About Maximapedia


AMERICA. I. Physical Geography. - The accidental use of a single name, America, for the pair of continents that has a greater extension from north to south than any other continuous land area of the globe, has had some recent justification, since the small body of geological opinion has turned in favour of the theory of the tetrahedral deformation of the earth's crust as affording explanation of the grouping of continents and oceans. America, broadening in the north as if to span the oceans by reaching to its neighbours on the east and west, tapering between vast oceans far to the south where the nearest land is in the little-known Antarctic regions, roughly presents the triangular outline that is to be expected from tetrahedral warping; and although greatly broken in the middle, and standing with the northern and southern parts out of a meridian line, America is nevertheless the best witness among the continents of to-day to the tetrahedral theory. There seems to be, however, not a unity but a duality in its plan of construction, for the two parts, North and South America, resemble each other not only in outline but, roughly speaking, in geological evolution also; and the resemblances thus discovered are the more remarkable when it is considered how extremely small is the probability that among all the possible combinations of ancient mountain systems, modern mountain systems and plains, two continents out of five should present so many points of correspondence. Thus regarded, it becomes reasonable to suppose that North and South America have in a broad way been developed under a succession of somewhat similar strains in the earth's crust, and that they are, in so far, favourable witnesses to the theory that there is something individual in the plan of continental growth. The chief points of correspondence between these two great land masses, besides the southward tapering, are as follows: - (1) The areas of ancient fundamental rocks of the north-east (Laurentian highlands of North America, uplands of Guiana in South America), which have remained without significant deformation, although suffering various oscillations of level, since ancient geological times; (2) the highlands of the south-east (Appalachians and Brazilian highlands) with a north-east south-west crystalline axis near the ocean, followed by a belt of deformed and metamorphosed early Palaeozoic strata, and adjoined farther inland by a dissected plateau of nearly horizontal later Palaeozoic formations - all greatly denuded since the ancient deformation of the mountain axis, and seeming to owe their present altitude to broad uplifts of comparatively modern geological date; (3) the complex of younger mountains along the western side of the continents (Western highlands, or Cordilleras, of North America; Andean Cordilleras of South America) of geologically modern deformation and upheaval, with enclosed basins and abundant volcanic action, but each a system in itself, disconnected and not standing in alignment; (4) confluent lower lands between the highlands, giving river drainage to the north (Mackenzie, Orinoco), east (St Lawrence, Amazon), and south (Mississippi, La Plata). Differences of dimension and detail are numerous, but they do not suffice to mask what seems to be a resemblance in general plan. Indeed, some of the chief contrasts of the two continents arise not so much from geological unlikeness as from their unsymmetrical situation with respect to the equator, whereby the northern one lies mostly in the temperate zone, while the southern one lies mostly in the torrid zone. North America is bathed in frigid waters around its broad northern shores; its mountains bear huge glaciers in the north-west; the outlying area of Greenland in the north-east is shrouded with ice; and in geologically recent times a vast ice-sheet has spread over its north-eastern third; while warm waters bring corals to its southern shores. South America has warm waters and corals on the north-east, and cold waters and glaciers only on its narrowing southern end. If the symmetry that is so noticeable in geological history had extended to climate as well, many geographical features might now present likenesses instead of contrasts.

The relation of the Americas to each other and to the rest of the world, as the home of plants and animals, is greatly affected by the breadth of the adjacent oceans, and also by the geologically recent changes of altitude whereby the breadth of the narrower parts of the lands and the oceans has been significantly altered. Between the parallels of 60 deg. and 70 deg. N. the east and west widening of North America forms more than a third of the almost continuous land ring around a zone of sub-Arctic climate, through the middle of which runs the Arctic circle. As a result there is a remarkable community of resemblance of plant and animal life in the high northern latitudes of North America and Eurasia. In strong contrast with this relation of close fellowship is the exceptional isolation of far southern South America. Excepting the barren lands of the Antarctic regions, with which Patagonia is somewhat associated by a broken string of islands, the nearest continental lands of a more habitable kind are South Africa and New Zealand. In contrast to the sub-Arctic land ring, here is a sub-Antarctic ocean ring, and as a result the land flora and fauna of South America to-day are strongly unlike the life forms of the other south-ending continents.

For further treatment of the physical geography of the American continents. see NORTH AMERICA, SOUTH AMERICA. (W. M. D.) II. General Historical Sketch. - The name America was derived from that of Amerigo Vespucci (q.v.). In Waldseemuller's map of 1507 the name is given to a body of land roughly corresponding to the continent of South America. As discovery revealed the existence of another vast domain to the north, the name spread to the whole of the pair of continents by customary use, in spite of the protests of the Spaniards, by whom it was not officially used of North America till the 18th century.

The discovery of America is justly dated on the 12th (N.S. 21st) of October 1492, when Christopher Columbus (q.v.), the Genoese, made his landfall on the island of Guanahani, now identified with Watling Island in the Bahamas. In the 10th and 11th centuries Norse sea-rovers, starting from Iceland, had made small settlements in Greenland and had pushed as far as the coast of New England (or possibly Nova Scotia) in transient visits (see VINLAND and LEIF ERICSSON). But the Greenland colony was obscure, the country was believed to form part of Europe, and the records of the farther explorations were contained in sagas which were only rediscovered by modern scholarship. Throughout the middle ages, legendary tales of mythical lands lying in the western ocean - the Isle of St Brandan, of Brazil and Antilia - bad been handed down. Scholars, guessing from isolated passages in classic writers, or arguing on general principles, had held that the "Indies" could be reached by sailing due west. But the venture was beyond the resources of the ships and the seamanship of the time. The opinions of scholars, and the fantasies of poets, became an enthusiastic belief in the mind of Columbus. After many disappointments he persuaded the Catholic sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to furnish him with a squadron of three small vessels. With it he sailed from Palos in Andalusia on the 3rd of August 1492, reached Guanahani on the 12th of October, touched on the coast of Cuba and Hispaniola, established a small post on the latter, and returned to Lisbon on the 4th of March 1493, and thence to Spain.

It was the belief of Columbus and his contemporaries that he had reached the islands described by Marco Polo as forming the eastern extremity of Asia. Hence he spoke of the "Indies," and "las Indias" continued to be the official name given to their American possessions by the Spaniards for many generations. His feat produced a diplomatic controversy with Portugal which was destined to have important political consequences. In 1454 Pope Nicholas V. had given the Portuguese the exclusive right of exploration and conquest on the road to the Indies. His bull contemplated only the use of the route by the coast of Africa to the south and east. In 1488 the Portuguese Bartholomeu Diaz had rounded the Cape of Good Hope. After the return of Columbus and his supposed demonstration that the Indies could be reached by sailing west, disputes might obviously arise between the two powers as to their respective "spheres of influence." The Catholic sovereigns applied to Pope Alexander VI., a Spaniard, for a confirmation of their rights. The pope drew a line from north to south one hundred leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, and gave the Spaniards the claim to all to the west (May 4, 1493) . The Portuguese thought the division unfair to them, and protested. A conference was held between the two powers at Tordesillas in 1494, and by common consent the line was shifted to three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. The boundary line corresponded to the 50th 1 degree of longitude west of Greenwich, which strikes the mainland of South America about the mouth of the Amazon. Thenceforward the Spaniards claimed the right to exclude all other peoples from trade or settlement "beyond the line."

Between September 1493 and the time of his last voyage (May 1502 to November 1504), Columbus explored the West Indies, reached the mainland of South America at the mouth of the Orinoco and sailed along the coast of Central America from Cape Honduras to Nombre de Dios (near Colon). Henry VII. of England allowed the Bristol merchants to fit out a western voyage under the command of another Genoese, John Cabot (q.v.), in 1497. The history of the venture is very obscure, but Cabot is thought to have reached Newfoundland and the mainland. Between 1500 and 1503 a Portuguese family of the name of Cortereal carried out voyages of exploration on the eastern coast of North America, with the consent of their government, and with little regard for the treaty of Tordesillas. In 1500 the Portuguese Pedro Alvarez Cabral, while on his way to the East Indies, sighted the coast of Brazil at Monte Pascoal in the Aimores, and took formal possession. The belief that the eastern extremity of Asia had been reached died slowly, and the great object of exploration in America continued for some years to be the discovery of a passage through to the Spice Islands, in order to compete with the Portuguese, who had reached them by the Cape route. The first Spanish settlement in Hispaniola spread to the mainland by the adventure of Alonso de Ojeda and Diego de Nicuesa in Darien in 1509. Cuba was occupied by Diego de Velazquez in 1511. In 1512 (or 1513) Juan Ponce de Leon made the first recorded exploration of the coast of Florida and the Bahama Channel. In 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the isthmus of Darien and saw the South Sea (Pacific). The hope that a passage through to the Spice Islands would be found near existing Spanish settlements was now given up. One was sought farther south, and in November 1520 Ferdinand Magellan (q.v.) passed through the strait which bears his name and sailed across the Pacific. At last the existence of a continent divided by a vast stretch of ocean from Asia, and mostly lying within the sphere of influence assigned to Spain by the pope, was revealed to the world.

The first aim of the Spaniards had been trade with the Indies. The Casa de Contratacion, a committee for the regulation of trade, was established at Seville in 1503. European plants and animals were introduced into Hispaniola and Cuba, and sugar plantations were set up. But the main object of the Spaniards, who could not labour in the tropics even if they had wished to do so, was always gold, to be won by slave labour. As the surface gold of the islands was exhausted, and the feeble island races perished before the invaders, the Spaniards were driven to go farther afield. In 1510 Pedrarias Davila transferred the Darien settlement to Panama. In that and the following year the coasts of Yucatan and of the Gulf of Mexico were explored successively by Francisco Hernandez Cordova and Juan de Grijalva, who both sailed from Cuba. From Cuba it was that Hernan Cortes (q.v.) sailed on the 10th (or 18th) of February 1519 for the conquest of Mexico. Hitherto the Spaniards had met only the weak islanders, or the more robust cannibal Caribs, both alike pure savages. In Mexico they found "pueblo" or town Indians who possessed an organized government and had made some progress in civilization. The hegemony of the Aztecs, who dominated the other tribes from the central valley of Mexico, was oppressive. Cortes, the most accomplished and statesmanlike of the Spanish conquerors, raised the subject peoples against them. His conquest was effected by 1521. His example stimulated the settlers at Panama, who had heard of a great people owning vast quantities of gold to the south of them. Between 1524 and 1535 Francisco Pizarro (q.v.) and Diego de Almagro had completed the conquest of Peru, which was followed, however, by a long period of strife among the Spaniards, and of rebellions. The country between Peru and Panama was subdued before 1537 by the conquest of Quito by Sebastian de Benalcazar and of New Granada by Jimenez de Quesada. From Peru the Spaniards advanced southwards to Chile, which was first unsuccessfully invaded (1535-37) by Diego de Almagro, and afterwards occupied (1540-53) by Pedro de Valdivia. Their advance to the south was checked by the indomitable opposition of the Araucanians, but from the southern Andes the Spaniards overflowed on to the great plains which now form the interior of the Argentine Republic. The first permanent settlement at the mouth of the river Plate at Buenos Aires dates from 1580. In its main lines the Spanish conquest was complete by 1550. What the Spaniards had then overrun from Mexico to Chile is still Spanish America. Brazil, after a period of exploration which began in 1510, was gradually settled by the Portuguese, though its bounds on the south remained a subject of dispute with the Spaniards till the 18th century.

The vast territories acquired by Spain in this brief period were held to be, by virtue of the pope's bull, the peculiar property of the sovereign. When the wide and dangerous powers granted to Columbus by his patent were confiscated, Ferdinand first imposed Bishop Fonseca on him as a check. In 1509 the council of the Indies was established, but it did not take its final form till 1524. It consisted of a president, with a board of advisers, who possessed legislative and administrative powers, and who varied in number at different times. There was an appeal to it from all colonial governors and courts. The Casa de Contratacion, another hoard, regulated the trade. In America the crown was represented by governors. After the preliminary period of conquest the whole of the Spanish possessions were divided into the two "kingdoms" of New Spain, - consisting of Venezuela and the Spanish possessions north of the isthmus - and of New Castile, a title soon changed to Peru, which included the Central American isthmus and all of South America except Venezuela and Brazil. Each was ruled by a viceroy. As the Spanish dominions became more settled, the viceroyalty of Peru was found to be unwieldy. New Granada (which included the present republics of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador) was created a viceroyalty in 1718 (soon abolished, but re-created in 1740). A fourth viceroyalty for the river Plate was formed in 1778. Other governments known as captain-generalships were cut out of the viceroyalties at different periods - Guatemalain 1527, Venezuelain 1773, Cubain 1777 and Chile in 1778. The captains-general corresponded directly with the council of the Indies, and were independent of the viceroys except in war time. The administrative powers of the viceroys were very great. They were, however, checked by the audiencias, or law courts, of which there were eleven from the reign of Philip IV. - Santo Domingo, Mexico, Panama, Lima, Guatemala, Guadalajara, Bogota, La Plata, Quito, Chile, Buenos Aires. They acted as councils to the governors, and had civil and criminal jurisdiction with an appeal to the council of the Indies at Seville. The towns had municipal franchises, exercised by a governing body comprised of Spaniards, either immigrants from Old Spain, or Creoles, i.e. descendants of Spanish settlers. The places were often sold, and were objects of ambition to the richer merchants. In practice the selling of a seat in the town councils, or cabildos, did not have the bad consequences which might have appeared inevitable. In the earlier stages of Spanish colonial history meetings of delegates (procurators) of the town councils, in imitation of the national cortes of Spain, were not uncommon. The kings of Spain had obtained from the popes Alexander VI. and Julius II. the right of levying the tithe, and of naming the holders of all ecclesiastical benefices. These immense concessions, made when the development of the Spanish settlements could not be foreseen, were regretted by later popes, but the crown adhered firmly to its regalities.

The government of Spain administered its dominions from the beginning in the strictest spirit of the "colonial system." The Indies were expected to supply precious metals and raw materials, and to take all manufactures from the mother country. In order to facilitate the regulation of the trade by the Casa de Contratacion, it was concentrated first in Seville, and when the Guadalquivir was found to be becoming too shallow for the growing tonnage of ships, at Cadiz. Merchant vessels were required for their protection to sail in convoy. The convoys or flotas sailed in October first to Cartagena in South America, and from thence to Nombre de Dios or, in later times, Porto Bello. The yearly fairs at these places received the imports from Europe and the colonial trade of the Pacific coast, first collected at Panama and then carried over the

isthmus. From Nombre de Dios or Porto Bello the convoys went to La Vera Cruz for the trade of New Spain, and returned home in July by the Florida straits. One-fifth of the produce of the mines belonged to the crown. The collection of this bullion was at all times a main object with the Spanish government, and more especially so after the discovery of the great silver deposits of Potosi in Bolivia. Forced labour was required to work them and the natives were driven to the toil. The excesses of the earliest Spanish settlers have become a commonplace, largely through the passionate eloquence of Bartolome de Las Casas (see LAS CASAS). The Spanish government made strenuous attempts to regulate forced labour by limiting the rights of the masters. An encomienda was required by anyone who wished to exact labour, i.e. the Indians of a district were given to him "in commendam" with the power to demand a corvee from them and a small yearly payment per head. The laws endeavoured to check abuses, but there can be no doubt that they were often defeated by the greed of the colonists - more especially in the viceroyalty of Peru, which was always less well governed than Mexico. But the bulk of the inhabitants of the Spanish possessions were of pure or mixed Indian blood, and many Indians were prosperous as traders, manufacturers, farmers and artisans.

The Portuguese settlement in Brazil was more purely colonial than the Spanish possessions. Until 1534 little was done to regulate the activity of private adventures. In that year the coast was divided into captaincies, which were united under a single governor-general in 1549. Between 1555 and 1567 the Portuguese had to contend with the French Huguenot invaders who seized Rio, and whom they expelled. Between 1572 and 1576 there were in Brazil the two governments of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, but its history is of little importance till the occupation of Portugal by Philip II. drew the country into the wars of the Spanish monarchy.

The claim of the Peninsula powers to divide the American continent between them, based as it was on an award given in entire ignorance of the facts, would in no case have been respected. In the great upheaval of the Renaissance and the Reformation it was certain to be defied. As England was in general alliance with the sovereigns of Spain during the early 16th century, Englishmen turned their attention at first towards the discovery of a route to the Spice Islands round the north of Asia. But the rivalry of Francis I. and Charles V. gave France a strong motive for assailing the Spaniards in the New World now revealed to the ambition of Europe. King Francis encouraged the ill-recorded and disputed voyages of the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524, and the undoubted explorations of Jacques Cartier. Between 1534 and 1542 this seaman, a native of St Malo, explored the Strait of Belle Isle and the Gulf of St Lawrence, and visited the Indian village of Hochelaga, now Montreal. The claims of France to the possession of a great part of the northern half of America were based on the voyages of Verrazano and Cartier. The death of King Francis, and the beginning of the wars of religion, suspended colonial enterprise under royal direction. But the Huguenots, under the inspiration of Coligny, made three attempts to found colonies to the south - at Rio de Janeiro in 1555-1567, near the present Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1562, and in Florida in 1565. These ventures were ruined partly by the hostility of the Spaniards and Portuguese, partly by the dissensions of the colonists. Meanwhile French corsairs from St Malo and Dieppe had been active in infesting the West Indies and the trade route followed by the Spanish convoys. After the accession of Queen Elizabeth, and the beginning of the breach between England and Spain, they were joined by English sea-rovers. The English claimed the right to trade with all Spanish possessions in or out of Europe by virtue of their treaty of trade and amity made in the reign of Charles V. The Spaniards disputed this interpretation of the treaty, and maintained that there was "no peace beyond the line," i.e. Pope Alexander's line as finally fixed by the conference at Tordesillas. The English retaliated by armed smuggling voyages.

It was, however, not till late that they attempted to found permanent settlements. In 1578 Sir Humphrey Gilbert obtained a patent for discovery and settlement. In 1583 he perished in an effort to establish a colony in Newfoundland. His work was taken up by his half-brother Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584. Between 1586 and 1603 Sir Walter made successive efforts to settle a colony in the wide territory called Virginia, in honour of Queen Elizabeth, a name of much wider significance then than in later days. His colony at Roanoke, in what is now the state of North Carolina, was unsuccessful, and after his fall his patent reverted to the crown, but the new Virginia Company carried on his schemes. In 1607 the first lasting settlement was made in Virginia, and after a period of struggle began to flourish by the cultivation of tobacco.

In 1620 another settlement was made. A small body of religious dissentients, one hundred and one men, women and children, including some who had fled to Holland to escape the discipline of the church of England, secured leave from the Virginia Company to plant themselves within its bounds. They sailed in a single ship, the "Mayflower," and landed near Cape Cod, where they founded the colony of Plymouth, afterwards (1621) obtaining a patent from the council for New England. From these two centres, and from later settlements, arose the "Plantations" of the English, which gradually increased to the number of thirteen and were destined to become the United States of America. Two strongly contrasted types were found among them. The Virginian or southern type, which may be said to have prevailed from Maryland southward, were for the most part planters producing tobacco, Indian corn, rice, indigo and cotton, largely by the labour of negro slaves. They had no very pronounced religious leaning, though Maryland was founded as a Roman Catholic refuge, but they had a prevailing leaning to the church of England. The northern or New England element began by endeavouring to establish a Puritan theocracy which broke down. But the tendency was towards "Independency," and the New Englanders were farmers tilling their own land, traders and seafaring men. In the middle region between them religion had a large share in promoting the formation of Pennsylvania, which was founded by the Quaker William Penn.

The English colonies, though divided by interest or character, were all alike jealous to defend, and eager to extend, their freedom of self-government, based on charters granted by, or extorted from, the crown. The settlers by degrees threw off the control of the proprietors who had received grants from the crown and had promoted the first settlements. It was a marked characteristic of the English colonists, and a strong element in their prosperity, that they were hospitable in welcoming men of other races, - Germans from the Palatinate, and French Huguenots driven out by persecution who brought with them some capital, more intelligence and an enduring hatred of Roman Catholic France. Though the British government gave, more or less unwillingly, a large measure of self-government to the Plantations, it was no less intent than the Spanish crown on retaining the whole colonial trade in British hands, and on excluding foreigners. Like the Spaniards it held that this trade should be confined to an exchange of colonial raw produce for home manufactures. Two foreign settlements within the English Sphere - the Dutch colony of New Netherland, now New York, and the Swedish settlement on the Delaware - were absorbed by the growing English element.

While the English plantations were striking root along the coast, by somewhat prosaic but fruitful industry, and were growing in population with rapid strides, two other movements were in progress. To the south, the English, French and Dutch, though often in rivalry with one another, combined to break in on the monopoly of the Spaniards. They turned the maxim that "there is no peace beyond the line" against its inventors. They invaded the West Indies, seized one island after another, and formed the freebooting communities known as the Brethren of the Coast and the Buccaneers (q.v). After the renewal of the war between Spain and Holland in 1621, the Dutch invaded the Portuguese colony of Brazil, and seized Bahia. A long period of struggle followed, but, after the declaration of Portuguese independence in 1640, local opposition, and the support given to the Portuguese by the French, led to the retreat of the Dutch.

To the north, to the west and to the south of the English settlements on the mainland, a most characteristic French colonial policy was being carried out. No sooner were the wars of religion over than the French again set about making good their claim to Canada, and to whatever they could represent as arising naturally out of Canada. In 1599, under the encouragement of Henry IV., speculators began to frequent the St Lawrence in pursuit of the fur trade. Their settlements were mainly trading posts. Their colonists were not farmers but trappers, woodrangers, coureurs du bois, who married Indian women, and formed a mixed race known as the bois brules. Not a few of the leaders, notably Samuel de Champlain (q.v.), who founded Quebec in 1608, were brave ingenious men, but the population provided no basis for a lasting colony. It was adventurous, small, scattered and unstable. The religious impulse which was so strong both in the Spanish and the English colonies was prominent in the French, but in the most fatal form. Pious people were eager to bring about the conversion of the Indians, and were zealously served by missionaries. The Jesuits, whose first appearance in New France dates from 1611, were active and devoted. Their aim was to reduce the fierce Red men to a state of childlike docility to priests, and they discouraged all colonization in their neighbourhood. It was true that the most active French colonial element, the trappers, were barbarized by the natives, and that the pursuit of the fur trade and other causes had brought the French into sharp collision with the most formidable of the native races, the confederation known as the Five (or Six) Nations. During the reign of Louis XIV., after 1660, the French government paid great attention to Canada, but not in a way capable of leading to the formation of a colony. The king was as intent as the rulers of Spain had been to keep the American possessions free from all taint of heresy. Therefore he carried on the policy of excluding the Huguenots - the only colonizing element among his subjects, - and drove them into the English plantations. A small handful of obedient peasants, priest-ridden and over-administered, formed the basis of the colony. On this narrow foundation was raised a vast super- structure, ecclesiastical, administrative and military. His priests, and his officials civil and military, gave the French king many daring explorers. While the English colonies were slowly digging their way, taking firm hold of the soil, and growing in numbers, from the sea to the Alleghanies, French missionaries and explorers had ranged far and wide. In 1682 Robert Cavelier, sieur de la Salle, who had already explored the Ohio, sailed down the Mississippi and took possession of the region at the mouth by the name of Louisiana.

The problem which was to be settled by a century of strife was now posed. On the one hand were the English plantations, populated, cultivated, profitable, stretching along the east coast of North America; on the other were the Canadian settlements, poverty-stricken, empty, over-officialled, a cause of constant expense to the home government, and, at a vast distance, those of Louisiana, struggling and bankrupt. The French remedy for an unsuccessful colony has always been to annex more territory, and forestall a possible rival. Therefore the French government strove to unite the beggarly settlements in Canada and Louisiana by setting up posts all along the Ohio and the Mississippi, in order to confine the English between the Alleghanies and the sea.

The political history of North America till 1763 is mainly the story of the pressure of the English colonies on this paper barrier. As regards Spanish America, England was content to profit by the Asiento (q.v.) treaty, which gave her the monopoly of slave- hunting for the Spanish colonies and an opening for contraband trade. In the river Plate region, where the dissensions of Spaniards and Portuguese afforded another opening, English traders smuggled. The Spaniards, with monstrous fatuity, refused to make use of the superb waterways provided by the Parana and Paraguay, and endeavoured to stifle all trade. England's main struggle was with France. It was prolonged by her entanglement in European disputes and by political causes, by the want of co-operation among the English colonies and their jealousy of control by the home government. The organization of the French colonies, though industrially ruinous, gave them the command of more available military forces than were at the disposal of the English. Thus the fight dragged on, and was constantly maintained in Acadia, where the sovereignty had been early disputed, and the border never properly settled. At last, when under the leadership of the elder Pitt (see CHATHAM, EARL OF) England set to work resolutely to force a final settlement, the end came. The British navy cut off the French from all help from home, and after a gallant struggle, their dominion in Canada was conquered, and the French retired from the North American continent. They surrendered Louisiana to Spain, which had suffered much in an attempt to help them, and their possessions in America were reduced to their islands in the West Indies and French Guiana.

The fall of the French dominion on the continent of North America was practically the beginning of the existence of independent nations of European origin in the New World. The causes which led to the revolt of the Plantations, the political and military history of the War of Independence, are dealt with under the heading of UNITED STATES (History) and AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. The significance of these great events in the general history of America is that from 1783 onwards there was, in the New World, an autonomous community not wholly unified at once, nor without strife, but self-governing and self-subsisting, in entire separation from European control. Such a polity, surrounded as it was by territory dependent on European sovereigns, could not be without a profound influence on its neighbours. Of deliberate direct action there was not much, nor was it needed. The peoples of the thirteen states which had secured emancipation from British sovereignty were wisely intent on framing their own Federal Union, and in taking effective possession of the vast territories in the Ohio region and beyond the Mississi. But their example worked. Their independence tempted, their prosperity stimulated. From the freedom of the United States came the revolt of Spanish America, and the grant by Great Britain to Canada of the amplest rights of self-government.

The effect which the establishment of the great northern republic was bound to have on their own colonies was not unknown to the wiser among the rulers of Spain. They took, however, few and weak steps to counteract the visible peril. During the later 17th century and the whole of the 18th, the history of the Spanish colonies and of the Portuguese in Brazil, was not, as has often been said, one of pure stagnation. Apart from such a peculiar development as the rise, formation and fall of the Jesuit missions in Paraguay, there was growth and change. The Creole population increased and was steadily recruited from home. Apart from settlers who came for trade, the flow of government officials, and soldiers, both officers and men, ended generally in recruiting the Creole element. The newcomers married in the country, and died there, leaving their families to grow up Americans. San Martin, the military leader of Buenos Aires in the revolt, was the son of a Spanish army officer and a Creole mother, and he is quoted as the example of thousands. He was educated in Spain, and began as an officer in the Spanish army. Increasing numbers of Creoles came home for education, and though they rarely went beyond Spain, yet Spain itself was being permeated by the influence of French philosophic and economic writers. The Creoles brought back new ideas. Slow as the Spanish government was to move, and obstinately as it clung to old ways, it was forced to remove restrictions on trade, largely by the discovery that it could not prevent smuggling, which was, in fact, carried on with the connivance of its own corrupt officials. The attempt to prevent all trade on the river Plate was given up, and a vigorous commercial community arose. A revolt of the Indians in Peru in 1780, which was savagely suppressed, forced the government to take note of the abuses of its colonial administration. Many reforms were introduced. Spanish America was never so well governed as at the end of the 18th century, and was on the whole prosperous. But the reforms and concessions of Spain came too late. In commerce it had to compete with the highly developed maritime industry of Great Britain. In government it had to meet with the growing discontent of the Creoles, who found themselves treated as children, and their country looked on as a milch cow. The wars of the French Revolution and of the emperor Napoleon, in which Spain was entangled, interrupted its communications with its colonies, and weakened its hold on them. The defeat, in 1806 and 1807, of two British expeditions to Buenos Aires and Montevideo, resulting in the capitulation of the English force, gave a great impulse to the self-reliance of the colonists, to whom the credit of the victory entirely belonged. When the intervention of Napoleon in Spain plunged the mother country into anarchy, the colonists began to act for themselves. They were still loyal, but they were no longer passive. The brutality of some Spanish governors on the spot provoked anger. The cortes assembled in Cadiz, being under the influence of the merchants and mob, could make no concessions, and all Spanish America flamed into revolt. For the details of the struggle the reader must refer to the articles ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, CHILE, COLOMBIA, ECUADOR, PANAMA, PERU, PARAGUAY, URUGUAY, VENEZUELA. Brazil followed the same course in a milder way and a little later. The struggle of Spanish America for independence lasted from 1810 to 1826.

This vast extension of the area of independence in America could not but have its proportionate effect on the general balance of power among nations. So long as Spain retained her colonies on the mainland, while England held Canada, and the English, Dutch and French had possessions in Guiana, the New World must have remained in political dependence on the Old. When the Spanish colonies secured effective independence, and even before their freedom was formally recognized, foreign sovereignty became at once the exception in America. The change thus established de facto owed its first diplomatic consecration to the developments of international politics in the Old World. The committee of the great powers which, since the downfall of Napoleon, had succeeded to the authority which he had usurped in Europe (see EUROPE: History), was for the few years of its unbroken existence fully occupied with the task of preserving the "European Confederation" from the peril to its peace of renewed revolutionary outbreaks. As early as the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818), however, the question of the relations of Spain and her colonies had been brought up and the suggestion made of concerted intervention, to put an end to a state of things scandalous in itself and dangerous, if only by force of example, to the monarchical principle. The proposal came to nothing, and fared no better when revived at subsequent conferences, owing to the opposition of Great Britain and of Spain herself. Spanish pride resented the interference of an alliance in which Spain had no part; Great Britain could not afford to allow any action to be taken which might end in the re-establishment of the old Spanish colonial system and the destruction of the considerable British trade, still nominally contraband, which had grown up with the colonies during the troubles. Had the Spanish government frankly accepted the situation and acknowledged the trade as legitimate, England would have had no objection to the re-establishment of the Spanish sovereignty in America. But the stubborn blindness of Ferdinand VII. and his ministers made any such solution impossible, and, before the meeting of the congress of Verona, in 1822, Castlereagh had realized the eventual necessity of recognizing the independence of the South American states. Matters were brought to a crisis by the outcome of the Verona conferences (see VERONA, CONGRESS OF), and the re-establishment, in 1823, of the absolute power of the king in Spain by French arms and under French influence, the logical consequence of which seemed to be the reconquest, with the aid of France, of the Spanish colonies. Great Britain could not afford to stand aside and watch the accomplishment of an ambition to prevent which she had, at immense sacrifice of blood and treasure, overthrown the power of Louis XIV. and of Napoleon. She had exhausted every art of diplomatic obstruction to the aggressive action of France; her counterstroke to the unexpectedly easy victory of the French arms was the formal recognition of the revolted colonies as independent states. "If France has Spain," cried Canning in parliament, "at least it shall be Spain without the Indies. We have called a New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old."

On the 23rd of July 1824, a commercial treaty was signed between Great Britain and Brazil; Colombia and Mexico were acknowledged in December of the same year; and the recognition of the other states followed, as each was able to give guarantees of stable government. Meanwhile the United States, acting in harmony, but not in formal co-operation, with England, had taken decisive action. President Monroe, in his message to Congress on the 2nd of December 1823, laid down the rule that no part of America was any longer res nullius, or open to colonial settlement. Though the vast ultimate consequences of this sudden appearance of the great western republic in the arena of international politics were not realized even by those in sympathy with Monroe's action, the weight of the United States thrown into the scale on the side of Great Britain made any effective protest by the European powers impossible; Russia, Austria and Prussia contented themselves with joining in a mild expression of regret that the action of Great Britain "tended to encourage that revolutionary spirit it had been found so difficult to control in Europe." Great Britain and the United States were, indeed, not in complete agreement as to the legitimacy of fresh colonial settlements in the New World, but they were practically resolved that nobody should make any new settlements except themselves. From President Monroe's declaration has grown up what is now known as the Monroe Doctrine (q.v.), which, in substance, insists that America forms a separate system apart from Europe, wherein still existing European possessions may be tolerated, but on the understanding that no extension of them, and no establishment of European control over a nominally independent American state, will be allowed.

The Monroe Doctrine is indeed the recognition, rather than the cause, of undeniable fact. Europe is still possessed of some measure of sovereign power in the New World, in Canada, in Guiana and in the West Indian islands. But Canada is bound only by a voluntary allegiance, Guiana is unimportant, and in the West Indian islands, where the independence of Hayti and the loss of Cuba and Puerto Rico by Spain have diminished the European Sphere, European dominion is only a survival of the colonial epoch. America, North and South, does form a separate system. Within that system power is divided as it has not been in Europe since the fall of the Roman empire. On the one hand are the United States and Canada. On the other are all the states formed out of the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal. The states of the American Union are non-tropical, adapted to the development of European races, not mixed with Indian blood, and possessed by long inheritance of the machinery needed for the successful conduct of self-government. They grew during the 19th century in population and wealth at a rate that placed them far ahead of the Spanish and Portuguese states, which in the year 1800 were the richer and the more populous. The Spanish and Portuguese states of America are mainly tropical, and therefore ill adapted to the health of a white race. Their population is divided between a white minority, among whom there are to be found strains of Indian blood, and a coloured majority, sometimes docile and industrious, sometimes mere savages. They inherited no machinery of self-government. Townships governed by close corporations, and all embedded in the despotic power of the crown, presented none of the elements out of which a commonwealth could be formed. It was inevitable that in the early stages of their history, the so-called Latin communities should fall under the control of "the single person," and no less inevitable that he should be a soldier. The sword and military discipline supplied the only effective instruments of government. It would have been a miracle if the first generation of Mexican and South American history had not been anarchical. And though in recent years Spanish America has seemingly settled down, and republican institutions have followed upon long periods of continual revolution, yet over the American continent as a whole there is an overwhelming predominance, material and intellectual, of the communities of English speech and politically of English origin.

AUTHORITIES. - Separate bibliographies will be found under the headings of the separate states. Amid the plethora of books, the reader cannot do better than consult the Narrative and Critical History of America, edited by Justin Winsor (1886-1889), in eight large octavo volumes, in which all the chapters are supplied with copious and carefully-compiled bibliographies. (D. H.)

1 The exact position has been disputed. According to John Fiske, the line would be between 41 deg. and 44 deg. long.

III. Ethnology and Archaeology.-

The American aborigines.

A summary account is here given of the American aborigines, who are discussed in more detail under INDIANS, NORTH AMBRICAN. Whether with Payne it is assumed that in some remote time a speechless anthropoid passed over a land bridge, now the Bering Sea, which then sank behind him; or with W. Boyd Dawkins and Brinton, that the French cave man came hither by way of Iceland; or with Keane, that two subvarieties, the long-headed Eskimo-Botocudo type and the Mexican round- headed type, prior to all cultural developments, reached the New World, one by Iceland, the other by Bering Sea; or that Malayoid wanderers were stranded on the coast of South America; or that no breach of continuity has occurred since first the march of tribes began this way - ethnologists agree that the aborigines of the western came from the eastern hemisphere, and there is lacking any biological evidence of Caucasoid or Negroid blood flowing in the veins of Americans before the invasions of historic times. The time question is one of geology.

Following Notes and Queries on Anthropology, published by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the study of the American aborigines divides itself into two parts: that relating to their biology, and that relating to their culture. In the four subdivisions of humanity based on the hair, the Americans are straight-haired or Mongoloid. But it will free this account of them from embarrassments if they be looked upon as a distinct subspecies of Homo sapiens. Occupying 135 degrees of latitude, living on the shores of frozen or of tropical waters; at altitudes varying from sea-level to several thousands of feet; in forests, grassy prairies or deserts; here starved, there in plenty; with a night here of six months' duration, there twelve hours long; here among health-giving winds, and there cursed with malaria - this brown man became, in different culture provinces, brunette or black, tall or short, long-headed or short-headed, and developed on his own hemisphere variations from an average type.

Since the tribes practised far more in-breeding than out-breeding, the tendency was toward forming not only verbal linguistic groups, but biological varieties; the weaker the tribe, the fewer the captures, the greater the isolation and harder the conditions - producing dolichocephaly, dwarfism and other retrogressive characteristics. The student will find differences among anthropologists in the interpretation of these marks - some averring that comparative anatomy is worthless as a means of subdividing the American subspecies, others that biological variations point to different Old World origins, a third class believing these structural variations to be of the soil. The high cheek-bone and the hawk's- bill nose are universally distributed in the two Americas; so also are proportions between parts of the body, and the frequency of certain abnormalities of the skull, the hyoid bone, the humerus and the tibia. Viability, by which are meant fecundity, longevity and vigour, was low in average. The death-rate was high, through lack of proper weaning foods, and hard life. The readiness with which the American Indian succumbed to disease is well known. For these reasons there was not, outside of southern Mexico, northern Central America and Peru, a dense population. In the whole hemisphere there were not over ten million souls.

The materials for studying the American man biologically are abundant in the United States National Museum in Washington; the Peabody Museum, at Cambridge, Massachusetts; the American Museum of Natural History, New York; the Academy of Sciences and the Free Museum of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the Field Museum in Chicago; the National Museum, city of Mexico, and the Museum of La Plata. In Europe there are excellent collections in London, Cambridge, Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg and Prague.

Professor Putnam measured for the World's Columbian Exposition 1700 living Indians, and the results have been summed up by Boas. The breadth of the Indian face is one centimetre more than that of the whites, and the half-breeds are nearer the Indian standard; this last is true also of colour in the skin, eyes and hair. In stature, the tall tribes exceed 170 cm.; middle stature ranges between 166 and 170; and short tribes are under 166 cm. The Indians are on the whole a tall people. Tribes that have changed residence have changed stature. The tallest statures are on the plains in both Americas. The mountains of the south-east and of the west reveal the shortest statures. The whole Mississippi valley was occupied by tall peoples. The Athapascans of New Mexico are of middle stature, the Pueblo peoples are short. The Shoshoni, Shahaptin and Salish tribes are of middle stature; on the coast of British Columbia, Puget Sound, in Oregon, and northern California, are the shortest of all the North Americans save the Eskimo, while among them, on the Columbia, are taller tribes. The comparison of cranial indexes is rendered difficult by intentional flattening of the occiput by the hard cradle-board. The Mississippi valley tribes are nearly brachycephalic; the index increases around the Great Lakes, and lessens farther east. The eastern Eskimo are dolichocephalic, the western are less so, and the Aleuts brachycephalic. On the North Pacific coast, and in spots down to the Rio Grande, are short heads, but scattered among these are long heads, frequent in southern California, but seen northward to Oregon, as well as in Sonora and some Rio Grande pueblos.

The same variety of index exists in South America. In the regions of greatest linguistic mixture is the greatest heterogeneity of cephalic index.


The concepts on which the peoples of the Old World have been classified, such as stature, colour, skeletal measurements, nationality, and so on, cannot as yet be used in America with success. The only basis of division practicable is language, which must be kept separate in the mind from the others. However, before the conquest, in no other part of the globe did language tally so nearly with kinship. Marriage was exogamic among clans in a tribe, but practically, though not wholly endogamic as between tribes, wife and slave capture being common in places. In his family tree of Homo Americanus Keane follows out such a plan, placing the chief linguistic family names on the main limbs, North American on one side, and South American on the other. Deniker groups mankind into twenty- nine races and sub-races. American are numbered thus:- 21, South American sub-race; Palaeo-Americans and South Americans. 22, North American sub-race; tall, mesocephalic. 23, Central American race; short, brachycephalic. 24, Patagonian race; tall, brachycephalic. 25, Eskimo race; short, dolichocephalic.

Farrand speaks of physical, linguistic, geographic, and cultural criteria, the first two the more exact, the latter more convenient and sometimes the only feasible bases.

Culture provinces.

Zoologists divide the earth into biological areas or regions, so both archaeologists and ethnologists may find it convenient to have in mind some such scheme of provinces as the following, named partly after the dominant ethnic groups:-Eskimo, on Arctic shores; Dene (Tinneh), in north-western Canada; Algonquin-Iroquois, Canada and eastern United States; Sioux, plains of the west; Muskhogee, Gulf States; Tlinkit-Haida, North Pacific coast; Salish-Chinook, Fraser- Columbia coasts and basins; Shoshoni, interior basin; California- Oregon, mixed tribes; Pueblo province, southwestern United States and northern Mexico; Nahuatla-Maya, southern Mexico and Central America; Chibcha-Kechua, the Cordilleras of South America; Carib-Arawak, about Caribbean Sea; Tupi-Guarani, Amazon drainage; Araucanian, Pampas; Patagonian, peninsula; Fuegian, Magellan Strait. It is necessary to use geographical terms in the case of California and the North Pacific, the Caucasus or cloaca gentium of the western hemisphere, where were pocketed forty out of one hundred or more families of native tribes. The same is true in a limited sense of Matto Grosso. That these areas had deep significance for the native races is shown by the results, both in biology and culture. The presence or absence of useful minerals, plants and animals rendered some congenial, others unfriendly; some areas were the patrons of virile occupations, others of feminine pursuits.

Among the languages of America great differences exist in the sounds used. A collection of all the phonetic elements exhausts the standard alphabets and calls for new letters. A comparison of one family with another shows also that some are vocalic and soft, others wide in the range of sounds, while a third set are harsh and guttural, the speaking of them (according to Payne) resembling coughing, barking and sneezing. Powell also thinks that man lived in America before he acquired articulate speech. The utterance of these speech elements in definite order constitutes the roots and sentences of the various tongues. From the manner of assemblage, all American languages are agglutinative, or holophrastic, but they should not be called polysynthetic or incorporative or inflexional. They were more or less on the way to such organized forms, in which the world's literatures are preserved. As in all other languages, so in those of aboriginal America, the sentence is the unit. Words and phrases are the organic parts of the sentence, on which, therefore, the languages are classified. It is on this basis of sentential elements that Powell has arranged the linguistic families of North America. He has brought together, in the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington, many hundreds of manuscripts, written by travellers, traders, missionaries, and scholars; and, better still, in response to circulars, carefully prepared vocabularies, texts and long native stories have been written out by trained collectors. A corps of specialists-Boas, Dall, Dorsey, Gatschet, Hewitt, Mooney, Pilling, J. R. Swanton-have studied many of these languages analytically and comparatively. Other institutional investigations have been prosecuted, the result of all which will be an intelligent comprehension of the philology of a primitive race.

Linguistic families.

Attention is frequently called to the large number of linguistic families in America, nearly 100 having been named, embracing over 1000 languages and dialects. A few of them, however, occupied the greater part of lands both north and south of Panama; the others were encysted in the territory of the prevailing families, or concealed in culs- de-sac of the mountains. They are, through poverty of material, unclassed languages, merely outstanding phenomena. Factions separated from the parent body developed dialects or languages by contact, intermarriage and incorporation with foreign tribes. To the old-time belief that languages multiplied by splitting and colonizing, must be added the theory that languages were formerly more numerous, and that those of the Americans were formed by combining.

The families of North America, Middle America and South America are here given in alphabetical order, the prevailing ones in small capitals:-

North America.

ALGONQUIN, E. Can., N. Atlantic States, middle States, middle
western States; ATHAPASCAN, N.W. Can., Alaska, Wash., Or.,
Cal., Ariz., Mex.; Attacapan, La.; Beothukan, Nova Scotia;
CADDOAN, Tex., Neb., Dak.; Chimakuan, Wash.; Chimarikan, N.
Cal.; CHIMMESYAN, Brit. Col.; CHINOOKAN, Or.; Chitimachan,
La.; Chumashan, S. Cal,; Coahuiltecan, Tex.; Copehan, N. Cal.;
Costanoan, Cal.; ESKIMAUAN, Arctic province; Esselenian,
Cal.; IROQUOIAN, N.Y., N.C.; Kalapooian, Or.; Karankawan,
Brit. Col.; KOLUSCHAN, S. Alaska; KULANAPAN, Cal.; Kusan,
Cal.; Lutuamian, Or.; Mariposan, Cal.; Moquelumnan, Cal.;
MUSKHOGEAN, Gulf States; NATCHESAN, Miss.; Palaihnihan,
Cal.; PIMAN, Ariz.; Pujunan, Cal.; Quoratean, Or.; Salinan,
Cal.; SALISHAN, Brit. Col.; Sastean, Or.; SHAHAPTIAN,
Or.; SHOSHONEAN, Interior Basin; SIOUAN, Mo. Valley;
SKITTAGETAN, Brit. Col.; Takilman, Or.; TANYOAN, Mex.;
Timuquanan, Fla.; Tonikan, Miss.; Tonkawan, Tex.; Uchean,
Ga.; Waiilatpuan, Or.; WAKASHAN, Vancouver I.; Washoan,
Nev.; Weitspekan, Or.; Wishoskan, Cal.; Yakonan, Or.;
Yanan, Or.; Yukian, Cal.; Yuman, L. Cal.; ZUNYAN, N. Mex.

Middle America.

CHAPANECAN, Chi.; Chinantecan, Oax.; Chontalan, S. Mex.;
Huatusan, Nic.; Huavean, Tehuant.; Lencan, Hon.; MAYAN,
Yuc. and Guat.; NAHUATLAN, Mex.; OTOMITLAN, Cen.
Mex.; Raman, Hond.; Serian, Tiburon I.; Subtiaban, Nic.;
TARASCAN, Mich.; Tehuantepecan, Isthmus; Tequistlatecan,
Oax.; TOTONACAN, Mex.; Triquian, S. Mex.; Ulvan, Nic.;
Xicaquean, Hond.; ZAPOTECAN, Oax.; ZOQUEAN, Tehuant.

South America.

Alikulufan, T. del Fuego; Arauan, R. Purus; ARAWAKIAN, E.
Andes; Atacamenyan, S. Peru; ARAUCANIAN, Pampas; AYMARAN,
Peru; Barbacoan, Colombia; Betoyan, Bogota; Canichanan,
Bolivia; Carahan, S. Brazil; CARIBIAN, around Caribbean
Sea; Catamarenyan, Chaco; Changuinan, Panama; Charruan,
Parana R.; CHIBCHAN, Colombia; Churoyan, Orinoco R.;
Coconucan, Colombia; Cunan, Panama; GUAYCURUAN, Paraguay
R.; JIVAROAN, Ecuador; KECHUAN, Peru; Laman, N.E. Peru;
Lulean, Vermejo R.; Mainan, S. Ecuador; Matacoan, Vermejo R.;
Mocoan, Colombia; Mosetenan, E. Bolivia; ONAN, T. del Fuego;
Paniquitan, Colombia; Panoan, Ucayali R., Peru; Payaguan, Chaco;
Puquinan, Titicaca L.; Samucan, Bolivia; Tacanan, N. Bolivia;
TAPUYAN, Brazil; Timotean, Venezuela; TUPIAN, Amazon
R.; TZONECAN, Patagonia; YAHGAN, T. del Fuego; Yuncan,
Truxillo, Peru; Yurucarian, E. Bolivia; ZAPAROAN, Ecuador.

Written language was largely hierographic and heroic. The drama, the cult image, the pictograph, the synecdochic picture, the ideaglyph, were steps in a progress without a break. The warrior painted the story of conflicts on his robe only in part, to help him recount the history of his life; the Eskimo etched the prompters of his legend on ivory; the Tlinkit carved them on his totem post; the women fixed them in pottery, basketry, or blankets. At last, the central advanced tribes made the names of the abbreviated pictures useful in other connexions, and were far on the way to a syllabary. Intertribal communication was through gestures; it may be, survivals of a primordial speech, antedating the differentiated spoken languages. See publications of the Bureau of American Ethnology, by F. W. Hodge (1906); Farrand, Basis of Am. History, chap. xviii.; and Orozco y Berra, Geografia de las lenguas, etc. (Mexico, 1868).


To supply their wants the Americans invented modifications in natural materials, the working of which was their industries. The vast collections in richly endowed European and American museums are the witnesses and types of these. There is danger of confounding the products of native industries. The following classes must be carefully discriminated: (a) pre-Columbian, (b) Columbian, (c) pre-contact, (d) first contact, (e) post-contact, (f) present, and (g) spurious. Pre-Columbian or pre-historic material is further classified into that which had been used by Indians before the discovery, and such as is claimed to be of a prior geological period. Columbian, or 15th-century material, still exists in museums of Europe and America, and good descriptions are to be found in the writings of contemporary historians. Pre-contact material is such as continued to exist in any tribe down to the time when they were touched by the presence of the trade of the whites. In some tribes this would bring the student very near to the present time; for example, before Steinen, the Indians in Matto Grosso were in the pre- contact period. Post-contact material is genuine Indian work more or less influenced by acculturation. It is interesting in this connexion to study also first contact in its lists of articles, and the effects produced upon aboriginal minds and methods. For example, a tribe that would jump at iron arrow-heads stoutly declined to modify the shafts. Present material is such as the Indian tribes of the two Americas are making to-day. Spurious material includes all that mass of objects made by whites and sold as of Indian manufacture; some of it follows native models and methods; the rest is fraudulent and pernicious. The question whether similarities in technology argue for contact of tribes, or whether they merely show corresponding states of culture, with modifications produced by environment, divides ethnologists. (See Farrand, chap. xviii. )

Aboriginal mechanics.

The study of mechanics involves materials, tools, processes and products. No iron tools existed in America before the invasion of the whites. Mineral, vegetable and animal substances, soft and hard, were wrought into the supply of wants by means of tools and apparatus of stone, wood and bone tools for cutting, or edged tools; tools for abrading and smoothing the surfaces of substances, like planes, rasps and sandpaper; tools for striking, that is, pounding for the sake of pounding, or for crushing and fracturing violently; perforating tools; devices for grasping and holding firmly. These varied in the different culture provinces according to the natural supply, and the presence or absence of good tool material counted for as much as the presence or absence of good substances on which to work. As a means of grading progress among the various tribes, the tool is valuable both in its working part and its hafting, or manual part. Fire drills were universal.

Besides chipped stone knives, the teeth of rodents, sharks, and other animals served an excellent purpose. In north-west America and in the Caribbean area the adze was highly developed. In Mexico, Colombia and Peru the cutting of friable stone with tough volcanic hammers and chisels, as well as rude metallurgy, obtained, but the evidences of smelting are not convincing. Engineering devices were almost wanting. The Eskimo lifted his weighted boat with sheer-legs made of two paddles; he also had a tackle without sheaves, formed by reaving a greased thong through slits cut in the hide of a walrus. The north- west coast Indians hoisted the logs that formed the plates of their house frames into position with skids and parbuckles of rope. The architectural Mexicans, Central Americans, and especially the Peruvians, had no derricks or other hoisting devices, but rolled great stones into place along prepared ways and up inclined planes of earth, which were afterwards removed. In building the fortress of Sacsahuaman, heights had to be scaled; in Tiahuanaco stones weighing 400 tons were carried seventeen miles; in the edifices of Ollantaytambo not only were large stones hauled up an ascent, but were fitted perfectly. The moving of vast objects by these simple processes shows what great numbers of men could be enlisted in a single effort, and how high a grade of government it was which could hold them together and feed them. In Arizona, Mexico and Peru, reservoirs and aqueducts prove that hydrotechny was understood. (Hodge, Am. Anthrop. vi. 323.)

Time-keeping devices were not common. Sun-dials and calendar monuments were known among the more advanced tribes. Fractional portions of time were gauged by shadows, and time of day indicated by the position of the Sun with reference to natural features. No standards of weighing or measuring were known, but the parts of the body were the units, and money consisted in rare and durable vegetable and animal substances, which scarcely reached the dignity of a mechanism of exchange. If the interpretation of the Maya calculiform glyphs be trustworthy, these people had carried their numeral system into the hundreds of thousands and devised symbols for recording such high numbers. (See Bulletin 28, Bur. Am. Ethnol.)


The Americans were, in most places, flesh-eaters. The air, the waters and the land were their base of supplies, and cannibalism, it is admitted, was widespread. With this animal diet everywhere vegetable substances were mixed, even in the boreal regions. Where the temperature allowed, vegetable diet increased, and fruits, seeds and roots were laid under tribute. Storage was common, and also the drying of ripened fruits. The most favoured areas were those where corn and other plants could be artificially produced, and there barbaric cultures were elaborated. This farming was of the rudest kind. Plots of ground were burned over, trees were girdled, and seeds were planted by means of sharpened sticks. The first year the crop would be free from weeds, the second year only those grew whose seeds were wafted or carried by birds, the third year the crop required hoeing, which was done with sticks, and then the space was abandoned for new ground. Irrigation and terrace culture were practised at several points on the Pacific slope from Arizona to Peru. The steps along which plant and animal domestication passed upwards in artificiality are graphically illustrated in the aboriginal food quest.

Clothing and adornment.

Except in the boreal areas the breech-clout was nearly universal with men, and the cincture or short petticoat with women. Even in Mexico and Mayan sculptures the gods are arrayed in gorgeous breech-clouts. The foot-gear in the tropics was the sandal, and, passing northward, the moccasin, becoming the long boot in the Arctic. Trousers and the blouse were known only among the Eskimo, and it is difficult to say how much these have been modified by contact. Leggings and skin robes took their place southward, giving way at last to the nearly nude. Head coverings also were gradually tabooed south of the 49th parallel. Tattooing and painting the body were well-nigh universal. Labrets, i.e. pieces of bone, stone, shell, etc., were worn as ornaments in the lip (Latin, labrum) or cheek by Eskimo, Tlinkit, Nahuatlas and tribes on the Brazilian coast. For ceremonial purposes all American tribes were expert in masquerade and dramatic apparel. A study of these in the historic tribes makes plain the motives in gorgeous Mexican sculptures.


The tribal system of family organization, universal in America, dominated the dwelling. The Eskimo underground houses of sod and snow, the Dene (Tinneh) and Sioux bunch of bark or skin wigwams, the Pawnee earth lodge, the Iroquois long house, the Tlinkit great plank house, the Pueblo with its honeycomb of chambers, the small groups of thatched houses in tropical America and the Patagonian toldos of skin are examples. The Indian habitation was made up of this composite abode, with whatever out-structures and garden plots were needed. A group of abodes, however joined together, constituted the village or home of the tribe, and there was added to these a town hall or large assembly structure where men gathered and gossiped, and where all dramatic and religious ceremonies were held. Powell contends that in a proper sense none of the Indian tribes was nomadic, but that, governed by water-supply, bad seasons and superstition (and discomfort from vermin must be added), even the Pueblo tribes often tore down and rebuilt their domiciles. The fur trade, the horse, the gun, disturbed the sedentary habit of American tribes. Little attention was paid to furniture. In the smoke-infested wigwam and hut the ground was the best place for sitting or sleeping. The communal houses of the Pacific coast had bunks. The hammock was universal in the tropics, and chairs of wood or stone. Eating was from the pot, with the hand or spoon. Tables, knives, forks and other prandial apparatus were as lacking as they were in the palaces of kings a few centuries before. (Morgan, Houses and House Life; Farrand, p. 286.)


Stone-working was universal in America. The tribes quarried by means of crowbars and picks of wood and bone. They split the silicious rocks with stone hammers, and then chipped them into shape with bone tools. Soapstone for pottery was partly cut into the desired shape in the native ledge, broken or prised loose, and afterwards scraped into form. Paint was excavated with the ubiquitous digging-stick, and rubbed fine on stones with water or grease. For polished stonework the material was pecked by blows, ground with other stones, and smoothed with fine material. Sawing was done by means of sand or with a thin piece of harder stuff. Boring was effected with the sand- drill; the hardest rocks may have been pierced with specially hard sand. At any rate stones were sawed, shaped, polished, carved and perforated, not only by the Mexicans, but among other tribes. For building purposes stones were got out, dressed, carved and sculptured with stone hammers and chisels made of hard and tenacious rock. Stone-cutters' tools of metal are not known to have existed, and they were not needed. Their quarrying and stone-working were most wasteful. Those localities where chipping was done reveal hundreds of tons of splinters and failures, and these are often counted as ruder implements of an earlier time. The dressed stones for great buildings were pecked out of the ledges, and broken off with levers in pieces much too large for their needs. (McGuire, "The Stone Hammer," Am. Anthrop. iv., 1891; Holmes, Archaeological Studies; see Hodge's List, Bur. Am. Ethnol., 1906, and Handbook.)


Metals were treated as malleable stones by the American aborigines. No evidence of smelting ores with fluxes is offered, but casting from metal melted in open fires is assumed. gold, silver, copper, pure or mixed with tin or silver, are to be found here and there in both continents, and nuggets were objects of worship. Tools and appliances for working metals were of the rudest kind, and if moulds for casting were employed these were broken up; at least no museum contains samples of them, and the processes are not described. In the Arctic and Pacific coast provinces, about Lake Superior, in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as in ruder parts of Mexico and South America, metals were cold-hammered into plates, weapons, rods and wire, ground and polished, fashioned into carved blocks of hard, tenacious stone by pressure or blow, overlaid, cold-welded and plated. Soldering, brazing and the blowpipe in the Cordilleran provinces are suspected, but the evidence of their existence must be further examined. A deal of study has been devoted to the cunning Tubal Cains, the surprising productions of whose handiwork have been recovered in the art provinces of Mexico and the Cordilleras, especially in Chiriqui, between Costa Rica and Colombia. It must be admitted, however, that both the tools and the processes have escaped the archaeologist, as they did "the ablest goldsmiths in Spain, for they never could conceive how they had been made, there being no sign of a hammer or an engraver or any other instrument used by them, the Indians having none such" (Herrera).


The potter's wheel did not exist in the western world, but it was almost invented. Time and muscle, knack and touch, a trained eye and brain and an unlimited array of patterns hanging on fancy's walls, aided by a box of dry sand, were competent to give the charming results. No more striking contrast can be found between forlorn conditions and refined art products. Art in clay was far from universal in the two Americas. The Eskimo on Bering Sea had learned to model shallow bowls for lamps. No pottery existed in Athapascan boundaries. Algonquin-Iroquois tribes made creditable ware in Canada and eastern United States. Muskhogean tribes were potters, but Siouan tribes, as a rule, in all the Mississippi drainage were not. In their area, however, dwelt clay-working tribes, and the Mandans had the art. Moreover, the mound-builders in the eastern half of this vast plain, being sedentary, were excellent potters. The efflorescence of aboriginal pottery is to be found in the Pueblo region of south- western United States, in Mexico, Central America, Caribbean Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and restricted areas of eastern Brazil. (The literature on this subject is extensive. See Cushing, Fewkes, Holmes, Hough, Stevenson.) On the Pacific side of the continent not one of the forty linguistic families made pottery. The only workers in clay west of the Rockies and north of the Pueblo country belonged to the Shoshonean family of the Interior Basin.

Textile industries.

The study of Indian textiles includes an account of their fibres, tools, processes, products, ornaments and uses. The fibres were either animal or vegetable; animal fibres were hair, fur on the skin, feathers, hide, sinew and intestines; vegetable fibres were stalks of small trees, brush, straw, cotton, bast, bark, leaves and seed vessels in great variety as one passes from the north southward through all the culture provinces. The products of the textile industry in America were bark cloth, wattling for walls, fences and weirs, paper, basketry, matting, loom products, needle or point work, net-work, lacework and embroidery. In the manufacture of these the substances were reduced to the form of slender filaments, shreds, rods, splints, yarn, twine and sennit or braid. All textile work was done by hand; the only devices known were the bark peeler and beater, the shredder, the flint-knife, the spindle, the rope-twister, the bodkin, the warp- beam and the most primitive harness. The processes involved were gathering the raw material, shredding, splitting, gauging, wrapping, twining, spinning and braiding. Twining and spinning were done with the fingers of both hands, with the palm on the thigh, with the spindle and with the twister. Ornamentation was in form, colour, technical processes and dyes. The uses to which the textiles were put were for clothing, furniture for the house, utensils for a thousand industries, fine arts, social functions and worship.

In order to comprehend the more intricate processes of the higher peoples it is necessary to examine the textile industry in all of the culture areas. It is essentially woman's work, though among the Pueblos, strangely enough, men are weavers.

The Eskimo woman did not weave, but was expert in sewing and embroidering with sinew thread by means of a bodkin. The Dene (Tinneh) peoples used strips of hide for snowshoes and game-bags, sewed their deerskin clothing with sinew thread, and embroidered in split quill. Their basketry, both in Canada and in Arizona, was coiled work. The northern Algonquin and Iroquoian tribes practised similar arts, and in the Atlantic states wove robes of animal and bird skins by cutting the latter into long strips, winding these strips on twine of hemp, and weaving them by the same processes employed in their basketry. Textile work in the Sioux province was chiefly the making of skin garments with sinew thread, but in the Gulf states the existence of excellent cane and grasses gave opportunity for several varieties of weaving. On the Pacific coast of America the efflorescence of basketry in every form of technic was known. This art reached down to the borders of Mexico. Loom-weaving in its simplest form began with the Chilkats of Alaska, who hung the warp over a long pole, and wrought mythological figures into their gorgeous blankets by a process resembling tapestry work. The forming of bird skins, rabbit skins and feathers into robes, and all basketry technic, existed from Vancouver Island to Central America. In northern Mexico net-work, rude lace-work in twine, are followed farther south, where finer material existed, by figured weaving of most intricate type and pattern; warps were crossed and wrapped, wefts were omitted and texture changed, so as to produce marvellous effects upon the surface. This composite art reached its climax in Peru, the llama wool affording the finest staple on the whole hemisphere. Textile work in other parts of South America did not differ from that of the Southern states of the Union. The addition of brilliant ornamentation in shell, teeth, feathers, wings of insects and dyed fibres completed the round of the textile art. A peculiar type of coiled basketry is found at the Strait of Magellan, but the motives are not American. (Consult the works of Boas, Dixon, G. T. Emmons, Holmes, Otis T. Mason, Matthews, John Murdoch, E. W. Nelson, A. P. Niblack, Lucien M. Turner.)


Since most American tribes lived upon flesh, the activities of life were associated with the animal world. These activities were not confined to the land, but had to do also with those littoral meadows where invertebrate and vertebrate marine animals fed in unlimited numbers. An account of savage life, therefore, includes the knowledge of the animal life of America and its distribution, regarding the continent, not only as a whole, but in those natural history provinces and migrations which governed and characterized the activities of the peoples. This study would include industries connected with capture, those that worked up into products the results of capture, the social organizations and labours which were involved in pursuit of animals, the language, skill, inventions and knowledge resulting therefrom, and, finally, the religious conception united with the animal world, which has been named zootheism. In the capture of animals would be involved the pedagogic influence of animal life; the engineering embraced in taking them in large numbers; the cunning and strategy necessary to hunters so poorly armed giving rise to disguises and lures of many kinds. Capture begins among the lower tribes with the hand, without devices, developing knack and skill in seizing, pursuing, climbing, swimming, and maiming without weapons; and proceeds to gathering with devices that take the place of the hand in dipping, digging, hooking and grasping; weapons for striking, whether clubs, missiles or projectiles; edged weapons of capture, which were rare in America; piercing devices for capture, in lances, barbed spears, harpoons and arrows; traps for enclosing, arresting and killing, such as pens, cages, pits, pen-falls, nets, hooks, nooses, clutches, adhesives, deadfalls, impalers, knife traps and poisons; animals consciously and unconsciously aiding in capture; fire in the form of torches, beacons, burning out and smoking out; poisons and asphyxiators; the accessories to hunting, including such changes in food, dress, shelter, travelling, packing, mechanical tools and intellectual apparatus as demanded by these arts. Finally, in this connexion, the first steps in domestication, beginning with the improvement of natural corrals or spawning ground, and hunting with trained dogs and animals. Zootechnic products include food, clothing, ornaments, habitations, weapons, industrial tools, textiles, money, etc.

In sociology the dependence of the American tribes upon the animal world becomes most apparent. A great majority of all the family names in America were from animal totems. The division of labour among the sexes was based on zootechny. Labour organizations for hunting, communal hunt and migrations had to do with the animal world.

In the duel between the hunter and the beast-mind the intellectual powers of perception, memory, reason and will were developed; experience and knowledge by experience were enlarged, language and the graphic arts were fostered, the inventive faculty was evoked and developed, and primitive science was fostered in the unfolding of numbers, metrics, clocks, astronomy, history and the philosophy of causation. Beliefs and practices with reference to the heavenly world were inspired by zoic activities; its location, scenery and environment were the homes of beast gods. It was largely a zoopantheon; thus zootheism influenced the organization of tribes and societies in the tribes. The place, furniture, liturgies and apparatus of worship were hereby suggested. Myths, folk-lore, hunting charms, fetishes, superstitions and customs were based on the same idea. (For life zones, see C. H. Merriam, Biol. Survey, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)


Excepting for extensive and rapid travel over the snow in the Arctic regions by means of dog sleds, the extremely limited transportation by dog travail (or sledge) in the Sioux province, and the use of the llama as a beast of burden throughout the Peruvian highlands, land travel was on foot, and land transportation on the backs of men and women. One of the most interesting topics of study is the trails along which the seasonal and annual migrations of tribes occurred, becoming in Peru the paved road, with suspension bridges and wayside inns, or tambos. In Mexico, and in Peru especially, the human back was utilized to its utmost extent, and in most parts of America harness adapted for carrying was made and frequently decorated with the best art. In the Mexican codices pictures of men and women carrying are plentiful. Travelling on the water was an important activity in aboriginal times. Hundreds of thousands of miles of inland waters and archipelagoes were traversed. Commencing in the Arctic region, the Eskimo in his kayak, consisting of a framework of driftwood or bone covered with dressed sealskin, could paddle down east Greenland, up the west shore to Smith Sound, along Baffin Land and Labrador, and the shores of Hudson Bay throughout insular Canada and the Alaskan coast, around to Mount St Elias, and for many miles on the eastern shore of Asia. In addition to this most delicate and rapid craft, he had his umiak or freight boat, sometimes called woman's boat. The Athapascan covered all north-western Canada with his open and portable birch-bark canoe, somewhat resembling the kayak in finish. The Algonquin-Iroquois took up the journey at Bear Lake and its tributaries, and by means of paddling and portages traversed the area of middle and eastern Canada, including the entire St Lawrence drainage. The absence of good bark, dugout timber, and chisels of stone deprived the whole Mississippi valley of creditable water-craft, and reduced the natives to the clumsy trough for a dugout and miserable bull-boat, made by stretching dressed buffalo hide over a crate. On the Atlantic coast of the United States the dugout was improved in form where the waters were more disturbed. John Smith's Indians had a fleet of dugouts. The same may be said of the Gulf states tribes, although they added rafts made of reed. Along the archipelagoes of the North Pacific coast, from Mount St Elias to the Columbia river, the dugout attained its best. The Columbia river canoe resembled that of the Amur, the bow and stern being pointed at the water-line. Poor dugouts and rafts, made by tying reeds together, constituted the water-craft of California and Mexico until Central America is reached.

The Caribs were the Haidas of the Caribbean Sea and northern South America. Their craft would vie in form, in size, and seaworthiness with those of the North Pacific coast. The catamaran and the reed boat were known to the Peruvians. The tribes of Venezuela and Guiana, according to Im Thurn, had both the dugout and the built-up hull. The simplest form of navigation in Brazil was the woodskin, a piece of bark stripped from a tree and crimped at the ends. The sangada, with its platform and sail, belonging to the Brazilian coast, is spoken of as a good seaworthy craft. Finally, the Fuegian bark canoe, made in three pieces so that it can be taken apart and transported over hills and sewed together, ends the series. The American craft was propelled by poling, paddling, rowing, and by rude sails of matting.

Fine art.

The aesthetic arts of the American aborigines cannot be studied apart from their languages, industries, social organizations, lore and worships. Art was limited most of all by poverty in technical appliances. There were just as good materials and inspirations, but what could the best of them do without metal tools? One and all skilful to a surpassing degree-weavers, embroiderers, potters, painters, engravers, carvers, sculptors and jewellers,-they were wearied by drudgery and overpowered by a never-absent, weird and grotesque theology. The Eskimo engraved poorly, the Dene (Tinneh) embroidered in quill, the North Pacific tribes carved skilfully in horn, slate and cedar, the California tribes had nimble fingers for basketry, the Sioux gloried in feathers and painted parfleche. The mound builders, Pueblo tribes, middle Americans and Peruvians, were potters of many schools; gorgeous colour fascinated the Amazonians, the Patagonians delighted in skins, and even the Fuegians saw beauty in the pretty snail shells of their desolate island shores. Of the Mexican and Central American sculpture and architecture a competent judge says that Yucatan and the southern states of Mexico are not rich in sculptures, apart from architecture; but in the valley of Mexico the human figure, animal forms, fanciful life motives in endless variety, were embodied in masks, yokes, tablets, calendars, cylinders, disks, boxes, vases and ornaments. The Nahuatl lapidaries had at hand many varieties of workable and beautiful stone-onyx, marble, limestone, quartz and quartz crystal, granite, syenite, basalt, trachyte, rhyolite, diorite and obsidian, the best of material prepared for them by nature; while the Mayas had only limestone, and hard, tenacious rock with which to work it, and timber for burning lime. However, looking over the whole field of North American achievement, architectural and non-architectural, composite and monolithic, the palm for boldness, magnitude of proportions and infinity of labour, must go to the sculptured mosaics of Yucatan. Maya architecture is the best remaining index of the art achievements of the American race. The construction of such buildings as the palace at Uxmal and the castillo at Chichen (Chichenitza) indicates a mastery in architectural design. There is lack of unity in plan and grouping, and an enormous waste of material as compared with available room. At Uxmal the mass of masonry is to chamber space about as forty to one. The builders were "ignorant of some of the most essential principles of construction, and are to be regarded as hardly more than novices in the art" (Holmes, Archaeological Studies, etc.). As for the marvels of Peru, the walls of the temple of the Sun in Cuzco, with their circular form and curve inward, from the ground upward, are most imposing. Some of the gates without lintels are beautiful, and the geometric patterns in the walls extremely effective. The same objection to over-massiveness might not apply here as in Mexico, owing to volcanic activity.


Institutions in Europe and America have gathered abundant material for an intelligent comprehension of American Indian sociology. The British Association had a committee reporting during many years on the tribes of northwest Canada. The American Museum in New York has prepared a series of monographs on the tribes of the North Pacific coast, of northern Mexico, and of the Cordilleras of South America. The reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington cover the Eskimo, east and west, and all the tribes of the United States. In Mexico the former labours of Pimentel and Orozco y Berra are supplemented by those of Bandolier, Penafiel, Herrera and Alfredo Chavero. Otto Stoll's studies in Guatemala, Berendt's in Central America, Ernst's in Venezuela, Im Thurn's in Guiana, those of Ehrenreich, von den Steinen, Meyer in Brazil, or of Bandolier, Bastian, Bruhl, Middendorf, von Tschudi in Peru, afford the historian of comparative sociology ample groundwork for a comprehensive grasp of South American tribes. In all parts of the western hemisphere society was organized on cognate kinship, real or artificial, the unit being the clan. There were tribes where the basis of kinship was agnate, but these were the exceptions. The headship of the clan was sometimes hereditary, sometimes elective, but each clan had a totemic name, and the clans together constituted the tribe, the bond being not land, but blood. Women could adopt prisoners of war, in which case the latter became their younger sons. When a confederacy was organized under a council, intermarriage between tribes sometimes occurred; an artificial kinship thus arose, in which event the council established the rank of the tribes as elder and younger brother, grandfather, father and sons, rendering the relationship and its vocabulary most intricate, but necessary in a social system in which age was the predominant consideration and etiquette most exacting. (See Morgan, Tables of Consanguinity, Smithsonian Contributions, xvii.)

The Eskimo have a regular system of animal totem marks and corresponding gentes. Powell sets forth the laws of real and artificial kinship among the North American tribes, as well as tribal organization and government, the formation of confederacies, and the intricate rules of artificial kinship by which rank and courtesy were established. (Many papers in Reports of Bur. Am. Ethnol.) Bandolier declares that in Mexico existed neither state nor nation, nor political society of any kind, but tribes representing dialects, and autonomous in matters of government, and forming confederacies for the purposes of self-defence and conquest. The ancient Mexican tribe was composed of twenty autonomous kins. According to Brinton the social organization of ancient Peru was a government by a council of the gentes. The Inca was a war chief elected by the council to carry out its commands. Among the Caribs a like social order prevailed; indeed, their family system is identical with the totem system of North American Indians. Dominated by the rule of blood relationship, the Indians regulated all co-operative activities on this basis. Not only marriage, but speech and common industries, such as rowing a boat or chasing a buffalo, were under its sway. It obtrudes itself in fine art, behaviour, law-making, lore and religion. In larger or smaller numbers of cognate kindred, for shorter or longer periods of time, near or far from home, the aborigines developed their legislatures, courts, armies, secret societies and priesthoods.

Art of war.

In organization, engineering, strategy, offence and defence, the art of war was in the barbarous and the savage status or grade. One competent to judge asserts that peace, not war, was the normal intertribal habit. They held frequent intercourse, gave feasts and presents, and practised unbounded hospitality. Through this traffic objects travelled far from home, and now come forth out of the tombs to perplex archaeologists. Remembering the organization of the tribe everywhere prevalent, it is not difficult to understand that the army, or horde, that stands for the idea, was assembled on the clan basis. The number of men arrayed under one banner, the time during which they might cohere, the distances from home they could march, their ability to hold permanently what they had gained, together form an excellent metric scale of the culture grade in the several American provinces, and nowhere, even in the most favoured, is this mark high. With the Mexicans war was a passion, but warfare was little above the raid (Bandelier; Farrand). The lower tribes hunted their enemies as they hunted animals. In their war dances, which were only rehearsals, they disguised themselves as animals, and the pantomime was a mimic hunt. They had striking, slashing and piercing weapons held in the hand, fastened to a shaft or thong, hurled from the hand, from a sling, from an atlatl or throwing-stick, or shot from a bow. Their weapons were all individual, not one co-operative device of offence being known among them, although they understood fortification.

The term "slavery" is often applied to the aboriginal American tribes. The truth of this depends upon the definition of the word "slave." If it means the capture of men, and especially of women, and adoption into the tribe, this existed everywhere; but if subjection to a personal owner, who may compel service, sell or put to death the individual, slavery was far from universal. Nieboer finds it only on the North Pacific coast as far south as Oregon, among the Navajo and the Cibola pueblos, and in a few tribes of Middle and South America.


The thought life of the American aborigines is expressed in their practical knowledge and their lore. The fascination which hangs around the latter has well-nigh obscured the former. As in medicine theory is one thing and practice another, so among these savages must the two be carefully discriminated. Dorsey, again, draws a distinction between lore narratives, which can be rehearsed without fasting or prayer, and rituals which require the most rigid preparation. In each culture province the Indians studied the heavenly bodies. The Arctic peoples regulated their lives by the long day and night in the year; among the tribes in the arid region the place of sunrise was marked on the horizon for each day; the tropical Indians were not so observant, but they worshipped the sun-god above all. The Mayas had a calendar of 360 days, with intercalary days; this solar year was intersected by their sacred year of twenty weeks of thirteen days each, and these assembled in bewildering cycles. Their knowledge of the air and its properties was no less profound. Heat and cold, rain and drought, the winds in relation to the points of the compass, were nearest their wants and supplies, and were never out of their thoughts. In each province they had found the best springs, beds of clay, paint, soapstone, flinty rock, friable stone for sculpture and hard, tenacious stone for tools, and used ashes for salt. The vegetal kingdom was no less familiar to them. Edible plants, and those for dyes and medicines, were on their lists, as well as wood for tools, utensils and weapons, and fibres for textiles. They knew poisonous plants, and could eliminate noxious properties. The universal reliance on animal life stimulated the study of the animal kingdom. Everywhere there were names for a large number of species; industries and fine arts were developed through animal substances. Society was organized in most cases on animal clans, and religion was largely zoomorphic. The hunting tribes knew well the nature and habits of animals, their anatomy, their migrations, and could interpret their voices. Out of this practical knowledge, coupled with the belief in personeity, grew a folk-lore so vast that if it were written down the world would not contain the books.


The religion of the American aborigines, so far as it can be made a subject of investigation, consisted (1) in what the tribes believed about spirits, or shades, and the spirit world-its organization, place, activities and relation to our world; and (2) in what they did in response to these beliefs. The former was their creeds, the latter their cults or worships. In these worships, social organization, religious dramas and paraphernalia, amusement and gambling, and private religion or fetichism, found place. In order to obtain an intelligent grasp of the religion of tribes in their several culture provinces, it must be understood: (1) That the form of belief called animism by Tylor (more correctly speaking, personeity), was universal; everything was somebody, alive, sentient, thoughtful, wilful. This personeity lifts the majority of earthly phenomena out of the merely physical world and places them in the spirit world. Theology and science are one. All is supernatural, wakan. (2) That there existed more than one self or soul or shade in any one of these personalities, and these shades had the power not only to go away, but to transform their bodily tenements at will; a bird, by raising its head, could become a man; the latter, by going on all fours, could become a deer. (3) That the regulative side of the spirit world was the natural outcome of the clan social system and the tribal government in each tribe. Even one's personal name had reference to the world of ghosts. The affirmation that American aborigines believed in an all-pervading, omnipotent Spirit is entirely inconsistent with the very nature of the case. (4) Worship was everywhere dramatic. Only here and there among the higher tribes were bloody sacrifices in vogue, and prayers were in pantomime.

In the culture areas the environment gave specific characters to the religion. In the Arctic province the overpowering influence of meteorological phenomena manifested itself both in the doctrine of shades and in their shamanistic practices. The raven created the world. The Dene (Tinneh) myths resembled those of the Eskimo, and all the hunting tribes of eastern Canada and United States and the Mississippi valley have a mythology based upon their zootechny and their totemism. The religious conceptions of the fishing tribes on the Pacific coast between Mount St Elias and the Columbia river are worked out by Boas; the transformation from the hunting to the agricultural mode of life was accompanied by changes in belief and worship quite as radical. These have been carefully studied by Cushing, Stevenson and Fewkes. The pompous ceremonials of the civilized tribes of Mexico and the Cordilleras in South America, when analysed, reveal only a higher grade of the prevailing idea. Im Thurn says of the Carib: "All objects, animate and inanimate, seem exactly of the same nature, except that they differ in the accident of bodily form." These mythological ideas and symbols of the American aborigines were woven in their textiles, painted on their robes and furniture, burned into their pottery, drawn in sand mosaics on deserts, and perpetuated in the only sculptures worthy of the name, in wood and stone. They are inseparable from industry; language, social organization and custom wait upon them: they explain the universe in the savage mind.


The archaeology of the western hemisphere should be divided as follows: (1) that of Indian activities; (2) the question of man's existence in a prior geological period. There is no dividing line between first-contact ethnology and pre-contact archaeology. Historians of this time, both north and south of Panama, described tools and products of activities similar to those taken from beneath the soil near by. The archaeologist recovers his specimens from waste places, cave deposits, abandoned villages, caches, shell-heaps, refuse-heaps, enclosures, mounds, hut rings, earthworks, garden beds, quarries and workshops, petroglyphs, trails, graves and cemeteries, cliff and cavate dwellings, ancient pueblos, ruined stone dwellings, forts and temples, canals or reservoirs. The relics found in these places are material records of language, industries, fine arts, social life, lore and religion.

Here and there in the Arctic province remains of old village sites have been examined, and collections brought away by whalers and exploring expeditions. Two facts are established-namely, that the Eskimo lived formerly farther south on the Atlantic coast, and that, aboriginally, they were not specially adept in carving and etching. The old apparatus of hunting and fishing is quite primitive. The Dene (Tinneh) province in Alaska and north-western Canada yields nothing to the spade. Algonquin-Iroquois Canada, thanks to the Geological Survey and the Department of Education in Ontario, has revealed old Indian camps, mounds and earthworks along the northern drainage of Lakes Erie and Ontario, and pottery in a curved line from Montreal to Lake of the Woods. Throughout eastern United States shell-heaps, quarries, workshops and camp sites are in abundance. The Sioux and the Muskhogee province is the mound area, which extends also into Canada along the Red river. The forms of these are earth-heaps, conical mounds, walls of earth, rectangular pyramids and effigies (Putnam). Thomas sums up the work of the Bureau of American Ethnology upon the structure, contents and distribution of these earth monuments, over a vast area from which adobe, building stone and stone-working material were absent. (See Hodge's List of Pubs. of the Bur. Am. Ethnol.) No writings have been recovered, the artisans shaping small objects in stone were specially gifted, the potters in only a few places approached those of the Pueblos, the fine art was poor, and relics found in the mounds do not indicate in their makers a grade of culture above that of the Indian tribes near by. The archaeology of the Pacific coast, from the Aleutian Islands, is written in shell-heaps, village sites, caves, and burial-places (Dall, Harlan I. Smith, Schumacher). The relics of bone, antler, stone, shell and copper are of yesterday. Even the Calaveras man is no exception, since his skull and his polished conical pestle, the latter made of stone more recent than the auriferous gravels, show him to have been of Digger Indian type. In Utah begin the ruins of the Pueblo culture. These cover Arizona and New Mexico, with extensions into Colorado on the north and Mexico on the south. The reports of work done in this province for several years past form a library of text and illustration. Cliff dwellings, cavate houses, pueblos and casas are all brought into a series without a break by Bandelier, Cushing, Fewkes, Holmes, Hough, Mindeleff, Nordenskjold, Powell and Stevenson. From Casa Grande, in Chihuahua, to Quemada, in Zacatecas, Carl S. Lumholtz found survivals of the cliff dwellers. Between Quemada and Copan, in Honduras, is an unbroken series of mural structures. The traditions agree with the monuments, whatever may be objected to assigning any one ruin to the Toltec, the Chichimec or the Nahuatl, that there are distinct varieties in ground-plan, motives, stone-craft, wall decorations and sculptures. Among these splendours in stone the following recent explorers must be the student's guide:-Bowditch, Charnay, Forstemann, F. T. Goodman, Gordon, Holmes, Maudslay, Mercer, Putnam, Sapper, Marshall H. Saville, Seler, Cyrus Thomas, Thompson. A list of the ruins, printed in the handbook on Mexico published by the Department of State in Washington, covers several pages. The special characteristics of each are to be seen partly in the skill and genius of their makers, and partly in the exigencies of the site and the available materials. A fascinating study in this connexion is that of the water-supply. The cenotes or underground reservoirs were the important factors in locating the ruins of northern Yucatan. From Honduras to Panama the urn burials, the pottery, the rude carved images and, above all, the grotesque jewellery, absorb the archaeologist's attention. (Publications of Peabody Museum.)

Beyond Chiriqui southward is El Dorado. Here also bewildering products of ancient metallurgy tax the imagination as to the processes involved, and questions of acculturation also interfere with true scientific results. The fact remains, however, that the curious metal-craft of the narrow strip along the Pacific from Mexico to Titicaca is the greatest of archaeological enigmas. Bandelier, Dorsey, Holmes, Seler and Uhle have taken up the questions anew. Beyond Colombia are Ecuador and Peru, where, in the widening of the continent, architecture, stone-working, pottery, metallurgy, textiles are again exalted. Among the Cordilleras in their western and interior drainages, over a space covering more than twenty degrees of latitude, the student comes again upon massive ruins. The materials on the coast were clay and gravel wrought into concrete, sun-dried bricks and pise, or rammed work, cut stalks of plants formed with clay a kind of staff, and lintels were made by burying stems of cana brava (Gynerium saccharoides) in blocks of pise. On the uplands structures were of stone laid up in a dozen ways. Walls for buildings, garden terraces and aqueducts were straight or sloping. Doorways were usually square, but corbelled archways and gateways surmounted with sculptures were not uncommon. Ornamentation was in carving and in colour, the latter far more effectively used than in Middle America. A glance at the exquisite textiles reveals at once the inspiration of mural decorations. The most prolific source of Peruvian relics is the sepulchres or huacas, the same materials being used in their construction as in building the houses. Here, owing to a dry climate, are the dead, clad and surrounded with food, vessels, tools and art products, as in life. The textiles and the pottery can only be mentioned; their quality and endless varieties astonish the technologist. In the Carib province there are no mural remains, but the pottery, with its excessive onlaying, recalls Mexico and the jewellers of Chiriqui. The polished stone work is superb, finding its climax in Puerto Rico, which seems to have been the sacred island of the Caribs. For the coasts of South America the vast shell-heaps are the repositories of ancient history.

Paleolithic man.

Since 1880 organized institutions of anthropology have taken the spade out of the hands of individual explorers in order to know the truth concerning Glacial or Pleistocene man. The geologist and the trained archaeologist are associated. In North America the sites have been examined by the Peabody Museum, the Bureau of American Ethnology, and others, with the result that only the Trenton gravels have any standing. The so-called palaeolithic implements are everywhere. The question is one of geology, simply to decide whether those recovered at Trenton are ancient. Putnam and George Frederick Wright maintain that they are ancient, Alex. Francis Chamberlain and Holmes that they are post-Glacial and comparatively recent (Am. Anthrop., N.S. i. pp. 107, 614). Elsewhere in the United States fossilized bones, crania of a low order, association of human remains with those of fossil animals are not necessarily evidence of vast antiquity. In South America the shell-heaps, of enormous size, are supposed to show that the animals have undergone changes in size and that such vast masses require untold ages to accumulate. The first is a biological problem. As for the second, the elements of savage voracity and wastefulness, of uncertainty as to cubical contents on uneven surface, and of the number of mouths to fill, make it hazardous to construct a chronological table on a shell-heap. Hudson's village sites in Patagonia contain pottery, and that brings them all into the territory of Indian archaeology. Ameghino refers deposits in Patagonia, from which undoubted human bones and relics have been exhumed, to the Miocene. The question is of the age of the sediments from which these were taken. The bones of other associated animals, says John B. Hatcher, demonstrate the Pleistocene nature of the deposits, by which is not necessarily meant older Quaternary, for their horizons have not been differentiated and correlated in South America. Hatcher believes that "there is no good evidence in favour of a great antiquity for man in Patagonia." In a cave near Consuelo Cove, southern Patagonia, have been found fragments of the skin and bones of a large ground-sloth, Grypotherium (Neomylodon) listai, associated with human remains. Ameghino argues that this creature is still living, while Ur Moreno advances the theory that the animal has been extinct for a long period, and that it was domesticated by a people of great antiquity, who dwelt there prior to the Indians. Rodolfo Hauthal, Walter E. Roth and Dr R. Lehmann Nitsche review their work with the conclusion, not unanimously held by them, that man co-existed here with all the other animals whose remains were found during an inter-Glacial period. Arthur Smith Woodward sums up the question in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, closing with this sentence: "If we accept the confirmatory evidence afforded by Mr Spencer Moore, we can hardly refuse to believe that this ground-sloth was kept and fed by an early race of men." These are individual opinions, subject to revision by that court of appeals, the institutional judgment. (Summary in H. Hesketh Prichard, Through the Heart of Patagonia (1902), Appendix A.)

AUTHORITIES.-A valuable endowment of research in specimens, literature and pictures, deposited in libraries, museums and galleries since 1880, will keep ethnologists and archaeologists employed for many years to come. The scientific inquirer will find a mass of material in the papers and reports contributed to the numerous societies and institutions which are devoted to anthropological research. Museums of aboriginal culture are without number; in Washington the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum, the Bureau of American Ethnology and the American Anthropologist issue publications on every division of the subject, lists of their publications and general bibliographies. Also the Peabody Museum, Cambridge; the American Museum of Natural History, New York; the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia; the Field Museum, Chicago; the California Academy and the California University, San Francisco; and the Canadian Institute, Toronto, publish monographs and lists. The most comprehensive work on North America is the Handbook of American Indians (prepared by the Bureau of American Ethnology, under W. H. Holmes, and edited by F. Webb Hodge).

The following represent a select list of works on the American aborigines:-H. H. Bancroft, Native Races of the Pacific States of North America, vols. i.-v. (1874-1876); A. F. Bandelier, Papers on the Sedentary Indians of New Mexico (see Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America, 1881, 1890, 1892); also 10th, 11th, 12th Reports Peabody Museum; Franz Boas, The Central Eskimo (6th Rep. Bur. Am. Ethnol., 1888); also Bulls. 20, 26, 27 and Reports Brit. Assoc. 1885-1898; Charles P. Bowditch, Mexican and Central American Antiquities; Bull. 28, Bur. Am. Ethnol.; also The Temples of the Cross and Mayan Nomenclature (Cambridge, Mass., 1906); David Boyle, Reports of the Provincial Museum of Toronto on Archaeology and Ethnology of Canada; D. G. Brinton, Library of Aboriginal American Literature, vols. i.-viii. (Philadelphia, 1822-1890); The American Race (New York, 1891); Gustav Bruhl, Die Cultur-volker Amerikas (Cincinnati, 1889); Desire Charnay, The Ancient Cities of the New World (New York, 1887); Frank Cushing, Zuni Folk Tales (New York, 1901); William H. Dall, Alaska and its Resources (Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1870) (also papers by Bur. Am. Ethnol.); J. Deniker, The Races of Man (London, 1900); Roland B. Dixon, The Northern Maidu, Cal., Bull. 17, Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. (New York, 1905); Paul Ehrenreich, Die Volkerstamme Brasiliens (Berlin, 1892); Anthropologische Studien uber die Urbewohner Brasiliens (Berlin, 1897); Livingston Farrand, The American Nation: A History, vol. ii. (New York, 1904), with copious references; J. W. Fewkes, A Journal of American Ethnology and Archaeology, vols. i.-iv. (Boston, 1891-1894); Pliny Earle Goddard, Life and Culture of the Hupa, Univ. of Cal., vol. i. (1903): papers by F. W. Hodge, List of Publications of the Bur. Am. Ethnol., Bull. 31 (1906); W. H. Holmes, Handbook of the Indians North of Mexico; Alice C. Fletcher, Francis la Flesche and John Comfort Fillmore, "A Study of Omaha Indian Music," Peabody Museum Archaeological and Ethnological Papers. i. (1893); George Byron Gordon, "Researches in Central America," Memoirs of the Peabody Museum, vol. i. Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6; and Proc. Mus. Univ. of Pa.; William H. Holmes, Archaeological Studies among the Ancient Cities of Mexico (Chicago, 1895); Walter Hough, Archaeological Field Work in N.-E. Arizona, Museum-Gates Expedition of 1901; Report U.S. National Museum, 1901; Ales. Hrdlicka, "The Chichimecs," Am. Anthropologist, 1903, pp. 385-440; also papers on physical anthropology in the Handbook and Pubs. of the National Museum and the American Museum; Archer Butler Hulbert, Historic Highways of America, 16 vols. (Cleveland, O.); E. F. Im Thurn, Among the Indians of British Guiana (London, 1883); A. H. Keane, Ethnology (Cambridge, 1896); and Man, Past and Present (Cambridge, 1899); A. L. Kroeber, Papers on Eskimo, Arapaho, Languages and Culture of California Tribes, in Pubs. of California University and the American Museum of Natural History, N. Y.; Albert Buell Lewis, "Tribes of the Columbia Valley," Mem. Anthrop. Assoc. vol. i. (1906), with bibliography; Joseph D. McGuire, "The Stone Hammer and its Various Uses," Am. Anthropologist, iv. (1891); Teobert Maler, "Researches in Usumatsintla Valley" (1901- 1903), Peabody Museum Mem. ii.; Clements R. Markham, Cuzco (London, 1836, and Hakluyt Soc., 1859); Marquis de Nadaillac, L'Amerique prehistorique (Paris, 1883); H. J. Nieboer, Slavery as an Industrial System (The Hague, 1900); G. Nordenskjold, The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde, Colorado (Stockholm, 1893); Zelia Nuttall, The Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans (Univ. of Cal., 1903); An Ancient Mexican Codex, special publications of the Peabody Museum (Cambridge, Mass., 1902); Edward John Payne, History of the New World called America (vol. i. 1892, vol. ii. 1899, Oxford ); Antonio Penafiel, Monumentos del Arte Mexicano antiguo (Berlin, 1890); James C. Pilling, "Bibliographies of Indian Languages," Bulls. Bur. Am. Ethnol. 5-19; J. W. Powell, "Indian Linguistic Families," 7th Report Bureau of American Ethnology (1891); H. Hesketh Prichard, Through the Heart of Patagonia (New York, 1902) (appendix on the co-existence of mylodon and man); F. W. Putnam, "Archaeology and Ethnology," vol. vii., Wheeler Surveys, etc. (Washington, 1879); Charles Rau, The Palenque Tablet, Smithsonian Contributions, Washington; Caecilie Seler, Auf alten Wegen in Mexico und Guatemala (Berlin, 1900); Harlan I. Smith, "Archaeological Discoveries in North-Western America," Bull. Am. Geographical Society (May 1906); also Mem. Am. Mus. Nat. History (New York); Karl von den Steinen, Unter den Naturvolkern Zentral-Brasiliens (Berlin, 1884); E. H. Thompson, "Explorations in Loltun and Labna," Memoirs Peabody Museum of Archaeol. and Ethnol. i. 1897; Max Uhle, "Explorations in Peru," Memoir Univ. of Cal. i.; Washington Matthews, Navaho Legends (Cambridge, Mass.); Anne Cary Maudslay and Alfred Percival Maudslay, A Glimpse at Guatemala (London, 1899) (Maudslay's whole series in Biologia Centrali Americana, 1889-1902, are valuable); H. C. Mercer, The Hill Caves of Yucatan (Philadelphia, 1896); Clarence B. Moore, papers on archaeology of Florida and neighbouring states, Journal Acad. Nat. Sc. (Philadelphia, vol. xiii., 1905); Lewis H. Morgan, Smithsonian Contributions, xvii., 1869; and Ancient Society, New York. (O. T. M.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | GDPR