Indigenous peoples of the Americas

Indigenous peoples of the Americas

Overview
The indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

are the pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

, and in the United States as Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

. They are commonly referred to as Indians, Red Indians, American Indians, or Amerindians, but are also known by their specific tribal and cultural ancestry and citizenship.

According to the New World migration model
Models of migration to the New World
There have been several models for the human settlement of the Americas proposed by various academic communities. The question of how, when and why humans first entered the Americas is of intense interest to archaeologists and anthropologists, and has been a subject of heated debate for centuries...

, a migration of humans from Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 which connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

.
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Encyclopedia
The indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

are the pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

s who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples
Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have fallen into disuse in Canada and are commonly considered pejorative....

, and in the United States as Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

. They are commonly referred to as Indians, Red Indians, American Indians, or Amerindians, but are also known by their specific tribal and cultural ancestry and citizenship.

According to the New World migration model
Models of migration to the New World
There have been several models for the human settlement of the Americas proposed by various academic communities. The question of how, when and why humans first entered the Americas is of intense interest to archaeologists and anthropologists, and has been a subject of heated debate for centuries...

, a migration of humans from Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 to the Americas took place via Beringia, a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 which connected the two continents across what is now the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

. The most recent point at which this migration
Historical migration
It is thought that pre-historical migration of human populations began with the movement of Homo erectus out of Africa across Eurasia about a million years ago. Homo sapiens appears to have colonized all of Africa about 150 millennia ago, moved out of Africa some 80 millennia ago, and spread...

 could have taken place is ca. 12,000 years ago, with the earliest period remaining a matter of some unresolved contention. These early Paleo-Indians soon spread throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct nations and tribes. According to the oral histories
Oral history
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews...

 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 accounts.

Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

, who thought that he had arrived in the East Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

, while seeking Asia. Later the name was still used as the Americas at the time were often called West Indies. This has served to imagine a kind of racial or cultural unity for the aboriginal peoples of the Americas. Once created, the unified "Indian" was codified in law, religion, and politics. The unitary idea of "Indians" was not originally shared by indigenous peoples, but many over the last two centuries have embraced the identity.

While some indigenous peoples of the Americas were historically hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s, many practiced aquaculture
Aquaculture
Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the...

 and agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. The impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Some societies depended heavily on agriculture while others practiced a mix of farming, hunting, and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

s, states
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

, and empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

s.

Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous Americans; some countries have sizable populations, especially Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, and Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

. At least a thousand different indigenous languages
Indigenous languages of the Americas
Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families as well as many language...

 are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as Quechua languages
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

, Aymara
Aymara language
Aymara is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes. It is one of only a handful of Native American languages with over three million speakers. Aymara, along with Quechua and Spanish, is an official language of Peru and Bolivia...

, Guaraní
Guaraní language
Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní , is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay , where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and half of...

, Mayan languages
Mayan languages
The Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras...

, and Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

, count their speakers in millions. Many also maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 society, and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples
Uncontacted peoples
Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalized civilisation....

.

Migration into the continents


The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. The traditional Western theory has been that these early migrants moved into the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 and present-day Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 around 40,000—16,500 years ago, when sea levels were significantly lowered due to the Quaternary glaciation
Quaternary glaciation
Quaternary glaciation, also known as the Pleistocene glaciation, the current ice age or simply the ice age, refers to the period of the last few million years in which permanent ice sheets were established in Antarctica and perhaps Greenland, and fluctuating ice sheets have occurred elsewhere...

. These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct Pleistocene megafauna
Pleistocene megafauna
Pleistocene megafauna is the set of species of large animals — mammals, birds and reptiles — that lived on Earth during the Pleistocene epoch and became extinct in a Quaternary extinction event. These species appear to have died off as humans expanded out of Africa and southern Asia,...

 along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide
Laurentide ice sheet
The Laurentide Ice Sheet was a massive sheet of ice that covered hundreds of thousands of square miles, including most of Canada and a large portion of the northern United States, multiple times during Quaternary glacial epochs. It last covered most of northern North America between c. 95,000 and...

 and Cordilleran
Cordilleran Ice Sheet
The Cordilleran ice sheet was a major ice sheet that covered, during glacial periods of the Quaternary, a large area of North America. This included the following areas:*Western Montana*The Idaho Panhandle...

 ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

 coast to South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age.

The time range of 40,000—16,500 years ago is a hot source of debate and will be for years to come. The few agreements achieved to date are the origin from Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, with widespread habitation of the Americas during the end of the last glacial period, or more specifically what is known as the late glacial maximum, around 16,000 — 13,000 years before present.

Stone tools, particularly projectile points and scraper
Scraper (archaeology)
In archaeology, scrapers are unifacial tools that were used either for hideworking or woodworking purposes. Whereas this term is often used for any unifacially flaked stone tool that defies classification, most lithic analysts maintain that the only true scrapers are defined on the base of...

s, are the primary evidence of the earliest human activity in the Americas. Crafted lithic flake
Lithic flake
In archaeology, a lithic flake is a "portion of rock removed from an objective piece by percussion or pressure," and may also be referred to as a chip or spall, or collectively as debitage. The objective piece, or the rock being reduced by the removal of flakes, is known as a core. Once the proper...

d tools are used by archaeologists and anthropologists to classify cultural periods. Scientific evidence links indigenous Americans to Asian peoples, specifically eastern Siberian populations
Indigenous peoples of Siberia
Including the Russian Far East, the population of Siberia numbers just above 40 million people.As a result of the 17th to 19th century Russian conquest of Siberia and the subsequent population movements during the Soviet era, the demographics of Siberia today is dominated by native speakers of...

. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to North Asian populations by linguistic factors
Indigenous languages of the Americas
Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families as well as many language...

, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition
Genetic code
The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material is translated into proteins by living cells....

 as reflected by molecular
Molecule
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of at least two atoms held together by covalent chemical bonds. Molecules are distinguished from ions by their electrical charge...

 data, such as DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

.

Pre-Columbian era



The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions
Archaeology of the Americas
The archaeology of the Americas is the study of the archaeology of North America , Central America, South America and the Caribbean...

 in the history and prehistory of the Americas
History of the Americas
The history of the Americas is the collective history of the American landmass, which includes North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. It begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an Ice Age...

 before the appearance of significant European and African influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 to European colonization
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 during the Early Modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

.

While technically referring to the era before Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492 to 1504, in practice the term usually includes the history of American indigenous cultures until they were either conquered or significantly influenced by Europeans, even if this happened decades or even centuries after Columbus' initial landing. Pre-Columbian is used especially often in the context of the great indigenous civilizations of the Americas, such as those of Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 (the Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

, the Toltec
Toltec
The Toltec culture is an archaeological Mesoamerican culture that dominated a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology...

, the Teotihuacano, the Zapotec
Zapotec civilization
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows their culture goes back at least 2500 years...

, the Mixtec, the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

, and the Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

) and the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 (Inca, Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

, Chibcha, Cañaris
Cañaris
The Cañari are an indigenous ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the territory of the modern provinces of Azuay and Cañar in Ecuador; the term also refers to an independent pre-Hispanic tribal confederation of the same name, from which the modern people are descended. They are particularly noted...

).


Many pre-Columbian civilizations established characteristics and hallmarks which included permanent or urban settlements, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, and complex societal hierarchies
Complex society
In anthropology and archaeology, a complex society is a social formation that is otherwise described as a formative or developed state. The main criteria of complexity are:...

. Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European and African arrivals (ca. late 15th–early 16th centuries), and are known only through oral history
Oral history
Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interviews...

 and archaeological investigations. Others were contemporary with this period, and are also known from historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya, Olmec, Mixtec, and Nahua peoples, had their own written records. However, the European colonists of the time viewed such texts as heretical, and much was destroyed in Christian pyres. Only a few hidden documents remain today, leaving contemporary historians with glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge.

According to both indigenous American and European accounts and documents, American civilizations at the time of European encounter possessed many impressive accomplishments. For instance, the Aztecs built one of the most impressive cities in the world, Tenochtitlan, the ancient site of Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, with an estimated population of 200,000. American civilizations also displayed impressive accomplishments in astronomy and mathematics. Inuit, Alaskan Native, and American Indian creation myths tell of a variety of originations of their respective peoples. Some were "always there" or were created by gods or animals, some migrated from a specified compass point
Compass Point
Compass Point may refer to:* Compass point, a direction on a traditional compass* Compass Point * Compass Point Shopping Centre, a shopping mall in Singapore* Compass Point Studios, a studio in Nassau, Bahamas...

, and others came from "across the ocean".

So far, the only verifiable site of "pre-Columbian" European settlement anywhere in the Western Hemisphere is L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the only known site of a Norse or Viking village in Canada, and in North America outside of Greenland...

, located near the very northern tip of the Canadian island of Newfoundland. It was settled by the Norse
Norse
Norse may refer to:In history:* Norsemen, the Scandinavian people before the Christianization of Scandinavia** Norse mythology** Norse paganism** Norse art** Norse activity in the British IslesIn language:...

 around the end of the 10th century.

European colonization



The European colonization of the Americas
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 forever changed the lives, bloodlines and cultures of the peoples of the continent. The population history of American indigenous peoples
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

 postulates that infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

 exposure, displacement, and warfare diminished populations, with the first the most significant cause. The first indigenous group encountered by Columbus were the 250,000 Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

s of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 who were the dominant culture in the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

 and the Bahamas. In thirty years, about 70% of the Taínos died. They had no immunity to European diseases, so outbreaks of measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 and smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 ravaged their population. The increased ignorance towards the practice of punishing the Taínos for revolting themselves from forced labour, despite the measures brought by the encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

 which included religious education and protection from warring tribes, eventually helped conceived the last great Taíno rebellion.

Mistreated, the Taínos began to adopt suicidal behaviors, with women aborting or killing their infants, men jumping from the cliffs or ingesting manioc, a violent poison. Eventually, a Taíno Cacique named Enriquillo
Enriquillo
Enriquillo was a Taíno Cacique who rebelled against the Spaniards from 1519 to 1533. His father was killed while attending peace talks with the Spanish, along with eighty other regional chieftains under the direction of his aunt Anacaona in Jaragua. During the talks, Spanish soldiers set the...

 managed to hold out in the mountain range of Bahoruco for thirteen years conducting serious damage to the Spanish, Carib-held plantations and their Indian auxiliaries
Indian auxiliaries
Auxiliary Indians or indios auxiliares is the term used in old Spanish chronicles and historical texts for the indigenous peoples who were integrated into the armies of the Spanish conquerors with the purpose of supporting their advance and combat operations during the Conquest of America...

. After hearing of the seriousness of the revolt,
Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 sent captain Francisco Barrionuevo to negotiate a peace treaty with the ever increasing number of rebels. Two months later, with the consulting of the Audencia of Santo Domingo, Enriquillo was offered any part of the island to live in peace.

The Laws of Burgos, 1512-1513 were the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 settlers in America, particularly with regards to native Indians. They forbade the maltreatment of natives, and endorsed their conversion to Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

. The Spanish crown found it difficult to enforce these laws in a distant colony.

Reasons for the decline of the Native American populations are variously theorized to be from epidemic diseases, conflicts with Europeans, and conflicts among warring tribes
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

. Scholars now believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline
Population decline
Population decline can refer to the decline in population of any organism, but this article refers to population decline in humans. It is a term usually used to describe any great reduction in a human population...

 of the American natives. After first contacts with Europeans and Africans, some believe that the death of 90 to 95% of the native population of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 was caused by Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 diseases. Half the native population of Hispaniola in 1518 was killed by smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

. Within a few years smallpox killed between 60% and 90% of the Inca population, with other waves of European disease weakening them further. Smallpox was only the first epidemic. Typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 (probably) in 1546, influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

 and smallpox together in 1558, smallpox again in 1589, diphtheria
Diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

 in 1614, measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

 in 1618—all ravaged the remains of Inca culture. Smallpox had killed millions of native inhabitants of Mexico. Unintentionally introduced at Veracruz with the arrival of Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez
Pánfilo de Narváez was a Spanish conqueror and soldier in the Americas. He is most remembered as the leader of two expeditions, one to Mexico in 1520 to oppose Hernán Cortés, and the disastrous Narváez expedition to Florida in 1527....

 on April 23, 1520, smallpox ravaged Mexico in the 1520s, possibly killing over 150,000 in Tenochtitlan alone (the heartland of the Aztec Empire), and aided in the victory of Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 over the Aztec empire at Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City) in 1521.

Over the centuries, the Europeans had developed high degrees of immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...

 to these diseases, while the indigenous Americans had no such immunity. Europeans had been ravaged in their own turn by such diseases as bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 and Asian flu that moved west from Asia to Europe. In addition, when they went to some territories, such as Africa and Asia, they were more vulnerable to malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

.

The repeated outbreaks of influenza, measles and smallpox probably resulted in a decline of between one-half and two-thirds of the Aboriginal population of eastern North America during the first 100 years of European contact. In 1617–1619, smallpox reportedly killed 90% of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

 Native American residents. In 1633, in Plymouth
Plymouth Colony
Plymouth Colony was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691. The first settlement of the Plymouth Colony was at New Plymouth, a location previously surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement, which served as the capital of the colony, is today the modern town...

, the Native Americans there were exposed to smallpox because of contact with Europeans. As it had done elsewhere, the virus wiped out entire population groups of Native Americans. It reached Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 in 1636, and the lands of the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 by 1679. During the 1770s, smallpox killed at least 30% of the West Coast
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 Native Americans. Smallpox epidemics in 1780–1782
North American smallpox epidemic
The 1775–1782 North American smallpox epidemic was a smallpox epidemic that spread across most of the continent of North America. The epidemic coincided with the years of the American Revolutionary War , which was gripping much of the continent from the colonies, western frontiers, and southern...

 and 1837–1838 brought devastation and drastic population depletion among the Plains Indians
Plains Indians
The Plains Indians are the Indigenous peoples who live on the plains and rolling hills of the Great Plains of North America. Their colorful equestrian culture and resistance to White domination have made the Plains Indians an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.Plains...

. In 1832, the federal government of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 established a smallpox vaccination
Smallpox vaccine
The smallpox vaccine was the first successful vaccine to be developed. The process of vaccination was discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796, who acted upon his observation that milkmaids who caught the cowpox virus did not catch smallpox...

 program for Native Americans (The Indian Vaccination Act of 1832).

In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the indigenous population
Indigenous peoples in Brazil
The Indigenous peoples in Brazil comprise a large number of distinct ethnic groups who inhabited the country prior to the European invasion around 1500...

 has declined from a pre-Columbian high of an estimated three million to some 300,000 in 1997.

Later explorations of the Caribbean led to the discovery of the Arawak peoples of the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

. The culture was destroyed by 1650. Only 500 had survived by the year 1550, though the bloodlines continued through the modern populace. In Amazonia, indigenous societies weathered centuries of colonization.

The Spaniards
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 and other Europeans brought horses to the Americas
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

. Some of these animals escaped and began to breed and increase their numbers in the wild. The re-introduction of the horse had a profound impact on Native American culture
Horse culture
The term "Horse culture" is used to define a tribal group or community whose day to day life revolves around the herding and breeding of horses...

 in the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 of North America and of Patagonia
Patagonia
Patagonia is a region located in Argentina and Chile, integrating the southernmost section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean and from the east of the cordillera to the valleys it follows south through Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean...

 in South America. By domesticating horses, some tribes had great success: they expanded their territories, exchanged many goods with neighboring tribes, and more easily captured game
Game (food)
Game is any animal hunted for food or not normally domesticated. Game animals are also hunted for sport.The type and range of animals hunted for food varies in different parts of the world. This will be influenced by climate, animal diversity, local taste and locally accepted view about what can or...

, especially bison.

Agriculture




Over the course of thousands of years, American indigenous peoples domesticated, bred and cultivated a large array of plant species. These species now constitute 50–60% of all crops in cultivation worldwide. In certain cases, the indigenous peoples developed entirely new species and strains through artificial selection
Artificial selection
Artificial selection describes intentional breeding for certain traits, or combination of traits. The term was utilized by Charles Darwin in contrast to natural selection, in which the differential reproduction of organisms with certain traits is attributed to improved survival or reproductive...

, as was the case in the domestication and breeding of maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 from wild teosinte
Teosinte
Zea is a genus of grasses in the family Poaceae. Several species are commonly known as teosintes and are found in Mexico, Guatemala, and Nicaragua....

 grasses in the valleys of southern Mexico. Numerous such agricultural products retain native names in the English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 lexicons.

The South American highlands were a center of early agriculture. Genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

s and wild species suggest that the potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

 has a single origin in the area of southern Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex. Over 99% of all modern cultivated potatoes worldwide are descendants of a subspecies indigenous to south-central Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum, where it was cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago. According to George Raudzens, "It is clear that in pre-Columbian times some groups struggled to survive and often suffered food shortages and famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

s, while others enjoyed a varied and substantial diet." The persistent drought around 850 AD coincided with the collapse of Classic Maya
Classic Maya collapse
The Classic Maya Collapse refers to the decline and abandonment of the Classic Period Maya cities of the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica between the 8th and 9th centuries. This should not be confused with the collapse of the Preclassic Maya in the 2nd century AD...

 civilization, and the famine of One Rabbit (AD. 1454) was a major catastrophe in Mexico.

Natives of North American began practicing farming approximately 4,000 years ago, late in the Archaic period of North American cultures. Technology had advanced to the point that pottery was becoming common, and the small-scale felling of trees became feasible. Concurrently, the Archaic Indians began using fire
Native American use of fire
In addition to simple cooking, Pre-Columbian Native Americans used fire in many and significant ways, ranging from protecting an area from fire to landscape-altering clearing of prairie.-Human-shaped landscape:...

 in a widespread manner. Intentional burning of vegetation was used to mimic the effects of natural fires that tended to clear forest understories. It made travel easier and facilitated the growth of herbs and berry-producing plants, which were important for both food and medicines.

In the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 valley, Europeans noted Native Americans' managed groves of nut and fruit tree
Fruit tree
A fruit tree is a tree which bears fruit that is consumed or used by people — all trees that are flowering plants produce fruit, which are the ripened ovaries of flowers containing one or more seeds. In horticultural usage, the term 'fruit tree' is limited to those that provide fruit for...

s as orchards, not far from villages and towns, in addition to their gardens and agricultural fields. Wildlife competition could be reduced by understory burning. Further away, prescribed burning
Controlled burn
Controlled or prescribed burning, also known as hazard reduction burning or Swailing is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for...

 would have been used in forest and prairie areas.

Many crops first domesticated by indigenous Americans are now produced and/or used globally. Chief among these is maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 or "corn", arguably the most important crop in the world. Other significant crops include cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

, chia
Salvia hispanica
Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. The 16th century Codex Mendoza provides evidence that it was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times; it has been said that it was an...

, squash (pumpkins, zucchini, marrow, acorn squash
Acorn squash
Acorn squash , also called pepper squash or Des Moines squash, is a winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh...

, butternut squash
Butternut squash
Butternut squash , also known in Australia and New Zealand as butternut pumpkin, is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It grows on...

), the pinto bean, Phaseolus
Phaseolus
Phaseolus is a genus in the family Fabaceae of about fifty plant species, all native to the Americas.At least four of the species have been domesticated since pre-Columbian times for their beans. Most prominent among these is the common bean, P...

 beans including most common bean
Common bean
Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, is an herbaceous annual plant domesticated independently in ancient Mesoamerica and the Andes, and now grown worldwide for its edible bean, popular both dry and as a green bean. The leaf is occasionally used as a leaf vegetable, and the straw is used for fodder...

s, tepary bean
Tepary bean
Phaseolus acutifolius, the Tepary bean, is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico and has been grown there by the native peoples since pre-Columbian times. It is more drought-resistant than the common bean and is grown in desert and semi-desert conditions from Arizona through Mexico...

s and lima bean
Lima bean
Phaseolus lunatus is a legume. It is grown for its seed, which is eaten as a vegetable. It is commonly known as the lima bean or butter bean.-Origin and uses:...

s, tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

, potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

es, avocado
Avocado
The avocado is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel...

s, peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s, cocoa beans (used to make chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

), vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Flat-leaved Vanilla . The word vanilla derives from the Spanish word "", little pod...

, strawberries, pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

s, Peppers
Capsicum
Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, but they are now also cultivated worldwide, used as spices, vegetables, and medicines - and have become are a key element in...

 (species and varieties of Capsicum
Capsicum
Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, but they are now also cultivated worldwide, used as spices, vegetables, and medicines - and have become are a key element in...

, including bell pepper
Bell pepper
Bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper or a pepper and capsicum , is a cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum . Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange and green. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent pepper varieties as...

s, jalapeño
Jalapeño
The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper that has a warm, burning sensation when eaten. A mature jalapeño fruit is 2–3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red...

s, paprika
Paprika
Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum . In many European languages, the word paprika refers to bell peppers themselves. The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add color and flavor to dishes. Paprika can range from mild to hot...

 and chili pepper
Chili pepper
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

s) sunflower seeds
Sunflower
Sunflower is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence . The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads...

, rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, brazilwood
Brazilwood
Caesalpinia echinata is a species of Brazilian timber tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include Brazilwood, Pau-Brasil, Pau de Pernambuco and Ibirapitanga . This plant has a dense, orange-red heartwood that takes a high shine, and it is the premier wood used for making bows for...

, chicle
Chicle
Manilkara chicle is a tropical evergreen tree native to Mexico and Central America. The tree ranges from Veracruz in Mexico south to Atlántico in Colombia...

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, coca
Coca
Coca, Erythroxylum coca, is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant plays a significant role in many traditional Andean cultures...

, manioc and some species of cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

.

Studies of contemporary indigenous environmental management, including agro-forestry practices among Itza
Itza
The Itza are a Guatemalan ethnic group of Maya affiliation speaking the Itza' language. They inhabit the Petén department of Guatemala in and around the city of Flores on the Lake Petén Itzá.- Numbers of ethnic group members and Itza speakers :...

 Maya
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

 in Guatemala and hunting and fishing among the Menominee
Menominee
Some placenames use other spellings, see also Menomonee and Menomonie.The Menominee are a nation of Native Americans living in Wisconsin. The Menominee, along with the Ho-Chunk, are the only tribes that are indigenous to what is now Wisconsin...

 of Wisconsin, suggest that longstanding "sacred values" may represent a summary of sustainable millennial traditions.

Culture



Cultural practices in the Americas seem to have been mostly shared within geographical zones where otherwise unrelated peoples might adopt similar technologies and social organizations. An example of such a cultural area
Cultural area
A cultural area or culture area is a region with one relatively homogeneous human activity or complex of activities . These areas are primarily geographical, not historical , and they are not considered equivalent to Kulturkreis .-Development:A culture area is a concept in cultural anthropology...

 could be Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

, where millennia of coexistence and shared development between the peoples of the region produced a fairly homogeneous culture with complex agricultural and social patterns. Another well-known example could be the North American plains area, where until the 19th century, several different peoples shared traits of nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic hunter-gatherers primarily based on buffalo hunting.

Writing systems




An independent origin and development of writing
Writing
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...

 is counted among the many achievements and innovations of pre-Columbian American cultures. The Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

n region produced a number of indigenous writing systems
Mesoamerican writing systems
Mesoamerica, like India, Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt, is one of the few places in the world where writing has developed independently. Mesoamerican scripts deciphered to date are logosyllabic, combining the use of logograms with a syllabary, and they are often called hieroglyphic scripts...

 from the 1st millennium BCE onwards. What may be the earliest-known example in the Americas of an extensive text thought to be writing is by the Cascajal Block. The Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

 hieroglyphs tablet has been indirectly dated from ceramic shards found in the same context to approximately 900 BCE, around the time that Olmec occupation of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán
San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán is the collective name for three related archaeological sites -- San Lorenzo, Tenochtitlán, and Potrero Nuevo -- located in the southeast portion of the Mexican state of Veracruz. From 1200 BCE to 900 BCE, it was the major center of Olmec culture...

 began to wane.

The Maya writing system
Writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...

 (often called hieroglyphs
Maya script
The Maya script, also known as Maya glyphs or Maya hieroglyphs, is the writing system of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization of Mesoamerica, presently the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially deciphered...

 from a superficial resemblance to the Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian writing) was a combination of phonetic symbols and logogram
Logogram
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...

s. It is most often classified as a logographic
Logogram
A logogram, or logograph, is a grapheme which represents a word or a morpheme . This stands in contrast to phonograms, which represent phonemes or combinations of phonemes, and determinatives, which mark semantic categories.Logograms are often commonly known also as "ideograms"...

or (more properly) a logosyllabic writing system, in which syllabic
Syllabary
A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent syllables, which make up words. In a syllabary, there is no systematic similarity between the symbols which represent syllables with the same consonant or vowel...

 signs play a significant role. It is the only pre-Columbian writing system known to completely represent the spoken language
Spoken language
Spoken language is a form of human communication in which words derived from a large vocabulary together with a diverse variety of names are uttered through or with the mouth. All words are made up from a limited set of vowels and consonants. The spoken words they make are stringed into...

 of its community. In total, the script has more than one thousand different glyph
Glyph
A glyph is an element of writing: an individual mark on a written medium that contributes to the meaning of what is written. A glyph is made up of one or more graphemes....

s, although a few are variations of the same sign or meaning, and many appear only rarely or are confined to particular localities. At any one time, no more than around five hundred glyphs were in use, some two hundred of which (including variations) had a phonetic or syllabic interpretation.

Aztec codices
Aztec codices
Aztec codices are books written by pre-Columbian and colonial-era Aztecs. These codices provide some of the best primary sources for Aztec culture....

 (singular codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

) are book
Book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...

s written by pre-Columbian and colonial-era Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s. These codices provide some of the best primary source
Primary source
Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied....

s for Aztec culture
Aztec society
Pre-Columbian Aztec society was a highly complex and stratified society that developed among the Aztecs of central Mexico in the centuries prior to the Spanish conquest of Mexico, and which was built on the cultural foundations of the larger region of Mesoamerica...

. The pre-Columbian codices differ from European codices in that they are largely pictorial; they were not meant to symbolize spoken or written narratives. The colonial era codices not only contain Aztec pictograms
Aztec writing
Aztec or Nahuatl writing is a pictographic and ideographic pre-Columbian writing system used in central Mexico by the Nahua peoples. The majority of the Aztec codices were burned either by Aztec tlatoani , or by Spanish clergy following the conquest of Mesoamerica...

, but also Classical Nahuatl
Classical Nahuatl
Classical Nahuatl is a term used to describe the variants of the Nahuatl language that were spoken in the Valley of Mexico — and central Mexico as a lingua franca — at the time of the 16th-century Spanish conquest of Mexico...

 (in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

), Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, and occasionally Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

.

The Wiigwaasabak, birch bark
Birch bark
Birch bark or birchbark is the bark of several Eurasian and North American birch trees of the genus Betula.The strong and water-resistant cardboard-like bark can be easily cut, bent, and sewn, which made it a valuable building, crafting, and writing material, since pre-historic times...

 scrolls on which the Ojibwa
Ojibwa
The Ojibwe or Chippewa are among the largest groups of Native Americans–First Nations north of Mexico. They are divided between Canada and the United States. In Canada, they are the third-largest population among First Nations, surpassed only by Cree and Inuit...

 (Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe
Anishinaabe or Anishinabe—or more properly Anishinaabeg or Anishinabek, which is the plural form of the word—is the autonym often used by the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Algonquin peoples. They all speak closely related Anishinaabemowin/Anishinaabe languages, of the Algonquian language family.The meaning...

) people wrote complex geometrical patterns and shapes, can also be considered a form of writing, as can Mi'kmaq hieroglyphics
Mi'kmaq hieroglyphic writing
Míkmaq hieroglyphic writing was a writing system and memory aid used by the Míkmaq, a Native American people of the east coast of what is now Canada....

.

Aboriginal syllabic writing, or simply syllabics, is a family of abugida
Abugida
An abugida , also called an alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary...

s used to write a number of Aboriginal Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 languages of the Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

, Inuit, and (formerly) Athabaskan
Athabaskan languages
Athabaskan or Athabascan is a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family...

 language families.

Music and art




Native American music
Native American music
American Indian music is the music that is used, created or performed by Native North Americans, specifically traditional tribal music. In addition to the traditional music of the Native American groups, there now exist pan-tribal and inter-tribal genres as well as distinct Indian subgenres of...

 in North America is almost entirely monophonic
Texture (music)
In music, texture is the way the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition , thus determining the overall quality of sound of a piece...

, but there are notable exceptions. Traditional Native American music often centers around drum
Drum
The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments, which is technically classified as the membranophones. Drums consist of at least one membrane, called a drumhead or drum skin, that is stretched over a shell and struck, either directly with the player's hands, or with a...

ming. Rattle
Rattle (percussion)
A rattle is a percussion instrument. It consists of a hollow body filled with small uniform solid objects, like sand or nuts. Rhythmical shaking of this instrument produces repetitive, rather dry timbre noises. In some kinds of music, a rattle assumes the role of the metronome, as an alternative to...

s, clappersticks, and rasps were also popular percussive instruments. Flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

s were made of rivercane, cedar, and other woods. The tuning of these flutes is not precise and depends on the length of the wood used and the hand span of the intended player, but the finger holes are most often around a whole step apart and, at least in Northern California
Northern California
Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The San Francisco Bay Area , and Sacramento as well as its metropolitan area are the main population centers...

, a flute was not used if it turned out to have an interval close to a half step. The Apache fiddle
Apache fiddle
The Apache fiddle is a bowed string instrument used by the indigenous Apache people of the southwestern United States.The Apache fiddle consists of a plant stalk, such as that of the agave or mescal plant...

 is a single stringed instrument.

Music from indigenous peoples of Central Mexico and Central America often was pentatonic. Before the arrival of the Spaniards and other Europeans it was inseparable from religious festivities and included a large variety of percussion and wind instrument
Wind instrument
A wind instrument is a musical instrument that contains some type of resonator , in which a column of air is set into vibration by the player blowing into a mouthpiece set at the end of the resonator. The pitch of the vibration is determined by the length of the tube and by manual modifications of...

s such as drums, flutes, sea snail shells (used as a kind of trumpet) and "rain" tubes. No remnants of pre-Columbian stringed instruments were found until archaeologists discovered a jar in Guatemala, attributed to the Maya of the Late Classic Era (600–900 CE), which depicts a stringed musical instrument which has since been reproduced. This instrument is astonishing in at least two respects. First, it is one of the very few string instrument
String instrument
A string instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. In the Hornbostel-Sachs scheme of musical instrument classification, used in organology, they are called chordophones...

s known in the Americas prior to the introduction of European musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

s. Second, when played, it produces a sound virtually identical to a jaguar's growl.

Visual arts by indigenous peoples of the Americas composes a major category in the world art collection
Collection (museum)
A museum is distinguished by a collection of often unique objects that forms the core of its activities for exhibitions, education, research, etc. This differentiates it from an archive or library, where the contents may be more paper-based, replaceable and less exhibition oriented...

. Contributions include pottery
Native American pottery
Native American pottery is an art form with at least a 7500-year history in the Americas. Pottery is fired ceramics with clay as a component. Ceramics are used for utilitarian cooking vessels, serving and storage vessels, pipes, funerary urns, censers, musical instruments, ceremonial items, masks,...

, painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

s, jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

, weaving
Weaving
Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

s, sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

s, basketry, carvings and beadwork
Beadwork
Beadwork is the art or craft of attaching beads to one another or to cloth, usually by the use of a needle and thread or soft, flexible wire. Most beadwork takes the form of jewelry or other personal adornment, but beads are also used in wall hangings and sculpture.Beadwork techniques are broadly...

. Due to the many artists posing as Native Americans, the United States passed the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, requiring artists prove that they are enrolled in a state or federally recognized tribe.

Demography of contemporary populations



The following table provides estimates of the per-country populations of Amerindian people, and also those with partial Amerindian ancestry, expressed as a percentage of the overall country population of each country that is comprised by Amerindians, and of people of partial Amerindian descent. The total percentage obtained by adding both of these categories is also given.

Note: these categories are inconsistently defined and measured differently from country to country. Some are based on the results of population wide genetic surveys, while others are based on self identification or observational estimation.
Indigenous populations of the Americas
as estimated percentage of total country's population
Country Amerindian Ref. Part Amerindian Ref. Combined total Ref.
North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

1.8% 3.6% 5.4%
Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

9.8% 60% 69.8%
United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

0.9% 0.6% 1.5%
Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

16.7% 33.8% 50.5%
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

1% 15% 16%
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

1% 90% 91%
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

40.8% % %
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

7% 90% 97%
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

5% 69% 74%
Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

6% 84% 90%
Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...

% % %
Barbados
Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

% % %
The Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

% % %
Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

% % %
Dominica
Dominica
Dominica , officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of . The Commonwealth...

2.9% % %
Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

% % %
Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

~0% ~0% ~0%
Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

~0% ~0% ~0%
Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

% % %
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

0.4% 84% 84%
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis , located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal two-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population....

% % %
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...

% % %
Saint Vincent and
the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles chain, namely in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean....

2% % %
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles...

0.8% 88% 80%
South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

1.0% 2% 3%
Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

55% 30% 85%
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

0.4% % %
Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

4.6% % %
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

1% 58% 59%
Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

25% 65% 90%
French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

% % %
Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

9.1% % %
Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

1.7% 95% 96.7%
Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

45% 37% 82%
Suriname
Suriname
Suriname , officially the Republic of Suriname , is a country in northern South America. It borders French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south, and on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Suriname was a former colony of the British and of the Dutch, and was previously known as...

2% % %
Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

0% 8% 8%
Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

% % %

Argentina


Argentina's indigenous population in 2005 was about 600,329 (1.6% of total population); this figure includes 457,363 people who self-identified as belonging to an indigenous ethnic group, and the remaining 142,966 who recognized themselves as first-generation descendants of an Amerindian people. The ten most populous indigenous peoples are the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 (113,680 people), the Kolla (70,505), the Toba (69,452), the Guaraní (68,454), the Wichi (40,036), the Diaguita
Diaguita
The Diaguita, also called Diaguita-Calchaquí, are a group of South American indigenous peoples. The Diaguita culture developed between the 8th and 16th centuries in what are now the provinces of Salta, Catamarca, La Rioja and Tucumán in northwestern Argentina, and in the Atacama and Coquimbo...

-Calchaquí
Calchaquí
The Calchaquí were a tribe of South American Indians of the Diaguita group, now extinct, who formerly occupied northern Argentina. Stone and other remains prove them to have reached a high degree of civilization...

 (31,753), the Mocoví (15,837), the Huarpe (14,633), the Comechingón
Comechingón
Comechingón is the common name for a group of people indigenous to the Argentine provinces of Córdoba and San Luis...

 (10,863) and the Tehuelche (10,590). Minor but important peoples are the Quechua (6,739), the Charrúa
Charrua
The Charrúa were an indigenous people of southern South America in the area today known as Uruguay and southern Brazil. They were a nomadic people that sustained themselves through fishing and foraging...

 (4,511), the Pilagá
Pilagá
Pilagá is a language spoken by 6,000 people in the Bermejo and Pilcomayo River valleys, western Formosa Province.-Sociocultural context:The geographical distribution into communites is permeated bypan-Chacoan social organization of people into bands...

 (4,465), the Chané (4,376), and the Chorote (2,613). The Selknam (Ona) people are now virtually extinct in its pure form. The languages of the Diaguita, Tehuelche, and Selknam nations are now extinct or virtually extinct: the Cacán language (spoken by Diaguitas) in the 18th century, the Selknam language in the 20th century; whereas one Tehuelche language (Southern Tehuelche) is still spoken by a small handful of elderly people
Old age
Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle...

.

Belize


Mestizos (European with indigenous peoples) number about 34 percent of the population; unmixed Maya
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

 make up another 10.6 percent (Ketchi
Q'eqchi' people
Q'eqchi are one of the Maya peoples in Guatemala and Belize, whose indigenous language is also called Q'eqchi'....

, Mopan
Mopan people
Mopan are one of the Maya peoples in Belize and Guatemala. Their indigenous language is also called Mopan and is one of the Yucatec Maya languages....

, and Yucatec). The Garifuna, who came to Belize in the 19th century, originating from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles chain, namely in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean....

, with a mixed
Zambo
Zambo or Cafuzo are racial terms used in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires and occasionally today to identify individuals in the Americas who are of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry...

 African, Carib, and Arawak ancestry make up another 6% of the population.

Bolivia


In Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, a 62% majority of residents over the age of 15 self-identify as belonging to an indigenous people, while another 3.7% grew up with an indigenous mother tongue yet do not self-identify as indigenous. Including both of these categories, and children under 15, some 66.4% of Bolivia's population was registered as indigenous in the 2001 Census. The largest indigenous ethnic groups are: Quechua
Quechuas
Quechuas is the collective term for several indigenous ethnic groups in South America who speak a Quechua language , belonging to several ethnic groups in South America, especially in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.The Quechuas of Ecuador call themselves as well as their...

, about 2.5 million people; Aymara, 2.0 million; Chiquitano
Chiquitano people
The Chiquitano are a native ethnic group living primarily in the Chiquitanía tropical savanna of Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia, with a small number also living in Beni Department and in Brazil. In the 2001 census, self-identified Chiquitanos made up 3.6% of the total Bolivian population or 181,894...

, 181 thousand; Guaraní, 126 thousand; and Mojeño, 69 thousand. Some 124 thousand pertain to smaller indigenous groups. The Constitution of Bolivia
Constitution of Bolivia
The current Constitution of Bolivia is the 17th constitution in the country's history; previous constitutions were enacted in 1826, 1831, 1834, 1839, 1843, 1851, 1861, 1868, 1871, 1878, 1880, 1938, 1945, 1947, 1961 and 1967. It came into effect on February 7, 2009, when it was promulgated by...

, enacted in 2009, recognizes 36 cultures, each with their own language, as part of a plurinational state. Others, including CONAMAQ (the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qollasuyu) draw ethnic boundaries within the Quechua- and Aymara-speaking population, resulting in a total of fifty indigenous peoples native to Bolivia.

Large numbers of Bolivian highland peasants retained indigenous language, culture, customs, and communal organization throughout the Spanish conquest and the post-independence period. They mobilized to resist various attempts at the dissolution of communal landholdings, and used legal recognition of "empowered caciques" to further communal organization. Indigenous revolts took place frequently until 1953. While the National Revolutionary Movement government begun in 1952 discouraged self-identification as indigenous (reclassifying rural people as campesinos, or peasants), renewed ethnic and class militancy re-emerged in the Katarista
Katarismo
Katarism is a political tendency in Bolivia, named after the 18th-century indigenous leader Túpaj Katari. The katarista movement began to articulate itself publicly in the early 1970s, recovering a political identity of the Aymara people...

 movement beginning in the 1970s. Lowland indigenous peoples, mostly in the east, entered national politics through the 1990 March for Territory and Dignity organized by the CIDOB
CIDOB Confederation
The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia, , is a national representative organization of the Bolivian indigenous movement. It was founded in October 1982 in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, with the participation of representatives of four indigenous peoples of the Bolivian East:...

 confederation. That march successfully pressured the national government to sign ILO Convention 169 and to begin a still-ongoing process of recognizing and titling indigenous territories. The 1994 Law of Popular Participation granted "grassroots territorial organizations" recognized by the state certain rights to govern local areas.

Radio and some television in Quechua and Aymara is produced. The constitutional reform in 1997 for the first time recognized Bolivia as a multilingual, pluri-ethnic society and introduced education reform
Education reform
Education reform is the process of improving public education. Small improvements in education theoretically have large social returns, in health, wealth and well-being. Historically, reforms have taken different forms because the motivations of reformers have differed.A continuing motivation has...

. In 2005, for the first time in the country's history, an indigenous descendant Aymara, Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

, was elected as President.

Morales began work on his “indigenous autonomy” policy which he launched in the eastern lowlands department
Departments of Bolivia
Bolivia is divided into nine departments . Each of the departments is subdivided into provinces , which are further subdivided into municipalities ....

 on 3 August 2009, making Bolivia the first country in the history of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 to declare the right of indigenous people to govern themselves. Speaking in Santa Cruz Department
Santa Cruz Department
Santa Cruz, with an area of 370,621 km², is the largest of the nine constituent departments of Bolivia. In the 2001 census, it reported a population of 2,029,471. The capital is the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The state is one of the wealthiest states in Bolivia with huge reserves of...

, the President called it "a historic day for the peasant and indigenous movement", saying that he might make errors but he would "never betray the fight started by our ancestors and the fight of the Bolivian people". A vote on further autonomy will take place in referendums which are expected to be held in December 2009. The issue has divided the country.

Brazil




The Amerindians make up 0.4% of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

's population, or about 700,000 people. Indigenous peoples are found in the entire territory of Brazil, although the majority of them live in Indian reservations
Indigenous Territory
In Brazil, Indigenous Territories or Indigenous Lands are areas inhabited and exclusively possessed by indigenous people. The Brazilian Constitution recognises the inalienable right of indigenous peoples to lands they "traditionally occupy"Further defined as those lands "on which they live on a...

 in the North and Centre-Western part of the country. On 18 January 2007, FUNAI
Fundação Nacional do Índio
Fundação Nacional do Índio or FUNAI is a Brazilian governmental protection agency for Indian interests and their culture.It was originally called the SPI and was founded by the Brazilian Marshal Cândido Rondon in 1910, who also created the agency's motto, "Die if necessary, but never kill." The...

 reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes
Uncontacted peoples
Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalized civilisation....

 in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. With this addition Brazil has now overtaken the island of New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 as the country having the largest number of uncontacted tribes.

Canada




Aboriginal peoples in Canada comprise the First Nations, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Métis
Métis people (Canada)
The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations parentage. The term was historically a catch-all describing the offspring of any such union, but within generations the culture syncretised into what is today a distinct aboriginal group, with...

; the descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

" are falling into disuse. Hundreds of Aboriginal nations evolved trade, spiritual and social hierarchies. The Métis culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and native Inuit married European settlers. The Inuit had more limited interaction with Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an settlers during that early period. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Aboriginal Right to Self-Government provides opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 and economic control aspects within first people's communities.

Although not without conflict, European/Canadian early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful, compared to the experience of native peoples in the United States. Combined with relatively late economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

 in many regions, this peaceful history has allowed Canadian Indigenous peoples to have a relatively strong influence on the national culture while preserving their own identity. National Aboriginal Day
National Aboriginal Day
National Aboriginal Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. The day was first celebrated in 1996, after it was proclaimed that year by then Governor General of Canada Roméo LeBlanc, to be celebrated on June 21...

 recognises the cultures and contributions of Aboriginal peoples of Canada. There are currently over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands encompassing 1,172,790 2006 people spread across Canada with distinctive Aboriginal cultures, languages, art, and music.

Chile



According to the 2002 Census, 4.6% of the Chilean population, including the Rapanui
Rapanui
The Rapa Nui or Rapanui are the native Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, in the Pacific Ocean. The easternmost Polynesian culture, the Rapa Nui people make up 60% of Easter Island's population, with some living also in mainland Chile...

 of Easter Island
Easter Island
Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian triangle. A special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people...

, was indigenous, although most show varying degrees of miscegenation. Many are descendants of the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

, and live in Santiago
Santiago, Chile
Santiago , also known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation . It is located in the country's central valley, at an elevation of above mean sea level...

, Araucanía
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

 and the lake district. The Mapuche successfully fought off defeat in the first 300–350 years of Spanish rule during the Arauco War
Arauco War
The Arauco War was a conflict between colonial Spaniards and the Mapuche people in what is now the Araucanía and Biobío regions of modern Chile...

. Relations with the new Chilean Republic were good until the Chilean state decided to occupy their lands. During the Occupation of Araucanía the Mapuche surrendered to the country's army in the 1880s. Their land was opened to settlement by Chileans and Europeans. Conflict over Mapuche land rights
Mapuche conflict
Mapuche conflict is a collective name for the revival and reorganization of Mapuche communities for greater autonomy, recognition of rights and the recovery of land since the Chilean transition to democracy. The Mapuche conflict is a phenomenon mainly from Chile, but also from neighboring areas of...

 continued until present days.

Other groups include the Aimara who live mainly in Arica-Parinacota
Arica-Parinacota Region
The XV Arica and Parinacota Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the east and Chile's Tarapacá Region to the south. It is also the country's newest region, created under Law 20.175. It became operational on October 8, 2007...

 and Tarapacá Region
Tarapacá Region
The I Tarapacá Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions. It borders the Chilean Arica and Parinacota Region to the north, Bolivia's Oruro Department on the east, the Antofagasta Region on the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west. The port city of Iquique The I Tarapacá...

 and has the mayority of their alikes living in Bolivia and Peru and the Alacalufe survivors who now reside mainly in Puerto Edén.

Colombia




A small minority today within Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

's overwhelmingly Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 and Afro-Colombian
Afro-Colombian
Afro Colombians refers to Colombians of African ancestry, and the great impact they have had on Colombian culture. Notable Afro-Colombians include Colombian scientists like Raul Cuero, writers like Manuel Zapata Olivella and politicians:...

 population, Colombia's indigenous peoples nonetheless encompass at least 85 distinct cultures and more than 1,378,884 people. A variety of collective rights for indigenous peoples are recognized in the 1991 Constitution.

One of these is the Muisca
Muisca
Muisca was the Chibcha-speaking tribe that formed the Muisca Confederation of the central highlands of present-day Colombia. They were encountered by the Spanish Empire in 1537, at the time of the conquest...

 culture, a subset of the larger Chibcha ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

, famous for their use of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, which led to the legend of El Dorado
El Dorado
El Dorado is the name of a Muisca tribal chief who covered himself with gold dust and, as an initiation rite, dived into a highland lake.Later it became the name of a legendary "Lost City of Gold" that has fascinated – and so far eluded – explorers since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors...

. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the Chibchas were the largest native civilization between the Incas and the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s.

Costa Rica


There are over 60,000 inhabitants of Native American origins, representing 1.5% of the population. Most of them live in secluded reservations, distributed among eight ethnic groups: Quitirrisí (In the Central Valley), Matambú or Chorotega
Chorotega
Chorotega, also known as Mangue, was a language indigenous people of Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The ethnic population number around 10,000. The Chorotega language, which was a member of the Manguean branch of the Oto-Manguean language family, is now extinct...

 (Guanacaste), Maleku (Northern Alajuela), Bribri (Southern Atlantic), Cabécar (Cordillera de Talamanca), Guaymí
Guaymí
The Guaymí or Ngäbe are an indigenous group living mainly within the Ngäbe-Buglé comarca in the Western Panamanian provinces of Veraguas, Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro, as well as in the indigenous town of Conte, Costa Rica near the extreme southern tip of the country...

 (Southern Costa Rica, along the Panamá border), Boruca (Southern Costa Rica) and Térraba (Southern Costa Rica).

These native groups are characterized for their work in wood, like masks, drums and other artistic figures, as well as fabrics made of cotton.

Their subsistence is based on agriculture, having corn, beans and plantains as the main crops.

Ecuador




Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 was the site of many indigenous cultures, and civilizations of different proportions. An early sedentary culture, known as the Valdivia culture
Valdivia Culture
The Valdivia Culture is one of the oldest settled cultures recorded in the Americas. It emerged from the earlier Las Vegas culture and thrived on the Santa Elena peninsula near the modern-day town of Valdivia, Ecuador between 3500 BC and 1800 BC....

, developed in the coastal region, while the Caras
Caras (tribe)
The Cara culture flourished in coastal Ecuador, in what is now Manabí Province, in the first millennium CE.-History:In the 10th century CE, they followed the Esmeraldas River up to the high Andean valley now known as the city San Francisco de Quito. They defeated the local Quitu tribe and set up a...

 and the Quitu
Quitu
The Quitus were Pre-Columbian indigenous peoples in Ecuador who founded Quito, which is now the capital of Ecuador. The inhabitants' existence spanned from 2000 BCE to the beginning of the Spaniards' conquest of the city in 1524...

s unified to form an elaborate civilization that ended at the birth of the Capital Quito. The Cañaris
Cañaris
The Cañari are an indigenous ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the territory of the modern provinces of Azuay and Cañar in Ecuador; the term also refers to an independent pre-Hispanic tribal confederation of the same name, from which the modern people are descended. They are particularly noted...

 near Cuenca
Cuenca, Ecuador
Cuenca is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2500 m above sea level...

 were the most advanced, and most feared by the Inca, due to their fierce resistance to the Incan expansion. Their architecture remains were later destroyed by Spaniards and the Incas.

Approximately 96.4% of Ecuador's Indigenous population are Highland Quichuas living in the valleys of the Sierra region. Primarily consisting of the descendents of Incans, they are Kichwa
Kichwa
Kichwa is a Quechuan language, and includes all Quechua varieties spoken in Ecuador and Colombia by approximately 2,500,000 people...

 speakers and include the Caranqui, the Otavaleños, the Cayambi, the Quitu-Caras, the Panzaleo
Panzaleo
The Panzaleo are a group of Quichua people in Ecuador, primarily in Cotopaxi and Tungurahua provinces.So-called Panzaleo pottery was originally thought to be associated with this group, but has since been identified as a type of trade pottery....

, the Chimbuelo, the Salasacan, the Tugua, the Puruhá, the Cañari
Canari
Canari is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France on the island of Corsica.-Population:-References:*...

, and the Saraguro. Linguistic evidence suggests that the Salascan and the Saraguro may have been the descendants of Bolivian ethnic groups transplanted to Ecuador as mitimaes.

Coastal groups, including the Awá
Awá (kwaiker)
The Awá are an ancient indigenous people that inhabit the regions of northern Ecuador and southern Colombia . Their entire population is around 32,555 members. They speak a language called Awapit.-Reserve:The Awa Reserve was established in northwestern Ecuador in 1987...

, Chachi
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, and the Tsáchila
Tsáchila
The Tsáchila people of Ecuador live in the county of Santo Domingo in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas.- Legend of the origin of their ornamentation :...

, make up 0.24% percent of the indigenous population, while the remaining 3.35 percent live in the Oriente and consist of the Oriente Kichwa (the Canelo and the Quijos), the Shuar, the Huaorani
Huaorani
The Huaorani, Waorani or Waodani, also known as the Waos, are native Amerindians from the Amazonian Region of Ecuador who have marked differences from other ethnic groups from Ecuador. The alternate name Auca is a pejorative exonym used by the neighboring Quechua Indians, and commonly adopted by...

, the Siona-Secoya, the Cofán
Cofán
The Cofán people are an indigenous people native to Napo Province northeast Ecuador and to southern Colombia, between the Guamués River and the Aguaricó River...

, and the Achuar.

In 1986, indigenous people formed the first "truly" national political organization
Political organisation
A political organization is an organization that involves itself in the political process. In a broader sense, a political organization can also be viewed as a political system, as long as it includes the entire system and body of government...

. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador
CONAIE
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or more commonly, CONAIE, is Ecuador's largest indigenous organization. Formed in 1986, CONAIE has pursued social change on behalf of the region's significant native population using a wide range tactics including direct action...

 (CONAIE
CONAIE
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or more commonly, CONAIE, is Ecuador's largest indigenous organization. Formed in 1986, CONAIE has pursued social change on behalf of the region's significant native population using a wide range tactics including direct action...

) has been the primary political institution of the Indigenous since then and is now the second largest political party in the nation. It has been influential in national politics, contributing to the ouster of presidents Abdalá Bucaram
Abdalá Bucaram
Abdalá Jaime Bucaram Ortíz is an Ecuadorian politician and lawyer who briefly occupied the Presidency of Ecuador...

 in 1997 and Jamil Mahuad
Jamil Mahuad
Jorge Jamil Mahuad Witt is an Ecuadorian lawyer and politician and the 51st President of Ecuador from August 10, 1998 to January 21, 2000. There was a severe economic crisis in Ecuador , which had led to a 60% cut in the armed forces budget...

 in 2000.

El Salvador


Much of El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 was home to the Pipil, Lenca, and a number of Maya. The Pipil lived in western El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, spoke Nahuat, and had many settlements there most noticeably the Señorío of Cuzcatlán
Señorío of Cuzcatlán
The Señorío of Cuzcatlán, or The Lordship of Cuzcatlán, was a pre-Columbian Nahuat nation of the Post-Classical period that extended from the Paz river to the Lempa river , this was the nation of Pipils. No codices or written accounts survive that shed light on this señorío...

 . The Pipil had no treasure but held land that had rich and fertile soil
Fertile soil
Fertile soil has the following properties:*It is rich in nutrients necessary for basic plant nutrition, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium....

, good for farming. This both disappointed and garnered attention from the Spaniards who were shocked not to find gold or jewels in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 like they did in other lands like Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 or Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, but later learned of the fertile land El Salvador had to offer and attempted to conquer it. Noticeable Meso-American Indigenous warriors to rise militarily against the Spanish are Prince Atonal and Atlacatl of the Pipil people in central El Salvador, and Princess Antu Silan Ulap of the Lenca people in eastern El Salvador, who saw the Spanish not as gods, but as barbaric invaders. After fierce battles, the Pipil successfully retreated the Spanish army led by Pedro de Alvarado
Pedro de Alvarado
Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras was a Spanish conquistador and governor of Guatemala. He participated in the conquest of Cuba, in Juan de Grijalva's exploration of the coasts of Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico, and in the conquest of Mexico led by Hernan Cortes...

 along with their Mexican indian allies the (tlaxcalas) sending them back to Guatemala for some time. At first the Pipil people had repelled Spanish Attacks but after many other attacks and reinforcing their army with Guatemalan indian allies, the Spanish were able to conquer Cuzcatlán. Later the Spanish, after many struggles, were also able to conquer the Lenca people. Eventually the Spaniards had children with the Pipil and the Lenca women resulting in the Mestizo population, which later would become the majority of the Salvadoran people. Today many Pipil and other Indigenous populations live in small towns of El Salvador like Izalco
Izalco
Izalco is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador.Volcan Izalco is an icon of the country of El Salvador, a very young parasitic cone on the flank of Santa Ana volcano...

, Panchimalco
Panchimalco
Panchimalco is a town in the San Salvador department of El Salvador.Panchimalco is Its 35,000 inhabitants, sometimes called "Panchos," are descendants of Pipil Indians fleeing the Spanish takeover of San Salvador during the 16th century, into areas...

, Sacacoyo
Sacacoyo
Sacacoyo is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador....

, and Nahuizalco
Nahuizalco
Nahuizalco is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. It lies on the "flowers route" , 9 km from Sonsonate and 74 km from San Salvador, at 540 m above sea level on the southern part of the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range.There are strong indigenous customs...

.

Guatemala


Many of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 are of Maya
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

 heritage. Other groups are Xinca people
Xinca people
The Xinca are a non-Mayan indigenous people of Mesoamerica, with communities in the southern portion of Guatemala, near its border with El Salvador, and in the mountainous region to the north....

 and Garifuna.

Pure Maya account for some 40 percent of the population; although around 40 percent of the population speaks an indigenous language
Indigenous language
An indigenous language or autochthonous language is a language that is native to a region and spoken by indigenous peoples but has been reduced to the status of a minority language. This language would be from a linguistically distinct community that has been settled in the area for many generations...

, those tongues (of which there are more than 20) enjoy no official status. Guatemala's majority population holds a percentage of 59.4% in White
White
White is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light that stimulates all three types of color sensitive cone cells in the human eye in nearly equal amounts and with high brightness compared to the surroundings. A white visual stimulation will be void of hue and grayness.White light can be...

 or Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 (of mixed White and Amerindian ancestry) people. The area of Livingston, Guatemala
Livingston, Guatemala
Livingston is the name of a town in Izabal Department, eastern Guatemala, at the mouth of theRío Dulce at the Gulf of Honduras. The town serves as the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name.It was Guatemala's main port on the Caribbean Sea before the construction of nearby Puerto...

 is highly influenced by the Caribbean and its population includes a combination of Mestizos and Garifuna people.

Honduras


About 5 percent of the population are of full-blooded Amerindian descent, but upwards to 80 percent more or the majority of Hondurans are mestizo or part-Amerindian with Caucasian, and about 10 percent are of Amerindian and/or African descent. The main concentration of Amerindians in Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 are in the rural westernmost areas facing Guatemala and to the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 coastline, as well on the Nicaraguan border. The majority of indigenous people are Lencas, Miskitos to the east, Mayans, Pech, Sumos, and Tolupan
Tolupan people
The Tolupan or Jicaque people is an indigenous ethnic group of Honduras primarily inhabiting the community La Montaña del Flor in central Honduras.- Anthropological references :...

.

Mexico




The territory of modern-day Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 was home to numerous indigenous civilizations prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

es: The Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

s, who flourished from between 1200 BCE to about 400 BCE in the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

; the Zapotecs and the Mixtec
Mixtec
The Mixtec are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples inhabiting the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla in a region known as La Mixteca. The Mixtecan languages form an important branch of the Otomanguean language family....

s, who held sway in the mountains of Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

 and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
Isthmus of Tehuantepec
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, and prior to the opening of the Panama Canal was a major shipping route known simply as the Tehuantepec Route...

; the Maya
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 in the Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

 (and into neighbouring areas of contemporary Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

); the P'urhépecha
P'urhépecha
The P'urhépecha, normally spelled Purépecha in Spanish and in English and traditionally referred to as Tarascans, are an indigenous people centered in the northwestern region of the Mexican state of Michoacán, principally in the area of the cities of Uruapan and Pátzcuaro...

 or Tarascan
Tarascan state
The Tarascan state was a state in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, roughly covering the geographic area of the present-day Mexican state of Michoacán. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico it was the second-largest state in Mexico. The state was founded in the early 14th century and lost its...

 in present day Michoacán
Michoacán
Michoacán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 113 municipalities and its capital city is Morelia...

 and surrounding areas, and the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s/Mexica
Mexica
The Mexica were a pre-Columbian people of central Mexico.Mexica may also refer to:*Mexica , a board game designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling*Mexica , a 2005 novel by Norman Spinrad...

, who, from their central capital at Tenochtitlan, dominated much of the centre and south of the country (and the non-Aztec inhabitants of those areas) when Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 first landed at Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

.

In contrast to what was the general rule in the rest of North America, the history of the colony of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 was one of racial intermingling (mestizaje). Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s quickly came to account for a majority of the colony's population; however, significant numbers and communities of indígenas (as the native peoples are now known) survive to the present day. The CDI
National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples
The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples is a decentralized agency of the Mexican Federal Public Administration. It was founded in 2003 as a replacement for the National Indigenist Institute . It has its headquarters in Mexico City and, since 15 December 2006, has been...

 identifies 62 indigenous groups in Mexico, each with a unique language.

In the states of Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

 and Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

 and in the interior of the Yucatán
Yucatán
Yucatán officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Yucatán is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities and its capital city is Mérida....

 peninsula the majority of the population is indigenous. Large indigenous minorities, including Aztecs or Nahua, P'urhépecha
P'urhépecha
The P'urhépecha, normally spelled Purépecha in Spanish and in English and traditionally referred to as Tarascans, are an indigenous people centered in the northwestern region of the Mexican state of Michoacán, principally in the area of the cities of Uruapan and Pátzcuaro...

s, Mazahua
Mazahua
The Mazahua are an indigenous people of Mexico, inhabiting the northwestern portion of the State of Mexico and northeastern area of Michoacán, with a presence also in the Federal District owing to recent migration...

, Otomi
Otomi people
The Otomi people . Smaller Otomi populations exist in the states of Puebla, Mexico, Tlaxcala, Michoacán and Guanajuato. The Otomi language belonging to the Oto-Pamean branch of the Oto-Manguean language family is spoken in many different varieties some of which are not mutually intelligible.One of...

, and Mixtec
Mixtec
The Mixtec are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples inhabiting the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla in a region known as La Mixteca. The Mixtecan languages form an important branch of the Otomanguean language family....

s are also present in the central regions of Mexico. In Northern Mexico indigenous people are a small minority.

The "General Law of Linguistic Rights of the Indigenous Peoples" grants all indigenous languages spoken in Mexico, regardless of the number of speakers, the same validity as Spanish in all territories in which they are spoken, and indigenous peoples are entitled to request some public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

 and documents in their native languages. Along with Spanish, the law has granted them — more than 60 languages — the status of "national languages". The law includes all Amerindian languages regardless of origin; that is, it includes the Amerindian languages of ethnic groups non-native to the territory. As such the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples
National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples
The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples is a decentralized agency of the Mexican Federal Public Administration. It was founded in 2003 as a replacement for the National Indigenist Institute . It has its headquarters in Mexico City and, since 15 December 2006, has been...

 recognizes the language of the Kickapoo, who immigrated from the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and recognizes the languages of the Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

n Amerindian refugees. The Mexican government has promoted and established bilingual primary and secondary education
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 in some indigenous rural communities. Nonetheless, of the indigenous peoples in Mexico, only about 67% of them (or 5.4% of the country's population) speak an Amerindian language and about a sixth do not speak Spanish (1.2% of the country's population).

The indigenous peoples in Mexico have the right of free determination under the second article of the constitution. According to this article the indigenous peoples are granted:
  • the right to decide the internal forms of social, economic, political and cultural organization;
  • the right to apply their own normative systems of regulation as long as human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

     and gender equality are respected;
  • the right to preserve and enrich their languages and cultures;
  • the right to elect representatives before the municipal council
    Municipal council
    A municipal council is the local government of a municipality. Specifically the term can refer to the institutions of various countries that can be translated by this term...

     in which their territories are located;

amongst other rights.

Nicaragua



The Miskito are a native people in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. Their territory extended from Cape Camarón
Cape Camarón
Cape Camarón , is a cape located on the Caribbean coast of Honduras at . It is notable as the territory that Diego López de Salcedo of Trujillo contracted to conquer for Spain, and as the focus of territorial waters disputes for access to the fishing....

, Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, to Rio Grande
La Cruz de Río Grande
La Cruz de Río Grande is a municipality in the RAAS department of Nicaragua. According to the 2005 census, the population of La Cruz de Rio Grande was 3,000. It gets its name from the Rio Grande de Matagalpa which flows through it....

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 along the Mosquito Coast
Mosquito Coast
The Caribbean Mosquito Coast historically consisted of an area along the Atlantic coast of present-day Nicaragua and Honduras, and part of the Western Caribbean Zone. It was named after the local Miskito Indians and long dominated by British interests...

. There is a native Miskito language
Miskito language
Miskito is a Misumalpan language spoken by the Miskito people in northeastern Nicaragua, especially in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, and in eastern Honduras....

, but large groups speak Miskito Coastal Creole
Miskito Coastal Creole
Mískito Coast Creole or Nicaragua Creole English is a language spoken in Nicaragua based on English. Its approximately 30,000 speakers are found along the Mosquito Coast of the Caribbean Sea. The language is nearly identical to Belizean Creole , and similar to all Central American Creoles...

, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Rama
Rama language
Rama is one of the indigenous languages of the Chibchan family spoken by the Rama people on the island of Rama Cay and south of lake Bluefields on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. Other indigenous languages of this region include Miskito and Sumu . Rama is one of the northernmost languages of the...

 and other languages. The Creole English
English-based creole languages
An English-based creole language is a creole language that was significantly influenced by the English language...

 came about through frequent contact with the British who colonized the area. Many are Christians.

Traditional Miskito society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 was highly structured with a defined political
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 structure. There was a king
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

, but he did not have total power. Instead, the power was split between himself, a governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

, a general
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

, and by the 1750s, an admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

. Historical information on kings is often obscured by the fact that many of the kings were semi-mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

.

Peru




Indigenous population in Peru make up around 30% Native Peruvian traditions and customs have shaped the way Peruvians live and see themselves today. Cultural citizenship—or what Renato Rosaldo has called, "the right to be different and to belong, in a democratic, participatory sense" (1996:243)—is not yet very well developed in Peru. This is perhaps no more apparent than in the country's Amazonian regions where indigenous societies continue to struggle against state-sponsored economic abuses, cultural discrimination, and pervasive violence.

United States




Indigenous peoples in what is now the contiguous United States are commonly called "American Indians", or just "Indians" domestically, but are also often referred to as "Native Americans". In Alaska, indigenous peoples, which include Native Americans, Yupik and Inupiat Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

s, and Aleuts, are referred to collectively as Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

.

Native Americans and Alaska Natives make up 2 percent of the population, with more than 6 million people identifying themselves as such, although only 1.8 million are recognized as registered tribal members. Tribes have established their own rules for membership, some of which are increasingly exclusive. More people have unrecognized Native American ancestry together with other ethnic groups. A minority of U.S. Native Americans live in land units called Indian reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

s. Some southwestern U.S. tribes, such as the Yaqui and Apache, have registered tribal communities
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

 in Northern Mexico. Similarly, some northern bands of Blackfoot reside in southern Alberta, Canada
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, in addition to within US borders.
A number of Kumeyaay
Kumeyaay
The Kumeyaay, also known as Tipai-Ipai, Kamia, or formerly Diegueño, are Native American people of the extreme southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. They live in the states of California in the US and Baja California in Mexico. In Spanish, the name is commonly spelled...

 communities may be found in the Mexican State of Baja California.

Venezuela



Most Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

ns have some indigenous heritage, but the indigenous population make up only around 2% of the total population. They speak around 29 different languages and many more dialects, but some of the ethnic groups are very small and their languages are in danger of becoming extinct in the next decades. The most important indigenous groups are the Ye'kuana
Ye'kuana
The Ye'kuana, also called Ye'Kuana, Yekuana, Yequana, Yecuana, Dekuana, Maquiritare, Makiritare, So'to or Maiongong, are a Cariban-speaking tropical rain forest tribe who live in the Caura River and Orinoco River regions of Venezuela in Bolivar State and Amazonas State...

, the Wayuu
Wayuu
Wayuu is an Amerindian ethnic group of the La Guajira Peninsula in northern Colombia and northwest Venezuela. They are part of the Maipurean language family.- Geography :...

, the Pemon and the Warao. The most advanced native people to have lived in present-day Venezuela is thought to have been the Timoto-cuicas
Timoto-cuicas
Timoto–Cuica people were an indigenous group compromised primarily of two tribes, the Timotes and the Cuicas, that inhabited in the Andean region of western Venezuela. They were closely related to the Muisca, or also known as the Chibchas, indigenous people of the Andes...

, who mainly lived in the Venezuelan Andes. In total it is estimated that there were between 350 thousand and 500 thousand inhabitants, the most densely populated area being the Andean region (Timoto-cuicas), thanks to the advanced agricultural techniques used.

The 1999 constitution of Venezuela
Constitution of Venezuela
||The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the current and twenty-sixth constitution of Venezuela. It was drafted in mid-1999 by a constitutional assembly that had been created by popular referendum. Adopted in December 1999, it replaced the 1961 Constitution - the longest...

 gives them special rights
Special rights
Special rights is a term originally used by libertarians to refer to laws granting rights to one or more groups which are not extended to other groups...

, although the vast majority of them still live in very critical conditions of poverty. The largest groups receive some basic primary education
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

 in their languages.

Other parts of the Americas


Indigenous peoples make up the majority of the population in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, and are a significant element in most other former Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 colonies. Exceptions to this include Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 (Native Charrúa
Charrua
The Charrúa were an indigenous people of southern South America in the area today known as Uruguay and southern Brazil. They were a nomadic people that sustained themselves through fishing and foraging...

). At least four of the native American languages (Quechua in Peru and Bolivia; Aymara
Aymara language
Aymara is an Aymaran language spoken by the Aymara people of the Andes. It is one of only a handful of Native American languages with over three million speakers. Aymara, along with Quechua and Spanish, is an official language of Peru and Bolivia...

 also in Peru, Bolivia and Chile, Guaraní
Guaraní language
Guaraní, specifically the primary variety known as Paraguayan Guaraní , is an indigenous language of South America that belongs to the Tupí–Guaraní subfamily of the Tupian languages. It is one of the official languages of Paraguay , where it is spoken by the majority of the population, and half of...

 in Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

, and Greenlandic in Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

) are recognized as official languages languages (or Aymara in Chile, by regional basis).

Native American name controversy


The Native American name controversy is an ongoing dispute over the acceptable ways to refer to the indigenous peoples of the Americas and to broad subsets thereof, such as those living in a specific country or sharing certain cultural attributes. Once-common terms like "Indian" remain in use, despite the introduction of terms such as "Native American" and "Amerindian" during the latter half of the 20th century.

Rise of indigenous movements



In recent years, there has been a rise of indigenous movements in the Americas (mainly South America). These are rights-driven groups that organize themselves in order to achieve some sort of self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

 and the preservation of their culture for their peoples. Organizations like the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin
Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin
Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin was founded in 1984 in Lima, Peru. This organization coordinates the following nine national Amazonian indigenous organizations:...

 and the Indian Council of South America are examples of movements that are breaking the barrier of borders in order to obtain rights for Amazonian
Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries that drains an area of about , or roughly 40 percent of South America. The basin is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela...

 indigenous populations everywhere. Similar movements for indigenous rights can also be seen in Canada and the United States, with movements like the International Indian Treaty Council
International Indian Treaty Council
-Mission:The International Indian Treaty Council is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North,Central, South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific working for the Sovereignty and Self- Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties,...

 and the accession of native Indian group into the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization , formed in 11 February 1991, in The Hague, is an international organization of political organisations and governments representing self-proclaimed "indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories". The organization...

.

There has also been a recognition of indigenous movements on an international scale, with the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007....

, despite dissent from the stronger countries of the Americas.

In Colombia, various indigenous groups protested the denial of their rights. People organized a march in Cali
Calì
Calì, also written in English as Cali, is an Italian surname, widespread mainly in the Ionian side of Sicily.For the surname Calì is assumed the origin of the Greek word kalos , or from its Sanskrit root kali, "time."The surname refers to:...

 in October 2008 to demand the government live up to promises to protect indigenous lands, defend the indigenous against violence, and reconsider the free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 pact with the United States.

Legal prerogative


With the rise to power of governments in Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay, and especially Bolivia where Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

 was the first indigenous descendant elected president of Bolivia
President of Bolivia
The President of Bolivia is head of state and head of government of Bolivia. According to the current Constitution, the president is elected by popular vote to a five year term, renewable once...

, the indigenous movement gained a strong foothold.

Representatives from indigenous and rural organizations from major South American countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, started a forum in support of Morales' legal process of change. The meeting condemned plans by the European "foreign" power elite
Power elite
A power elite or The Grand Elite, in political and sociological theory, is a small group of people who control a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, and access to decision-making of global consequence. The term was coined by C...

 to destabilize the country. The forum also expressed solidarity with the Morales and his economic and social changes in the interest of historically marginalized majorities. Furthermore, in a cathartic blow to the US-backed elite, it questioned US interference through diplomats and NGO's. The forum was suspicious of plots against Bolivia and other countries, including Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay and Nicaragua.

The forum rejected the supposed violent method used by regional civic leaders from the called "Crescent departments" in Bolivia to impose their autonomous statutes, applauded the decision to expel the US ambassador to Bolivia, and reafirmed the sovereignty and independence of the presidency. Amongst others, representatives of CONAIE
CONAIE
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador or more commonly, CONAIE, is Ecuador's largest indigenous organization. Formed in 1986, CONAIE has pursued social change on behalf of the region's significant native population using a wide range tactics including direct action...

, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia is an organization representing the indigenous peoples of Colombia, who comprise some 800,000 people or approximately 2% of the population...

, the Chilean Council of All Lands, and the Brazilian Landless Movement participated in the forum.

Genetics


Genetic history of indigenous peoples of the Americas  primarily focus on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups
Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups
In human genetics, a Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in the non-recombining portions of DNA from the Y chromosome ....

 and Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups
Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups
In human genetics, a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in human mitochondrial DNA. Haplogroups are used to represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree...

. "Y-DNA" is passed solely along the patrilineal line, from father to son, while "mtDNA" is passed down the matrilineal line, from mother to offspring of both sexes. Neither recombines
Genetic recombination
Genetic recombination is a process by which a molecule of nucleic acid is broken and then joined to a different one. Recombination can occur between similar molecules of DNA, as in homologous recombination, or dissimilar molecules, as in non-homologous end joining. Recombination is a common method...

, and thus Y-DNA and mtDNA change only by chance mutation at each generation with no intermixture between parents' genetic material. Autosomal
Autosome
An autosome is a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome, or allosome; that is to say, there is an equal number of copies of the chromosome in males and females. For example, in humans, there are 22 pairs of autosomes. In addition to autosomes, there are sex chromosomes, to be specific: X and Y...

 "atDNA" markers are also used, but differ from mtDNA or Y-DNA in that they overlap significantly. AtDNA is generally used to measure the average continent-of-ancestry genetic admixture
Genetic admixture
Genetic admixture occurs when individuals from two or more previously separated populations begin interbreeding. Admixture results in the introduction of new genetic lineages into a population. It has been known to slow local adaptation by introducing foreign, unadapted genotypes...

 in the entire human genome
Human genome
The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is stored on 23 chromosome pairs plus the small mitochondrial DNA. 22 of the 23 chromosomes are autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex-determining...

 and related isolated populations
Population bottleneck
A population bottleneck is an evolutionary event in which a significant percentage of a population or species is killed or otherwise prevented from reproducing....

.

The genetic pattern indicates Indigenous Amerindians experienced two very distinctive genetic episodes; first with the initial-peopling of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, and secondly with European colonization of the Americas
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

. The former is the determinant factor for the number of gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

 lineages, zygosity
Zygosity
Zygosity refers to the similarity of alleles for a trait in an organism. If both alleles are the same, the organism is homozygous for the trait. If both alleles are different, the organism is heterozygous for that trait...

 mutations and founding haplotype
Haplotype
A haplotype in genetics is a combination of alleles at adjacent locations on the chromosome that are transmitted together...

s present in today's Indigenous Amerindian populations
Population history of American indigenous peoples
The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

.

Human settlement of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 occurred in stages from the Bering sea coast line
Bering Sea
The Bering Sea is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises a deep water basin, which then rises through a narrow slope into the shallower water above the continental shelves....

, with an initial 15, 000 to 20,000-year layover on Beringia for the small founding population
Founder effect
In population genetics, the founder effect is the loss of genetic variation that occurs when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals from a larger population. It was first fully outlined by Ernst Mayr in 1942, using existing theoretical work by those such as Sewall...

. The micro-satellite diversity and distributions of the Y lineage specific to South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 indicates that certain Amerindian populations have been isolated since the initial colonization of the region. The Na-Dené, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and Indigenous Alaskan
Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

 populations exhibit haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)
Haplogroup Q (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup Q is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup Q is one of the two branches of haplogroup P . Haplogroup Q is believed to have arisen in Central Asia approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. It has had multiple origins proposed...

 mutations, however are distinct from other indigenous Amerindians with various mtDNA and atDNA mutations. This suggests that the earliest migrants into the northern extremes of North America and Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 derived from later migrant populations.

See also



  • Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas
    Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas
    Classification of indigenous peoples of the Americas is based upon cultural regions, geography, and linguistics. Anthropologists have named various cultural regions, with fluid boundaries, that are generally agreed upon with some variation...

  • Alaska Natives
    Alaska Natives
    Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

  • History of the west coast of North America
    History of the west coast of North America
    The human history of the west coast of North America is believed to stretch back to the arrival of the earliest people over the Bering Strait, or alternately along a now-submerged coastal plain, through the development of significant pre-Columbian cultures and population densities, to the arrival...

  • Hyphenated American
    Hyphenated American
    In the United States, the term hyphenated American is an epithet commonly used from 1890 to 1920 to disparage Americans who were of foreign birth or origin, and who displayed an allegiance to a foreign country. It was most commonly used to disparage German Americans or Irish Americans who called...

  • Indigenous languages of the Americas
    Indigenous languages of the Americas
    Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families as well as many language...

  • Indigenous Movements in the Americas
    Indigenous Movements in the Americas
    Indigenous people under the nation-state have experienced exclusion and dispossession. With the rise in globalization, the conditions indigenous populations live under have worsened. At times, national governments are negotiating natural resources without taking into account whether or not these...

  • Indigenous rights
    Indigenous rights
    Indigenous rights are those rights that exist in recognition of the specific condition of the indigenous peoples. This includes not only the most basic human rights of physical survival and integrity, but also the preservation of their land, language, religion and other elements of cultural...

  • List of American Inuit
  • List of Greenlandic Inuit
  • List of indigenous artists of the Americas
  • List of indigenous people of the Americas
  • List of traditional territories of the indigenous peoples of North America
  • List of writers from peoples indigenous to the Americas
  • Mongoloid race
    Mongoloid race
    Mongoloid is a term sometimes used by forensic anthropologists and physical anthropologists to refer to populations that share certain phenotypic traits such as epicanthic fold and shovel-shaped incisors and other physical traits common in East Asia, the Americas and the Arctic...

  • Native American art
    Native American art
    Visual arts by indigenous peoples of the Americas encompasses the visual artistic traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas from ancient times to the present...

  • Native American Languages Act of 1990
    Native American Languages Act of 1990
    The Native American Languages Act of 1990 is the short cited title for executive order PUBLIC LAW 101-477 enacted by Congress on October 30, 1990. Public Law 101-477 of 1990 gave historical importance as repudiating past policies of eradicating Indian Languages by declaring as policy that Native...

  • Native American religion
    Native American religion
    Traditional Native American religions exhibit a great deal of diversity, largely due to the relative isolation of the different tribes that were spread out across the entire breadth of the North American continent for thousands of years, allowing for the evolution of different beliefs and practices...

  • Native Hawaiians
    Native Hawaiians
    Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...

  • Pacific Islander
    Pacific Islander
    Pacific Islander , is a geographic term to describe the indigenous inhabitants of any of the three major sub-regions of Oceania: Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia.According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, these three regions, together with their islands consist of:Polynesia:...

  • Population history of American indigenous peoples
    Population history of American indigenous peoples
    The population figures for Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus have proven difficult to establish and rely on archaeological data and written records from European settlers...

  • Uncontacted peoples
    Uncontacted peoples
    Uncontacted people, also referred to as isolated people or lost tribes, are communities who live, or have lived, either by choice or by circumstance, without significant contact with globalized civilisation....

  • Zambo
    Zambo
    Zambo or Cafuzo are racial terms used in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires and occasionally today to identify individuals in the Americas who are of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry...



External links