Upon completing this unit, students
will be able to:
1. Analyze the causes and severity of Native American mortality rates from 1500 to 1650
2. Describe the contributions of Afroeurasia and the Americas to the biological exchanges of plants, animals, humans, and germs initiated by the permanent linking of these two regions.
3. Explain the consequences for global trade of linking America and Afroeurasia with each other.
4. Evaluate the moral significance of a) massive die-off of American Indian populations in the period 1500-1650 and b) the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans.
5. Assess documentary and numerical evidence for reliability, and explain reasons for serious disagreements among historians about the size of Native American populations before and after contact with newcomers from Afroeurasia.
Time and Materials
This unit is versatile. The variety and number of student readings, discussion questions, and
activities provided are meant to give teachers the choice to use those most suited to their
students, interests, and circumstances.
Time taken will vary depending on teachers’ selections of the materials provided, on how long is
spent on them, and on whether the Student Handouts and some of the activities can be assigned
Each of the two Lessons, and even parts of each, could be used alone. The basics could be
covered with Student Handouts 1.1, 2.1, and 2.3, and a choice from among their associated
questions and activities, in two to three forty-five-minute class periods. Using Student Handouts
1.2 and 1.3 and their questions and activities could be tailored to an additional class period, as
could Student Handout 2.4 with its questions and activities.
No materials are needed other than pencil and paper.