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AP US History Unit 1 Curriculum Outline

Disclaimer: This outline is sourced directly from the APUSH Course Framework released by the College Board. This is a lightweight, web-friendly format for easy reference. Omninox does not take credit for this outline and is not affiliated with the College Board. AP is a reserved trademark of the College Board.

This article is part of a completed curriculum outline of the AP US History 2020 course. Reference the rest of the unit outlines below.

Unit 9
Unit 8
Unit 7
Unit 6
Unit 5
Unit 4
Unit 3
Unit 2
Unit 1 (you are here)

TOPIC 1.1 - Contextualizing Period 1

Unit 1_Learning Objective A: Explain the context for European encounters in the Americas from 1491 to 1607.

  • KC-1.1: As native populations migrated and settled across the vast expanse of North America over time, they developed distinct and increasingly complex societies by adapting to and transforming their diverse environments.
    • KC-1.1.I: Different Native societies adapted to and transformed their environments through innovations in agriculture, resource use, and social structure.
  • KC-1.2: Contact among Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans resulted in the Columbian Exchange and significant social, cultural, and political changes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
    • KC-1.2.I: European expansion into the Western Hemisphere generated intense social, religious, political, and economic competition and changes within European societies.
    • KC-1.2.II: The Columbian Exchange and development of the Spanish Empire in the Western Hemisphere resulted in extensive demographic, economic, and social changes.
    • KC-1.2.III: In their interactions, Europeans and Native Americans asserted divergent worldviews regarding issues such as religion, gender roles, family, land use, and power.

TOPIC 1.2 - Native American Societies Before European Contact

Unit 1_Learning Objective B: Explain how and why various native populations in the period before European contact interacted with the natural environment in North America.

  • KC-1.1.I.A: The spread of maize cultivation from present-day Mexico northward into the present-day American Southwest and beyond supported economic development, settlement, advanced irrigation, and social diversification among societies.
  • KC-1.1.I.B: Societies responded to the aridity of the Great Basin and the grasslands of the western Great Plains by developing largely mobile lifestyles.
  • KC-1.1.I.C: In the Northeast, the Mississippi River Valley, and along the Atlantic seaboard, some societies developed mixed agricultural and hunter-gatherer economies that favored the development of permanent villages.
  • KC-1.1.I.D: Societies in the Northwest and present-day California supported themselves by hunting and gathering and in some areas, developed settled communities supported by the vast resources of the ocean.

TOPIC 1.3 - European Exploration in the Americas

Unit 1_Learning Objective C: Explain the causes of exploration and conquest of the New World by various European nations.

  • KC-1.2.I.A: European nations' efforts to explore and conquer the New World stemmed from a search for new sources of wealth, economic and military competition, and a desire to spread Christianity.

TOPIC 1.4 - Columbian Exchange, Spanish Exploration, And Conquest

Unit 1_Learning Objective D: Explain causes of the Columbian Exchange and its effect on Europe and the Americas during the period after 1492.

  • KC-1.2.I.B: The Columbian Exchange brought new crops to Europe from the Americas, stimulating European popluation growth, and new sources of mineral wealth, which facilitated the European shift from feudalism to capitalism.
  • KC-1.2.I.C: Improvements in maritime technology and more organized methods for conducting international trade, such as joint-stock companies, helped drive changes to economies in Europe and the Americas.
  • KC-1.2.II.A: Spanish exploration and conquest of the Americas were accompanied and furthered by widespread deadly epidemics that devastated native populations and by the introductions of crops and animals not found in the Americas.

TOPIC 1.5 - Labor, Slavery, and Caste in the Spanish Colonial System

Unit 1_Learning Objective E: Explain how the growth of the Spanish Empire in North America shaped the development of social and economic structures over time.

  • KC-1.2.II.B: In the encomienda system, Spanish colonial economies marshaled Native American labor to support plantation-based algriculture and extract precious metals and other resources.
  • KC-1.2.II.C: European traders partnered with some West African groups who practiced slave labor for the Americas. The Spanish imported enslaved Africans to labor in plantation agriculture and mining.
  • KC-1.2.II.D: The Spanish developed a caste system that incorporated and carefully defined the status of the diverse population of Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans in their empire.

TOPIC 1.6 - Cultural Interactions Between Europeand, Native Americans, and Africans

Unit 1_Learning Objective F: Explain how and why European and Native American perspectives of others developed and changed in the period.

  • KC-1.2.III: In their interactions, Europeans and Native Americans asserted divergent worldviews regarding issues such as religion, gender roles, family, land use, and power.
    • KC-1.2.III.A: Mutual misunderstandings between Europeans and Native Americans often defined the early years of interaction and trade as each group sought to make sense of the other. Over time, Europeans and Native Americans adopted some useful aspects of each other's culture.
    • KC-1.2.III.B: As European encroachments on Native Americans' lands and demands on their labor increased, native peoples sought to defend and maintain their political sovereignty, economic prosperity, religious beliefs, and concepts of gender relations through diplomatic negotiations and military resistance.
    • KC-1.2.III.C: Extended contact with Native Americans and Africans fostered a debate among European religious and political leaders about how non-Europeans should be treated, as well as evolving religious, cultural, and racial justifications for the subjugation of Africans and Native Americans.

TOPIC 1.7 - Causation in Period 1

Unit 1_Learning Objective G: Explain the effects of the development of transatlantic voyages from 1491 to 1607.

  • KC-1.1: As native populations migrated and settled across the vast expanse of North America over time, they developed distinct and increasingly complex societies by adapting to and transforming their diverse environments.
    • KC-1.1.I: Different native societies adapted to and transformed their environments through innovations in agriculture, resource use, and social structure.
  • KC-1.2: Contact among Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans resulted in the Columbian Exchange and significant social, cultural, and political changes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
    • KC-1.2.I: European expansion into the Western Hemisphere generated intense social, religious, political, and economic competition and changes within the European societies.
    • KC-1.2.II: The Columbian Exchange and development of the Spanish Empire in the Western Hemisphere resulted in extensive demographic, economic, and social changes.
    • KC-1.2.III: In their interactions, Europeans and Native Americans asserted divergent worldviews regarding issues such as religion, gender roles, family, land use, and power.