The Pacific Northwest, sometimes referred to as Cascadia, is a geographic region in western North America bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and by the Cascade Mountain Range on the east. Though no official boundary exists, the most common conception includes the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U. S. states of Idaho and Washington. Broader conceptions reach north into Southeast Alaska and Yukon, south into northern California, east to the Continental Divide to include Western Montana and parts of Wyoming. Narrower conceptions may be limited to the coastal areas west of the Coast mountains; the variety of definitions can be attributed to overlapping commonalities of the region's history, geography and other factors. The Northwest Coast is the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Plateau is the inland region; the term "Pacific Northwest" should not be confused with the Northwest Territory or the Northwest Territories of Canada. The region's largest metropolitan areas are Greater Seattle, with 3.8 million people.
A key aspect of the Pacific Northwest is the US–Canada international border, which the United States and the United Kingdom established at a time when the region's inhabitants were composed of indigenous peoples. The border—in two sections, along the 49th parallel south of British Columbia and the Alaska Panhandle west of northern British Columbia—has had a powerful effect on the region. According to Canadian historian Ken Coates, the border has not influenced the Pacific Northwest—rather, "the region's history and character have been determined by the boundary". Definitions of the Pacific Northwest region vary, Pacific Northwesterners do not agree on the exact boundary; the most common conception includes the U. S. states of Idaho and Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Broader definitions of the region have included the U. S. states of Alaska and parts of the states of California and Wyoming, the Canadian territory of the Yukon. Definitions based on the historic Oregon Country reach east to the Continental Divide, thus including all of Idaho and parts of western Montana and western Wyoming.
Sometimes, the Pacific Northwest is defined as being the Northwestern United States excluding Canada. Note that these types of definitions are made by government agencies whose scope is limited to the United States; the Pacific Northwest has been occupied by a diverse array of indigenous peoples for millennia. The Pacific Coast is seen by some scholars as a major coastal migration route in the settlement of the Americas by late Pleistocene peoples moving from northeast Asia into the Americas; the coastal migration hypothesis has been bolstered by findings such as the report that the sediments in the Port Eliza Cave on Vancouver Island indicate the possibility of survivable climate as far back as 16 kya in the area, while the continental ice sheets were nearing their maximum extent. Other evidence for human occupation dating back as much as 14.5 kya is emerging from Paisley Caves in south-central Oregon. However, despite such research, the coastal migration hypothesis is still subject to considerable debate.
Due in part to the richness of Pacific Northwest Coast and river fisheries, some of the indigenous peoples developed complex sedentary societies, while remaining hunter-gatherers. The Pacific Northwest Coast is one of the few places where politically complex hunter-gatherers evolved and survived to historic contacts, therefore has been vital for anthropologists and archaeologists seeking to understand how complex hunter and gatherer societies function; when Europeans first arrived on the Northwest Coast, they found one of the world's most complex hunting and fishing societies, with large sedentary villages, large houses, systems of social rank and prestige, extensive trade networks, many other factors more associated with societies based on domesticated agriculture. In the interior of the Pacific Northwest, the indigenous peoples, at the time of European contact, had a diversity of cultures and societies; some areas were home to egalitarian societies. Others along major rivers such as the Columbia and Fraser, had complex, sedentary societies rivaling those of the coast.
In British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, the Tlingit and Haida erected large and elaborately carved totem poles that have become iconic of Pacific Northwest artistic traditions. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, thousands of indigenous people live, some continue to practice their rich cultural traditions, "organizing their societies around cedar and salmon". In 1579 the British captain and erstwhile privateer Francis Drake sailed up the west coast of North America as far as Oregon before returning south to land and make ship repairs. At this landing site near present-day San Francisco, Drake made a symbolic claim of the region for England, naming it New Albion. Juan de Fuca, a Greek captain sailing for the Crown of Spain found the Strait of Juan de Fuca around 1592; the strait was whether he discovered it or not has long been questioned. During the early 1740s, Imperial Russia sent the Dane Vitus Bering to the region. By the late 18th century and into the mid-19th century, Russian settlers had established several posts and communities on the northeast Pacific coast reaching a
Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleoamericans is a classification term given by scholars to the first peoples who entered, subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios, meaning "old" or "ancient"; the term "Paleo-Indians" applies to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic". Traditional theories suggest that big-animal hunters crossed the Bering Strait from North Asia into the Americas over a land-and-ice bridge; this bridge existed from 45,000–12,000 BCE. Small isolated groups of hunter-gatherers migrated alongside herds of large herbivores far into Alaska. From c. 16,500 – c. 13,500 BCE, ice-free corridors developed along the Pacific coast and valleys of North America. This allowed animals, followed by humans; the people used primitive boats along the coastline. The precise dates and routes of the peopling of the New World remain subjects of ongoing debate.
Stone tools projectile points and scrapers, are the primary evidence of the earliest human activity in the Americas. Archaeologists and anthropologists use surviving crafted lithic flaked tools to classify cultural periods. Scientific evidence links Indigenous Americans to eastern Siberian populations. Indigenous peoples of the Americas have been linked to Siberian populations by linguistic factors, the distribution of blood types, in genetic composition as reflected by molecular data, such as DNA. There is evidence for at least two separate migrations. From 8000–7000 BCE the climate stabilized, leading to a rise in population and lithic technology advances, resulting in more sedentary lifestyle; the specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. The traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into Beringia between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska 17,000 years ago, when sea levels were lowered due to the Quaternary glaciation.
These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age. Archaeologists contend that Paleo-Indians migrated out of Beringia, ranging from c. 40,000 – c. 16,500 years ago. This time range promises to continue as such for years to come; the few agreements achieved to date are the origin from Central Asia, with widespread habitation of the Americas during the end of the last glacial period, or more what is known as the late glacial maximum, around 16,000–13,000 years before present. However, alternative theories about the origins of Paleoindians exist, including migration from Europe. Sites in Alaska are where some of the earliest evidence has been found of Paleo-Indians, followed by archaeological sites in northern British Columbia, western Alberta and the Old Crow Flats region in the Yukon.
The Paleo-Indian would flourish all over the Americas. These peoples were spread over a wide geographical area. However, all the individual groups shared a common style of stone tool production, making knapping styles and progress identifiable; this early Paleo-Indian period lithic reduction tool adaptations have been found across the Americas, utilized by mobile bands consisting of 20 to 60 members of an extended family. Food would have been plentiful during the few warm months of the year. Lakes and rivers were teeming with many species of fish and aquatic mammals. Nuts and edible roots could be found in the forests and marshes; the fall would have been a busy time because foodstuffs would have to be stored and clothing made ready for the winter. During the winter, coastal fishing groups trap fresh food and furs. Late ice age climatic changes caused plant communities and animal populations to change. Groups moved from place to place as preferred resources were depleted and new supplies were sought.
Small bands utilized hunting and gathering during the spring and summer months broke into smaller direct family groups for the fall and winter. Family groups moved every 3–6 days traveling up to 360 km a year. Diets were sustaining and rich in protein due to successful hunting. Clothing was made from a variety of animal hides that were used for shelter construction. During much of the Early and Middle Paleo-Indian periods, inland bands are thought to have subsisted through hunting now-extinct megafauna. Large Pleistocene mammals were the giant beaver, steppe wisent, musk ox, woolly mammoths and ancient reindeer; the Clovis culture, appearing around 11,500 BCE, undoubtedly did not rely on megafauna for subsistence. Instead, they employed a mixed foraging strategy that included smaller terrestrial game, aquatic animals, a variety of flora. Paleo-Indian groups carried a variety of tools; these included efficient fluted style spear points, as well as microblades used for butchering and hide processing.
Projectile points and hammerstones made from many sources are found traded or moved to new locations. Stone tools were traded and/or left behind fro
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants. Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture; the impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, states and empires. Among these are the Aztec and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and advanced nations in the world, they had a vast knowledge of engineering, mathematics, writing, medicine and irrigation, mining and goldsmithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but cater to modern needs; some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are known as Native Americans or American Indians and Alaska Natives. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies; those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
This unifying concept, codified in law and politics, was not accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries. Though the term "Indian" does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas". Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but the minority population of First Nations-European mixed race Métis people who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood; this is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed race mestizos of Hispanic America who, with their larger population, identify as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity.
The term Amerindian and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts and in Quebec, the Guianas and the English-speaking Caribbean. Indígenas or pueblos indígenas is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries and pueblos nativos or nativos may be heard, while aborigen is used in Argentina and pueblos originarios is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term and aborígene and nativo being used in Amerindian-specific contexts; the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to Indian could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos. The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are the subject of ongoing research and discussion. According to archaeological and genetic evidence and South America were the last continents in the world to gain human habitation.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the land bridge of Beringia that joined Siberia to northwest North America. Alaska was a glacial refugium; the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska for thousands of years. Indigenous genetic studies suggest that the first inhabitants of the Americas share a single ancestral population, one that developed in isolation, conjectured to be Beringia; the isolat
Deer are the hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk, the fallow deer, the chital. Female reindeer, male deer of all species except the Chinese water deer and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family within the same order of even-toed ungulates; the musk deer of Asia and chevrotains of tropical African and Asian forests are separate families within the ruminant clade. They are no more related to deer than are other even-toed ungulates. Deer appear in art from Paleolithic cave paintings onwards, they have played a role in mythology and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry, their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular activity since at least the Middle Ages and remains a resource for many families today.
Deer live in a variety of biomes. While associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets and prairie and savanna; the majority of large deer species inhabit temperate mixed deciduous forest, mountain mixed coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, savanna habitats around the world. Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may benefit deer populations by exposing the understory and allowing the types of grasses and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. Additionally, access to adjacent croplands may benefit deer. However, adequate forest or brush cover must still be provided for populations to thrive. Deer are distributed, with indigenous representatives in all continents except Antarctica and Australia, though Africa has only one native deer, the Barbary stag, a subspecies of red deer, confined to the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of the continent. However, fallow deer have been introduced to South Africa. Small species of brocket deer and pudús of Central and South America, muntjacs of Asia occupy dense forests and are less seen in open spaces, with the possible exception of the Indian muntjac.
There are several species of deer that are specialized, live exclusively in mountains, swamps, "wet" savannas, or riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Some deer have a circumpolar distribution in Eurasia. Examples include the caribou that live in Arctic tundra and taiga and moose that inhabit taiga and adjacent areas. Huemul deer of South America's Andes fill the ecological niches of the ibex and wild goat, with the fawns behaving more like goat kids; the highest concentration of large deer species in temperate North America lies in the Canadian Rocky Mountain and Columbia Mountain regions between Alberta and British Columbia where all five North American deer species can be found. This region has several clusters of national parks including Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, Kootenay National Park on the British Columbia side, Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Glacier National Park on the Alberta and Montana sides. Mountain slope habitats vary from moist coniferous/mixed forested habitats to dry subalpine/pine forests with alpine meadows higher up.
The foothills and river valleys between the mountain ranges provide a mosaic of cropland and deciduous parklands. The rare woodland caribou have the most restricted range living at higher altitudes in the subalpine meadows and alpine tundra areas of some of the mountain ranges. Elk and mule deer both migrate between the alpine meadows and lower coniferous forests and tend to be most common in this region. Elk inhabit river valley bottomlands, which they share with White-tailed deer; the White-tailed deer have expanded their range within the foothills and river valley bottoms of the Canadian Rockies owing to conversion of land to cropland and the clearing of coniferous forests allowing more deciduous vegetation to grow up the mountain slopes. They live in the aspen parklands north of Calgary and Edmonton, where they share habitat with the moose; the adjacent Great Plains grassland habitats are left to herds of elk, American bison, pronghorn antelope. The Eurasian Continent boasts the most species of deer in the world, with most species being found in Asia.
Europe, in comparison, has lower diversity in animal species. However, many national parks and protected reserves in Europe do have populations of red deer, roe deer, fallow deer; these species have long been associated with the continent of Europe, but inhabit Asia Minor, the Caucasus Mountains, Northwestern Iran. "European" fallow deer lived over much of Europe during the Ice Ages, but afterwards became restricted to the Anatolian Peninsula, in present-day Turkey. Present-day fallow deer populations in Europe are a result of historic man-made introductions of this species, first to the Mediterranean regions of Europe eventually to the rest of Europe, they were park animals that escaped and reestablished themselves in the wild. Europe's deer species shared their deciduous forest habitat with other herbivores, such as the extinct tarpan, extinct aurochs (fo
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U. S. the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento; the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, the country's second most populous, after New York City. California has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, its largest county by area, San Bernardino County; the City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. California's $3.0 trillion economy is larger than that of any other state, larger than those of Texas and Florida combined, the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world, the 36th most populous as of 2017.
The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and third-largest urban economies, after the New York metropolitan area. The San Francisco Bay Area PSA had the nation's highest GDP per capita in 2017 among large PSAs, is home to three of the world's ten largest companies by market capitalization and four of the world's ten richest people. California is considered a global trendsetter in popular culture, innovation and politics, it is considered the origin of the American film industry, the hippie counterculture, fast food, the Internet, the personal computer, among others. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are seen as global centers of the technology and entertainment industries, respectively. California has a diverse economy: 58% of the state's economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.
S. state. California is bordered by Oregon to the north and Arizona to the east, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south; the state's diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the east, from the redwood–Douglas fir forests in the northwest to the Mojave Desert in the southeast. The Central Valley, a major agricultural area, dominates the state's center. Although California is well-known for its warm Mediterranean climate, the large size of the state results in climates that vary from moist temperate rainforest in the north to arid desert in the interior, as well as snowy alpine in the mountains. Over time and wildfires have become more pervasive features. What is now California was first settled by various Native Californian tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries; the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War.
The western portion of Alta California was organized and admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom; the word California referred to the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico. The name derived from the mythical island California in the fictional story of Queen Calafia, as recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo; this work was the fifth in a popular Spanish chivalric romance series that began with Amadis de Gaula. Queen Calafia's kingdom was said to be a remote land rich in gold and pearls, inhabited by beautiful black women who wore gold armor and lived like Amazons, as well as griffins and other strange beasts. In the fictional paradise, the ruler Queen Calafia fought alongside Muslims and her name may have been chosen to echo the title of a Muslim leader, the Caliph. It's possible.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, inhabited by black women without a single man among them, they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with great virtue; the island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the craggy rocks. Shortened forms of the state's name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA. Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000; the Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their political organization with bands, villages, on the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms, such as the Chumash and Salinan.
Trade, intermarriage a
Caborn-Welborn was a prehistoric North American culture defined by archaeologists as a Late Mississippian cultural manifestation that grew out of – or built upon the demise of – the Angel chiefdom located in the territory of southern present-day Indiana. Caborn-Welborn developed around 1400 and seems to have disappeared around 1700; the Caborn-Welborn culture was the last Native American occupation of southern Indiana before European contact. It remains unclear; the Caborn-Welborn culture is a cluster of more than 80 sites located on ridges along the Wabash and Ohio rivers from Geneva, Kentucky to the mouth of the Saline River. Most are concentrated near the confluence of the Wabash rivers; the sites range in size from 0.6 acres to 35 acres for the larger villages. Most sites are located on the higher flood plain ridges situated near sloughs and swamps; the Ohio River floodplain of this region has an extensive system of natural levees which parallel the river, with sloughs and swampy areas in between the levees.
Ashworth Archaeological Site – Located in Posey County and placed on the National Historic Register in 1985. Bone Bank Site – The site was a large village on the Wabash River in Posey County, it was nicknamed "Bone Bank" for the large number of remains of graves washed out of the site in the 19th century. It was established early in the Caborn-Welborn phase, about 1400. Hovey Lake-Klein Archeological Site – The site is located on the west bank of a backwater lake near the Ohio River, it was established about 1400. Murphy Archaeological Site – Located in Posey County and placed on the National Historic Register in 1975. Known as the Sullivan Farm Site and the Mouth-of-the-Wabash Site. Slack Farm Site – A large village near the mouth of the Wabash River in Union County, Kentucky. Welborn Village Archeological Site known as the Murphy's Landing Site – Located in Posey County. An internal temporal subdivision for the Caborn-Welborn culture, based on ceramic decorative attributes and the presence of European trade goods.
Pottery made by the Caborn-Welborn women was built up from strips of clay, smoothed out by the potter, much like other pottery in the Eastern America area, where the potters wheel was unknown. Common vessel shapes include jars, pans and funnels. Most jars tend to have rims with rounded necks and strap handles; the majority of the pottery found at Caborn-Welborn sites are of the kinds known as Mississippian Plain and Bell Plain, which are varieties common to most Mississippian cultures throughout the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. It was buff colored, contains large fragments of ground mussel shell as a tempering agent, is not as smooth and polished as other varieties. Certain unique kinds of pottery and decorations define the Caborn-Welborn people as distinct from other cultures. Caborn-Welborn Decorated, Kimmswick Fabric Impressed, Kimmswick Plain are varieties which are present in greater frequencies in Caborn-Welborn sites, are hallmarks of the culture. Effigy jars, both of humans and animals, are common in Caborn-Welborn sites.
Some have a human or animal head and sometimes a tail attached to the rim, others are shaped into the forms of heads, with attached clay lugs to represent limbs. Caborn-Welborn Decorated, the most found decorated ceramic style, is characterized by incised or punctated lines on the shoulders of the jar forms. Other less common varieties found are indicative of continuity from preceding Lower Ohio Valley cultures and contact with the wider Mississippian world the Central Mississippi valley and the Oneota culture; these types include Old Town Red, O'Byam Incised/Engraved, Manly Punctate, Angel/Kincaid Negative Painted, Beckwith Incised, Barton Incised, Ranch Incised-Like, Parkin Punctate, Campbell Punctate, Walls Engraved, Vernon Paul Applique. The people of Caborn-Welborn were intensely involved in maize agriculture, as well as other food crops originating in the Americas, such as beans, squash and gourds; the addition of beans to their diet came after the demise of the Angel Phase peoples thought to have preceded the Caborn-Welborn.
It would have been a valuable source of protein to add to their maize-rich diet. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both, they collected local wild foodstuffs, including a variety of nuts such as hickory, black walnut and acorns, as well as fleshy fruits and berries such as persimmon and plums. The hunting of whitetail deer, squirrel, turkey and beaver added vital protein to their diet. But, unlike other Mississippian peoples in the central Mississippi Valley, they did not eat quantities of fish and waterfowl as part of their diet. By the final phase of Caborn-Welborn culture, European trade items began to be included among grave goods; these included copper and brass tubes, glass beads, bracelets. This is not indicative of direct European contact, however; the items could have made their way to the Caborn-Welborn area by the native traders along the routes which had brought exotic materials such as marine shells and native copper from other regions to the area for centuries.
But with the traders contracted and carried European diseases such as smallpox and measles, which penetrated the American continents far in advance of European-manned expeditions. With little or no immunity to the new European diseases, many Native cultures died or were disrupted before the Europeans made direct physical contact with them. The
The Plaquemine culture was an archaeological culture centered on the Lower Mississippi River valley. It had a deep history in the area stretching back through the earlier Coles Creek and Troyville cultures to the Marksville culture; the Natchez and related Taensa peoples were their historic period descendants. The type site for the culture is the Medora Site in Louisiana; the Plaquemine culture was a Mississippian culture variant centered on the Mississippi River valley, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to just south of its junction with the Arkansas River, encompassing the Yazoo River basin and Natchez Bluffs in western Mississippi, the lower Ouachita and Red River valleys in southeastern Arkansas, eastern Louisiana. They were agriculturists who grew maize, squash and tobacco but they hunted and gathered wild plants; the Medora Site in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana is the type site for the period, defined by Dr. James A. Ford and George I. Quimby after excavations at the site in the late 1930s and early 1940s.
The name for the culture is taken from the proximity of Medora to the nearby town of Plaquemine. It was inhabited from 1300 to 1600 CE and it consisted of two platform mounds separated by a plaza. Pottery from the site was overwhelmingly grog tempered with only a few bits of shell tempered pottery being found; these cultural hallmarks along with the implementation of intensive maize agriculture have become Plaquemine culture designators. Plaquemine was an outgrowth of the earlier Coles Creek culture, they experienced significant contact with Mississippian culture peoples to their north and east and the Terminal Coles Creek/early Plaquemine period was contemporaneous with the height of the Middle Mississippian culture at Cahokia in the American Bottom near St. Louis, Missouri. After Cahokias collapse in the mid 14th century they coexisted with Late Mississippian groups centered on eastern Arkansas near Memphis. Archaeologists debate whether Plaquemine is a local development or if the changes in their society that led from Coles Creek to Plaquemine was a result of contact with their Mississippian neighbors.
Many of these Coles Creek sites continued use by their Plaquemine descendants, Plaquemine sites were still being used in the early 1700s during the early historic period. The Plaquemine period saw the re-purposing and expansion of sites occupied during the Coles Creek period. Unlike Mississippian settlements which were large nucleated villages, Plaquemine settlements were barely populated ceremonial civic centers whose only permanent residents were the elites and their families and their attendants and servants. Everyone else lived in small hamlets and farmsteads dispersed across the landscape. Coupled with the adoption of maize agriculture during this period was a population explosion and an increase in the number and size of the sites; the ethnographic record from the historic period suggests some large sites such as Winterville or Emerald were the centers of paramount chiefdoms who exerted control over other smaller civic sites. These second tier rulers, part of a hereditary nobility, would have been related matrilineally to the ruling paramount chief.
An inherently volatile system, sometimes factions in smaller centers attained supremacy and power would shift from one civic center to another, resulting in the partial or total abandonment of the former capital. Beginning during the Terminal Coles Creek period, Mississippian cultures far upstream from the Plaquemine area began expanding their reach southward. Excavations in the Yazoo Basin area of Mississippi have shown a Cahokia Horizon as extra-regional exotic goods, such as Cahokian pottery and other artifacts, began to be deposited in Coles Creek-Plaquemine culture sites. Through repeated contacts, groups in Mississippi and Louisiana began adopting Mississippian techniques for making pottery, as well as ceremonial objects and social structuring. By the mid 15th century influences from Pensacola culture peoples had begun spreading westward across Barataria Bay and the Atchafalaya Basin and by 1700 had Mississipianized the local populations as far north as modern day Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Use of grog tempering for pottery at locations such as the Sims Site in southeastern Louisiana had been replaced by shell tempering. The Plaquemine peoples absorbed more Mississippian influence and the area of their distinct culture began to shrink after 1350 CE; the last enclave of purely Plaquemine culture was the southern Natchez Bluffs area, while the Yazoo Basin and Louisiana areas became a hybrid Plaquemine Mississippian culture. The earliest European account of the culture may be recorded in the journals of the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto. In 1542 de Soto's expedition encountered a powerful chiefdom located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. Native sources called it "Quigualtam", the name of the polity, its capital, its paramount chief. By this point the expedition had been traversing the southeast for several years and accounts of their deplorable treatment of the indigenous populations would have been known by groups they had yet to contact in person, their encounter with the polity was violent.
When the remnants of de Sotos expedition made it down the river past Quigualtam they encountered below it another unnamed but powerful chiefdom. Various scholars have debated the id