Native Americans are the indigenous people who lived on the American continent before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century.
Native American people lived in the form of tribes and each tribe occupied vast territories all over the content.
Some of these tribes lived by hunting bison and other animals. Others farmed and practiced agriculture to sustain themselves. A huge number of these tribes existed in the 15th century.
Men in the Native American tribes were mostly tasked with outdoor activities and were trained to fight and be physically strong Read more about the Native American Men >>
Native American women played a very important role in the daily life of the Native American tribe Read more about the Native American Women >>
According to historical research, Native Americans arrived on the American continent somewhere between 40000 and 13000 years ago. They arrived in waves of migration from Eurasia. At that time, the American continent was connected to the eastern edge of Russia through land area.
The Native American tribes arrived through this land bridge and settled in different parts of America. The last wave of migration took place around 13000 years ago.
Some historians categorize only the indigenous people of North America as the Native American people. These include a large number of tribes such as Cherokee, Iroquois, Mohawk, Sioux, Apache, Cheyenne, Navajo and Lakota.
However, other historians also consider the indigenous people of Central and South America as Native Americans. In Central America, these primarily included the Mayan and Aztec people who forged their own kingdoms and empires before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.
In South America, the most notable Native American people were the Inca who created a glorious Inca Empire centered in modern-day Peru.
Native American tribes arrived in waves of migration from Eurasia. These migrations took place somewhere between 4000 years ago and 12000 years ago.
They settled in different parts of the American continent and evolved their unique cultures accordingly. In 1492, Columbus discovered America and this was soon followed by attempts at conquering or colonizing the Native Americans.
These attempts resulted in the end of the Mayan and Aztec strongholds as well as a swift end to the vast Inca Empire. In North America, tribes were slowly pushed back from their lands and defeated when they put up a fight.
Before USA came into being, British colonies and British soldiers fought a number of battles with the Native Americans, defeating them in most. Following American Revolution in 1765 and Independence in 1783, the Native Americans had to fight with the might of the newly born USA.
A large number of Native American tribes lived in North America by the time the Europeans arrived.
These are broadly categorized by researchers in different geographical areas such as Northwest Coast, California, Arctic, Subarctic, Plateau, Plains, Great Basin, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest.
Each geographical division comprised of many tribes with shared cultural and linguistic features. The culture of the tribes was greatly affected by their geography. The tribes living in the Plains area, for instance, were in an area with an abundant supply of bison.
So they primarily hunted bison and this shaped their lifestyle so that they were often on the move, didn’t construct durable houses but instead lived in tepees, and didn’t rely too much on agriculture.
Similarly, other tribes adapted to their geographical location and this shaped their cultural outlook.