1. What are your top three observations/reflections about this initial period of the American West, based on the readings in the course content are for Week 2?
The Anasazi, being a hardworking lot disappeared from history leaving their homeland with every piece of equipment and utensils by the 1300s, was in a bid to escape the difficulty of the living conditions. They worked hard, but they could notice that their lands were also losing fertility at a fast rate (Hamby, Clark, Neely & Hamby, 2006). The second observation is that the Anasazi were communal, and all their property was owned by the whole community in the sense that the lands and other activities were managed as a group rather than by individuals. The final observation is that the reason for the Anasazi to build their houses on the cliff side of the hills was bent on social and religious motives. For instance, to produce food in the environment that was difficult with a rapidly growing population was the main challenge and reason for shifting to the cliff-side (Szasz, 1993).
2. What questions do you have about this early period in the history of the American West from about 1491 to the beginning of the 1800s that you wish for us to pursue further for clarity and understanding?
The greatest question that is prominent in this study is the mystery of the Anasazi whereabouts after the 1300s. The group used to live and create and build beautiful houses in their communities in their extreme environments. Evidence suggests that the community were successful farmers and grew crops like corn, squash and beans (Hamby, Clark, Neely & Hamby, 2006). In the time they lived in the area, they flourished and were involved in so many arts such as pottery and their houses were of great architecture (Szasz, 1993). Nonetheless, in the year 1300, they just up and left and no reason has been identified for their departure. It’s true that their lives were faced with environmental hardships, but the truth is that no reason has mainly been set for leaving their homes untouched as if they would return.
Hamby, A. L., Clack, G., Neely, M. S., & Hamby, A. L. (2006). Outline of U.S. history. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Szasz, F. M. (1993). Great mysteries of the West. Golden, Colo: Fulcrum Pub.