Native American Tribes|Native American Culture|Native American Art | Native American Civilizations
History of Native Americans
Who discovered America? People generally think it was Columbus who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and first reached on the soil of America in 1492. However, when we have a look at the History of Native Americans we find, it is not the fact.
When we go deep into the history of Native Americans, Indian People first reached America, and they are known as native Americans. Indians came about 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. They entered America from Bering Strait, between Alaska and Siberia. Here we will discuss the brief history of Native Americans.
Types of Native Americans
- Native Americans in Eastern and Northern America
- Natives in Southwest America
- Natives in the West of the Mississippi (California Indians, Northwest Coast, Southwest, The Plains Indians)
- East of the Mississippi (Northeast and Southeast)
Native American in North America
The natives of North America made great Developments in the work of Arts. they designed jewellery, poetry and developed some skills of the textile as well. However, they did not build great cities. Agriculture was the main source of living. They were known as mound builders because they lived in mounds that were 30 feet high and 200 feet wide. They built mounds of different shapes such as snakes, turtles and any other animal. Today the estimated number of mounds in the USA is over 100,000.
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Native American in Southwest America
The natives of southwest America are known as Anasazi. the region had a hot and dry climate. Therefore the life of the people of southwest America was tough. Farming and agriculture were the main sources of living for them. To irrigate the crops, they developed complex irrigation systems.
To save themselves from the harsh climate they used to live in pit houses. ¨Later on developed apartment-like buildings on the mouth of caves, to protect them from attacks. Around 1200 A.D, when the farming became difficult for them in the southwest region they left their towns and moved further to the South.
Native American in California
Their lifestyle was simple. They used to live in small families in villages and towns with little or no tribal organization. They did not adopt farming, agriculture or hunting as their source of living. Instead, they were the Food gatherers without agriculture. They used to collect seeds, fruits, vegetables, and shellfish.
They are also known as “Mission Indians” because when the Spanish people arrived in California, they founded Missions for the native Americans. Some of the natives moved into those missions and the priests tried to convert them. They had some success but the majority of Indians preferred their free life.
Native American in Northwest Coast
The natives of the northwest coast had a very rich and complex culture. They lived from Northern California to Alaska. They had an abundance of salmon and fish and the rich forest provided them berries to pick and wild animals to hunt.
Therefore, the life of these natives was comparatively easy. These tribes were warlike and they often went on long raids to capture the territory of their neighbors. They had a “Matrilineal” society in which the property and wealth were controlled by the female member of the family. Though Some tribes had patrilineal society. but they were less in numbers. The people of the society were ranked on the basis of wealth and on their ability to exchange the gifts.
Plain Indian Native American
The Plains Indians lived in the areas from Rocky mountains to Mississippi river and from central Texas to southern Canada. they were known as “Buffalo Hunters”. The natives of this region were divided into two Subgroups. Eastern Plains Indians were the Mandans and Pawnees. They lived in settled villages. The women did farming while the males hunted the buffaloes.
Western Plains Indians were divided into groups such as Dakotas, the Crows, and the Cheyennes. They did not farm but the buffalo hunting provided them for all their food needs.
The plains Indians Spoke different languages and they developed a certain language of gestures. They established clubs for military, ceremonial and religious purposes, but the clubs had the participation of males only and females did not visit these clubs. |History of Native Americans |
Native American in Northeast
They had a very Unified political system. The politically powerful group, Iroquois League was founded. The purpose of the league was to enforce peace among them. The position of chief of the league was inherited. They lived in the area that is presently known as New York state. They were good farmers. The society was Matrilineal. 50 houses were there in the villages of the northeast. They believed in Spirits.
Native American in Southeast
They lived in villages surrounded by a high protective fence. They had confederation for defense. The area was divided into Red towns and White towns. The women were involved in farming and agriculture. The men used to do hunting. They were descendants of the Mound builders.
Civilizations of Native American
Discussing History of Native Americans, we must discuss Civilizations of Native Americans
The Maya Civilization saw its glory 3,000 years ago. They settled in the areas of present-day Mexico and Central America. There were 200 cities with 10 million population. The people of Maya civilization were skilled farmers. Priests were important in society. They developed Calendar and skills in Mathematics. By 900, people started moving towards other cities and by mid-1500 the Spanish people took over the Mayan civilization.
The empire was built between 1300 to 1520. According to the Aztecs, they were instructed by God to settle in that area. They were advance in Farming. They gather wealth by conquest and trade. There was a class system; Nobles, Commoners, and the lowest class. They believed in God of Sun. The empire saw the decline in 1520 during the time period of Montezuma when he was defeated by Herman Cortes.
It was in South America. It covered the areas of present-day Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and parts of Argentina and Chile. the people of the civilization Conquered their subjects through peaceful means. The ruler had great power over the Subjects. They grew different crops. By 1500, Inca’s leader died and with his death, there was a fight for the throne and soon they were invaded by European.