chapter  12
20 Pages

Overview: The United States, 1600

WithAlice Beck Kehoe

A perspective on the United States at 1600 should recognize that historically documented European discoveries of American First Nations began more than a century before 1600 and continued well into the nineteenth century. Around 1600, no nations in the United States were building the massive structures that had been theaters of power in eleventh and twelfth centuries, at Cahokia and Chaco. Southeastern nations kept up smaller mounds in the towns that superseded the Cahokian state, and Pueblos constructed multi-storey housing blocks, but neither region on the earlier scale that would awe visitors. Southeastern Alaska is the other, northern end of the Northwest Coast pattern. Continuing along the Pacific past the Tlingit villages and then the rather similar ones of the Yupik, observers at 1600 would meet the Inupiaq of the Bering Sea and Arctic coasts. Clusters of round sod-covered, sunken-floored houses, one larger than the rest to serve as men’s workshop and community party room, sheltered people from harsh climate.