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May, 2008

Exploring the Early Americas
Travel back in time, courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12

Exploring the Early Americas is an online exhibition from the Library of Congress that features a selection of the more than 3000 maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts from the Jay I. Kislak Collection.
The site is well organized and easy to navigate. After entering the online exhibition from the main page, the three major sections of the site are available with a synopsis of their content.

This online exhibition "provides insight into indigenous cultures, the drama of the encounters between Native Americans and European explorers and settlers, and the pivotal changes caused by the meeting of the American and European worlds." The materials are divided into three major themes: Pre-Contact America; Explorations and Encounters; and Aftermath of the Encounter. Pre-Contact America deals with the cultures of Mesoamerica which includes the modern countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and El Salvador. Explorations and Encounters deals with the voyages of Christopher Columbus, Hernan Cortes, and Francisco Pizarro, and the natives they encountered. The Aftermath of the Encounter deals with the changed cultures of the Americas and Europe that resulted from the encounter between them. The Interactives allows users to investigate the Maya writing system through artifacts, examine the only existing copies of the 1507 and 1516 maps by Martin Waldseemuller, and explore a complete version of the classic work, The Buccaneers of America.


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