Native Peoples of the Americas

Ref: C2224315

The Americas remained largely separate from the rest of the world from some 20000 years ago to 1492. In that time, they developed ways of life like the Old World's but guided by distinct ideas and values. Against the odds, many of the peoples survived the biological, sociological, economic, political and religious effects of European conquest and conversion. The whole story is intriguing in itself and it offers valuable lessons for understanding both the history of the rest of the world and our prospects for the future. We shall survey this history in chapters. After considering the evidence for the first long era of inhabitants who lived by foraging in small bands, we shall review the development of villages and the political institutions and farming techniques that supported them. By 3500 years ago, chieftains were governing large populations in six regions from Peru to Virginia, including the ancestors of the Aztecs, Maya and Incas.

Course aim

To provide a general introduction to the history of the indigenous peoples of the Americas from earliest prehistory to today and to consider the main issues arising.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss the general pattern of indigenous American history over twenty millennia
  • Describe the principal theoretical issues
  • Analyse the principal macroregional traditions
  • Assemble and handle evidence for developing arguments with greater confidence

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet

Native Peoples of the Americas


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing