Sections: Pre-Contact America | Explorations and Encounters | Aftermath of the Encounter 

The encounters between the Americas and Europe altered the civilizations of both deeply and irrevocably. Among the many dramatic changes resulting from the encounters are the three covered in this section. “Language and Religion” documents the efforts of Spanish missionaries to convert natives and to record their languages. “Competition for Empire” reveals how other European powers, and eventually the newly created United States as well, vied for position and control in the Americas. Finally, in “Documenting New Knowledge,” the exhibition examines two disciplines, natural history and geography, in which post-encounter Europe recorded the abundant “New World” information that often challenged their earlier conceptions and worldview.