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Great Nations of The America's

The spread of empire and the destruction of civilisations

It is said that over 100 million native Americans died during colonisation.

History books traditionally depict the pre-Columbus Americas as a pristine wilderness where small native villages lived in harmony with nature. But scientific evidence tells a very different story: When Columbus stepped ashore in 1492, millions of people were already living there, North and South America were occupied by small tribes, nation states in the US and First Nations in Canada.

America wasn't exactly a New World, but a very old one whose inhabitants had built a vast infrastructure of cities, orchards, canals and causeways. In Indian history, there was some communication across the Pacific and Hindu wisdom shaped the growth of South and Central American civilisations.

The English brought honeybees to the Americas for honey, but the bees pollinated orchards along the East Coast. Thanks to the feral honeybees, many of the plants the Europeans brought, like apples and peaches, proliferated. Some 12,000 years ago, North American mammoths, ancient horses, and other large mammals vanished. The first horses in America since the Pleistocene era arrived with Columbus in 1493.

Settlers in the Americas told of rivers that had more fish than water. The South American potato helped spark a population explosion in Europe. In 1491, the Americas had few domesticated animals, and used the llama as their beast of burden.

In 1491, more people lived in the Americas than in Europe. The first conquistadors were sailors and adventurers. In 1492, the Americas were not a pristine wilderness but a crowded and managed landscape. The now barren Chaco Canyon was once covered with vegetation. Along with crops like wheat, weeds like dandelion were brought to America by Europeans.

It’s believed that the domestication of the turkey began in pre-Columbian Mexico, and did not exist in Europe in 1491. By 1500, European settlers and their plants and animals had altered much of the Americas’ landscape. While beans, potatoes, and maize from the Americas became major crops in continental Europe.

When Christopher Columbus first encountered the peoples of the new world, the Taino Indians of the Caribbean thought that he and his sailors were gods. But within a single generation the peaceful kingdom of the Taino would be gone forever, wasted by disease, slavery, torture and war.

This new world, that Columbus found, was in fact a very ancient place and the people he called "Indios" had lived upon the continent for thousands of years. Their ancestors were its true discoverers. Ice age hunters who followed the rising sun east across the land bridge from Asia to discover a continent ruled by glaciers and great bison.

When the ice melted nomadic tribes pushed southward into the green part to the continent following the stars, the seasons and the herds. They conquered the land and they fashioned languages and customs as varied as a feathers of the birds yet between them run spiritual roots buried deep in the Earth.

And then after centuries beyond number the white man came in search of wealth and power. Two million Indians would endure four centuries of struggle before the sun finally set upon their free dominion. These European settlers came in wave upon wave to occupy Native American lands. In the bellies of their ships the Europeans carried horses, guns and disease and in their hearts they carried a belief in their destiny to rule the Americas from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

As the whites pressed ever-westward they finally waged an absolute war on the Indians that would close the frontier and usher in the white man's era of railroads, telegraphs and mining. Yet the history of America is in many ways the history of the American Indians, for they gave the Europeans the skills and knowledge needed to survive in the new world. These are the stories of the mightiest Indian nations.

The Iroquois of upstate New York were a unique confederation of six Indian nations. Their great law of peace attracted the attention of American colonists who were forging their own new country. The Seminoles of Florida who gathered together free Indians and black slaves fleeing the northern lands. Together they built a patchwork nation of peoples mirroring the melting pot of America.

The Navajo whose powerful spiritual link to their land inspired a courageous defence of their territory in the great south-west. The fiercely independent Cheyenne, the beautiful people of the plains, whose families were massacred by US Army soldiers. And their brothers, Lakota, the defiant warriors of the west who united with the Cheyenne to hold back the tide of western expansion for 50 years.

These are just a few while to the south there were the Maya, Inca and many others that you can get from the List of Indigenous Peoples on Wiki.

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