According to COUNTRYAAH.COM, the colonization of North America by the Indians did not begin until the end of the last Ice Age (Wisconsin Ice Age) about 12,000 years ago. Groups of hunters and gatherers moved from Northeast Asia over the then existing Beringland Bridge to Alaska, from there further south through an ice-free corridor between the glaciated areas of what is now Canada. The age of more than 12,000 years (up to 40,000 years), previously assumed for stone and bone artifacts from various parts of North, Central and South America, is now believed by the majority of American archaeologists because of the uncertainty of the dating (mainly due to the contamination of the found material) no longer accepted. Even the skulls (fragments) from California (Laguna Beach, Del Mar, etc.), which have been dated to be very old (up to over 20,000 years), are not much older than 5,000 years according to the latest measurement methods. The oldest Paleo-Indian culture is that Clovis culture (Clovis tips around 9500 to 9000 BC). This is followed by the folsome culture, which is characterized by uncut folsome tips. The most recent phase of Paleo-Indianism is formed by the plano cultures of the prairie; their often-stalked projectile points are from 8000-5000 BC. To date. With the end of the Ice Age, the Ice Age megafauna gradually disappeared. The Archean (from 5000 BC at the latest) is evidenced by the legacies of simple hunter, gatherer and fishing cultures that spread before Christ. a. found on rivers (in the east) and glacial lakes (in the west). In addition to bullet points, grinding stones are now appearing for the first time (desert culture, cochise culture). The more recent phase of the Eastern Archean (3000–1000 BC) already shows developments (simple ceramics, stone grinding, burial mound construction, beginning plant domestication) that lead to the formativum. The equipment inventory of the Archean remained in use in some areas of North America until the arrival of the Europeans. A microblade industry emerged in the north and northwest, which appears to have come with a recent wave of immigration from North Asia. Following the pre- to early formative Adenaculture and similar cultural manifestations on the Mississippi and its eastern tributaries emerged from 200 BC. The formative Hopewell culture, which from its core area, the Ohio Valley, influenced almost the entire eastern woodland to the Gulf of Mexico (extensive long-distance trade network). From 700 AD the urban formative set in, which found its most concise expression in the Mississippi culture. The decisive factor was the introduction of new, productive varieties of corn in the central Mississippi Valley (around AD 900). Large settlement and cult centers emerged (e.g. Cahokia), in the religious art of the “southern cult of the dead” a high point was reached around 1250; the iconography on engraved shell and copper plates as well as on the high-quality shell-thin ceramic shows Mesoamerican influences, the exact origin of which has not yet been established. In western North America – apparently also in the wake of corn cultivation and other influences from Mesoamerica – three formative cultural traditions developed from archaic cultures (especially the Desert Culture in the southwest): the Anasazi culture, the Hohokam culture and the Mogollon culture.
In the Arctic, on the northwest coast and in California, early formative developments also emerged in prehistoric times, but here they did not reach the cultic-civilizational level of the southwest and east. The independent development in the western Arctic is remarkable, where numerous local cultures (e.g. Okvik, Punuk and the Ipiutak culture) concentrated entirely on the use of maritime resources. In the north-western coastal area began in the 7th millennium BC. A locally specific development that led to a sedentary, highly developed fishing industry in the 4th millennium (place of discovery: Namu in southern British Columbia). From 2500 BC Settlements arose in the Fraser delta from which stone and bone sculptures could be recovered. In California from 500 AD.
The area of the United States west of the Mississippi (with the exception of the coastal areas) was still largely unexplored after the War of Independence (over the period up to the end of the 18th century: overview of the time table for the discovery and exploration of North America). Since the beginning of the 19th century, with the expansion of the state territory, the forays to the west by trappers, settlers (squatters) and traders, military explorations, but also through planned exploration began. The Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-06 on behalf of President T. Jefferson in the Rocky Mountains reached the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River and had thus crossed the central continent for the first time. Z. M. Pike (1805-07) andS. H. Long (1817-23) conducted research in the area of the Mississippi and its tributaries up to the Rocky Mountains, G. W. Featherstonhaugh 1834-35 in the Mississippi area and the Ozark plateau. The expeditions of J. C. Frémont (1842–45) to the Rocky Mountains, the Great Salt Lake, Columbia River and the Sierra Nevada produced a first overall picture of the central overland connection between Mississippi and the west coast. J. W. Powellcrossed Colorado Canyon in a boat in 1869. The growing number of European immigrants (since 1830), the influx of gold prospectors to California (after 1848), the systematic scientific exploration of the country after the end of the civil war (1861–65) and the construction of the transcontinental railways after 1862 soon rounded off knowledge of the country.
In Canada, which was particularly explored by fur hunters and traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company, systematic research began by the geologists R. Bell (since 1857) between the Canadian Lakes and Hudson Bay and G. M. Dawson 1873-1900 in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The extreme north of the continent became known in the context of polar research (Arctic, overview).
Alaska, which was discovered from Asia by V. J. Bering in 1741, was only systematically explored after gold discoveries (1880 and 1896–99).