After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection by James West Davidson, Mark Lytle

By James West Davidson, Mark Lytle

For greater than twenty-five years, After the Fact has guided scholars via American historical past and the equipment used to check it. In dramatic episodes that movement chronologically via American background, this best-selling e-book examines a vast number of themes together with oral proof, pictures, ecological info, movies and tv courses, church and city files, census facts, and novels. no matter if for an introductory survey or for a historic equipment direction, After in actual fact the fitting textual content to introduce readers, step-by-step, to the detective paintings and analytical methods historians use after they are literally doing background.

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De Soto also brought a number of large dogs, which the Indians learned to fear. Conquistadors had used dogs in the Caribbean. De Soto's first master there, the governor of Castilla del Oro, sponsored manhunts in which pris­ oners were set loose and, for sport, hunted down by dogs. In La Florida the dogs would attack their Indian foes in pitched battles or chase after wounded warriors and bring them down. ) Dogs proved useful on the march as well: their keen hearing and sense of smell helped defend the Spanish against surprise attacks.

Several thousand Indians must have died in pitched battles at Mabila and elsewhere along the way. Indians enslaved by the expedition perished from malnutrition and harsh conditions, while other inhabitants starved after the Spanish ate up their food stores. But those tragedies are a drop in the bucket when placed against a population decline of 80 percent over the next hun­ dred years. What happened? " He brought the object to De Soto. " But when the "emerald" was brought into the daylight, it proved to be made only of glass.

As we can see from the accounts of De Soto's expedition, hundreds of diverse cultures spread across many areas of the continent. But there are no written records, let alone anything as for­ mal as a census. How can historians even begin to calculate a precontact population? One method has been to collect, adjust, and average available estimates from early European explorers and settlers. By proceeding region by region, researchers can assemble numbers that provide an approximate total of Indian inhabitants when Europeans arrived.

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