New Interactive Map Shows the Impact of American Westward Expansion on Native Americans

These interactive maps are becoming more and more popular.  They are amazing resources for visualizing change over time.  The number of visual learners in our classrooms is growing rapidly, making these digital maps valuable teaching tools.

The latest map in this genre is based on Claudio Saint’s new book West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776.  It shows the gradual transfer of Indian land to the United States government between 1776 and 1887.  Read all about it here.

2 thoughts on “New Interactive Map Shows the Impact of American Westward Expansion on Native Americans

  1. Well, of course those sort of maps help explain why Mitt Romney is president.

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    The Myth:

    Our history books don't really go into a ton of detail about how the Indians became an endangered species. Some warring, some smallpox blankets and … death by broken heart?

    When American Indians show up in movies made by conscientious white people like Oliver Stone, they usually lament having their land taken from them. The implication is that Native Americans died off like a species of tree-burrowing owl that couldn't hack it once their natural habitat was paved over.

    This is all the American history you'll ever need to know.

    The Truth:

    There's a pretty important detail our movies and textbooks left out of the handoff from Native Americans to white European settlers: It begins in the immediate aftermath of a full-blown apocalypse. In the decades between Columbus' discovery of America and the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock, the most devastating plague in human history raced up the East Coast of America. Just two years before the pilgrims started the tape recorder on New England's written history, the plague wiped out about 96 percent of the Indians in Massachusetts.

    In the years before the plague turned America into The Stand, a sailor named Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed up the East Coast and described it as “densely populated” and so “smoky with Indian bonfires” that you could smell them burning hundreds of miles out at sea. Using your history books to understand what America was like in the 100 years after Columbus landed there is like trying to understand what modern day Manhattan is like based on the post-apocalyptic scenes from I Am Legend.

    Historians estimate that before the plague, America's population was anywhere between 20 and 100 million (Europe's at the time was 70 million). The plague would eventually sweep West, killing at least 90 percent of the native population. For comparison's sake, the Black Plague killed off between 30 and 60 percent of Europe's population.

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