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Roots of the American People (Prehistory–1500)

Native American, Chief Joseph
Courtesy Corel Professional Photos

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Chapter Outline

Section 1: The Earliest Americans
Section 2: Cultures of North America
Section 3: Trade Networks of Asia and Africa
Section 4: The European Heritage


Most scientists believe that humans reached the Americas between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago. Descendents of these peoples built small and large civilizations throughout North and South America. In North America, many distinct Native American cultures developed. By the 1500s, civilizations in Africa, Asia, and Europe had developed a complex trade network. Yet the civilizations in the Americas were geographically isolated until European explorers ventured across the Atlantic.