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List of Benchmarks for United States History

Standard 2.Understands cultural and ecological interactions among previously unconnected people resulting from early European exploration and colonization
  Level II (Grade 5-6)
   1. Knows the features of the major European explorations that took place between the 15th and 17th centuries (e.g., the routes and motives of Spanish, French, Dutch, and English explorers; the goals and achievements of major expeditions; problems encountered on the high seas; fears and superstitions of the times; what sailors expected to find when they reached their destinations)  A 
   2. Understands aspects of the Spanish exploration, conquest, and immigration to the Americas in the centuries following Columbus (e.g., Spanish interactions with the Aztec, Inca, and Pueblo; the expeditions of Cabeza de Vaca and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in the American Southwest; the conquest of Spanish America)  A 
  Level III (Grade 7-8)
   1. Understands the immediate and long-term impact of Columbus’ voyages on Native populations and on colonization in the Americas (e.g., Columbus’ interactions with indigenous peoples, the Columbian Exchange, religious influences)  A 
   2. Understands characteristics of the Spanish and Portuguese exploration and conquest of the Americas (e.g., the social composition of early settlers of America and their motives for exploration and colonization, connections between silver mined in Peru and Mexico and the rise of global trade and the price revolution in 16th century Europe, methods the Spanish used to conquer the Aztec and Incan empires, societies the Spanish explorers encountered in the Aztec and Incan settlements)
   3. Understands how motives differed among English colonizers and between the English and the Spanish, French, and Dutch colonizers
  Level IV (Grade 9-12)
   1. Understands the political and religious factors that influenced English, Spanish, French, and Dutch colonization of the Americas (e.g., the enclosure movement; the accession of Elizabeth I to the throne in England; how the Spanish "Black Legend" was used to motivate and justify English colonization of North America; to what extent the "Black Legend" was Protestant propaganda; to what extent it was a valid description of the Spanish conquest)
   2. Understands the economic characteristics of the early Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas (e.g., encomienda system and the evolution of labor systems, the origin and expansion of the African slave trade in the Americas)
   3. Understands how interpretations of Columbus' voyages and his interactions with indigenous peoples have changed (e.g., between 1892 and 1992)
   4. Understands the long-range social and ecological impact of the Columbian Exchange (e.g., how the horse, the pig, and the dandelion brought about changes in the land; how the sugar trade affected Caribbean slaves, Indian laborers, and European urban proletarians)
   5. Understands characteristics of Spanish conquest and settlement in the Americas (e.g., the social composition of early Spanish settlers in the Americas in terms of age, gender, class, and its consequences for Latin America; how Cortes and Pizarro were able to conquer the Aztec and Inca; the role of religious beliefs in perceptions the Aztec and Spanish held of one another; Spanish attempts at justification for their treatment of Native Americans)

 A  = Assessment items available