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.
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.
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]
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?
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.