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Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez
Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca [Cabeza de Vaca means "head of a cow"] (1490?-1557?) was a Spanish explorer who sailed to North America from Spain, leaving in 1527. He traveled from Florida to Texas on a raft, then walked from Texas to Mexico City. He also explored the Paraguay River in South America. De Vaca and his fellow travelers were the first Europeans to see the bison, or American buffalo.

For more information on Cabeza de Vaca, click here.

Cabot, John
John Cabot (1450-1499) was an Italian-born English explorer and navigator. In Italy, he is known as Giovanni Caboto (which is his original name).

For more information on Cabot, click here.

Caboto, Giovanni
See John Cabot (above).
Cabrillo, Juan Rodriguez
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (? -1543) was a Spanish or Portuguese explorer (his nationality is uncertain). Cabrillo was the first European explorer of the Californian coast. In 1542, he sailed from Acapulco to southern California, claiming California for King Charles I of Spain. Cabrillo named San Diego Bay and Santa Barbara. He died on San Miguel Island (in the Santa Barbara Channel) after a fight with Indians, from complications resulting from a broken leg.
Cadillac, Antoine de
Antonie Laumet de La Mothe de Cadillac ( March 5, 1658 - Oct. 15, 1730) was a French explorer, soldier, and leader. Cadillac founded the city of Detroit in 1701 and was the governor of the Louisiana Territory from 1710 to 1716 or 1717.

For more information on Cadillac, click here

California is a state in the western United States of America. Its capital is Sacramento.

California was the 31st state in the USA; it became a state on September 9, 1850.

Cannon, Annie J.
Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941) was an American astronomer who cataloged 225,300 stars in the HD (Henry Draper) catalog; every star is classified by its stellar spectrum. Cannon and Edward C. Pickering (director of the Harvard Observatory) published the original HD catalog (9 volumes) from 1918 to 1924. The catalog was later expanded by Cannon and Margaret W. Mayall in 1949.
Carlson, Chester F.
Chester Floyd Carlson (1906-1968) invented xerography (which means "dry writing" in Greek) in 1938. Xerography makes paper copies without using ink (hence its name). In this process, static electricity charges a lighted plate; a plastic powder (called toner) is applied to the areas of the page to remain white.

Chester F. Carlson was born in Seattle, Washington, USA. As a teenager, Carlson supported his invalid parents by publishing a chemical journal. After attending Cal Tech in physics, Carlson worked at an electronics firm. Carlson later experimented at home to find an efficient way of copying pages. He succeeded in 1938, and marketed his revolutionary device to about 20 companies before he could interest any. The Haloid Company (later called the Xerox Corporation) marketed it, and photocopying eventually became common and inexpensive.

Carpenter, Kenneth
Kenneth Carpenter (1949 - ) is a paleontologist who is director of the Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah, USA. (Carpenter previously worked at the Denver Museum of Natural History in Denver, Colorado, USA.) Carpenter, Bryan Small, and Tim Seeber found the most complete Stegosaurus yet found on 1992 near Canon City, Colorado, USA. Carpenter named the dinosaurs Animantarx (Carpenter, Kirkland, Burge, and Bird, 1999), Cedarosaurus (Tidwell, Carpenter and Brooks, 1999), Gargoyleosaurus (Carpenter, Miles, and Cloward, 1998), Gojirasaurus (Carpenter, 1997), Maleevosaurus (Carpenter, 1992), Mymoorapelta (Kirkland and Carpenter, 1994), Niobrarasaurus (Carpenter, Dilkes, and Weishampel, 1995), Pectinodon (Carpenter, 1982). Carpenter has written many books on dinosaurs, including "Dinosaur Systematics," "Dinosaur Eggs and Babies," "The Dinosaurs of Marsh and Cope," and "The Morrison Formation - an Interdisciplinary Study."
Carson, Kit
CarsonChristopher Houston "Kit" Carson (Dec. 24, 1809 - May 23, 1868) was an American explorer, guide, fur trapper, Indian agent, rancher, and soldier, who traveled through the southwestern and western USA.

For more information on Kit Carson, click here.

Carter, Jimmy
James (Jimmy) Earl Carter, Jr. (1924- ) was the 39th president of the United States, serving from 1977-1981. Carter was born on October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia. Carter's achievements included creating a new Department of Energy, and issuing the 1979 Camp David Agreement. 63 Americans were taken hostage in Iran during Carter's term; this crisis together with inflation (rising prices) made Carter's popularity decline. Carter ran for president again in 1980, but Ronald Reagan was elected.
Cartier, Jacques
Jacques CartierJacques Cartier (1491-1557) was a French explorer who led three expeditions to Canada, in 1534, 1535, and 1541. He was looking for a route to the Pacific through North America (a Northwest Passage) but did not find one. Cartier paved the way for French exploration of North America.

Cartier sailed inland, going 1,000 miles up the St. Lawrence River. He also tried to start a settlement in Quebec (in 1541), but it was abandoned after a terribly cold winter. Cartier named Canada; "Kanata" means village or settlement in the Huron-Iroquois language. Cartier was given directions by Huron-Iroquois Indians for the route to "kanata," a village near what is now Quebec, but Cartier later named the entire region Canada.

Carver, George Washington
George Washington Carver (1865?-1943) was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian, and former slave. Carver developed hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and soybeans; his discoveries greatly improved the agricultural output and the health of Southern farmers. Before this, the only main crop in the South was cotton. The products that Carver invented included a rubber substitute, adhesives, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments, and many other products.

For more information on Carver, click here. For a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) activity on Carver, click here.

A census is an official count of the number of people in a region. The survey is done periodically by the government. The US census has been taken every 10 years since 1790.
Cermenho, Sebastian
Sebastian Meléndez Rodríguez Cermenho (also written Cermenon) was a Spanish navigator and explorer (Cermenho was Portuguese by birth). Cermenho was directed by Cortés to explore the California coastline in 1595. With a crew of 70 men on the Manila (Philippines) Galleon San Agustin in the service of Spain, Cermenho sailed from the Philippines to California. After running aground near Point Reyes (north of San Francisco), Cermenon named the nearby bay San Francisco (it is now called Drakes Bay). They built a smaller boat from the wreckage and sailed to Acapulco, Mexico, charting the coastline all the while.
Chamberlain, Thomas C.
Thomas Chrowder Chamberlain (Sept. 25, 1843 - Nov. 15, 1928) was an American geologist and teacher who proposed the planetesimal hypothesis of the formation of the Solar System. In this theory, a star is supposed to have passed near the Sun, pulling matter away from the Sun. Later, this matter is to have condensed into larger masses, forming the planets.
Champlain, Samuel de
Samuel de Champlain (1567?-1635) was a French explorer and navigator who mapped much of northeastern North America and started a settlement in Quebec. Champlain also discovered the lake later named for him (1609) and was important in establishing and administering the French colonies in the New World.

For more information on Champlain, click here.

Chandrasekhar, S.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Born Lahore, India on Oct. 19, 1910 -Died Chicago, USA in 1995) was an Indian-American astrophysicist who studied stellar physics, evolution, and black holes. He realized that the fate of dying stars depended upon their mass, and above a certain point (1.4 times the mass of the Sun, now known as the "Chandrasekhar limit"), a star will undergo extreme collapse and not simply becomes a white dwarf. He won the Nobel prize in physics in 1983. The orbiting X-ray Observatory Chandra was named to honor S. Chandrasekhar.
Charlevoix, Pierre François-Xavierde
Pierre François-Xavier de Charlevoix (Oct. 29, 1682 - Feb. 1, 1761) was a French Jesuit priest, explorer, and writer. His writings are some of the earliest written accounts of North America.

For more information on Charlevoix, click here.

ChavezChavez, Cesar
Cesar Estrada Chavez (March 31, 1927 - April 23, 1993) was a Mexican-American labor leader who fought for the rights of migrant farm workers in the southwestern USA. Chavez founded the United Farm Workers and significantly improved the working conditions and wages of Mexican-American migrant farm workers.
Checks and Balances
Checks and balances refers to a system in which separate, powerful entities (like the three branches of the US government) check (monitor) the behavior of each other, having the effect of keeping an even balance of power. The division of the government into branches is an example of separation of power, the idea that the enormous power of a government should be split into independent groups, so that any one group cannot have too much power.

The phrase "checks and balances" was coined by Charles-Louis Montesquieu (a French political philosopher) in 1748; he also wrote about dividing the power of a government into a Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branch.

Chin, Karen
Karen Chin is a paleontologist and ichnologist (studying trace fossils - coprolites in particular). In 1998, Dr. Chin studied the first fossilized T. rex dung (coprolites) that contained bits of Triceratops frill. She has also found traces of dung beetle tunnels in another dinosaur coprolite. Chin received her Masters Degree from Montana State University (working with Jack Horner), and her Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara (in 1996).

Chisholm, Shirley
ChisholmShirley Chisholm (Nov. 30, 1924 - Jan. 1, 2005) was the first African-American woman who served in the US Congress. Shirley Anita St. Hill was born in Brooklyn, New York. After being a teacher and serving as a New York state assemblywoman, Chisolm was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives. She served in Congress for seven terms, serving from January 3, 1969 until January 3, 1983. Chisholm tried to become the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. During her long political career, she fought for the rights of women and minorities.
Civil War
The US Civil War (April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865) was a deadly conflict fought within the USA. The 11 southern US states (who called themselves the Confederate States of America) wanted to leave the United States of America over issues of slavery and states' rights (the exact cause of the Civil War is still hotly debated, but the South wanted to continue owning slaves, who labored on cotton plantations, and did not want the Federal Government to interfere with their local laws).

The Confederacy fought the Union (the 23 northern US states). The Civil War began soon after President Abraham Lincoln was elected; Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery into new US states. The war began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops attaked Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The South did well at the start of the war, but began to lose to the North around 1863 (the time of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania).

Lincoln was assassinated soon before the end of the war. During the Civil War, over half a million Americans died and almost one million were injured. On April 9, 1865, the southern General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the nothern General Ulysses S. Grant. The North won the war, and slavery in the USA was abolished.

Clark, William
Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) set out in May 1804 to explore and map the American West. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition to explore the newly-bought Louisiana Territory. Lewis and Clark were accompanied by a crew of men, and later, the Shoshone Indian guide and interpreter Sacagawea and her infant son. Lewis and Clark travelled by river and by land from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Oregon coast (Fort Clatsop), and back again. Their journey took 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days; they covered over 8,000 miles.

For more information on Lewis and Clark, click here.

Activities: Print out this map, then draw Lewis and Clark's route and label the states they passed through.
Do a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) activity on Lewis and Clark,

Cleveland, Grover
Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) was both the 22nd and the 24th President of the United States. Cleveland was born on March 18, 1837, in Caldwell, New Jersey. In 1886, during Cleveland's first term as president, France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty. In 1888, Cleveland lost his bid for re-election to Benjamin Harrison but Clevelnd won the presidency back in 1892. Cleveland served as President from 1885 to 1889, and from 1893 to 1897. He died on June 24, 1908, in Princeton, New Jersey.
Clinton, William J.
William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton (1946- ) was the 42nd President of the United States. William Jefferson Blythe IV was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. Bill was born three months after his natural father died in a car accident; his mother wed Roger Clinton when Bill was four years old. A popular president, Clinton served during a time of peace and prosperity. Clinton was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to serve as president for two terms (Clinton served from 1993-2001). In 1998 a scandal involved Clinton and a young female White House intern that resulted in Clinton being the second president to be impeached by the House of Representatives; the Senate found him not guilty, and Clinton finished his second term.
Cochran, Josephine
The first dishwasher was patented in 1850 by Joel Houghton; his machine was a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes - unfortunately, it wasn't very effective at washing dishes. The first working automatic dishwasher was invented by Mrs. Josephine Garis (W. A.) Cochran, of Shelbyville, Illinois, in 1889. Her dishwasher was a wooden tub with a wire basket in it - the dishes went in the basket, and rollers rotated the dishes. As a handle on the tub was turned, hot, soapy water was sprayed into the tub, cleaning the dishes. Cochran's machine was first shown at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois. At first, her machine was only bought by some restaurants and hotels. Cochran's small company was eventually associated with the KitchenAid company. The dishwasher didn't become widespread as a labor-saving machine until the 1960s.
Collins, Michael
Michael Collins (1930-2021) was an American astronaut and US Air Force pilot. Collins piloted NASA's 3-day Gemini 10 Mission, which was launched on July 18, 1966; this mission successfully rendezvoused and docked with a separate Agena target vehicle, and Collins walked in space twice during this mission. Collins piloted the Command Module pilot of Apollo 11 (the mission that landed Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. on the moon, it flew from July 16 to July 24, 1969); Collins circled the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon, and later rendezvoused with them.
Colorado is a state in the western United States of America. Its capital is Denver.

Colorado was the 38th state in the USA; it became a state on August 1, 1876.

Columbus, Christopher
Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian explorer who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, hoping to find a route to India (in order to trade for spices). He made a total of four trips to the Caribbean and South America during the years 1492-1504, sailing for King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain. On his first trip, Columbus led an expedition with three ships, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

For more information on Columbus, click here.

Columbus Day
Columbus Day is a US holiday that honors Chiristopher Columbus. Columbus Day is celebrated in the USA on the second Monday in October.
The US Congress, which makes the country's laws, is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are currently 100 Senators (2 from each state) and 435 members of the House of Representatives (Representatives are divided by population among the states, with each state having at least 1 representative).
Connecticut is a state in the northeastern United States of America. Its capital is Hartford.

Connecticut was the 5th state in the USA; it became a state on January 9, 1788.

Constitutional Convention
The Constitutional Convention was a meeting held in 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in what we now call Independence Hall. The 55 men at the Constitutional Convention are now called the "Founding Fathers" of the USA, and are also known as the "Framers of the Constitution." Some of the more famous of the framers are George Washington (the first President of the USA), James Madison (the fourth President of the USA), Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton.
US ConstitutionConstitution of the USA
The Constitution of the United States is a document that outlines the basis of the federal (national) government of the USA. It was written in 1787 at the "Constitutional Convention," held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in what we now call Independence Hall. The 55 men at the convention are called the "Founding Fathers" of the USA, and are also known as the "Framers of the Constitution." Some of the more famous of the framers are George Washington (the first President of the USA), James Madison (the fourth President of the USA), Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton.

The US Constitution was ratified (approved) by nine states (Delaware was the first state to ratify it), and went into effect on June 21, 1788 (it was later ratified by the remaining states). It replaced the earlier set of government rules, the Articles of Confederation, which were the law of the land from 1781 until 1788 (this document created a group of semi-independent states plus a weak national Congress, with neither an Executive nor a Judicial branch).

Cook, James
James Cook (October 27, 1728- February 14, 1779) was a British explorer and astronomer who went on many expeditions to the Pacific Ocean, Antarctic, Arctic, and around the world.

Cook's first journey was from 1768 to 1771, when he sailed to Tahiti in order to observe Venus as it passed between the Earth and the Sun (in order to try to determine the distance between the Earth and the Sun). During this expedition, he also mapped New Zealand and eastern Australia.

Cook's second expedition (1772-1775) took him to Antarctica and to Easter Island.

Cook's last expedition (1776-1779) was a search for a Northwest Passage across North America to Asia. Cook was killed by a mob on Feb. 14, 1779, on the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). At the time, he was trying to take the local chief hostage to get the natives to return a sailboat they had stolen.

Cook was the first ship's captain to stop the disease scurvy (now known to be caused by a lack of vitamin C) among sailors by providing them with fresh fruits. Before this, scurvy had killed or incapacitated many sailors on long trips.

For more information on James Cook, click here.

Coolidge, Calvin
Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) was the 30th president of the United States. Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872 in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. A popular president, Coolidge first served as Vice President under Warren Harding but took over the presidency in 1923 after Harding died in office. In 1924 Coolidge was re-elected for a second term. Known as 'Silent Cal,' Coolidge said very little. Coolidge reduced government spending and cut taxes during his administration (which lasted from 1923 until 1929). Coolidge died on January 5, 1933 in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Cope, Edward Drinker
Edward Drinker Cope (1840-1897) was a US paleontologist who named over one thousand species of fossil animals (some of these were duplicates), including Dimetrodon. He named the following dinosaurs: Agathaumas (1872), Amphicoelias (1877), Camarasaurus (1877), Coelophysis (1889), Cionodon (1874), Diclonius (1876), Dysganus (1876), Dystrophaeus (1877), Hypsibema (1869), Monoclonius (1876), Paronychodon (1876), Pteropelyx (1889), Tichosteus (1877), and others. He also named the dinosaur families: Camarasauridae (1877), Compsognathidae (1875), Hadrosauridae (1869), Iguanodontidae (1869), and Scelidosauridae (1869). The dinosaur Drinker was named by R. Bakker, P. Galton, Siegwarth & Filla in 1990 as a tribute to Cope.
Coronado, Francisco Vasquez de
Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (1510-1554) was a Spanish ruler, explorer and conquistador. He was the first European to explore North America's Southwest.

For more information on Coronado, click here.

Davy CrockettCrockett, Davy
David (Davy) Crockett (August 17, 1786 - March 6, 1836) was an American frontiersman, bear hunter, soldier, legislator, and folk hero. Crockett was born near Limestone, Tennessee and had little formal schooling. He joined the US army in 1813 and he served under Andrew Jackson, fighting the Creek Indians in the southeastern US. Colonel Crockett went on to serve in the Tennessee legislature from 1821 to 1822 and from in 1823 to 1824, and represented Tennessee in the U.S. Congress from 1827 to 1831 and from 1833 to 1835. In 1834, Crockett wrote his autobiography, "A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, of the State of Tennessee." After his political career ended in 1836, Crockett went to Texas, which had recently declared its independence from Mexico. Crockett and 139 others died on March 6, 1836, after defending the Alamo for 10 days against an army of Mexican soldiers.
Crum, George
The potato chip was invented in 1853 by George Crum. Crum was a Native American/African American chef at the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA. French fries were popular at the restaurant and one day a diner complained that the fries were too thick. Although Crum made a thinner batch, the customer was still unsatisfied. Crum finally made fries that were too thin to eat with a fork, hoping to annoy the extremely fussy customer. The customer, surprisingly enough, was happy - and potato chips were invented!

For more information on George Crum and potato chips, click here.

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