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History of the U.S.
Prehistory
Pre-Columbian Era

Colonial America (1492-1763)

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North America

Trivia powered by Prof. WalterEarly Paleo-Indians soon spreads throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct tribes. Paleo-Indian adaptation across North America is likely characterized by small, highly mobile bands consisting of approximately 20 to 50 members of an extended family. These groups move from place to place as preferred resources are depleted and new supplies are sought. Paleo-Indian groups are efficient hunters and carried a variety of tools. These include highly efficient projectile points/knives, as well as less distinctive implements used for butchering and hide processing. During much of the Paleo-Indian period, bands are thought to have subsisted primarily through hunting now-extinct megafauna such as mastodon and bison antiquus.

The North American climate finally stabilizes by 8000 BCE; climatic conditions are very similar to today's. This leads to widespread migration, cultivation and subsequently a dramatic rise in population all over the Americas. Over the course of thousands of years, American indigenous peoples domesticated, bred and cultivated a large array of plant species. These species now constitute 5060% of all crops in cultivation worldwide.

After the migration or migrations, it is several thousand years before the first complex civilizations arises, at the earliest emerging 5000 BCE. Paleo-Indian inhabitants of the Americas are hunter-gatherers. Many Arctic, Subarctic, and coastal peoples hunt and gather, while agriculture is adopted in appropriate regions. Within this timeframe, roughly pertaining to the Archaic Period, numerous archaeological cultures have been identified.

Due to the vastness and variety of the climates, ecology, vegetation, fauna, and landforms, ancient peoples migrated and coalesced separately into numerous separate peoples of distinct linguistic and cultural groups. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living there since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories.

  • North America

    • Middle Archaic period

    • Late Archaic period

    • Woodland period

    • Mississippian culture

    • Historic tribes

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