Period 1: 1491-1607

Key Concepts

This unit, though foundational, is very thin and a small component of the exam.

Key Concept 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.

Key Concept 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.

Must-Know Review Terms List

List of Factual Content for the APUSH Test (Revised 2017)

  • American Indian groups: Southwest, Great Basin, Great Plains, Northeast, Mississippi River Valley, Atlantic seaboard, Northwest, California
  • Spanish
  • Encomienda system
  • African slavery
  • Columbian Exchange
  • Joint Stock Companies

Required Factual Content Quizlet for Unit 1

Of Interest

Study Resources

  1. '1491' Explores the Americas Before Columbus (NPR interview with historian Charles Mann)
  2. Columbian Exchange Article (

Gilder Lehrman Institute: Period 1