History Class 20-21

History Lesson for Mon., Jan. 11th

We’re talking about how the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon, were claimed by three other countries besides the United States. Well, after Captain Gray discovered what eventually became known as the Columbia River he was sailing back when he ran into another sea captain, a man named George Vancouver. He was an explorer from England. Maybe Captain Gray was bragging, maybe he was just being friendly, but he told George what he’d discovered. So George went looking for it too, but he did something Captain Gray hadn’t. George sailed his ship UP the Columbia River, found a good spot, and CLAIMED THE WHOLE THING FOR THE QUEEN! Welcome to England, kids! If you drive to Portland today and cross the bridge over the Columbia, you’ll be in a city called . . . Vancouver.

1792 — Captain George Vancouver sails up the Columbia River and claims it for England. He establishes a spot for a fort in what is now Vancouver, Washington. [Entry]

History Class for Friday, Jan. 8th

If you’ve been keeping up, you know that Spain, England, Russia, and the USA ALL claimed OREGON for themselves. Obviously, the United States eventually got it, but imagine if Russia had. Would you live here now? Would you be Russian? Would the United States even exist? What if Spain had gotten it? Had that happened it would be part of Mexico today. Anyway, a critical moment in the history of the US was when Captain Robert Gray, an American, discovered the mouth of the Columbia River. The Columbia is a BIG river dividing Oregon and Washington. After Gray found it, people thought it might be the other end of the Mississippi River. If that were the case, ships could travel up the Mississippi and eventually out the Columbia, saving thousands of dangerous sea miles! And because Gray was an American, it would the the United States who would control it all! Hot diggity!

1792 — Captain Robert Gray discovers the mouth of the Columbia River. He names the river after his ship, The Columbia (which was named after Christopher Columbus). [Entry]

History Class for Wednesday, Jan. 6th

So back 200 years ago this English dude named Captain James Cook sailed all over the place–pretty much before anyone else. Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Antarctica, Tahiti, Canada, Alaska…the guy was maybe the first “World Traveler.” Well, his last stop was Hawaii. Island paradise, right? Why would he ever want to leave? Especially since the Hawaiian natives thought he was some kind of magical god! That’s right, they had never seen white people–or giant sailing ships– so when Cook showed up, they pegged him as being something special! Man, did he get the treatment!

Unfortunately, Cook and his men brought with them these little things called germs, and when those cold and flu germs started killing all the natives, the natives started killing sailors.

Cook never did leave Hawaii, but it wasn’t because it was an island paradise. Even though Captain Cook was kind to the natives, and even though the natives had mega-respect for him, they ended up killing him. The whole story is much more interesting than can be told here, but there are three big ideas I want you to think about:

  1. European explorers, even if they weren’t after gold and slaves, were still sailing all over the place even AFTER the United States became a country. They helped map the world!
  2. Even when explorers were “good guys” like Cook, they always brought disease. History repeated itself over and over again as explorers killed off natives with germs.
  3. Even when the diseases didn’t wipe out the people, the native culture was always ruined. Why? Because whenever an explorer found a new place, Europeans always moved in.

1778 – Captain James Cook of England discovers and dies in Hawaii. [Entry]

This video is a little too old for you guys–it moves quickly–but give it a look. It’s only 90 seconds long.

History Class for Monday, Jan. 4th

Remember, you’re supposed to be writing all these entries in your history journal. If you’re not keeping up, you’ll have a lot of work to do when you report back to regular school in February. Imagine having to use your recesses to re-write everything you see below! Anyway, here is today’s history lesson:

Just because the American Revolution was raging, just because ol’ George, Benjamin, and John Hancock were trying to start a new nation, it didn’t mean the rest of the world wasn’t going about business as usual. Countries such as Spain and Russia were still sending out explorers in search of unclaimed land with resources like gold, animal skins, and timber. One of the places these explorers “discovered” was Oregon. Yes, Oregon!

1778-1800 — Spain, Russia, England, and the United States clash over which country “owns” Pacific Northwest waters (including Oregon). These countries were mostly after animal skins such as otter and beaver, which were worth a ton of cash in Europe. [Entry]

Otter in the wild
Otter-skin hat. Which would you rather see.

History Class for Fri., Dec. 11

Use today to catch-up on any of the lessons from below that you missed.

History Class for Wed., Dec, 9

Remember how the Constitution established the rules U.S. Citizens live by? Rules? What about my rights? In 1791, Congress created “The Bill of Rights.” These were the first ten amendments (a fancy word for changes) to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights is what gives Americans freedom of religion, the right to own guns, and the right to a speedy trial when accused of a crime. It’s what gives newspaper the right to print what they think, and individual states such as Oregon the right to do things its own way. Plus, it gives us many other rights. It’s super important.

1791 — Congress ratifies the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. [Entry]  

History Class for Mon. Dec. 7

The first president of the United States was a dude named Peyton Randolph.  Wait…what? Peyton Randolph?  Well, actually, President Randolph was the first president of the Continental Congress, which was the original government of the United States. The first president of the country was George Washington, but George didn’t even want to be president. His friends and fellow leaders convinced him that he was the right person for the job. I doubt there are any historians today who would disagree. George was chosen because of his leadership during the Revolutionary War. He was highly respected by nearly everyone. In fact, some people wanted him to be king. That’s right: king! But George understood why they’d just fought a war. They’d fought to get away from a king. They fought so that the people would run the country.  It was said of him, “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

1789 — George Washington is inaugurated as the nation’s first president [Entry]

History Class for Wed, Dec. 2

One thing the Constitution did was set-up the “three branches” of our government. “Branches” means parts. The U.S. government is divided into three parts: the Executive branch (that’s the president), the Legislative branch (Congress), and the Judicial branch (the Supreme Court). No one part can make a decision without at least one of the other parts agreeing. For example, if the president wanted to make a law that said all school kids had to go to school with shaved heads, the rule would only stick if Congress agreed. Even then, the Supreme Court could overrule it if they felt it violated the Constitution. This system keeps one person from taking over and becoming a “supreme leader.” It is what sets the USA apart from countries with kings and dictators. In those places, the “supreme leader” can decide whatever he wants–and it’s usually a lot worse than fifth graders with shaved heads! Here in the USA, the three branches have to agree for something to happen.

1787 – The Constitution establishes the “three branches” of our government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. [Entry] Now watch this 2-minute video:

History Class for Mon., Nov. 30

Obviously the USA eventually won the American Revolution and all the king’s soldiers went home to England. But the work of establishing a new nation was just beginning. Without a solid set of rules, the country would quickly fall apart. No matter what you’re starting, whether it’s a chess club, a sports league, a country, or something else, you have to have rules.  The document starts with the words, “We the People . . .”

1788 – The U.S. Constitution is enacted. These are the rules U.S. citizens live by. “We the people…” [Entry]

History Class for Fri., Nov. 20

One year into the war, America’s patriot leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin got together to write a letter to the King of England. Jefferson did most of the writing, but dozens of American VIPs signed it. The letter told the king that America was “quitting” England. It listed a whole bunch of reasons why Americans thought the king was a booger. Everybody who signed the letter knew they were risking their lives, that the king would send troops to “arrest” them. After all, as far as the king was concerned, they were all traitors to the crown! But the men signed it anyway. What followed was seven more years of fighting as the king tried to stomp out what he considered a “rebellion.”

1776 – On July 4th, the Declaration of Independence is signed. America declared itself independent of English rule—whether the King liked it or not. [Entry]

Wrinkled copy of the United States Declaration of Independence. — Check out the signatures at the bottom.

History Class for Wed., Nov. 18

There were many battles during the American Revolution. One of the most famous is the Battle of Trenton. This battle started with General George Washington leading his troops across the icy Delaware River on Christmas Night. They planned to march to Trenton, New Jersey to chase off the Hessians (which were German soldiers being paid by the England to fight against the Americans). The Hessians figured the Americans wouldn’t attack on Christmas, so they took the night off and partied. As a result, they were totally unprepared when Washington and his men attacked early the next morning. It was a turning point in the war. Had it failed, the United States probably would not have survived!

December 25, 1776 — Gen. George Washington crosses the Delaware River on the way to the Battle of Trenton, a turning point in the war [Entry]

History Class for Monday, Nov. 16

As noted in the last post, the Americans were protesting things like taxes, so the King sent more troops, which eventually led to a war breaking out. Most–but not all–Americans wanted to be free of the King. They wanted to “quit” England once and for all, and they were willing to risk their lives to make that happen.

1775-1783 — The American Revolution. England vs the American colonies. The colonists wanted to be an independent country. England wanted to keep the colonies because of the natural resources (such as timber, gold, and tobacco). The war would last for 8 years. [Entry]

History Class for Friday, Nov. 12

So a quick review: In the mid-1700’s, the American Colonies are ruled by the King of England. The colonists disagree with the King’s politics–specifically his taxes–so they protest. That prompts the King to send in troops, which just makes the protestors even angrier. At one of the protests, some colonists get killed, which makes the protesters so angry that get organized and threaten to revolt–to defy the King! So what does the King do? He sends more troops! Their orders are to arrest patriot leaders such as Ben Franklin, but the patriots have a plan. They have riders at the ready to ride through the countryside, warning the farmers and shopkeepers to get their guns and fight. The protest is suddenly a war.

1775 – Paul Revere’s ride warns the patriots the British are coming.[Entry]

Revere’s ride was made famous by a poem, but there’s much more to the story than what’s in the poem. For example, Paul wasn’t the only rider.

History Class for Thurs., Nov. 5

Today is your trimester history test. It will be delivered live in your Zoom session. Please see your SeeSaw schedule for your Zoom time. If you miss the Zoom session you will have to take a written make-up test in order to get a passing grade.

History Class for Wed., Nov. 4

Your study guide appears in SeeSaw today. You need to be prepared for your trimester exam on Thursday morning in Zoom. All of the questions will come from the entries posted below.

History Class for Mon. Nov. 2 & Tuesday Nov. 3

It’s history review week! That means you’ll have a study guide each day to get you ready for Friday’s HISTORY TEST. The study guides only cover history lessons appearing on THIS PAGE. If you’ve been keeping on with your history journal entries, the study guides will be easy. If not, you’ll have to scroll down and find the information you need below.

Here is Tuesday’s study guide. You don’t need to do the entry for 1775.because I didn’t cover it yet. Open the PDF and either print it out or write your answers on a sheet of paper. Send me a picture of it in SeeSaw.

Here is Monday’s study guide. You don’t need to do the entry for 0 A.D. because I didn’t cover it this year. Open the PDF and either print it out or write your answers on a sheet of paper. Send me a picture of it in SeeSaw.

History Class for Friday, Oct 30

You’ve probably heard your parents talk about or seen on the news information about the Black Lives Matters protests in Portland and many other places. Well, protests like these aren’t new. We’ve seen them many times throughout history, which makes one wonder, how come we don’t know how to handle them? One such protest took place in the American colonies way back in 1770. It was such a big deal, it started a war.

Because of the “Boston Tea Party” tax protest, the king of England sent soldiers to the American colonies to keep control. The colonists didn’t like that one bit, so they protested even more. One night, a protest became especially tense and the British troops ended up firing their weapons at the protesters. Five colonists were killed. The event made most of the colonists in America decide that they didn’t want to be part of England anymore. It was the beginning of a rebellion: The American Revolution.

1770 – A protest against the King leads to violence. British troops kill American colonists in “The Boston Massacre.” It leads to The American Revolution [Entry]

History Class for Wednesday, Oct. 28

It doesn’t seem all that impressive now but in 1775 James Watt came up with one of the most important inventions ever. He heated water in an over, the water turned to steam, the pressure from the steam moved a piston, which in turn pumped an “engine.” Like many inventions, people kept improving this simple (and massive) invention. Without it, we wouldn’t have trains, planes, cars, or spaceships. We also wouldn’t have factories or all those fancy electronic devices you have in your house. All that stuff started with James Watt’s steam engine! (That’s not a Slurpee machine down below, but if you would like a Slurpee badge, send me an email that says “James Watt” by 7 pm.)

1775 – James Watt invents the steam engine. It starts the “industrial revolution” of factories and machines.[Entry]

History Class for Monday, Oct. 26

Don’t forget that the American colonies were ruled by the King of England. Well, the King put taxes on all of the goods coming and going to America. For example, if you bought a cup of tea in Boston, you also paid a tax to the king. In America today, taxes pay for things like fire departments, roads, and schools, but back then the colonists felt like the money they were paying in taxes wasn’t getting them anything. It was all going back to England! So, they decided to PROTEST. When a ship arrived from England carrying tea, the protesters went on board and threw all the tea into the ocean. (Remember, tea had become the colonists’ favorite drink). The protest was dubbed “the Boston Tea Party” and it was really the beginning of the American Revolution.

1773 — The Boston Tea Party, a protest over taxation, starts the American Revolution ([entry]

History Lesson for Friday, Oct. 23

When I was your age there was a TV show about a frontiersman named Daniel Boone. It was a great show. He was an explorer, and what they called “an Indian fighter.” He became a “folk hero,” which means a hero of the common people, and later a soldier and a politician.

History | St Charles County, MO - Official Website

As the population of the American colonies grew, more and more Native Americans were pushed out. The King of England made a rule that no American could cross the Appalachian Mountains. Everything to the west, he said, belonged to the Indians. But Americans didn’t care about the Indians. They didn’t care what the king said. Danial Boone started leading colonists over the mountains so they could take more land. It was a bad deal for the Natives, but it helped start what is called the Western Migration. Eventually it would lead to things like the American Revolution, the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the Oregon Trail, and . . . Central Point, Oregon.

1767 — Daniel Boone begins exploring Kentucky. He blazes a trail through the Cumberland Gap.[Entry]

History Lesson for Wednesday, Oct. 21

In addition to bringing the printing press to America, Ben Franklin was a big time inventor and scientist. He was curious. That’s a good thing to be. You all probably know all about him flying a kite in a storm, but the real story is much gorier. Ol’ Ben was too smart to fly a kite in a storm. He knew it was DANGEROUS. So he went down to the local tavern and asked people to volunteer in exchange for a few bucks. If the volunteer got sizzled, well, he didn’t have to pay. If the volunteer survived, spending a few bucks was worth it. Smart!

Ben wasn’t “inventing” electricity, by the way. He was just experimenting with it. But Ben did invent all kinds of other things. If you’d like to earn that $100 badge, send me an email with at least three items Ben is credited with inventing.

1752 — Ben Franklin flies a kite during a storm to prove that lightning is electricity. [Entry]

History Lesson for Monday, Oct. 19

Because Ben Franklin knew how to write and had the guts to invest in a printing press, he became one of American’s “Founding Fathers.” Here are some of his famous quotes from Poor Richard’s Almanak. Notice that they’re actually bits of advice. Write each of them down in your journals but after each one, write what you think ol’ Ben meant by each of them.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Fish and visitors stink after three days”.

“Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”

Did you know Ben appears on the $100 bill? If you’d like a $100 badge for your badge board, send me an email with your theories about the meaning of each of the four Ben Franklin quotations.

See the source image

History Lesson for Friday, Oct. 16

Back in the old old old days, news was spread by “town criers.” The mayor or head of the colony would send a crier out to walk around ringing a bell and calling out important information. Towns were small, so the news spread from person to person fairly quickly.

As the colonies grew, it became important for there to be a better way to spread the news. Ben Franklin recognized this so he brought the first “printing press” to the Americas and started publishing papers and booklets. Think of it this way….the printing press was the FIRST Google and Ben Franklin was the first INFLUENCER. Because he owned the press, he got to decide what to publish. Pretty soon, he was one of the most powerful and important men in America. It goes to show that the ability to WRITE is powerful! It’s why you know his name!

1732 – Ben Franklin publishes Poor Richard’s Almanak, making him an Americna Statesman. [Entry]

See the source image
Poor Richard'S Almanack. /Ntitle-Page Of The First Edition Of Benjamin  Franklin'S Almanack, 1733. Poster Print by Granger Collection - Item #  VARGRC0009996 - Posterazzi

History Lesson for Wednesday, Oct 14

As the American colonies grew, more and more goods like tobacco, tea, and clothing were traded back and forth between England and America. Pretty soon a lot of NASTY people decided they could make a lot of money by robbing those ships of their supplies and cash. Pirates! Blackbeard (whose real name was Edward Teach) was one of the worst. He was so nasty that ships would just surrender when they saw him coming. Legend has it that Blackbeard wore sticks of dynamite in his hair. When fighting with sailors, he wanted people to think he was crazy, so he would light the fuses until the sailors all surrendered. When the Navy finally caught him, other pirates grew more afraid of the Navy and went further south.

1718 — Blackbeard, a pirate along the American colonies’ Carolina coast, is captured and executed by the British navy. [Entry]

History Lesson for Monday, Oct. 12

The Pilgrims weren’t the only people to “colonize” America. Settlements soon formed all over the east coast of North America. By 1700 there were a quarter of a million English-speaking colonists in America scattered among hundreds of towns within the “13 British colonies.” These colonies were ruled by the King of England.

Tea was very popular back in England. Tea manufacturers realized they could make a lot of money selling it and other items in the colonies. The King also realized he could make a lot of money by taxing it, just as he did tobacco back in Jamestown. Why is this important? It would eventually be a factor in the American Revolution.

1713 – Tea is introduced to the American colonies and quickly becomes the favorite beverage in America. [Entry]

History Lesson for Wednesday, Oct 7

Did you notice in yesterday’s entry that the Mayflower arrived right at the beginning of winter? Well, the Pilgrims weren’t prepared for such bad weather. By spring, HALF of them had died. Yikes. Imagine traveling for 66 days across the ocean in miserable conditions only to die once you got to America!

Well, once spring arrived, the few natives still in the area came to Plymouth (that’s what the Pilgrims renamed Pawtuxet) and taught the Pilgrims how to take care of themselves. One of those natives was Squanto. He had been kidnapped into slavery and taken to England BEFORE the pox epidemic. He escaped and caught a ride back to America, but his ship was captured by pirates, so he ended up back in England again. His captors eventually freed him so he sailed BACK to America once more. But once he got there, he discovered that his entire tribe was DEAD! How awful. Despite all that, he STILL helped the pilgrims and was there at that first Thanksgiving. What a tremendous example of forgiveness. Watch the video about Squanto and record this entry in your journal:

1621- Half the original 102 Pilgrims die during the first winter. Native Americans teach the survivors how to hunt, fish, and farm, which saves their lives. In OCTOBER they celebrate the first “Thanksgiving.” [Entry]

History Lesson for Tuesday, Oct 6

You probably heard and read about the pilgrims way back in first grade, but you only learned a tiny part of the story. The pilgrims were seeking religious freedom. Back in England the King set the rules for the church, but the pilgrims wanted to set their own rules so they headed for America.

Only about half the people on The Mayflower were “pilgrims.” The others were people like those in Jamestown looking for free land and a new start. They were actually heading for a place in Virginia when the leader of the pilgrims took over the ship and made it go to Massachusetts. He had heard that the natives there had all died and that there was an Indian village they could have. That village was Pawtuxet, the place where all the natives had died from chicken pox. Write the following entry and watch the video for a basic history.

1620 – The Pilgrims leave England to emigrate to America on the Mayflower. They arrive at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts in Nov./Dec. [Entry]

History Lesson for Monday, Oct 5

It’s interesting that we’re dealing with Covid-19 right now because this isn’t the first time a deadly disease came to America. Back in the time of Jamestown, all those Europeans colonists coming to the New World brought with them all their GERMS. The Native people had never seen such germs before, which made the illnesses deadly to them.

1618 — A chicken pox epidemic wipes out the entire Pawtuxet tribe. [Entry]

History Lesson for Thursday, Oct 1

If you read your Pocahontas article, you know the Jamestown Colony eventually became successful. They never did find gold, but the discovered something else that turned out to be almost as valuable. The Native Americans grew this weird plant. You couldn’t eat it, but the natives smoked it. The Jamestown colonists discovered that people back in England really liked it too. Before long, EVERYONE in Jamestown was growing tobacco. They were ven growing it in the middle of the street. But guess what they weren’t planting? Food!

1612 – When tobacco becomes the colony’s main crop, King James warns that “Smoking is hateful, harmful the brains, and dangerous to the lungs.” [Entry]

History Lesson for Wednesday, Sept 30

So having wasted so much of their time trying to find gold, all those Jamestown colonists struggled through that first winter. When they ran out of food, they went to the Native Americans for help. Despite the fact the Jamestown people had taken their land, the Natives helped them anyway. When the second winter came around, the colonists still hadn’t figured things out, so they DEMANDED the Natives give them more food. When the Natives refused, the colonists stole what they could and even kidnapped Pocahontas. Our reading today tells the story.

1607 — Pocahontas and her people help English colonists survive [Entry]

History Lesson for Tuesday, Sept 29

Just because the Roanoke Colony failed wasn’t going to keep other people from following. A few years later, people showed up on the Discovery, The Godspeed, and the Susan Constant to start a new colony called Jamestown. The problem is, they’d heard about all that gold in the New World, so instead of building shelter, finding a good water source, and planting crops, they spent all their time searching for gold. John Smith wasn’t the leader of the colony, but he was strong and determined. He realized if they didn’t get to work on survival, they’d all die. Watch the quick video and then write this entry in your journal:

1606 — The Jamestown Colony is established. It’s named for King James. “There is nothing to be gained except by heard work,” says John Smith. [Entry]

History Lesson for Monday, Sept 28

If you’ve been keeping up, you know that the first English colonists to American DISAPPEARED. (It was in your reading assignment and history lesson from Friday…if you didn’t do those, go do them now before continuing). When Commander White returned with supplies, all the settlers were gone. The only clues were warms ashes in the fire pit and the word “Croatoan” carved in the wall. What do you think happened to them? Well, no one knows for sure but the most popular theory is that they went to live with the Native Americans, becoming members of the Croatoan tribe. They probably ran out of supplies and turned to the Natives for help.

(No entry to record today as long as you wrote down a theory on Friday)

History Lesson for Friday, Sept 25

Naturally, once all those explorers looked around America, people from Europe wanted to move there. Most people in Europe were poor. They had no hope of ever owning their own land. They were told the New World was overflowing with gold and jewels. They were told if they went there, they could have all the land they wanted. All they had to do was buy a ticket to board a ship! That’s what the Roanoke Colonists were doing. They bought their tickets and headed for the New World, certain they would become wealthy landowners.

 1583-1587 – Sir Walter Raleigh tries but fails (twice) to establish the first English colony in the New World. (Entry)

1587 – Virginia Dare is the first English child born in the New World. (Entry)

After reading the article and watching the video preview, what do you think happened to the colonists? What happened to Virginia Dare? Can you come up with a theory?

History Lesson for Thursday, Sept 24

1576 – European traders take 40,000 African men, women, and children from their homes and sell them into slavery. (Entry)

One thing almost all European explorers had in common was that the goal of their trips was to make money. Nearly all of them were after gold, land, and slaves.  In 1576, they discovered that Africa had a lot of people they could capture and sell. It was the start of the slave trade that would eventually make its way to America and still haunts us today.

Imagine if you were unlucky enough to be born in Africa in 1570. You’re sitting around your hut when men with guns invade your village. Your father’s spear is no match for their guns, and soon, you, your family, and all your neighbors are tied up and being thrown in the bottom of a ship. When you next see daylight, you’re standing on a platform being sold as a slave. You’ll never see your family again. That’s what it was like for African kids in 1576. Awful.

History Lesson for Wednesday, Sept 23

If you’ve paid attention to some of the signs around Brookings and Gold Beach, you already know the name of this explorer: Bartolome Ferrelo. There are streets and capes named after him on the Oregon Coast. Why? Because he was the first European explorer to travel up the Oregon Coast. In 1543, he claimed it all for Spain! Welcome to Spain, kids!

Think about everything these explorers had to carry on board their ships. In order to go out and properly explore the land, they had to bring horses. But horses took up a lot of space on board ship. They had to be fed and cared for. So when it was time to head back to Europe, what do you think the explorers did?

They turned them loose. After all, they didn’t need them anymore.

Pretty soon there were lots of wild horses running around North America, which caught the attention of Native Americans. They realized these “big dogs” could be very useful. That’s what they called them at first, “big dogs.” They captured them, trained them, and bred them, creating the “horse culture” native people are famous for.

Here are your entries for today:

1543 – Bartolome Ferrelo explores the Oregon coast and claims the Pacific Northwest for Spain.

1500’s Spanish explorers bring horses to North America. Native Americans adopt them.

History Lesson for Tuesday, Sept 22

Another reason we no longer celebrate Columbus Day is because it’s been proven that another explorer named Leif Erikson came to America long before Columbus. Watch the short video (below) and then write this entry:

1000 A.D. – Five hundred years before Columbus, Viking Leif Erikson explores North America.  (Entry)

A couple of interesting points: Viking explorers weren’t after gold and slaves the way Columbus was. They were after land on which to live. They apparently didn’t find North America very inviting because they didn’t remain, or perhaps they all died. We don’t have those pieces of the puzzle so we don’t know for sure.

History Lesson for Monday, Sept 21

Columbus and Vespucci weren’t the only explorers worth knowing about. People have been playing “Marco Polo” in their swimming pools for for at least fifty years! You wander blindly around your pool because Marco wandered blindly around China for 12 years. When he finally found his way back to Europe, he told about all the riches to be found in China, which is what got everybody else trying to figure out how to get there. Watch my video (below) about Marco and a few other notable explorers and then write down these four entries:

1271 — Marco Polo explores China

1522 — Ferdinand Magellan circles the globe

1579 — Sir Francis Drake explores California

1600 — Ponce de Leon seeks the “Fountain of Youth” exploring Florida

History Lesson for Friday, Sept 18

If Columbus was the first to “discover” America, how come America isn’t named “Columbia” or “Christopherland”? How come America isn’t named after him?

Well, as it said in Club Explorer, Columbus never wanted to admit he hadn’t found a new way to China, so he spent his whole life stubbornly claiming the “New World” was China. He also refused to share his maps with anyone. 

But other explorers did. Americus Vespucci visited the New World AFTER Columbus, but he took his maps back to Europe and let other people see them. When Europe’s best map makers were drawing the “New World” they had to come up with a name. Why not name it after the guy who brought back the maps? As a result, America was named after Americus (some historians believe he might have actually been named Amerigo). 

Here’s the best part. Had they used his other name, Vespucci, we would all be Vespuccians rather than Americans. Why would that be a big deal? Because Vespucci means “stinky feet.” We would be “the people of stinky feet.” Ha!

1499—North and South America are names for Italian explorer, Americus Vespucci. (Entry)

History Lesson for Thursday, Sept 17

Skip forward about 25,000 thousand years…

In the 1400’s European explorers started sailing around the world looking for new places to claim and resources like gold and slaves to take back to Europe.  Their goal was to get rich and be powerful.

Christopher Columbus is the explorer you’ve all heard about. He was looking for a shorter way to get to China, but he ran into islands near America instead.  Before that, no Europeans knew America was out there. Uneducated people thought if you went sailing in that direction, you’d fall off the world, or if you went south, you’d burn up, or if you went too far north you’d run into sea monsters. But educated people like Columbus knew that was silly.

1492 – Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Sent by Spain in search of a new way to get to the Indies (near China). Found The Bahama Islands instead. It took 34 days of sailing on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.  (Entry)

QUESTION: Columbus is credited with “discovering” America, which is why “Columbus Day” was a national holiday. Today, though, many native people lead protests on Columbus Day. Why would they do that?


This shows Columbus’ route from Spain to the “West Indies” and back again.

History Lesson for Thursday, Sept 17

A theory is an explanation that hasn’t been proven. Because no one living today was around when human beings first arrived in North America, we don’t know for certain how they got here. But we do have little bits of evidence that help us form theories about it. The one most scientists and historians accept is the land bridge:

23,000 years B.C.  According to theory, humans migrate to North America via the land bridge. (Entry)

But there are other theories, too, including the continental drift theory and the island hopping theory.

There are also a couple other theories—such as that aliens put people in North America—but because there is so very little evidence to support such ideas, they aren’t considered valid. They’re like myths or conspiracy theories.

This map shows how people, over many thousands of years, would have slowly moved from Asia, across the land bridge, and through what is today called Alaska. The dark tan section is land that is under the ocean today but was above water back then (according to theory).

History Lesson for Wednesday, Sept 16

Let’s review. History is the story of what happened in the past. Why is it important to study it? A smart guy named Santayana said, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” Doomed is the key word there. We need to know history so that we (society as a whole) don’t make the same mistakes all over again. In other words, knowing what we did right and wrong in the past guides us into the future.

If that’s the case, is it important we have our facts straight?

Yes! History is like our GPS navigator! If we don’t know facts from fiction, “Alexa” might send us right off a bridge!

But there’s a problem. Human history has been going on for practically forever! No one alive today was around when humans finally showed up on this continent, or when Columbus arrived here on the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. If that’s the case, how do we know all that stuff really happened?

Well, think of any event in history as a jigsaw puzzle. Each bit of evidence about it is like a piece of the puzzle’s picture. The more pieces of evidence we have, the easier it is to tell what really happened.

For some things, such as the Civil War, we have lots and lots of puzzle pieces. It’s pretty easy to see the whole picture. For other things, such as how humans came to North America, we have only a handful of puzzle pieces. When we don’t have a lot of puzzle pieces, we use the ones we have to come up with a theory or hypothesis.  When we study history, you need to know whether something is known to be true or just a theory.

Write these next three sentences down. They’re your history entry for today.

A theory is an explanation that hasn’t been proven. 

A fact is something we know to be true.

A myth is something that is made-up or a lie.

The fact is, we need to know the real FACTS when talking about historical events.

History Lesson for Tuesday, Sept 15

If you didn’t read yesterday’s history lesson, do that first. Then read this one.

Why do we study history? What’s the point? A famous dude named Hegel said that what we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history. By that he means that we don’t pay attention to it so we don’t learn anything from it.

Why is it important to learn from it? So that we don’t keep making the same mistakes. People, as a society, make decisions like going to war, electing leaders, and creating laws. All decisions have consequences. Sometimes they’re bad. It’s important that when they’re bad, we pay attention so that years later, we, as a society, don’t do the same dumb thing all over again.

We study history so that we don’t make the same mistakes again. (Entry #3)

History Lesson for Monday, Sept 14

What is history? Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Napoleon Bonaparte ruled France and tried to take over the world a couple hundred years ago. That’s him in the picture. Yeeech! History remembers him as a bad dude. No wonder he said, “History is the collection of lies we all agree to believe in.” Of course he’d say that! He didn’t like what history was saying about him so he claimed it wasn’t true.  

There are also people who think history is just a bunch of dates and places. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. But so what?!  What’s important is what George Washington did to help create America and why he did so. 

What is history? History is the story of what happened in the past (Entry #1—this is what you’re supposed to write in your journal).

It could be what happened five minutes ago, last month, or the day you were born. Some history ends up being important to the world. Some may be important to only you. What you did this weekend is part of your history. It may not be important to the world, but it is to you.  On the other hand, that this is the first time in history when nearly every kid in the country started school at home, well, that’s going to be in history books someday!

When we look at history in class, we’ll be looking at those moments when something happened that was important to the world.

Why?  Why do we study history? What do we learn from it? (Entry #2—skip a line in your journal and write this down too.)

Assignment: this is like the world’s easiest history assignment. All you have to do is ask a few people (real people, not your dog, not your favorite video game character…real people like parents and other family members). Ask them why studying history is important. Be prepared to share what they say in your Google Classroom TOMORROW.