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Term Definitions

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World History:  Terms Unit 2, Part 2

Directions:  Read the definitions and highlight 5-7 key words.


Atahualpa:  Leader of the Incas who was kidnapped by Pizarro in 1532, and ransomed for 3 rooms filled with gold and silver.  When the ransom was paid, the Spanish killed Atahualpa.

Aztec:  Native American Empire located in Central Mexico, conquered and ruled over 30 million people by 1500, demanded tribute and human sacrifice.  Destroyed by Cortes, his army, and the diseases they brought with them in 1520.

Bartolome de la Casas:  Spanish missionary and Dominican priest who lived among the Native people of the West Indies and Central America.  He condemned the encomienda system and his reports of mistreatment of Native Americans  to the Pope and King of Spain caused the passage of laws forbidding the abuse of Native Americans.

Conquistadors:  Spanish professional soldiers mercenaries who accompanied Cortez, Pizarro, and other Spanish explorers and helped them conquer the Americas.  As mercenaries they were only interested in the profit they made in gold, silver, gems and other valuables not the welfare of the people they conquered.  This result in death and destruction for the Native Americans.

Francisco Pizarro:  Conquistador who was with Balboa when he discovered the Pacific Ocean.  Spanish leader who conquered the Inca in 1532 and became the governor of Peru.  Assassinated in 1541 by rival Spanish conquistadors.

Montezuma:  Aztec Emperor killed by the Spanish.  When he first met Cortez he thought the Spaniard was a God and welcomed the Spaniards into the capital.  His people, angry at this mistake, attacked him and he died 3 days later of his wounds.

Olaudah Equino:  Born in 1745 in West Africa, he and his sister were slaves in Africa until he was kidnapped by European slavers and shipped to Virginia.  Sold to a sea captain he purchased his freedom in 1766.  His autobiography of his live as a slave  influenced others to begin the Abolition Movement. Also known as Gustavus Vassa.


Tenochtitlan:   Capital of the Aztec Empire located where Mexico City is today.  Built in 1325 on islands in the middle of  Lake Texcoco it was the most advanced city in the Americas an engineering marvel to the Spanish who first saw it.  By 1519 its population was 400,000.

The Atlantic World:  The global interaction between Europe, Africa, and the Americas between 1500 and 1800; that included the building of colonies and European Empires, the exchange of trade goods, and the movement of people from Europe and Africa to the Americas.  This would include the spread of the transatlantic slave trade.


Columbus “discovered” America:  In 1492, Columbus crossed the Atlantic and discovered the Islands of the Caribbean which he named the (West) Indies under the mistaken belief that he had reached India.  While this trip of exploration was not the first time a European had been to America, it was the first time it changed history.  Native Americans argue that Columbus could not discover someplace where other people already lived.  Historians argue that his voyage would be the most powerful event to change history for the good and bad.



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