Pre-Colonial Web Sites
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.
Native Americans 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.
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.
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.
Popol Vuh ★★★★☆
The Mayan book of creation, the dawn of life, and the glories of gods and kings. This magnificent epic was saved from destruction at the hands of the Spanish by Quiché chroniclers. Once repressed, the story is now interwoven with the history of today’s Mayan people. Featured speakers include archaeologist Richard Hanson, humorist Mo Rocca, and Guatemalan artist Shuni Giron.
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
Was the fall of the Aztec Empire inevitable? What would the world be like today if the Aztecs had been the “conquistadors” and conquered Europe? Why do you think that such a well-governed and peaceful empire as the Inca Empire, which stretched 2,500 miles from Ecuador south to Chile, could have been conquered by only 200 Spanish Conquistadors? This teaching guide is comprised of four interdisciplinary units dealing with the expeditions of conquistadors in the New World: (1) “Cortes and the Aztecs: Different Views of the World”; (2) “Pizarro and the Incas: The ‘What Ifs?’ of History”; (3) “Orellana and the Amazon: Human and Environmental Issues”; and (4) “Teaching Guide for Cabeza de Vaca: Human Rights and the Exploration of North America.” The guide contains 25 lesson plans in all, each containing the appropriate grade level, an overview, objectives, related national standards, materials needed, detailed procedures, assessment recommendations, extension and/or adaptation ideas, and online resources. Handouts, ideas for activities, and discussion questions are provided.
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.
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.
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).
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.
HistoryTeacher.net: 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.
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.