Here are some one liners...
America's Pristine Past: Fact or Fiction? -- Some historians suggest that the American continent was pure wilderness that was corrupted by human intervention. This assumes that Indians were not imposing their own structure on the environment but the evidence is thin either way.
The Bread and Cheese Revolt -- taxes, a turn in the economy and a military garrison are enough to cause the people of Flanders to rise up and kill the tax collectors. I also talk about the famous quote about "bread and circuses".
America's Pristine Past: Fact or Fiction?Let's take a deep breath and review the state of the world before everything changes.
The Old World: The Portuguese have found a route to India rounding the continent of Africa. Christopher Columbus is convinced that crossing the Atlantic is a short-cut to China. The Spanish Inquisition is uncovering heretics under every rock. Scientists think that disease comes from an imbalance of the bodily fluids or from bad air. (Malaria, means "bad air".) Lay people think disease is caused by magic or the wrath of God. China is pulling back from the world. The American and Australian continents are not even on the map yet.
The New World: Very little reliable data is available. Younger modern historians believe that the American continent is pure at this time without significant human corruption. Philosophically, the Indians take the role of Rousseau's "Natural Human" or "Noble Savage." This means a few scattered Indians living in harmony and balance with their environment. Older modern historians look at the same data and see a complex society that varies in population and that acts on their environment by building large berms and swales, farming and hunting to a significant degree. The Aztecs, Mayans and Incas have build up significant civilizations. This radical disagreement illustrates how sparse data can be manipulated to "prove" whatever one wishes. Use caution when "experts" tell you that they KNOW how the Americas were before Europeans showed up.