By James A. Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, Robert O. Self
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Extra info for America's History, Volume 1: To 1877
In the answers to these questions lie the origins of the United States. Astronomers at Istanbul (Constantinople), 1581 As the heirs of Byzantine civilization, Arab and Turkish scholars transmitted ancient Greek and Roman texts and learning to Europeans during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Their works, and practical classical inventions such as the globe and the astrolabe shown in this painting, provided much of the geographical and astronomical knowledge used by European explorers between 1450 and 1600, the great Age of Discovery.
500, Teotihuacán had more than one hundred temples, including the magniﬁcent Pyramid of the Sun; some four thousand apartment buildings; and a population of at least 100,000. By 800, the city was in decline, the victim of long-term drought and recurrent invasions by seminomadic warrior peoples. Some of these invaders, such as the Toltecs and the Aztecs, established even more extensive empires. The Aztecs settled on an island in Lake Texcoco, not far from the great pyramid. There, in 1325, they built a new city, Tenochtitlán [teh-noch-teet-LAN] — Mexico City today — that was designed to reﬂect their 12 PART 1 THE CREATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETY, 1450–1763 understanding of the divine cosmos.
European Peasant Society In 1450, most Europeans were peasants who lived in small, compact agricultural villages surrounded by open ﬁelds. Because the ﬁelds were divided into narrow strips cultivated by different families, cooperative farming was a necessity. The community decided which crops to grow, and every family followed the community’s dictates. On manorial lands, tillage rights came in exchange for weekly labor on the lord’s estate, an arrangement that turned peasants into serfs. Gradually, obligatory manorial services gave way to paying rent; or, as in France, customary tillage rights became, for practical purposes, land ownership.