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Chapter 10: Displacing Indigenous People
The American empires of Spain and Portugal (see Theme 8) did not expand after the seventeenth century.
From that time other countries France, Holland and England – began to extend their trading activities and to establish colonies in America, Africa and Asia; Ireland also was virtually a colony of England, as the landowners there were mostly English settlers.
From the eighteenth century, it became obvious that while it was the prospect of profit which drove people to establish colonies, there were significant variations in the nature of the control established.
In South Asia, trading companies like the East India Company made themselves into political powers, defeated local rulers and annexed their territories. They retained the older well-developed administrative system and collected taxes from landowners.
Later they built railways to make trade easier, excavated mines and established big plantations. In Africa, Europeans traded on the coast, except in South Africa, and only in the late nineteenth century did they venture into the interior.
After this, some of the European countries reached an agreement to divide up Africa as colonies for themselves. The word ‘settler’ is used for the Dutch in South Africa, the British in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia, and the Europeans in America.
The official language in these colonies was English (except in Canada, where French is also an official language).
The continent of North America extends from the Arctic Circle to the Tropic of Cancer, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
West of the chain of the Rocky Mountains is the desert of Arizona and Nevada, still further west the Sierra Nevada mountains, to the east the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, the valleys of the Mississippi and the Ohio and the Appalachian Mountains.
To the south is Mexico. Forty per cent of Canada is covered with forests. Oil, gas and mineral resources are found in many areas, which explains the many big industries in the USA and Canada.
Today, wheat, corn and fruit are grown extensively and fishing is a major industry in Canada. Mining, industry and extensive agriculture have been developed only in the last 200 years by immigrants from Europe, Africa and China.
But there were people who had been living in North America for thousands of years before the Europeans learnt of its existence.
The earliest inhabitants of North America came from Asia over 30,000 years ago on a land-bridge across the Bering Straits, and during the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago they moved further south.
The oldest artefact found in America – an arrow-point – is 11,000 years old. The population started to increase about 5,000 years ago when the climate became more stable.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 History Chapter 10 Displacing Indigenous People
Comment on any points of difference between the native peoples of South and North America.
Owing to topographical differences, South Americans were hunter-gatherers, agriculturists and herders.
They were simple people contended with their means. In North America, native people used to live in band in villages along the river valleys. They ate fish and meat and cultivated vegetables and maize. The natives of South America maintained empire, while the natives of North America did not maintain it.
Other than the use of English, what other features of English economic and social life do you notice in 19th century USA?
In the 19th century, the landscapes of America changed immensely. The Europeans treated the land in a different way. Some of the migrants from Britain and France were eager to have their own land in America.
In the prairie grasslands, people from Poland were happy to work. They wanted to buy huge properties at low cost. They cleared land and developed agriculture.
They introduced crops which could not grow in Europe and therefore, could be sold for the profit. To protect their farms they hunted wild animals. With the invention of barbed wire in 1873 they felt totally secured.
What did the ‘frontier’ mean to the Americans?
The conquest and purchase of land by the Americans resulted in the extension of boundaries. The natives of America were compelled to move accordingly. The boundary where natives reached was known as ‘Frontier’.
Why was the history of the Australian native peoples left out of the history books?
European settlers and native peoples interacted on the issue of land after the emergence of North America. They were displaced by the Europeans.
Early settlers were convicts deported from England. Hence, they were unknown to the area. They had not even their own tradition and history.
Nothing has been written in American and Australian history textbooks about the native peoples. That is why the Australian native peoples were left out of history. It could be made possible from the decade of 1960’s that native peoples started keeping their records.
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