Article

Pre-Contact America

Kathleen DuVal

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0045
Pre-Contact America

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
  • African History
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  • Regional and National History

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People lived in the Americas for at least ten thousand years before the arrival of Europeans and Africans beginning in 1492. This history is both important in its own right and relevant to the interactions between the Americas and the Atlantic World that emerged in the 16th century. Because most precolonial Americans did not have written languages and because their oral histories either were destroyed or much changed by the devastation of colonization, most information about the precolonial Americas comes from archaeology, combined with information gleaned from early European documents. Increasingly, historians are integrating the “pre-contact” period (which has also been called “prehistory”) into a longer version of the history of the Americas, cognizant of continuities as well as ruptures in the 15th and 16th centuries. This entry seeks to provide readings in English by historians familiar with archaeology and by archaeologists writing in ways accessible to historians and general readers. Bibliographies within individual works will lead researchers to more works in particular fields, including in languages besides English and by archaeologists and anthropologists writing for specialists.

Article.  3198 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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