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History 1377 Identification Notes: Cahokia

by: Sarah Brucker

History 1377 Identification Notes: Cahokia Hist 1377

Sarah Brucker
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These notes cover Cahokia (one of the ID terms that will be on the exam). Everything about Cahokia that was discussed in class is in these notes, plus some extra information that I researched mysel...
The U.S. to 1877
Mathew Clavin
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sarah Brucker on Monday August 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Hist 1377 at 1 MDSS-SGSLM-Langley AFB Advanced Education in General Dentistry 12 Months taught by Mathew Clavin in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 251 views. For similar materials see The U.S. to 1877 in History at 1 MDSS-SGSLM-Langley AFB Advanced Education in General Dentistry 12 Months.


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Date Created: 08/29/16
Identification Notes Lecture 1 Cahokia: Cahokia was the largest Pre­Columbian Native American civilization. Cahokia was located in present day Illinois directly across the Mississippi River from St.  Louis Missouri. Cahokia was a mound­building culture that built upwards of 100 mounds in the 3 mile  radius where the city once was located.  There have been bodies discovered in these mounds and evidence of temples leading  experts to believe that the indigenous people were religious. It is believed that the “king” lived on top of the highest mound which indicates a  hierarchical culture. The layout of the civilization and the artifacts found within suggest that peasants, or the  less wealthy, lived within the outskirts of the city and were largely responsible for the  construction of the mounds, while nobility and the wealthy made their homes in the inner  parts of the city, the wealthiest and most noble among them would have lived atop the  large mounds. It is believed that the native peoples of Cahokia traded with outside tribes and evidence  has been found that the Cahokia traded with tribes as far away as the Great Lakes to the  north, and the Gulf Coast to the south (the Aztec tribes). Monk’s Mound was constructed to be over 1,000 feet tall, making it the tallest man­made structure in pre­Columbian America. It is believed that, at its largest, Cahokia supported up to 40,000 individuals.  When Europeans arrived in the Americas in the 1600s all that was left of Cahokia were  remnants of the great civilization. Theories of the Cahokian disbandment have been proposed by experts including the  theory that the civilization became so large that the environment around the city was  destroyed and no longer a viable habitat for wildlife causing widespread starvation. The  destruction of the environment caused the inhabitants of Cahokia to leave the city to live  elsewhere. Historical significance of Cahokia: Cahokia is proof that the Native American peoples were civilized. Cahokia also disproves the claims of European settlers that the Americas were an  “untapped” land (the “pristine myth”). And, finally, it negates the settlers’ justification of “saving” the indigenous peoples  because clearly they were doing just fine on their own.


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