Colonization: 1492 - 1764

Resource Type:

Reading Level:

    • The Color Line (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The Color Line

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 6 pages.
      A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race. This helps students understand the origins of racism in the United States and who benefits.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century | Themes: African American, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Discovering Columbus: Re-reading the Past

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 6 pages.
      How to engage students in a critical analysis of the textbook version of “discovery.”

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Education, Imperialism, Native American | Reading Levels: High School
    • The People vs. Columbus, et al. (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • The People vs. Columbus, et al.

    • Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 8 pages.
      Role play in the form of a trial to determine who is responsible for the death of millions of Taínos on the island of Hispaniola in the late 15th century. Roles available in Spanish.

    • Resource Types: Spanish/Bilingual, Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Imperialism, Native American | Reading Levels: High School
    • Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves

    • Teaching Activity. By Thom Thacker and Michael A. Lord. 4 pages.
      An art contest is used as the basis from which students can examine primary historical documents (advertisements for runaway slaves) to gain a deeper understanding of the institution of slavery in the North.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Reclaiming Hidden History: Students Create a Slavery Walking Tour in Manhattan (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Reclaiming Hidden History: Students Create a Slavery Walking Tour in Manhattan

    • Teaching Activity. By Alan J. Singer. 7 pages.
      How a teacher and his students organized a tour of the hidden history of slavery in New York.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Activities (Free) | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Columbus and Las Casas

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 15 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 1 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on Columbus’ arrival in the “New World,” and the contrasting accounts of Bartolome de Las Casas and Eduardo Galeano.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Native American | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • The First Slaves

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 15 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 2 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on early American slavery, resistance, and rebellion.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, 19th Century | Themes: Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (Teaching Guide) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years

    • Teaching Guide. Edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson. 2003. 192 pages.
      Readings and lessons for grades 5 to 12 about the impact and legacy of the arrival of Columbus in the Americas. Published by Rethinking Schools.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Native American | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, High School
    • Servitude and Rebellion

    • Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olsen-Raymer. 15 pages.
      Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 3 of Voices of a People’s History of the United States on the role and dissent of indentured servants in American colonial history.

    • Resource Types: Teaching Guides | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 18th Century | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Labor, Social Class | Reading Levels: High School
    • Time to Abolish Columbus Day

    • Article. By Bill Bigelow. 2015. If We Knew Our History Series.
      When the school curriculum celebrates Columbus, children are taught that it’s OK for white people to rule over peoples of color and that militarily powerful nations can bully weaker nations. By his own account, Columbus enslaved people, destroyed cultures, and terrorized those who challenged his rule. It’s time to abolish Columbus Day.

    • Resource Types: Articles | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 21st Century | Themes: African American, Imperialism, Native American |
    • Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Charles C. Mann. 2009. 128 pages.
      An illustrated book for young readers based on 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Native American | Reading Levels: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
    • Black Elk Speaks (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

    • Book – Non-fiction. By John G. Neihardt, Standing Bear, Raymond J. Demallie. 2008. 334 pages.
      The life and visions of the Lakota healer Nicholas Black Elk and the history of his Sioux people.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Native American, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Kirkpatrick Sale. 2006. 453 pages.
      An account of Christopher Columbus’s life, separating the man from the legend.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Colonialism in the Americas: A Critical Look

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Susan Gage. 1991. 51 pages.
      Graphic/comic book tackles history of colonialism in the Americas.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Imperialism | Reading Levels: High School
    • Columbus: His Enterprise

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Hans Koning. Afterword by Bill Bigelow. 1976. 141 pages.
      A biography that gives a true account of Columbus’ life and voyages.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Imperialism | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • A People's History of the United States (Book) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present

    • Books – Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. 2005, with a new introduction by Anthony Arnove in 2015. 784 pages.
      Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking work on U.S. history. This book details lives and facts rarely included in textbooks—an indispensable teacher and student resource.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, World War I: 1910 - 1919, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 2001 - Present, All US History | Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Economics, Education, Immigration, Imperialism, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies & Sparked the American Revolution

    • Book – Non-fiction. By Alfred Blumrosen and Ruth Blumrosen. 2006. 304 pages.
      A detailed account of the role slavery played in the Revolutionary War and the writing of the U.S. Constitution.

    • Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, 18th Century, 19th Century | Themes: Economics, Slavery | Reading Levels: Adult
    • Hurricane Dancers

    • Book – Fiction. By Margarita Engle. 2011. 160 pages.
      Historical fiction in the form of poetry about the conquest and resistance.

    • Resource Types: Books: Fiction | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Latino, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Bartolomé de Las Casas: "Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account"

    • Film clip. Voices of a People’s History.
      Dramatic reading of Bartolome de las Casas’ “Devastation of the Indies: A Brief Account” (1542) by John Sayles, Viggo Mortensen, and Staceyann Chin.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Native American, Slavery | Reading Levels: High School
    • The Columbus Controversy: Challenging How History Is Written

    • Film. Written, directed, and produced by Nick Kaufman. 1992. 23 minutes.
      Contrasting views and scenes from the classroom on teaching about Columbus.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Native American | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Even the Rain/También la lluvia

    • Film. Directed by Icíar Bollaín and written by Paul Laverty. 2010. 103 minutes.
      As a crew shoots a film about Columbus’ genocide, local people in Cochabamba, Bolivia rise up against plans to privatize the water supply.

    • Resource Types: Films | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 20th Century | Themes: Economics, Environment & Food, Imperialism, Latino, Organizing, US Foreign Policy, World History/Global Studies | Reading Levels: Adult, High School
    • Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus (Poster and Booklet) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History
    • Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus

    • Poster and booklet. By James W. Loewen. 2006; updated 2014. 64 pages.
      Graphic corrective to the traditional textbook narratives about Columbus.

    • Resource Types: Posters | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Themes: Native American |
    • Hatuey: 1512 - 2012

    • Profile. By William Loren Katz.
      Hatuey was a freedom fighter in the early 1500s who mobilized Caribbean islanders against invasion, theft, and murder by European conquistadors.

    • Resource Types: Profiles | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764 | Reading Levels: Grades 6-8, High School
    • Joseph, Chief Hinmton Yalaktit

    • Profile.
      Chief Joseph Hinmton Yalaktit (1840—1904), a Nez Percé Indian chief in what is now northeastern Oregon.

    • Resource Types: Profiles | Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 19th Century | Themes: Native American, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements |
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