books and music, and legal issues. Note: Links are not actively maintained.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook
The Internet History Sourcebooks are wonderful collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use by Paul Halsall at Fordham University. The site and its documents are well organized and the breadth of materials is impressive. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook contains two sections of special interest. Early Modern World has documents pertaining to The European “Age of Discovery,” Rivals of European Powers, Mercantile Capitalism, and Reflections on the Trade and the New Economy while the Colonial North Amerion includes documents on Early Conquest and Exploitation, Political Forms, Virginia, New England, Middle Atlantic, and American Society.

The Columbus Navigation Homepage
“Examining the History, Navigation, and Landfall of Christopher Columbus,” this site explres Columbus and “dead reckoning” navigation, Columbus and “celestial” navigation, Columbus’s “league,” Columbus and longitude, Columbus’s ships, and Columbus’s crew. The creator of the site is is a computer systems consultant and historian who has authored two scholarly papers on Columbus’s navigation.

Index of Native American Resources on the Web
Part of WWW Virtual Library, the information at this Index is organized, insofar as possible, to make it useful to the Native American community and the education community. There are many, many categories of links pertaining to American Indians and the site is updated regularly. Maintained by Karen Strom.

The Earliest Americans
The National Park Service asked the Society for American Archaeology to lead an initiative to nominate archeological sites as National Historic Landmarks. This website highlights historic contexts related to Early American archeological sites for regions east of the Mississippi.

First Nations Histories
Provides a geographic overview of First Nation (Indian) histories as well as a location list of native tribes in the United States and Canada. Has a search function as well.

Native American Documents Project(Cal State)
This project was begun in 1992 by Prof. E.A. Schwartz to develop methods for making documents of federal Indian policy history accessible by computer. This site includes a number of indexes and explanatory articles as well as a search engine.

The Conquistadors On-line Learning Adventure resource is geared towards middle and high school classrooms to learn about the Spanish Conquistadors in the New World and the legacy of their contact with Native Americans. There are lesson plans for teachers and in-depth online content for students available in both English and Spanish.

Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization
This is a broad site by the University of Minnesota Department of Anthropology that supplies information regarding Mesoamerican Civilizations. The primary groups addressed are the Maya, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Aztec. Major topics include Writing Systems, Government, Religion, Mayan Calendar and more.

Maya Adventure
The Science Museum of Minnesota presents Maya Adventure, a World Wide Web site that highlights science activities and information related to ancient and modern Maya culture. Maya Adventure includes images from the Science Museum’s anthropological collections and activities developed by the Science Museum’s education division. Featured in the project is information from two exhibits about the Maya developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota: Cenote of Sacrifice and Flowers, Saints, and Toads.

Native Tech
NativeTech is an educational web site that covers topics of Native American technology and emphasizes the Eastern Woodlands region. It focuses on revising use of the term “primitive” with respect to Native American Technology and Art. Its topics include Beadwork, Birds & Feathers, Clay & Pottery, Leather & Clothes, Metalwork, Plants & Trees, Porcupine Quills, Stonework & Tools, and Weaving & Cordage. The site also provides background on the history of Native technologies. Maintained by Tara Prindle at the University of Connecticut.

Conquest of America by Hernando de Soto, Coronado and Cabeza de Vaca
Doctors Larry Clayton’s, Jim Knight’s and Ed Moore’s two-book set, The DeSoto Chronicles, was used for this study. The book departs from the long-standing contention that Spain came to North America mainly to explore for gold. The web site focuses on Hernando de Soto’s exploration of America for a seaway to China in order to trade Spain’s New World gold and Vaca’s effort to describe the continent. Teachers may use any material on these Internet pages – including all graphics, maps, illustrations and text – free of charge.

Native American Sites and home of the American Indian Library Association Web Page
The goal of this site is to facilitate communication among Native peoples and between Indians and non-Indians by providing access to home pages of Native American Nations and organizations, and to other sites that provide solid information about American Indians. It is actively maintained by a mixed-blood Mohawk urban Indian, formerly a librarian for 14 years at the University of Pittsburgh, and Social Sciences Subject Editor for anthropology, history, and sociology for CHOICE Magazine.

Why do Civilizations Collapse?
Part of the Annenberg/CPB exhibits, this site focuses on the fall of ancient civilizations in four areas: Maya, Mesopotamia, Chaco Canyon (southwest U.S.), and Mali and Songhai. Nice images and interesting presentation.

Mystery of the Maya
Based on the Imax film of the same name, this kid-oriented site from the Canadian Museum of Civilization features slide shows, info, links and more. There is a synopsis of the film, a feature on the People of the Jaguar, and much information on Maya civilization.

Henry Hudson, English Explorer and Navigator
This is a collection of data about, and a chronology of the life and voyages of, English explorer, mariner and adventurer, Henry Hudson, as well as some additional notes on his times, contemporaries and his crew. It was compiled from numerous sources by Ian Chadwick. Provides a comprehensive account of Hudson’s life and voyages.

Native American Religion in Early America
Historian Christine Leigh Heyrman provides a concise overview of native American religious beliefs.

Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities and more

Conquistadors Teaching Guide: Different Views of the World
Was the fall of the Aztec Empire inevitable? Was Cortes a hero or a villain? What would the world be like today if the Aztecs had been the “conquistadors” and conquered Europe? Contains complete PBS lesson plans.

Conquistadors Teaching Guide: The What Ifs of History
Why do you think that such a well-governed and peaceful empire, which stretched 2,500 miles from Ecuador south to Chile, could have been conquered by only 200 Spanish Conquistadors? What is the legacy of the Incas? Contains complete PBS lesson plans.

Two Worlds Meet: The Spanish Conquest of America
Through primary sources, learn about early interactions between the Aztecs and Spaniards. PBS Grades 9 – 12.

Mr. Donn’s Ancient History Page
Don Donn of the Corkran (Maryland) Middle School provides a complete unit with 17 daily lesson plans and unit test for sixth graders on Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs. There are also links to multiple K12 lesson plans and activities.

A Critical Bibliography of North American Indians, For K-12
This bibliography was compiled by P. Ann Kaupp – Head of the Department of Anthropology’s Outreach Office at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Fiona Burnett – an intern in the Museum Studies Program at George Washington University, Maureen Malloy – now Coordinator of Public Programs at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and Cheryl Wilson – presently editor in the Publications Office of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI).

Course Models: The Land and People Before Columbus
Part of the California History-Social Science content standards and annotated course, this site includes background information, focus questions, pupil activities and handouts, an assessment, and references to books, articles, web sites, literature, audio-video programs, and a historic site. Grade 5.

Course Models: The Age of Exploration
Part of the California History-Social Science content standards and annotated course, this site includes background information, focus questions, pupil activities and handouts, an assessment, and references to books, articles, web sites, literature, audio-video programs, and a historic site. Grade 5.

Native North Americans: What was early contact like between Europeans and the Natives
Using primary source evidence students investigate what the early contact was like. Were the Native Americans savage and vicious hosts? Were the Europeans unreasonable and unfair? Or did they all just get along fine? From Learning Curve of the (UK) National Archives.

Vikings in America
Discover through an activity how researchers are re-creating the Viking voyages and searching for archaeological clues along the North American coastline. PBS Nova.

Native Americans – Searching for Knowledge and Understanding
In this middle school lesson students will study Native Americans in order to become familiar with the contributions to and influences on American society particularly, but not exclusively, in the Western region of the United States. This lesson will focus on some of the cultural history, writings, and symbols of the southwestern tribes. After researching, studying, and comparing the differences among the various tribes in small groups, students will produce individual reports about a specific Native American perspective. AP United States History Quizzes

A New York teacher has produced a great general site for history teachers that offers AP-level United States history quizzes on many different periods and topics.

Africa-America Migration: Blank Map
The companion web site to The American People offers blank maps related to various topics in American history. The maps can be printed or placed in a PowerPoint presentation.

MAPS: GIS Windows on Native Lands, Current Places, and History
Interactive maps of native lands to be used in the classroom. Note that all maps are copyrighted and should not be reproduced beyond the classroom.

Age of Exploration
The Maritime Museum provides an online curriculum guide for the age of exploration from ancient times until Captain Cook’s 1768 adventure.