Free Essay

Gke1 Task 1

In: Historical Events

Submitted By klleen
Words 1221
Pages 5
Task 1-A:
The two most significant environmental or physical geographic factors that contributed to the development or expansion of the United States is the California Gold Rush and the Irish Potato Famine. The first most significant factor was the California Gold Rush. Before gold was officially discovered in Northern California on January 24, 1848, Kelly (n.d.) states that the entire population of the California territory was around 25,000. A few years after California was admitted as the 31st state in The Union in 1850, a special census was taken and the population had grown to 223,856. Kelly (n.d.) also states that in San Francisco alone, the population was approximately 800 in 1848 to well over 50,000 at the close of 1849.
Before the rush, California was a vast wild wilderness that most Americans never dreamed of visiting. There were tales of savage people and even more savage wilderness and it was widely known that lawlessness and general uncivility reigned supreme throughout the new Western Territories. These tales enthralled the general public but deterred most from doing anything but follow the stories through newspaper articles and books. But with the discovery of a gold nugget at a sawmill owned by John Sutter, all of this changed. Newspapers reported the great discovery and when U.S. President James Polk confirmed the rumors in his annual congressional address in December of 1848, the California Gold Rush was on!
This rush came a time in history when people of the United States were daring to dream of a nation that provided for its people through hard work and risk and at a time when oceanic transportation had advanced to a state that allowed people from all over the globe to much more easily reach the remote territories. Prospectors from the United States made the arduous journey either over the land or by sea, but it is estimated that ¼ of the prospectors came from varying foreign nations. And while few actually realized their dream of becoming lavishly rich, the influx of people and the business that arose to support these ventures transformed the West. By the end of the 1850’s, wagon trails dotted the lands over the Sierra Nevada and the San Francisco Bay had become a major port for imports from the Pacific Rim.
The second most influential factor in the expansion of the United States, was the Irish Potato Famine that occurred in the latter part of the 1840’s and early 1850’s. This famine occurred in a country where the people relied almost exclusively on the potato for sustenance. In fact, many in this agriculturally based, impoverished land even used potato and other crops to barter for goods. Smith, (2011), states that while Ireland was a rich agricultural exporter, most of the crops were controlled by merchants who exported almost everything that was grown, rather than feed the struggling people. So when a fungal blight that destroyed both the growing potatoes and the plants from which they came, infected most of Ireland’s crop in 1845, the stage was set for mass deaths and immigration to other countries to find a better life.
At the start of the blight infection in 1846, Ireland was ruled with an iron fist by the country of England. The English viewed the Irish as subservient, unruly people who were being judged by god for their way of life. This meant that few were interested in helping to feed the starving people. Smith (2011) reports that at the end of the winter of 1846, newspapers were reporting up to 400,000 deaths, either directly as a result of starvation or indirectly from exposure, exhaustion or contagious diseases that resulted from lack of food.
The blight finally ended in Ireland by 1851. At that time, more the 1million Irish has died from starvation and an additional million immigrants fled Ireland for the United States. And though they faced extreme prejudice and poverty, for the next 50 years, 4 million Irish left the country and headed mostly for North America.(Smith, 2011). It is estimated in the 1840’s the Irish compromised almost half of all immigrants in the U.S. (Library of Congress n.d.) Their mark on the cities they settled in were indelible and since they were willing to take jobs most Americans were unwilling to take, they were instrumental in the building of the transcontinental railroad and other vital American infrastructural projects.
Task 1-B:
The most significant physical geographical factor that contributed to the development of the Ancient South American society of the Incas was the Andes Mountains. The Andes are the longest mountain range and one of the highest with its tallest peak, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, topping out at 22,841 feet (Zimmermann, 2013). The Inca Empire had settlements that ranged from sea level, to its center of government in Cusco at an altitude of 11,200. Despite these difficulties, the Inca people thrived, and managed to create trails, water-ways and agricultural practices that remain in use to this day. Virtually every aspect of life was affected by the Andes Mountain Range. The steep slopes, climate and altitude, forced the development of resilient breeds of crops such as potatoes, quinoa and corn. (Graber, 2011). The mountains were worshipped as gods and stone from the mountains were carved with great precision to create large cites and temples right into the sides of the mountains. For all of the reasons, The Andes Mountains are certainly one of the greatest contributors to the development of the ancient people of South American.

Task 1-B1: Probably the most obvious choice for cultural diffusion is the Spanish Conquistador’s forced diffusion on the Inca people. In 1533, Spanish invader, Francisco Pizarro, seized the ruling Inca city of Cusco. The Spanish quickly either killed or enslaved the Inca people and set about converting them to Christianity. Massive Inca cites and temples were dismantled and converted into cathedrals and other buildings. Inca works of art were destroyed, many of the native foods were forgotten and even the language of the people, Quechua, was forbidden. The Incas were forced to give up their way of life or be killed. Though this is a truly horrifying example of cultural diffusion, it is likely one of the most complete and quickly accomplished examples throughout history. ` Reference Page
Graber, C. (2011, 09). Farming Like the Retrieved 07, 2013, from

Irish-Catholic Immigration to America(n.d.). Library of Congress. Retrieved 07, 2013, from

Kelly, M. (n.d.). Going to California - 49ers and the Gold Rush. - American History. Retrieved 07, 2013, from

Smith, A. (2011). Potato: A Global History ( pp. 38-51). London, GBR: Reaktion Books.

Spanish Conquest of Peru - 1526-1546.(n.d.) Heritage History. Retrieved 07, 2013, from

Stewart L. U. (2003). The Forgotten Founders - Rethinking the History of the Old West (ed., Vol., pp. 123-144). Covelo, CA: Island Press/Shearwater Books.

Zimmermann, K. A. (2013, 03). Andes: World's Longest Mountain Range. LiveScience. Retrieved 07, 2013, from

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Gke1 Task 1

...Meghan Fletcher GKE1 February 12, 2014 Task 1 The Mesopotamian society was influenced by many factors. The most significant factors that contributed to the development of Mesopotamian society were the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. Virtually every aspect of Mesopotamian life was influenced by the presence of these two rivers. From the beginning, the Mesopotamian’s had to develop an irrigation system so they could better utilize the river’s water. From this point, water from these rivers became the building blocks their society was built upon. “The soil itself is largely a gift of the rivers, which deposit tremendous quantities of silt on their lower course and in the northern part of the Persian Gulf.” (Hollar, 2011) The soil consisted of clay and silt, the Mesopotamian’s then used the clay from the soil to make bricks to build houses out of. Crops flourished due to the rich soil, the irrigation system put into place by the Mesopotamians, making them a self-sustaining agricultural society. French fries, mashed potatoes, tater tots and hash browns: potatoes are a main staple in America and many other countries. They are found in almost every country in the world and date back to ancient Andean society. As the Incan Empire grew, it absorbed the nearby Andean Society, as well as their use of potatoes. When the Spanish conquered the Incan empire, they discovered the many uses of potatoes. The Spanish Explorers then brought them back to Spain. The Spanish then cultivated......

Words: 615 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Gke1 Task 1

...PART A The most significant physical geographical factor that contributed to the development of the ancient South American society of the Incas was the Andes Mountains. The Inca Empire had villages and cities throughout the Andes Mountains. Some of these settlements were as low as sea level and their capital, Cusco, was at an altitude of 11,200 feet. The Andes are considered some of the longest and highest mountain ranges. In fact it’s tallest peak, Mount Aconcaqua, in Argentina, tops out at 22,841 feet (Zimmermann, 2013). Despite the fact that people were traversing mountains the people flourished creating trails, aqueducts and agricultural practices that still exist today. Almost every aspect of the Incas life were affected by the Andes. Due to the changes in climate and altitude from one settlement to another, the Incas had to develop resilient breeds of crops including potatoes, quinoa and corn (Graber, 2011). Not only were the mountains home to the Incas believed them to be Gods. They created some of the most indelible cities right into the sides of the mountains in an extremely precise manor that is still studied to this day. For these reasons and many more, the Andes Mountains are certainly one of reasons the ancient people of South America grew as a civilization. PART B The process of diffusion between early human societies can easily be seen through the use and distribution of the potato throughout the globe. The potato was originally cultivated......

Words: 1293 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Gke1 Task 1

...GKE - Task 1: Geography and the Development/Diffusion of Human Societies Part A The Nile River was a significant geographic factor that contributed to the development of Egypt. This 6,695 Kilometer river; which is the largest river in the world contribution to Egypt's early human society in a way that is difficult to replicate. (The River Nile Facts, 2008). The Nile River provided drinking water for farmers and others who lived alongside the banks of the Nile. Also the Nile River floods predicted essentially how crops harvested. If there was too much water, the irrigation system could be damaged and if there was too little, there could be famine. This, however, did not deter the farmers, because they knew that this was their livelihood and their means of survival. The annual floods began from July to October. After the floods water receded, crops were ready for harvest from February. There were three seasons; the time of which the floods occurred , the receding of the water and the preparation for harvesting by preparing the soil and planting the seeds. There was also transportation of goods along the Nile River. This enabled the Egyptian civilization to attain economic growth. Therefore, it is clear what a significant factor the Nile River played and contributed to the development of Egypt. It's contribution was unprecedented. (Orlin, 2010) Part B The process of diffusion regarding Tea is a story that is truly amazing. The story of how Tea originated......

Words: 1206 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Gke1 Task 1

...The Nile River is one of the greatest contributing factors to the development of the ancient civilization of Egypt (Smith, 2014). Civilization is defined as, “the society, culture, and way of life of a particular area” (The Free Dictionary,n.d.). At over 4,000 miles long, the Nile is the longest known river in the world, and runs through eleven countries, including Egypt. Villages were located near to its life giving waters, and along its banks, and they were able to thrive because of the Nile and the agricultural abilities that the Nile provided. During the rainy season the Nile River deposited its silt-enriched waters when its banks flooded. The ancient Egyptian farmers knew they needed those waters to grow their crops, and also needed a way to store water because of Egypt’s long dry season – it is essentially a vast desert, so they constructed devices, including catch basins and dikes, so they could catch the water for various purposes, and stored it so they could irrigate their crops the rest of the year. Not only did the Nile River allow the farmers to grow and nourish their crops, but it also gave them a means to sell any overage, and also other goods, as they could travel along the river to other villages. Agriculture and the sale of goods was not the only exchange made by the early people of the Nile. Culture was also exchanged. People from different villages and communities along the Nile came together for commerce, and as a natural consequence they would share......

Words: 1841 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Gke1 Wgu Paper Task 1

...Task 1 Carrie A. Nuxoll Western Governor’s University Themes in U.S. and World History/GKE1 March 10, 2013 Have you ever wondered about any great significant physical geographic factors that contributed to the development of our great United States? I must say, to do this, you must first look at the history of past great human societies trials and tribulations. For example, take a look a look at the history of Egypt and the Nile Valley civilizations. According to our course readings, Keita (2007) feels these ancient civilizations “were defined by the rich alluvial soils that annual floods deposited along the Nile banks and in the delta and the flood plains”. These annual floods gave rise to the development of these early civilizations by cultivating ingenuity, such as a rudimentary calendar, in which these civilizations could plan their years around cultivating the rich fertile land, and in turn, produced goods for these societies to make use of. This lead to the immigration of other societies to the area in order to flourish. With these immigrants came the process of diffusion. According to a PowerPoint created by our readings, diffusion can be defined as a geographic way of describing the way things spread [ (R. Whiting, 2014) ]. As course mentor Robert Whiting, of General Education Social Science states in his PowerPoint presentation, almost anything people think, make, or do can be diffused to another society and that people often change or adapt things to......

Words: 972 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Wgu Gke1 Task 1

...One significant physical geographical factor that contributed to Egypt’s development is the Nile River. The land surrounding Egypt is rocky and approximately 4% can be cultivated. (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2010) The Nile River remains gentle bringing fertilized silts to be deposited along the banks of Egypt. Seasonal flood season is July through August and by the end of October the outer banks of the Nile is water soaked. Egyptians tapped into the Nile River resources by building irrigation. Channels, dikes and basins were created in Egypt’s rocky topography to provide needed water for crops. (Orlin, 2010). The Nile’s water allowed barley, wheat and other chosen crops to flourish in the spring. The Nile River’s abundance of water attracted the Egyptians to settle and create an early society. The Nile River is clearly the reason Egyptians were able to flourish. B. The process of diffusion of the chariot. The first chariot is synonymously dated with the origin of the wheel. 2000 BCE the chariot was created as a hunting vessel around the East Ural Mountains. (Plubin, 2013). Transmission of the chariot was driven by fighting and war. In 1800 BCE Syria used chariots as a weapon. Civilizations and cultures followed using chariots as weapons. In 1700 Hittites used the chariot as weapons in their kingdom and in 1650 BCE Egypt lost to the Hyksos army of chariots. Over the years the Middle East, China and Europe proclaimed the chariot as the main weapon of choice.......

Words: 713 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Gke1 Task 1 Nile River

...This document has been...

Words: 837 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Gke 1 Task 3

...GKE1 Task 3 A, A1, B, B1, Aubert Lisa Aubert Western Governors University GKE1 Task 3 A, A1, B, B1, Aubert Part A, A1 What is colonialism and how did it affect North America? How did the natives respond? Colonialism is the characteristics of a specific colony of people that have established a new territory yet still is under the authority of the parent country that sent them. In 1607, the king of England sent an assembly of employed men to North America with a dedicated purpose to establish new business for increased wealth, first colonized in Jamestown, Virginia. They were greeted by the Indian natives and a peaceful relationship was formed. They established a union of trust and traded goods such as corn, tobacco, metal tools to name a few. As time went on, the Indian natives were apprehensive and suspicious regarding the colonist’s agenda and soon stopped trading. As a result, the colonists began to die for lack of food. The colonists retaliated by force, initiating raids, stealing food, and then burning the native’s homes. English monarchy sent a fleet for reinforcement which led to the massacre of the Indians thus allowing them to take governmental control over the colonized land and bring the English domain to the New World. The Indian Massacre of 1622 is one example of war. This was a war in which both sides tried to annihilate each other. It had begun when the Indians realized that the settlers were mainly concerned with taking all their land away from......

Words: 1088 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Gke1 Task1

...Helpful tips for GKE1 By Andrea Hall in WGU Students: ECE/Elem/Special Ed · Edit Doc -Don't try to find the information in the COS, you can waste hours and hours there. Find outside sources that help you make your specific points. -Do the tasks in whatever order is easiest for you. -Break each essay into parts, the graders don't care too much about cohesion between part A and part B. -"Discuss imperialism" means "explain how and why" (I spent a page discussing in and got it sent back--the first time they said "not enough info" and so I added even more, then they sent it back again and finally told me they wanted "how and why"). -"Diffusion" doesn't mean spreading out, it means "influence on" so "discuss the diffusion between your society and another" doesn't mean compare how the two different societies expanded, it means explain how your society had influence on the other one. -The word "justify" means give factual evidence. Helpful websites for Task 1: Helpful websites for Task......

Words: 272 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Most Influential People of Society

...The impact involving the most influential Power in Society Brew Watts WGU GKE1 Themes in U.S. and World History GKE1: task 2 July 01, 2013 The impact involving the most influential Power in Society Nelson and a Human Movement One of the two most significant influences of Nelson Mandela on society involves him as one of 20th Century’s most dedicated human rights activists who fought for the movement of Anti-apartheid / Reformation and social change within world history. At the age of 9, after the death of his father, he began learning the role and qualities of a consensus leader under the guardianship of Jongintaba Dalindyebo of the powerful Thembu Regent. He later attended the Methodist primary and secondary institutions modeled after British schools at which he was introduced to western cultural values; he later received a B.A in correspondence at the University of South America and also a B.S in law from the University of Witwatersrand. In 1944 the African National Congress (ANC) was establish. He became their key negotiator, beginning his life’s journey of promoting the eradication of Apartheid in a nonviolent manner and establishing equal opportunities’/ privileges’ of all individuals in South Africa. He stood for the abolishment of the 1948 Afrikaner-dominated National Parties policy which allowed South Africa’s racial segregation that classified individuals according to their racial groups which banned them from living together, dictated where one could...

Words: 1402 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

From Famine to Gold

...GKE1 Task 1 Peggy Rockey Western Governors University WGU Student ID# 294112 From Famine to Gold One significant geographic factor that led to the expansion of the United States was the California Gold Rush. The lure of gold brought an estimated 80,000 prospectors to California in 1849, and though many came and went, by 1852 the population had grown to 223,856, according to a special census (Udall & Emmons, 2003 p156). The importance of this geographic factor is not so much in the search for gold, though there is much to be said for the advances of mining techniques and the destruction that resulted. Rather, the importance is in the attraction of the gold itself, which lured so many people west, hoping to get rich quick, but instead settled down and built farms and churches and communities. San Francisco quickly rose as an international trade port, which brought economic growth to the area. A few merchants got wealthy selling tools and materials to prospectors, and over time built shipyards and textile mills, saw mills and ironworks. Wagon roads were built over the Sierra Nevada's and eventually a transcontinental railroad connected the Nation (Udall & Emmons, 2003 p157). The building of the transcontinental railroad may have been one of the greatest achievements of the American people during the nineteenth century. It was built primarily by Chinese and Irish immigrants and extended from Omaha, Nebraska to Sacramento, California (Ambrose, 2000...

Words: 695 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Wgu Gke1

...GKE1 Task 3 Part A. The rise of New Imperialism in Africa began in 1881 and ran through 1914. Looking to expand their empires, European countries looked to Africa as its size and benefits became evident. The invasion of Africa began as a paper conquest, conducted in the drawing rooms of European capitals. Once they arrived in Africa, leaders and footmen took the ideas from Europe and put them into action on the ground. They conquered weak African chiefs and signed treaties with the powerful ones. Soon after arriving, treaties were thrown aside and the conquest began. Having far more resources and a technical advantage, European countries rolled through to central Africa. The strong firepower of the Europeans crushed most if not all of the African resistance. The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 was the highlight of European competition for territory in Africa. France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and King Leopold II of Belgium together had acquired thirty new African colonies. They came together to negotiate their claims to African territory. They were then formalized and divided into forty new political units, subsequently displacing 110 million Africans. These units were drawn as straight lines with no regards for the villages, ethnic groups and African kingdoms. (scramble for Africa, 2015) Part A1 The indigenous people of Africa originally trusted Europeans. They believed the treaties they signed were merely a formality and based upon......

Words: 939 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Gke1 Task 2

...GKE1 Task 2 Miranda Stewart Western Governors University   A) Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, Saxony, now Germany, in 1483 and died in 1546. (Martin Luther and the 95 Theses. 2013) During his 63 years of life he set in motion many changes that would take place in the world. His two most significant changes were his key role in the Protestant Revolution and the translation of the Bible into German, which later was translated into English, thus making it available for all to read. Luther was originally attending school at the University of Erfurt and training to become a lawyer when he was caught in a severe thunderstorm and, after nearly being struck by lightning, pledged that he would become a monk if he survived. Survive he did so he quit the study of law and entered an Augustinian monastery. While he stopped studying law he did not stop studying. His desire to study and learn led him to become a professor of the Bible and was eventually led to new understandings of the Catholic religion and the Bible. (Martin Luther and the 95 Theses. 2013) Luther penned his “95 Theses” in 1517 and nailed it to the door of the church that he was currently teaching at. While legend has made it something of a dramatic act of defiance, pinned to the door on a stormy night, it is much more likely that he was straightforwardly announcing his academic discussion that he was opening up. (Martin Luther and the 95 Theses. 2013) This posting, however he was intending it, hit too......

Words: 1575 - Pages: 7