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Pre-Columbian
In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization, which began with Christopher Columbus's voyage of 1492. Usually, the era covers the history of Indigenous cultures until significant influence by Europeans. This may have occurred decades or even centuries after Columbus for certain cultures. Many pre-Columbian civilizations were marked by permanent settlements, cities, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, major earthworks, and complex societal hierarchies. Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies (c. late 16th–early 17th centuries), and are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history. Other civilizations were contemporary with the colonial period and were described in European historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their ow ...
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Maya Civilization
The Maya civilization () of the Mesoamerican people is known by its ancient temples and glyphs. Its Maya script is the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is also noted for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, and astronomical system. The Maya civilization developed in the Maya Region, an area that today comprises southeastern Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the western portions of Honduras and El Salvador. It includes the northern lowlands of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands of the Sierra Madre, the Mexican state of Chiapas, southern Guatemala, El Salvador, and the southern lowlands of the Pacific littoral plain. Today, their descendants, known collectively as the Maya, number well over 6 million individuals, speak more than twenty-eight surviving Mayan languages, and reside in nearly the same area as their ancestors. The Archaic period, before 2000 BC, saw the first developme ...
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Indigenous Peoples Of The Americas
The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Many Indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers and many, especially in the Amazon basin, still are, but many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture. While some societies depended heavily on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming, hunting, and gathering. In some regions, the Indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, chiefdoms, states, kingdoms, republics, confederacies, and empires. Some had varying degrees of knowledge of engineering, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, writing, physics, medicine, planting and irrigation, geology, mining, metallurgy, sculpture, and gold smithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by Indigenous peoples; some countries h ...
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European Colonization Of The Americas
During the Age of Discovery, a large scale European colonization of the Americas took place between about 1492 and 1800. Although the Norse had explored and colonized areas of the North Atlantic, colonizing Greenland and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland circa 1000 CE, the later and more well-known wave by the European powers is what formally constitutes as beginning of colonization, involving the continents of North America and South America. During this time, several empires from Europe—primarily Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Russia, the Netherlands and Sweden—began to explore and claim the land, natural resources and human capital of the Americas, resulting in the displacement, disestablishment, enslavement, and in many cases, genocide of the indigenous peoples, and the establishment of several settler colonial states. Some formerly European settler colonies—including New Mexico, Alaska, the Prairies or northern ...
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Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, link=no, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, opening the way for the widespread European exploration and colonization of the Americas. His expeditions were the first known European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The name ''Christopher Columbus'' is the anglicisation of the Latin . Scholars generally agree that Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa and spoke a dialect of Ligurian as his first language. He went to sea at a young age and travelled widely, as far north as the British Isles and as far south as what is now Ghana. He married Portuguese noblewoman Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, who bore his son Diego, and was ...
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History Of The Americas
The prehistory of the Americas (North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean) begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an ice age. These groups are generally believed to have been isolated from the people of the "Old World" until the coming of Europeans in the 10th century from Iceland led by Leif Erikson and in 1492 with the voyages of Christopher Columbus. While this was the prevailing theory for quite sometime, new genetic and anthropological evidence suggests contact with Polynesian and South East Asian groups, while not confirmed to be frequent, happened with some regularity prior to the arrival of European colonizers as evidenced by cultural and linguistic trade, domesticated crops and livestock, and analysis of DNA from east Peruvian and Andean cultures as well as some sites suggested to be permanent settlements of Oceanic and Polynesian sailors. Some anthropologists also suggest that contact with West African, Chinese, and even som ...
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Archaeology Of The Americas
The archaeology of the Americas is the study of the archaeology of the Western Hemisphere, including North America (Mesoamerica), Central America, South America and the Caribbean. This includes the study of pre-historic/Pre-Columbian and historic indigenous American peoples, as well as historical archaeology of more recent eras, including the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and European colonization. Chronology The Pre-Columbian era is the term generally used to encompass all time period subdivisions in the history of the Americas spanning the time from the original settlement of the Americas in the Upper Paleolithic until the European colonization of the Americas during the early modern period. While technically referring to the era before the voyages of Christopher Columbus from AD 1492 to 1504, in practice the term usually includes the history of American indigenous cultures until the 18th or 19th century. In more recent decades, archaeological scholarship has extended to includ ...
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Migration To The New World
The settlement of the Americas began when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 19,000 years ago). These populations expanded south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and spread rapidly southward, occupying both North and South America, by 12,000 to 14,000 years ago. The earliest populations in the Americas, before roughly 10,000 years ago, are known as Paleo-Indians. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to Siberian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, and in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA. While there is general agreement that the Americas were first settled from Asia, the pattern of migration and the place(s) of origin in Eurasia of the peoples who migrated to the Americas remain unclear ...
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Diego De Landa
Diego de Landa Calderón, O.F.M. (12 November 1524 – 29 April 1579) was a Spanish Franciscan bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yucatán. Many historians criticize his campaign against idolatry. In particular, he burned almost all the Maya manuscripts (codices) that would have been very useful in deciphering Maya script, knowledge of Maya religion and civilization, and the history of the American continent. Nonetheless, his work in documenting and researching the Maya was indispensable in achieving the current understanding of their culture, to the degree that one scholar asserted that, "ninety-nine percent of what we today know of the Mayas, we know as the result either of what Landa has told us in the pages that follow, or have learned in the use and study of what he told." Conversion of Maya Born in Cifuentes, Guadalajara, Spain, he became a Franciscan friar in 1541, and was sent as one of the first Franciscans to the Yucatán, arriving in 1549. Landa was in ...
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Peabody Museum Of Archaeology And Ethnology
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a museum affiliated with Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums focusing on anthropological material, with particular focus on the ethnography and archaeology of the Americas. The museum is caretaker to over 1.2 million objects, some of documents, 2,000 maps and site plans, and approximately 500,000 photographs. The museum is located at Divinity Avenue on the Harvard University campus. The museum is one of the four Harvard Museums of Science and Culture open to the public. History The museum was established through an October 8, 1866 gift from wealthy American financier and philanthropist George Peabody, a native of South Danvers (now eponymously named Peabody, Massachusetts). Peabody committed $150,000 to be used, according to the terms of the trust, to establish the position of Peabody Professor-Curator, to purchase artifacts, and to con ...
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Prehistory
Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the beginning of recorded history with the invention of writing systems. The use of symbols, marks, and images appears very early among humans, but the earliest known writing systems appeared 5000 years ago. It took thousands of years for writing systems to be widely adopted, with writing spreading to almost all cultures by the 19th century. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different times in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently. In the early Bronze Age, Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley Civilisation, and ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts and to keep historical records, with their neighbors following. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the following I ...
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Eduard Seler
Eduard Georg Seler (December 5, 1849 – November 23, 1922) was a prominent German anthropologist, ethnohistorian, linguist, epigrapher, academic and Americanist scholar, who made extensive contributions in these fields towards the study of pre-Columbian era cultures in the Americas. Research Seler is best known for his foundational studies concerning the ethnography, documents, and history of Mesoamerican cultures, for which he is regarded as one of the most influential scholars active around the turn of the 20th century. Seler laid many fundamentals in understanding and deciphering the Aztec pictorial script. A main contribution was the re-discovery and analysis of the basic Aztec calendar system: the existence of two Aztec calendars, a 365-day solar profane (everyday use) and a 260-day religious calendar. He also noted from the sources that the ceremonial killing victim figures alleged by Spanish priests and military (repeatedly reported as being greater than 10,000 or ev ...
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John Lloyd Stephens
John Lloyd Stephens (November 28, 1805October 13, 1852) was an American explorer, writer, and diplomat. Stephens was a pivotal figure in the rediscovery of Maya civilization throughout Middle America and in the planning of the Panama railroad. Early life John Lloyd Stephens was born November 28, 1805, in the township of Shrewsbury, New Jersey. He was the second son of Benjamin Stephens, a successful New Jersey merchant, and Clemence Lloyd, daughter of an eminent local judge. The following year the family moved to New York City. There Stephens received an education in the Classics at two privately tutored schools. At the age of 13 he enrolled at Columbia College, graduating at the top of his class four years later in 1822. After studying law with an attorney for a year, he attended the Litchfield Law School. He passed the bar exam after completing his course of study, and practiced in New York City. Stephens embarked on a journey through Europe in 1834, and went on to Egypt ...
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