Maps and the Beginnings of Colonial North America: Document-Based Questions

This is part of a set of classroom materials for the Digital Collection Maps and the Beginnings of North America.

Document-Based Question 1

Using the set of primary documents below, write a thesis-driven essay that answers the following question:

Evaluate how differing perceptions and systems of land organization held by Europeans and North American Indians shaped encounters and conflicts during the colonial era.

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Document-Based Question 2

Using the documents below, write a thesis-driven essay that answers the following question:

Analyze how Europeans’ knowledge of the North American continent changed between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.

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Document-Based Question 3

Using the documents below, write a thesis-driven essay that answers the following question:

Describe the motives that European colonial powers brought to their efforts to map North America. Assess the implications that their new knowledge had for warfare—both between Indians and Europeans, and among European powers—in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

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Document-Based Question 4

Using the documents below, write a thesis-driven essay that answers the following question:

Describe the variety of Europeans’ visual depictions of North American Indians during the era of colonial settlement. Evaluate the significance of these depictions within Europeans’ views of exploration, conquest, and settlement.

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Document-Based Question 5

Using the documents below, write a thesis-driven essay that answers the following question:

Why were certain landforms and waterways of strategic importance to European colonial powers as they settled North America during the colonial era?

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About the Author

Nicholas Kryczka is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social Sciences and the Department of History at the University of Chicago. He teaches coursework in American Civilization, urban history, and oral history and conducts research on the history of post-civil rights school reform in Chicago. Previously, Nick worked for a decade as a high school social studies teacher in the Chicago Public Schools.