Chapter 1: How Columbus Discovered America

Week: 1

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy to a wool comber. Columbus learned to draw maps and charts as a boy. He became a sailor and traveled around the Mediterranean Sea. At the time, no one in Southern Europe had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Sailors were afraid to sail the unknown Atlantic, calling it 'The Sea of Darkness.' The sailors believed the Atlantic was so hot it boiled and that monsters swam its depths. As scholars of the time believed the Earth was round, Columbus believed he could sail across the Atlantic Ocean and reach Asia. Eventually, Columbus won the financial backing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain for his voyage. Despite the backing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus had a difficult time outfitting his ship, as sailors were scared to travel the Atlantic Ocean. He eventually succeeded and sailed with his new crew into the great unknown ocean. He landed in the Caribbean Islands of North America and traded with the native people, believing he had arrived in Asia. On his second voyage, he planted the colony on Hispaniola, or Haiti. He also discovered other islands and part of South America.

Chapter 2: Other Discoveries in America

Week: 2

Notable explorers of America include Americus Vespucius, for whom America is named, John Cabot and his son Sebastian, and Ferdinand Magellan. Americus Vespucius was the first to realize North and South America were new continents and not part of Asia. John Cabot crossed the Atlantic and explored up and down the coast of North America. Ferdinand Magellan organized the first voyage to circumnavigate the Earth, although he died in the Philippine Islands before the completion of the voyage.

Chapter 3: Sir Walter Raleigh Tries to Settle a Colony in America

Week: 3

Sir Walter Raleigh obtained a charter from English Queen Elizabeth I to colonize North America. An English colony was established on the island of Roanoke, North Carolina. However, the people of the Roanoke colony mysteriously vanished and their bodies were never found. The only clue found was the word, 'CROATOAN' carved into Roanoke's fort palisade.

Chapter 4: How Jamestown was Settled

Week: 4

After the disappearance of the Roanoke Colony in 1590, some years passed before England made another attempt at establishing a colony. The first permanent English colony in North America was eventually formed in 1610 along the James River in Jamestown, Virginia. The land at Jamestown was swampy, buggy, and flourishing with disease. However, the location was also defensible, convenient to the ocean, and had access to fresh water. One of the most active men in the colony at this time was Captain John Smith.

Chapter 5: The Starving Time, and What Followed

Week: 5

After John Smith left Jamestown colony in 1609, the colonists in Jamestown, Virginia almost all perished during 'The Starving Time.' A fraction of the original group survived only to suffer flogging and execution under the subjugation of Sir Thomas Dale. Powhatan, the head chief of the neighboring tribes, gave Sir Dale and the colonists a hard time, although his daughter, Pocahontas, had been friendly with John Smith. An English captain kidnapped Pocahontas and brought her to Jamestown. Here, Pocahontas was baptized, given the name 'Lady Rebecca,' and married to a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe. Pocahontas and other captured American Indians were brought to England. Pocahontas died in England, leaving a son behind.

Chapter 6: The Great Charter of Virginia

Week: 6

At first, colonists could not own land. Instead, they all contributed and took from a common stock. In 1618, the London 'Virginia Company' granted a 'Great Charter' to Virginia which gave the colonists a voice in lawmaking and granted colonists their own land to farm. Under the Great Charter, Virginia was led by a governor, a council of estate, and a General Assembly. This arrangement strongly influenced the organization of the modern American government, including the roles of the President (Governor), Senate (Council of Estate), and House of Representatives (General Assembly). With the hopes of promoting stability, women were sent to the colonies to marry the many single male colonists. Also during this time, the settlers made efforts to 'civilize' the American Indians and conflicts between the settlers and Indians that lasted for years. In 1624, the 'Virginia Company' dissolved and King James I promised the colonists they would remain free. Although the colonists suffered under a string of oppressive governors, they never lost their right to pass laws in the General Assembly.

Chapter 7: The Coming of the Pilgrims

Week: 7

Pilgrims were persecuted for their religious beliefs as English law only recognized the Church of England. The Pilgrims fled England and lived in Holland before deciding to start their own colony in America. Around one hundred Pilgrims sailed to Plymouth, Massachusetts on a ship named the Mayflower. After the first year in America, half of the Pilgrims died from sickness and starvation. They often had nothing to eat but clams and oysters. An American Indian named Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to successfully grow corn and kept peace between the American Indians and the Pilgrims. Pilgrims intially tried living out of a common stock, but eventually moved to private land ownership.

Chapter 8: The Coming of the Puritans

Week: 8

Eight years after the Pilgrims reached Plymouth, the Puritans, including John Winthrop, formed the Massachusetts Company with the hopes of planting a colony in America. The Puritans eventually established a colony at Boston, Massachusetts. The Puritans established additional colonies in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island. These New England colonies operated under charters, which allowed them to govern themselves and remain relatively free from England's interference.

Chapter 9: The Coming of the Dutch

Week: 9

Captain John Smith erroneously told the bold explorer Henry Hudson there was a path to the Pacific Ocean from Virginia's Chesapeake Bay. Funded by the Dutch, Henry Hudson began exploring the northern Atlantic coast of America. Henry Hudson discovered a river in New York, now named the Hudson River. The Dutch built a fort in Albany and created a settlement named New Amsterdam. The Dutch attempted additional settlements, but quarreled over land with the Swedes and the English. Eventually, the English captured New Amsterdam and renamed the city New York. As for Henry Hudson, he made another voyage to America, this time discovering Hudson Bay. Hudson wanted to continue exploring, but his crew mutinied, setting Hudson and several others adrift in Hudson Bay in a small, open boat. Hudson and the men set overboard were never seen again and likely perished.

Chapter 10: The Settlement of Maryland and the Carolinas

Week: 10

Lord Baltimore planted the colony of Avalon in Newfoundland. Finding the climate too cold, he moved to Virginia in 1629. However, Lord Baltimore was a Catholic, Catholics were not allowed to practice in Virginia, and the Virginians insisted he leave. Upon return to England, Lord Baltimore convinced King Charles I to give him a part of Virginia north of the Potomac river. In 1633, Lord Baltimore's son sent a colony to this province, which he called Maryland in honor the wife of King Charles I, Queen Mary. After this, there were no new colonies planted for some time. King Charles II granted the Carolina colonies to eight Lords Proprietors. The Carolina colonies grew slowly until the area became prosperous by growing rice. Eventually, the people rebelled against the Lords Proprietors. The English King bought out the interest of the Lords Proprietors and appointed governors to lead the colonies.

Chapter 11: The Coming of the Quakers and Others to the Jerseys and Pennsylvania

Week: 11

Seeking freedom from religious persecution, the Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, came to America and settled in New Jersey. One of the Quakers, William Penn, convinced King Charles II to give him land in America in repayment for a debt owned his father, Admiral Penn. King Charles II named the land Pennsylvania in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn traveled to Pennsylvania and established the city of Philadelphia, which means 'Brotherly Love.'

Chapter 12: The Settlement of Georgia, and the Coming of the Germans, Irish, and French

Week: 12

General James Edward Oglethorpe established the town of Savannah, Georgia in 1732. The people became unhappy having no say in lawmaking and disliking the restrictive laws governing property. After twenty years, governance reverted from the trustees to the King of England and ended the property laws. Rice and indigo plantations flourished in Georgia, built with black slavery. During this time, many German, Irish, French, and Scotch people came to the colonies seeking freedom from religious persecution and new economic opportunities.

Chapter 13: How the American Indians Lived

Week: 13

When explorers arrived in America, they thought they had reached India, calling the natives, 'Indians.' These American Indian natives dressed in deer and beaver skins, animal furs, and the woven fibers of the Spanish bayonet plant. American Indian warriors wore living snakes and the dried hands of their enemies. The American Indians collected beads made from sea shells called Wampum, using Wampum for decoration and currency. The American Indians lived in wigwams often made from wooden poles and bark. They made tools including hoes, axes, and knives, out of wood, bone, and shells. They also grew Indian corn, beans, squashes, and tobacco. The American Indians used bow drills to make fire, and large trees to make dugout canoes.

Chapter 14: Early American Indian Wars

Week: 14

Many violent conflicts arose between the colonists and the American Indians. Both sides slaughtered the women, children, the elderly of the other. The American Indians procured guns from the colonists, while the colonists adapted American Indian methodologies to effectively fight in the new environment. Notable conflicts include the Pequot War and King Philip's War, in which the colonists ultimately prevailed. Some colonists set up schools and evangelized in an attempt to convert the American Indians to European language, culture, and religions.

Chapter 15: Traits of War with the American Indians

Week: 15

Traditional American Indian warfighting weapons included the bow and arrow, the warclub, the tomahawk, and the stone axe. The American Indians, who had not previously had access to large quantities of metals, abandoned their traditional weapons in favor of knives, hatchets, and guns from the settlers. The settlers had metal armor, matchlock guns, and flintlock guns. Settlers stopped wearing the bulky metal armor once the American Indians procured guns. Colonists soon abandoned lining up in orderly rows to fight in the style of England in favor of scattering through the woods like the American Indians.

Chapter 16: Life in the Colonial Time

Week: 16

Colonial housing progressed from holes dug in the ground to wigwams to rough cabins to plank houses with chimneys and windows. Most furniture was homemade, food was eaten with the fingers, there were no carpets, and walls were bare of decoration. Cooking was done in hanging pots, on griddles, or on spits over fireplaces. Any baking was done in an oven built into the chimney. Colonists drank beer, cider, brandy, wine, and rum and ate bread, cheese, porridge, corn mush, and meat. The rich wore clothing of lace, silver buckles, and buttons, while the working class wore clothes of leather, deerskin, and canvas. Most children did not attend school, and many could not even write their names. People loved dances, parties, weddings, and even funerals. Games, gambling, sledding, sleighing, and skating also provided entertainment.

Chapter 17: Farming and Shipping in the Colonies

Week: 17

The American settlers didn't find India, silver, or gold. They also couldn't grow many exotic crops in America. However, the settlers did succeed at growing tobacco in Virginia, rice in South Carolina and Georgia, and indigo in South Carolina. The colonies also exported Indian corn and wheat, planted potatoes, and raised cattle and hogs brought from England. Those in New England turned to the sea, fishing for codfish, mackerel, and whales. The people of New York became skilled at shipbuilding, while pirates roamed the seacoasts looking for victims.

Chapter 18: Bond-Servants and Slaves in the Colonies

Week: 18

Poor colonists were subjugated by the rich in America, serving as tenants and indentured servants who had to work for a period of time to obtain their freedom. Some people were kidnapped, taken to America, and forced to work as servants or slaves. Black slaves were bought and sold and had little hope of ever attaining their freedom. Black slaves were often whipped and treated cruelly by their 'masters.' When black slaves rebelled or tried to escape, many were cruelly killed by the colonists. Slavery was eventually outlawed in the states after the Civil War.

Chapter 19: Laws and Usages in the Colonies

Week: 19

Colonial laws were far harsher than the laws of today. People's tongues were pinched in split sticks for swearing. People were punished for skipping church services and for going out on Sundays. Women deemed 'scolds' were tortured using a ducking stool. Alcoholics were forced to wear the letter 'D' for drunkenness. Other punishments included public eggings, being locked in the pillory, whippings, cutting off ears, burning skin, and killing. The people of that time were superstitious and believed in witchcraft. In Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, hysteria over witchcraft boiled over and twenty supposed 'witches' were executed. Even though people fled to America for religious freedom, persecution of Catholics, Puritans, Quakers, Presbyterians, and Baptists continued.

Chapter 20: The Spanish in Florida and the French in Canada

Week: 20

The Spanish planted the very first colony in the United States in Saint Augustine, Florida. The French founded the city of Quebec in Canada. Some of the greatest early explorers of the United States were French, including Joliet who reached the Mississippi River and La Salle who discovered the Ohio River. At one time, the French held much of the middle part of the United States. The French were very successful in the fur trade. They treated the American Indians as their equals, unlike the English. The French allied with many of the American Indian tribes to fight the English. Eventually war broke out between the French in Canada and the English in the United States. The French and English colonists fought over territory, fishing rights, and control of the fur trade.

Chapter 21: Colonial Wars with France and Spain

Week: 21

Four wars were fought between the English and French during colonial times. The first, 'King William's War,' started in 1689 when some American Indians allied with the French attacked the English colonists in Maine. After eight years of misery, peace was declared. The second, 'Queen Anne's War,' started in 1702, lasted eleven years, and involved the English fighting against the French in Canada and the Spaniards in South Carolina. The third, in 1740, involved a war between Spain and forces in Georgia. The fourth, 'King George's War,' in 1744, broke out between the English in New England and the French over French privateers plundering English ships.

Chapter 22: Braddock's Defeat and the Expulsion of the Acadians

Week: 22

The French settled west of the English in Virginia, blocking them from expanding westward. Washington was sent to take the French lands. Washington tried to build a fort at the crux of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers, but the French drove them out and built Fort Duquesne there. Washington battled with the French, losing and retreating again and again. The following year, British troops under General Braddock came to fight the French. General Braddock was overconfident, refusing advice from Washington to send scouts and turning down help from Captain Jack and his fighting men. The French and Indians ambushed the English as they marched on a narrow path through the woods. The British made easy targets due to their fancy red coats, while the Americans, French, and Indians wore clothes that blended in with the woods. The Americans hid among the trees and fired back, but General Braddock made his British soldiers stand in line, where they were easy prey. General Braddock was mortally wounded, and the English lost the battle. George Washington fought bravely and was put in charge of the Virginia troops. Eventually, Washington captured Fort Duquesne.

Chapter 23: Fall of Canada

Week: 23

After strategic victories at Louisbourg, Fort Duquesne, and Fort Frontenac, the French fur trade was destroyed and the American Indians stopped supporting the French. When the French at Quebec capitulated to the English forces, all French lands east of the Mississippi were ceded to England. The ongoing war led to the formation of companies of rangers. One famous ranger, Major Robert Rogers, became famous for his dangerous expeditions against the French in the Lake George area of New York state.

Chapter 24: Characteristics of the Colonial Wars with the French

Week: 24

When it came to uniforms, the British wore red and the French white. The fancy uniforms, weapons, and long hair of the French and English soldiers were ill-adapted for fighting in the American wilderness. Both English and French troops lined up in a regimented way and faced off to fight. The colonial soldiers formed a ragtag motley crew who wore shabby or no uniforms. The English and French troops disdained the colonials for adopting the superior American Indian method of hiding and firing from behind trees. The colonial wars exposed humankind's potential for corruption and brutality. War profiteers sold weapons to the enemy, the American Indians kidnapped and sold the colonists, the colonists offered money for the scalps of American Indian men, women, and children.

Chapter 25: How the Colonies were Governed

Week: 25

Before the Revolutionary War, the thirteen American colonies had three forms of government in America: royal, charter, and proprietary. In the royal form of government, the English king selected the governors of a colony. In the charter form of government, the king granted a charter to allow the colonial people to mostly govern themselves. In the proprietary of government, colonies were governed by proprietors and their heirs. Each colony had a legislative body of two houses. The lower house or Assembly was elected by the people. The upper house, or Council, was either appointed by the king (royal form), the proprietors (proprietary form), or elected by the lower house (charter form). For any new law to pass, the lower house, upper house, and governor all had to agree. There was constant fighting between the governor or proprietors, who argued on England's behalf, and the lower house, who represented the views of the colonists. The English Parliament governed colonial trade from afar, including restricting colonists from buying any European goods except from England. When England started collecting duties for the king, some colonists turned to smuggling.

Chapter 26: Early Struggles for Liberty in the Colonies

Week: 26

The English kings and their governors made continual efforts to encroach on the freedom of the colonists. The colonial legislatures perpetually quarreled with their governors, who represented English interests rather than those of the colonists. English statesmen desired to have the governors paid a fixed salary, so that they would not be dependent on the colonies. But the colonies kept the purse-strings in their own hands to preserve their liberties. With every act of oppression by England, the spirit of liberty burned brighter and brighter in the colonies.

Chapter 27: The Causes of the Revolution

Week: 27

The colonists disliked England's laws which benefited England at the expense of the colonists. In 1765, the English Parliament passed 'The Stamp Act,' which required that all newspapers, bills, notes, leases, and other documents in the colonies be written on taxed 'stamped' paper. At having no say in this tax, the colonists grew angry and rebelled over 'Taxation without representation.' Unrest continued, until in 1770 British troops attempting to quell a riot killed five colonists during 'The Boston Massacre.' Some taxes were repealed, but the tax on tea remained, leading to 'The Boston Tea Party.' The colonists, disguised as Mohawk Indians, threw tea off English ships into the sea. In retaliation, the British closed the port of Boston. The argument over taxation united the colonies against England and sparked the chain of events leading to the American Revolution.

Chapter 28: The Outbreak of the Revolution and Declaration of Independence

Week: 28

In 1774, America's thirteen colonies united against the British, and each colony sent one member to join a Congress in Philadelphia. George Washington was a member of the Congress. The Congress petitioned the English, demanding the same rights for the colonists as for the people in England. The English King refused and sent troops to quell the Americans. In 1775, the Revolutionary war began between British forces and American minute men at Lexington, Massachusetts. George Washington became a general and the commander-in-chief of all American armies. Washington and his troops drove the British out of Boston. On July 4th, 1776, Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence, announcing America's independence from England.

Chapter 29: The Battle of Trenton and the Capture of Burgoyne's Army

Week: 29

General George Washington lost New York and retreated into Pennsylvania. Washington and his troops launched a surprise attack on Christmas morning against the English and Hessians at Trenton and took one thousand prisoners. British General Cornwallis tried to attack Washington in Trenton, but Washington and his troops snuck off and attacked the British in Princeton. The British had to give up much of their gains in New Jersey. After initial victories at Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain in a quest to cut the United Colonies in two, the British general Burgoyne surrendered his whole army to American General Gates.

Chapter 30: The Dark Period of the Revolution

Week: 30

In 1777, during the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania, General George Washington was forced to retreat after battling General Howe. General Washington was defeated again at Germantown. The winter of 1777-1778 was a time of misery, cold, and hunger. The Americans gained the assistance of the French after signing a treaty of alliance and regained Philadelphia. The British turned their attentions south, taking Savannah and Charleston. Despite the victories, the American people did not give up. The South Carolina militia lurked in the swamps, darting out to repeatedly attack the British.

Chapter 31: The Closing Years of the Revolution

Week: 31

Benedict Arnold fought bravely as a soldier, but proved a traitor when he conspired with the British General to surrender the American posts under his command. Although his plot failed, Benedict Arnold escaped justice to live in England. At the start of 1781, the tide began to turn in favor of the Americans. The American forces in the south were rebuilt and won some battles. British General Cornwallis had moved on from the south and was now in Virginia. General George Washington marched down to Virginia to take General Cornwallis by surprise. The Americans surrounded Cornwallis, and the French ships blocked the sea path. Cornwallis eventually surrendered, and Washington took Yorktown. When the war ended, Washington returned to his farm at Mount Vernon, thinking himself finally retired from public life.

Chapter 32: Traits and Incidents of the Revolutionary War

Week: 32

Although the Americans had no navy at the outbreak of the American Revolution, they fitted ships and captured gunpowder and uniforms from British ships. American privateers attacked British ships and kept the spoils as profits. American soldiers were poorly outfitted, having more famers with fowling guns than professional soldiers. Even though the population and wealth of America increased during the war, raising money for the war was problematic. For example, many soldiers had no uniforms, and in some cases, fought in the winter wearing no shoes.

Chapter 33: The Adoption of the Constitution

Week: 33

During the Revolution, America cobbled together a weak form of governance in the form of a Congress of the Colonies. After the close of the war, a constitutional convention was held in Philadelphia in 1787 to devise a new constitution. Although retired to Mount Vernon, Washington was called back to lead the constitutional convention. George Washington and others wrote the American constitution which called for the thirteen new states to bind together under the rule of a President and a Congress. In addition, a judicial department with a Supreme Court was established. Inherent in the design was assigning much of the power to the individual states. The constitution also specified Congress shall not interfere with religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

Chapter 34: The New Republic and its People

Week: 34

In 1789, Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America. Traveling was rather difficult at the time, with people traveling by boat, wagon, or on horseback. Mail was slow to arrive, traveling by horseback over the rough roads. Schools were poorly funded and the discipline was severe. Boys were typically taught to read and write. Girls were mostly taught to read, and only sometimes taught to write. Colleges included Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale. At first, the new country was so preoccupied with providing basic needs that there was little time for the arts, science, and literature. However, fifty years later these fields began to flourish.

Chapter 35: Home and Society in Washington's Time

Week: 35

In early United States of America, the people were very self-reliant. Many were farmers or woodsmen who hunted, gathered, grew, and/or made all their own food and clothing. People did not have electricity and relied on candles for lighting and wood fires for heating and cooking. In 1790, one-seventh of the population were black slaves, mostly working on tobacco, indigo, and rice plantations in Maryland, Virginia, and the two Carolinas. Consequently, in the south, there was a great divide between the rich plantation owners and the poor common people. However, most towns had separate classes of the rich aristocracy and the working poor. The wealthy enjoyed socializing, drinking tea, dancing at balls, and gambling. Wealthy men powdered their long hair, and wealthy ladies piled their hair into high towers. Rich people in general favored clothing made from brightly colored, rich fabrics.

Chapter 36: Washington's Presidency, from 1789 to 1797

Week: 36

The United States capital was originally located in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is also where President George Washington lived and congress first held its sessions. There were two political parties in President Washington's time - the Federalist party and the Democratic-Republican Party (originally called Republican party). The Federalist Party favored strengthening the central government, tended to attract the wealthy, and favored pomp and ceremony. The Democratic-Republican Party favored a weak federal government and strong states to ensure the freedoms of the common people. General Alexander Hamilton was a Federalist who fought to strengthen the federal government, while the Democratic-Republicans were led by Thomas Jefferson. Also during this time, conflict persisted at the frontiers between the American Indians and the settlers. George Washington sent Mad Anthony Wayne and his troops to battle the American Indians the frontier, resulting in a decisive victory for the Americans and a period of peace. Internal issues arose as well, including 'The Whiskey Rebellion,' where some American people protested a tax on whiskey. President Washington sent troops to quell the rebellion and enforce the laws. Washington served two terms as President, declining a third, before retiring to Mount Vernon.