Native american history: More often than not, the opinions and viewpoints of indigenous people, particularly those who lived between the 15th and 19th centuries, have not been preserved in written form. Due to the rarity of such papers, persons with interest in Native American history must turn to a variety of different sources for their data.

Native American history is made more complicated by the fact that the people involved come from various geographic and cultural backgrounds. Native American farmers who lived in stratified civilizations, like the Natchez, interacted with Europeans differently from those based on hunters and gatherers, like the Apache. Similarly, the conquistadors of Spain participated in a unique kind of colonial endeavor than their French or English colleagues.

Native American history is examined in the following sections, from the late 16th century through the late 20th century. Part III, Events in the Later 20th and Earlier 21st Centuries, discusses more recent occurrences.

native american history

Native American History: Europe And North America In 1492

Native american history: Number of Native Americans living in the United States and Canada Pre-Columbian population estimates in Northern America have varied widely among scholars. The lowest reasonable approximations placed the population west of the Nueces River in 1492 at approximately 900,000 and the largest, positing an estimated population of over 18,000,000. 

Anthropologist James Mooney was the first to conduct comprehensive research into the issue in 1910. To estimate precontact population density, he used written records and carrying capacity, which estimates how many people can be supported by a specific food source.

An estimated 1,115,000 people were living in Northern America when Columbia sailed ashore. Mooney’s estimate of 900,000 people for the same area and period was revised in 1934 by A.L. Kroeber. Dobyns, an ethnohistorian, estimated about 9,800,000 and 12,200,000 individuals north of the Rio Grande before the encounter in 1966; he updated that number to increase to 18,000,000 people in 1983.

Professor Dobyns was a pioneer in focusing attention on epidemic disease’s role in indigenous population dynamics. He recognized that smallpox infections of the nineteenth century interacted with other secondary effects (such as pneumonia and starvation) to produce fatality rates of up to 95 percent, and he believed that older epidemics were also deadly. Using this and other data, he was able to work backward from initial census data to estimate the likely populations of the founding countries.

Dobyns’s estimates are among the most ambitious in the academic community’s work. As archaeologists unearth fewer dwellings at a site than Dobyns’s models predict, some of Dobyns’s critics point out the discrepancies between his findings and physical evidence. 

Dobyns’ analyses have been criticized by others, such as historian David Henige, who questions some of his underlying assumptions. Several early fur traders reported the estimated number of warriors a tribe fielded but failed to specify the overall population numbers. 

The number of women, infants, and elderly reflected by each warrior in this example can be compounded across several centuries or centuries, leading to significant disparities in population estimates when one’s original assumptions are tiny.

According to a third theory, Dobyns’s estimations could be too low since they fail to consider Native American-European contact that occurred before Columbus’s arrival. 

Native american history: This group believes that severe outbreaks of European pathogens may have originated in North United states in the late 10th and early eleventh century when the Scandinavians briefly occupied a region known as Vinland. Evidence of Norse settlement in the United States about the year 1000 CE is found at the L’Anse aux Flats site (on Newfoundland). Sagas claim that an epidemic attacked Erik the Red’s fleet in Greenland at the same time as the arrival of the Columbians, which raises the likelihood that native peoples were already infected with diseases brought by the Columbians.

Another set of demographers argues that the focus on population decrease obscures indigenous peoples’ resiliency in the wake of conquest. However, the most common position is one that acknowledges that psychographic features of 23rd Native America must always be handled with care while also embracing the implications of the European conquest to include incredible levels of indigenous fatalities not only from diseases brought but also from showdowns, slave raids, and even those displaced by such events—starvation and exposure for those who were displaced. Native American people and traditions were resilient, but they also endured great hardships, and this approach honors all aspects of their history.

native american history

Diverse Ethnic And Political Groups Make Up The Native American Population.

Pre-Columbian Northern America’s pre-Columbian ethnic and political groupings are difficult to count because definitions of ethnicity and polity differ depending on the topic one is trying to answer. 

Native american history: Ethnicity is often associated with language, but a social or political organization can simultaneously take place on various scales. An ethnic group can be characterized by its standard dialect or language, even while it is acknowledged as a member of nested political entities such a clan, village, or confederation, by those who belong to that group. 

The racial and linguistic classification was also affected by variables such as physical limits, a subsistence foundation that prioritized hunting or farming, the existence or lack of social or religious order, and the biases of colonial officials, among others.

Ethnicity and political organization have long had complicated interrelationships, and that hasn’t changed. In the same way that a modern Germanic language speaker may identify as German or English, an Iroquoian speaker might identify as Cayuga, Cherokee, Hudson, Mohawk, Onondaga or Tuscarora. There are nested nation-states or quasi-polities in both the fictional Germanic speakers and the ideal Iroquoian speaker. Each polity or quasi-polities has or has some degree of autonomy in its relations with the outside world.

Native american history: For this reason, researchers prefer to use relative counts rather than precise counts when estimating the number of ethnic or political groupings or polities in 15th-century Northern America.