Year 8

Impact of European settlement

I can describe some of the consequences of colonialisation on Native Americans.

Year 8

Impact of European settlement

I can describe some of the consequences of colonialisation on Native Americans.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Europeans settled in the New World by taking land from the native peoples
  2. Europeans believed they had a moral duty to convert Native Americans to Christianity and thus can take land
  3. European conquests of land were often violent and pushed Native Americans out of their home lands
  4. Europeans accidentally introduced new diseases into the land, killing around 80% of Native Americans
  5. Indigenous beliefs and practices continued despite European attempts to remove them

Common misconception

Pupils assume that European settlement completely destroyed indigenous communities

Native Americans were devastated overall by European colonisation but indigenous communities persisted and were never completely overwhelmed


  • Convert - to convert someone is to change their beliefs

  • Conquest - conquest involves taking an area of land by force. La Conquista is the name for the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

  • Indigenous - indigenous people are the original inhabitants of a specific area

  • Immunity - if you have immunity to a disease you will not catch it

  • Dispossess - to dispossess someone is to take their land away

For the task on slide 17, pupils normally assume conflict or deliberate murder killed most Native Americans. You may reveal that the population fall of 80% = 40 million Native American deaths. Ask pupils if war at the time was likely to kill so many?
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains depictions of discriminatory behaviour.
  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.
  • Contains conflict or violence.


Adult supervision suggested.


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6 Questions

Who did Spain sponsor to sail across the Atlantic?
Marco Polo
Correct answer: Christopher Columbus
Vasco da Gama
Ferdinand Magellan
Write the missing word: The Americas were also referred to as Europeans as the __________ World.
Correct Answer: New, new
Match the definitions with their correct defintions.
Correct Answer:settlement,creating new communities in an area

creating new communities in an area

Correct Answer:empire,group of countries ruled by one ruler or one single group

group of countries ruled by one ruler or one single group

Correct Answer:conquest,taking land by force

taking land by force

Which empire's growth motivated Europeans to search for direct sea routes to Asia?
Correct answer: Ottoman
Why can the Taino nation be described as indigenous to Hispaniola?
speak Spanish
biggest group on the island
Correct answer: original inhabitants of the island
richest inhabitants of the island
Identify an example that shows Spanish settlement in Hispaniola was interested in gaining wealth.
The Spanish built churches for the indigenous population.
Correct answer: The Spanish forced Tainos to work in mines.
The Spanish monarchs claimed to control the island.

6 Questions

What caused the most deaths of Native Americans as a result of Europeans arriving in the Americas?
conflict and war with Europeans
mistreatment by Europeans
Correct answer: diseases from Europeans
Write the missing word: Millions of Native Americans died from European diseases because they lacked __________.
Correct Answer: immunity, Immunity
Why did Europeans argue that it was justified to dispossess Native Americans?
Correct answer: Native Americans were not Christians
Native Americans had sold their land
Native Americans had stolen the land
How did Spain become wealthy from Potosi?
traded with Native Americans there
created factories and workshops there
Correct answer: forced Native Americans to mine for silver there
Sort the events into chronological order.
1 - Columbus arrives in the Americas.
2 - Smallpox first reaches the Americas.
3 - Smallpox spreads through Tenochtitlan and the rest of the Aztec Empire.
4 - Spanish explorers and soldiers conquer the Aztec Empire.
5 - Spain becomes the most powerful country in the Americas.
Identify the two examples of indigenous resistance to complete Spanish control.
Some indigenous nations allied with the Spanish against the Aztecs.
Correct answer: The Maya mixed Christianity with their own pre-existing religious beliefs.
Correct answer: The Aztecs and other nations fought against Spanish attempts at conquest.
Over one million Native Americans died working in the silver mines at Potosí.

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