Q. 1. Discuss the advent of humans in North America and chief characteristics of their life before colonialism.
Ans. Advent of Humans. The native people of North America came over here from Asia around 30,000 years ago. They came on a land bridge across the Bering Straits. These people moved further South 10,000 years ago. About 5,000 years ago, the climate of the continent became more stable. As a result, the population of the native Americans began to increase.
Chief Characteristics of the Life of the Natives.
(i) The native people of North America lived in groups, in villages along river valleys.
(ii) These people used to eat fish and meat. They used to go on long journeys in search of meat. They only searched the wild buffalo (bison) which roamed in the grasslands.
(iii) They were not greedy. They only killed as many animals as they required for food.
(iv) They cultivated vegetables and maize. But they hardly tried extensive agriculture. As there was no surplus production, they did not develop empires and kingdoms as in Central and South America.
(v) They did not wish to have a control of land.
They were pleased with the shelter and food which they got from the land without any feeling to own it.
(vi) They made formal alliances and friendships.
They even exchanged gifts as well. Goods were obtained as gifts not as buying them.
(vii) They spoke numerous languages but these were not written down.
(viii) They believed about the fact that time moved in cycles.
(ix) They could understand the climates and different landscapes.
(x) They had accounts about their origins and their history. These things were passed from one generation to another.
(xi) These people were skilled crafts people. They also wove beautiful textiles.
Q. 2. What is meant by the ‘Gold Rush’ ? How did the ‘Gold Rush’ contribute to the building of railway lines, the growth of industries and the expansion of agriculture ?
What was the role of ‘Gold Rush’ in economic and political expansion of America ?
Ans. The Europeans always hoped that there was gold in North America. Traces of gold were found in the 1840s at California in the USA. Consequently, thousands of eager Europeans went over to America to make a quick fortune. This mad race for gold is called the ‘Gold Rush’.
The Gold Rush and Building of Railway Lines. The Gold Rush contributed to the building of railway lines across the continent of North America.
Thousands of Chinese workers were employed for the construction of the railways. By 1870 CE, the USA’s railway was completed. Canada’s railway was completed by 1885 CE.
The Gold Rush and Growth of Industries. The Gold Rush led to the growth of industries in North America. Here industries developed for two reasons.
Firstly, to manufacture railway equipment so that the distant places would be linked with rapid transport. Secondly, to produce machinery to make large-scale farming easier. Both in the USA and Canada, factories multiplied and industrial towns grew. USA’s economy was an undeveloped economy in 1860 CE but in 1890 CE it was one of leading industrial power in the world.
The Gold Rush and Expansion of Agriculture. Agriculture expanded on a large scale because of the Gold Rush. Large areas of forests were cleared and were divided into farms. The bison (wild buffalo) had almost been exterminated by 1890 CE. As a result, the life of hunting for the natives ended which they had followed for centuries. The Gold Rush also contributed to the expansion of the continent of North America. This expansion was complete in 1892 CE. With in few years USA also began to establish her own colonies and became an imperial power.
Q. 3. What steps were taken for the rights and interests of the natives in North America ?
What is their present position ?
Ans. Till the 1920s, nothing was done for the welfare of the natives of North America. They had been provided neither health nor educational facilities.
(i) The Indian Reorganisation Act of 1934. After the 1920s, the Europeans felt sympathy for the natives. They took several steps for their rights and interests. The US government passed a landmark Act in 1934 CE. This Act gave natives in reservations the right to buy land and take loans.
(ii) Efforts to motivate Natives to join Mainstream. The US government, in the 1950s and 1960s, thought of removing all special provisions given to the natives. Government hoped that the natives would join the mainstream i.e., adopt European culture. But the natives were against this.
In 1954 CE, they prepared the ‘Declaration of Indian Rights.’ In this declaration, citizenship of the USA was accepted by a number of natives but on a condition that their reservations would remain as it is and government would not interfere in their traditions.
(iii) The Constitution Act of 1982. In 1969 CE, the Canadian government refused to recognise aboriginal rights of the natives in Canada. The natives strongly opposed this decision of the government. They held a number of demonstrations and debates. Compelled by the circumstances, the government in 1982 CE passed the Constitution Act.
According to this Act, the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the natives were accepted.
Present Position. Today the scenario has completely changed. Though the native people of both the countries have reduced in a great number, yet they have been able to assert their rights to their own cultures.
Q. 4. How did Britain settle her convicts in Australia ? Throw light on the economic development of Australia under European settlement.
Ans. A number of convicts were deported from England to Australia. These convicts were the early settlers of Australia. They were allowed to live as free people in Australia when their jail term ended but on a condition that they would not return to Britain. So they displaced the natives from their lands and began cultivating that land.
Economic Development of Australia. Like America, the economic development of Australia was not varied under Europeans. There were established vast sheep farms and mining stations over a long period and with much labour. These formed the basis of prosperity of the country. Some natives got employment in farms. Conditions of work in these farms were so harsh that it was just like slavery.
Later, cheap labour was provided by Chinese immigrants. But the government soon banned Chinese immigrants because it feared dependence on non–whites. Till 1974, there was the popular fear that South Asia or South East Asian people might migrate to Australia in large numbers. Therefore, the government followed a special policy to keep ‘non– white’ people out.
Q. 5. What was ‘The Great Australian Silence’? How did it help to revive culture and traditions of the natives of Australia ?
Ans. ‘The Great Australian Silence’ was a lecture delivered by an Anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner in 1968 CE. This was the silence of historians about the aborigines (native people of Australia). It electrified people. From the 1970s, there was an eagerness to understand natives. Natives were not seen as Anthropological curiosities but were seen as communities with distinct cultures and unique ways of understanding climate and nature. Now, they were to be considered as such a community which had a great bodies of stories, textile and painting and carving skills. These bodies of theirs should be understood, recorded and respected. Later, Henry Reynolds in his book ‘Why Weren’t we Told?’ condemned the practice of writing Australian history as though it had started with the advent of Captain Cook in Australia.
Study of Native Cultures of Australia. After that, special departments were created in universities to study the culture of natives in Australia. Galleries of native art have been included in art gallaries.
Natives also started to write their own life histories.
It was a wonderful effort. From 1974 CE onwards, Australia has adopted the policy of multiculturalism.
This policy gave equal respect to all cultures including the cultures of natives.