The Muisca Confederation was a loose confederation of different Muisca rulers in the central Andean highlands of present-day Colombia before the Spanish conquest of northern South America. The area, presently called Altiplano Cundiboyacense, comprised the current departments of Boyacá, Cundinamarca and minor parts of Santander with a total surface area of 25,000 square kilometres. According to some Muisca scholars the Muisca Confederation was one of the best-organized confederations of tribes on the South American continent. Modern anthropologists, such as Jorge Gamboa Mendoza, attribute the present-day knowledge about the confederation and its organization more to a reflection by Spanish chroniclers who predominantly wrote about it a century or more after the Muisca were conquered and proposed the idea of a loose collection of different people with different languages and backgrounds. In the times before the Spanish conquest of the Muisca, the central part of present-day Colombia; the central authorities of Bacatá in the south and Hunza in the north were called zipa and zaque respectively.
Other rulers were the iraca priest in sacred City of the Sun Sugamuxi, the Tundama of Tundama and various other caciques. The Muisca spoke Chibcha, in their own language called Muysccubun; the Muisca people, different from the other three great civilisations of the Americas. Their settlements were small and consisted of bohíos. Roads were present to connect the settlements with each other and with the surrounding indigenous groups, of which the Guane and Lache to the north, the Panche and Muzo to the west and Guayupe and Tegua to the east were the most important. Early Amerindian settlers led a hunter-gatherer life among still extant megafauna living in cool habitats around Pleistocene lakes, of which the humedales in Bogotá, Lake Suesca, Lake Fúquene and Lake Herrera are notable examples. Multiple evidences of late Pleistocene to middle Holocene population of the Bogotá savanna, the high plateau in the Colombian Andes, have been found to date; as is common with caves and rock shelters, Tequendama was inhabited from around 11,000 years BP, continuing into the prehistorical and Muisca periods, making it the oldest site of Colombia, together with El Abra, located north of Zipaquirá and Tibitó, located within the boundaries of Tocancipá.
The oldest human remains and the oldest complete skeleton were discovered at Tequendama and has been named "Hombre del Tequendama" or Homo Tequendama. Other artefacts have been found in Sueva and Zipacón. Just west of the Altiplano, the oldest archaeological remains were found; the Herrera Period is a phase in the history of Colombia. It is part of the Andean preceramic and ceramic, time equivalent of the North American pre-Columbian formative and classic stages and age dated by various archaeologists; the Herrera Period predates the age of the Muisca people, who inhabited the Altiplano Cundiboyacense before the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and postdates the lithic formative stage and prehistory of the eastern Andean region in Colombia. The Herrera Period is defined as ranging from 800 BCE to 800 AD, although some scholars date it as early as 1500 BCE. Ample evidence of the Herrera Period has been uncovered on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense and main archaeologists contributing to the present knowledge about the Herrera Period are scholars Ana María Groot, Gonzalo Correal Urrego, Thomas van der Hammen, Carl Henrik Langebaek Rueda, Sylvia M. Broadbent, Marianne Cardale de Schrimpff and others.
The Muisca were polytheistic and their religion and mythology was connected with the natural area they were inhabiting. They had a thorough understanding of astronomical parameters and developed a complex luni-solar calendar. According to the calendar they had specific times for sowing and the organisation of festivals where they sang and played music and drank their national drink chicha in great quantities; the most respected members of the community were mummified and the mummies were not buried, yet displayed in their temples, in natural locations such as caves and carried on their backs during warfare to impress their enemies. Their art is the most famous remnant of their culture, as living spaces and other existing structures have been destroyed by the Spanish who colonised the Muisca territories. A primary example of their fine goldworking is the Muisca raft, together with more objects made of gold, tumbaga and cotton displayed in the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, the ancient capital of the southern Muisca.
The Muisca were a predominantly agricultural society with small-scale farmfields, part of more extensive terrains. To diversify their diet, they traded mantles, gold and salt for fruits, coca and cotton cultivated in lower altitude warmer terrains populated by their neighbours, the Muzo, Yarigui, Guayupe, Tegua, Sutagao and U'wa. Trade of products grown farther away happened with the Calima and Caribbean coastal communities around the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; the Muisca economy was self-sufficient regarding the basic supplies, thanks to the advanced technologies of the agriculture on raised terraces by the people. The system of trade was well established pr
Sué, Xué, Zuhe or Suhé was the god of the Sun in the religion of the Muisca. He was married to Moon goddess Chía; the Muisca and their confederation were one of the four advanced civilizations of the Americas and developed their own religion on the Altiplano Cundiboyacense in the Andes. Both the Sun and rain, impersonated by Chibchacum, were important for their agriculture. After the creation of light and the world by Chiminigagua he created Chía and Sué to represent the Moon and the Sun respectively. Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada wrote about the Muisca: "they have the Sun and the Moon as breeders of all the things and believe they are together as husband and wife having created the councils". While Chía was related to the zipas of the southern Muisca Confederation, Sué was governing the zaques of the northern Muisca; the cacique of Ramiriquí was related to Sué. Sué was worshipped in the Temple of the Sun in Sugamuxi known as Sogamoso, City of the Sun. Other temples attributed to Sué were in Guatavita.
The original Sun Temple in Sogamoso has been destroyed by torch fires of the Spanish conquerors. On the date of the summer solstice, the Muisca nobles went in a procession to the temples where they made sacrifices to ask for blessings of the yearly harvests; the day was celebrated with grand fesitivies by the people who painted their bodies and got drunk with chicha. They adored their own shadows as they believed that Sué gave them their own personal god that they carried with them all day. Nencatacoa Ocampo López, Javier. 2013. Mitos y leyendas indígenas de Colombia -- Indigenous legends of Colombia. Plaza & Janes Editores Colombia S. A.. Ocampo López, Javier. 2007. Grandes culturas indígenas de América - Great indigenous cultures of the Americas, 1–238. Plaza & Janes Editores Colombia S. A
Sebastián de Belalcázar
Sebastián de Belalcázar was a Spanish conquistador. De Belalcázar written as de Benalcázar, is known as the founder of important early colonial cities in the northwestern part of South America. De Belalcázar led expeditions in present-day Ecuador and Colombia and died of natural causes after being sentenced to death in Cartagena, at the Caribbean coast in 1551, he was born Sebastián Moyano in the province of Córdoba, Spain, in either 1479 or 1480. He took the name Belalcázar as, the name of the castle-town near to his birthplace in Córdoba. According to various sources, he may have left for the New World with Christopher Columbus as early as 1498, but Juan de Castellanos wrote that he killed a mule in 1507, fled Spain for the West Indies due to fear of punishment, as a chance to escape the poverty in which he lived, he was an encomendero in Panama in 1522. He entered Nicaragua with Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1524 during the conquest of Nicaragua, became the first mayor of the city of León in Nicaragua.
He remained there until 1527, when he left for Honduras as a result of internal disputes among the Spanish governors. Returning to León, he sailed to the coast of Peru, where he united with the expedition of Francisco Pizarro in 1532. In 1534, while commanding the settlement of San Miguel for Francisco Pizarro, Sebastian set off to conquer Quito in Ecuador, without orders from Pizarro. Quito had been the northernmost city of the Inca Empire, but while Belalcázar defeated the Inca general Rumiñahui, the local population secreted the city treasure away. Belalcázar founded the new city of Quito with Diego de Almagro and Baltasar Maldonado, honoring Pizarro by naming it in full "San Francisco de Quito", his battles, were not honourable. At a village called Quinche near Puritaco, he found that all the men were away fighting with the national army. To make an example of these people, he ordered all the women and children to be slaughtered.'A feeble excuse to justify cruelty unworthy of a Castilian', was the verdict of Herrera, the official Chronicler of the Conquest, to Belalcázar's excuse that this was done to terrify other natives into returning to their homes.
Moving northward into present day Colombia in search of El Dorado in 1535, he entered the Cauca River Valley, founding the southwestern Colombian cities of Santiago de Cali in 1536, Pasto and Popayán in 1537. Crossing overland to the Magdalena River Valley, he entered the highlands of central Colombia, reached by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada and Nikolaus Federmann, a German, in 1539; the three presented their dispute before King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The King granted Belalcázar rule of the area with the title of governor of Popayán and the honorary title of adelantado in May 1540; as so happened among the conquistadors, land squabbles developed again, this time between Belalcázar and Pascual de Andagoya, who claimed the governorship of Popayán. Belalcázar defended his lands, took over some of Andagoya's, he intervened in a disagreement between supporters of the families of Pizarro and Almagro in Perú. In 1546, he ordered the execution of Jorge Robledo, who governed a neighboring province in yet another land-related vendetta.
He was put to trial in absentia in 1550, convicted and condemned to death for the death of Robledo, other offenses pertaining to his constant involvement in the various wars between other conquistadors. A victim of his own ambition, he died in 1551 before he could begin the voyage back to Spain to appeal the decision, in Cartagena, Colombia. List of conquistadors List of conquistadors in Colombia
Eastern Hills, Bogotá
The Eastern Hills are a chain of hills forming the eastern natural boundary of the Colombian capital Bogotá. They are part of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, the high plateau of the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes; the Eastern Hills are bordered by the Chingaza National Natural Park to the east, the Bogotá savanna to the west and north, the Sumapaz Páramo to the south. The north-northeast to south-southwest trending mountain chain is 52 kilometres long and its width varies from 0.4 to 8 kilometres. The highest hilltops rise to 3,550 metres over the western flatlands at 2,600 metres; the Torca River at the border with Chía in the north, the boquerón Chipaque to the south and the valley of the Teusacá River to the east are the hydrographic limits of the Eastern Hills. Geologically, the Eastern Hills are the result of the westward compression along the Bogotá Fault, that thrusted the lower Upper Cretaceous rocks of the Chipaque Formation and Guadalupe Group onto the latest Cretaceous to Eocene sequence of the Guaduas, Bogotá, Cacho and Regadera Formations.
The fold and thrust belt of the Eastern Hills was produced by the Andean orogeny with the main phase of tectonic compression and uplift taking place in the Pliocene. During the Pleistocene, the Eastern Hills were covered by glaciers feeding a large paleolake that existed on the Bogotá savanna and is represented today by the many wetlands of Bogotá; the main tourist attractions of the Eastern Hills of Bogotá are the Monserrate and Guadalupe Hills, the former a pilgrimage site for centuries. Other trails in the Eastern Hills follow the creeks of Las Delicias and others; the busy road Bogotá – La Calera crosses the Eastern Hills in the central-northern part and the highway between Bogotá and Villavicencio traverses the southernmost area of the hills. The eastern side of the Eastern Hills is part of the municipalities La Calera, Choachí, Ubaque and Chipaque; the Eastern Hills were sparsely populated in pre-Columbian times, considered sacred by the indigenous Muisca. The native people buried their dead there.
The Guadalupe and Monserrate Hills, important in Muisca religion and archaeoastronomy, are the hilltops from where Sué, the Sun, rises on the December and June solstices when viewed from the present-day Bolívar Square. The construction and expansion of the Colombian capital in Spanish colonial times caused excessive deforestation of the Eastern Hills. Reforestations were executed in the 1940s. Large parts of the Eastern Hills are designated as a natural reserve with a variety of flora and fauna, endemic to the hills. Despite its status as a protected area, the Eastern Hills lie in an urban setting with more than ten million inhabitants and are affected by mining activities, illicit construction, stream contamination, frequent forest fires. Several proposals to fight the environmental problems have been written in the past decades; the Eastern Hills cover an area of 13,630 hectares, are oriented north-northeast to south-southwest along a length of 52 kilometres, have a width between 0.4 and 8 kilometres and range in elevation from 2,600 to 3,550 metres.
They border the Colombian capital Bogotá to the east. The main hills are Monserrate at 3,152 metres. Other hills are Aguanoso, Pico del Águila, El Cable, El Chicó, El Chiscal, La Laguna, Pan de Azúcar and La Teta. From north to south, the rural areas of the localities of Usaquén, Santa Fe, San Cristóbal and Usme are part of the Eastern Hills. Of the area of Santa Fe, 84.5% is rural area, located in the Eastern Hills. The municipalities Chía, La Calera, Choachí, Ubaque and Chipaque are in the Eastern Hills; the Cerros Orientales are an important water source for the Colombian capital. The San Rafael Reservoir, administered by the municipality La Calera, is east of the Eastern Hills. Bogotá, as a result the Eastern Hills of Bogotá, are named after the original main settlement of the Muisca. Bacatá in Muysccubun means " outside of the farmfields" or "limit of the farmfields", referring to the seat of the zipa in present-day Funza on the right bank of the Bogotá River. Bacatá is a combination of bac or uac, ca, tá, meaning "outside", "enclosure" and "farmfield" respectively.
Alternative spellings are Muequetá, or Muyquytá, the word is transliterated in Epítome de la conquista del Nuevo Reino de Granada as Bogothá. Geographically, the Eastern Hills form part of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, the high plateau in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes; the natural boundaries of the Eastern Hills are the Bogotá savanna in the north and west, the hills of Chingaza National Natural Park in the east and the mountains of Sumapaz Páramo in the south. The northern hydrographic limit is the Torca River at the border with Chía, the southern limit the boquerón Chipaque and the eastern hydrographic boundary is formed by the Teusacá River; the rocks forming the Eastern Hills range in age from Late Cretaceous to Paleogene and are covered by sub-recent sediments of the Pleistocene and Holocene. The contact between the Maastrichtian to Lower Paleocene Guaduas and Late Paleocene Cacho Formations is discordant, indicating the first uplift of the Andes. Between the Eocene and Pleistocene a hiatus is present, where the Pleistocene formations are followed by Holocene unconsolidated sediments.
The Cenomanian–Turonian Chipaque Formation got its name from the village Chipaque and is the oldest stratigraphical unit outcropping in the eastern flank of the Eastern Hills. It comprises laminated organic to organic shales an
Bogotá Bogotá, Distrito Capital, abbreviated Bogotá, D. C. and known as Santafé/Santa Fé de Bogotá between 1991 and 2000, is the capital and largest city of Colombia, administered as the Capital District, although erroneously thought of as part of Cundinamarca. Bogotá is a territorial entity of the first order, with the same administrative status as the departments of Colombia, it is the political, economic and industrial center of the country. Bogotá was founded as the capital of the New Kingdom of Granada on August 6, 1538, by Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada after a harsh expedition into the Andes conquering the Muisca; the Muisca were the indigenous inhabitants of the region and called the settlement where Bogotá was founded Bacatá, which in the Chibcha language means "The Lady of the Andes." Further, the word'Andes' in the Aymara language means "shining mountain," thus rendering the full lexical signification of Bogotá as "The Lady of the shining mountain." After the Battle of Boyacá on August 7, 1819, Bogotá became the capital of the independent nation of Gran Colombia.
Since the Viceroyalty of New Granada's independence from the Spanish Empire and during the formation of present-day Colombia, Bogotá has remained the capital of this territory. The city is located in the center of Colombia, on a high plateau known as the Bogotá savanna, part of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense located in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes, it is the third-highest capital in South America and in the world after Quito and La Paz, at an average of 2,640 metres above sea level. Subdivided into 20 localities, Bogotá has an area of 1,587 square kilometres and a cool climate, constant through the year; the city is home to central offices of the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch of the Colombian government. Bogotá stands out for its economic strength and associated financial maturity, its attractiveness to global companies and the quality of human capital, it is the financial and commercial heart of Colombia, with the most business activity of any city in the country.
The capital hosts the main financial market in Colombia and the Andean natural region, is the leading destination for new foreign direct investment projects coming into Latin America and Colombia. It has the highest nominal GDP in the country, responsible for a quarter of the nation's total; the city's airport, El Dorado International Airport, named after the mythical El Dorado, handles the largest cargo volume in Latin America, is third in number of people. Bogotá is home to the largest number of universities and research centers in the country, is an important cultural center, with many theaters and museums, of which the Museo del Oro is the most important. Bogotá ranks 52nd on the Global Cities Index 2014, is considered a global city type "Alpha −" by GaWC; the area of modern Bogotá was first populated by groups of indigenous people who migrated south based on the relation with the other Chibcha languages. The civilisation built by the Muisca, who settled in the valleys and fertile highlands of and surrounding the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, was one of the four great civilisations in the Americas.
The name Muisca Confederation has been given to a loose egalitarian society of various chiefs who lived in small settlements of maximum 100 bohíos. The agriculture and salt-based society of the people was rich in goldworking and mummification; the religion of the Muisca consisted of various gods related to natural phenomena as the Sun and his wife, the Moon. Their complex luni-solar calendar, deciphered by Manuel Izquierdo based on work by Duquesne, followed three different sets of years, where the sidereal and synodic months were represented, their astronomical knowledge is represented in one of the few extant landmarks of the architecture of the Muisca in El Infiernito outside Villa de Leyva to the north of Bogotá. The first populations inhabiting the present-day Metropolitan Area of Bogotá, were hunter-gatherer people in the late Pleistocene; the oldest dated evidence thus far has been discovered in El Abra, north of Zipaquirá. Dated excavations in a rock shelter southwest of the city in Soacha provided ages of ~11,000 BP.
Since around 0 AD, the Muisca domesticated part of their meat diet. The people inhabiting the Bogotá savanna in the late 15th century were the Muisca, speaking Muysccubun, a member of the Chibcha language family. Muisca means "person", making "Muisca people", how they are called, a tautology. At the arrival of the conquerors, the population was estimated to be half a million indigenous people on the Bogotá savanna of up to two million in the Muisca Confederation, they occupied the highland and mild climate flanks between the Sumapaz Mountains to the southwest and Cocuy's snowy peak to the northeast, covering an approximate area of 25,000 km2, comprising Bogotá's high plain, the current Boyacá department portion and a small Santander region. Trade was the most important activity of the Muisca with other Chibcha-speaking neighbours, such as the Guane, Lache and U'wa and with Cariban groups as the Muzo or "Emerald People", their knowledge of salt pro
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada
Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada y Rivera spelled as De Quezada and Ximénez, (Spanish:. He explored the northern part of South America; as a well-educated lawyer he was one of the intellectuals of the Spanish conquest. He was an effective organizer and leader, designed the first legislation for the government of the area, was its historian. After 1569 he undertook explorations toward the east, searching for the elusive El Dorado, but returned to New Granada in 1573, he has been suggested as a possible model for Cervantes' Don Quixote. His father, Luis Jiménez de Quesada, was a hidalgo relative of Gonzalo Francisco de Cordoba, he had two well-known distant cousins, the conquistadores of Mexico and Peru respectively: Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, he had three younger brothers. De Quesada was an Andalusian lawyer, trained in Granada, he was appointed chief magistrate in 1535 and second in command for an expedition to present-day Colombia, because in that period he was not in good standing with the people at home because he had just lost an important court case in which his mother's family was economically involved.
The commander of the expedition, Pedro Fernández de Lugo, had bought the governorship of Colombia and had equipped a fleet and assembled over a thousand men. And so they set sail to Colombia, thinking they would find a rich land, full of gold and pearls, but when, after two month of navigation, they reached the small coastal settlement of Santa Marta, all they found was a conglomeration of hovels and filthy, disease-ridden colonists who went about dressed in skins or woven and padded cotton clothes made by the Indians. Soon food became tropical fevers began to smite down the strongest. In 1536, De Quesada was chosen by De Lugo to command an expedition without any military experience to explore into the interior of New Granada, hoping to discover the dreamed El Dorado. A land party under De Quesada, with Hernán Pérez de Quesada, Juan San Martín, Juan del Junco Lázaro Fonte and Sergio Bustillo, struck south from Santa Marta, crossed the Cesar River, arrived at Tamalameque on the Magdalena River.
A support fleet of 6 ships had sailed from Santa Marta with 900 men to navigate the Magdalena. Only two of the vessels arrived at Tamalameque, subsequently returned to Santa Marta with many of De Quesada's men. Continuing up the Magdalena as far as La Tora, De Quesada and his men ascended the Opon River into the cordillera, reaching the Opon hills and the valley of the Suárez River. Passing Lake Fúquene and Lake Suesca, they reached Nemocón and Zipaquirá and entered the Muisca Confederation. Only 166 men out of 900 survived, suffering in the jungle: they were forced to eat snakes, lizards and the leather torn from their harnesses and the scabbards of their swords. In Bogotá, Quesada called for an election; the Muisca had two rulers. The zipa Tisquesusa, ruled in Bogotá. Taking advantage of a war between the two chiefdoms, Quesada's force subdued Bogotá and successfully attacked Tunja. At this point it was time to establish a colony so that the earth itself might properly belong to De Quesada and his men.
They chose a spot next to the towering peaks of the east, where the land was high and the rains would run off, where the mountains would protect them from attackers and the jungles below. Quesada placed his right foot on the bare earth and said "I take possession of this land in the name of the most sovereign emperor, Charles V." The settlement was at first called New City of Granada, but they changed it to Santa Fé de Bogotá, now known as Bogotá, from the Chibcha word Bacatá, the name of one of the two main cacicazgos of the Muisca Confederation. Quesada remained in the region until the arrival of two expeditions at the end of 1538: Sebastián de Belalcázar from Quito, one of the captains of Pizarro who had mutinied against his leader; the three captains met on the savanna of New Granada. All three wanted to claim New Granada for themselves. In order to resolve their dispute, De Quesada persuaded them to go back to Spain with him and to submit their rival territorial claims to the arbitration of the crown.
In July 1539, they sailed for Spain from Cartagena. However, none of them obtained the governorship. De Quesada, after nearly a dozen years of wandering disconsolately through the gaming halls of Europe, returned to New Granada in 1550. Here, he settled down to live for nearly twenty years, he was a respected colonist. He protected his fellow colonists from the severity of the officials and restrained the encomenderos greed, but his own desire for wealth and gold continued to live inside him. In 1569, at the age of 63, De Quesada received a commission to conquer the Llanos to the east of the Colombian cordillera. From Bogotá in April 1569 with 500 mounted soldiers, 1500 natives, 1100 horses and pack animals, 600 head of cattle, 800 pigs, a large number of negro slaves and 8 priests, he first descended to Mesetas on the upper Guejar River. Ther
The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continent, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period. While the phrase "pre-Columbian era" refers only to the time preceding Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492, in practice the phrase is used to denote the entire history of indigenous Americas cultures until those cultures were exterminated, diminished, or extensively altered by Europeans if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus's first landing. For this reason the alternative terms of Precontact Americas, Pre-Colonial Americas or Prehistoric Americas are in use. In areas of Latin America the term used is Pre-Hispanic. Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included permanent settlements, agriculture and monumental architecture, major earthworks, complex societal hierarchies.
Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and the arrival of enslaved Africans, are known only through archaeological investigations and oral history. Other civilizations were contemporary with the colonial period and were described in European historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their own written records; because many Christian Europeans of the time viewed such texts as heretical, men like Diego de Landa destroyed many texts in pyres while seeking to preserve native histories. Only a few hidden documents have survived in their original languages, while others were transcribed or dictated into Spanish, giving modern historians glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge. Indigenous American cultures continue to evolve after the pre-Columbian era. Many of these peoples and their descendants continue traditional practices while evolving and adapting new cultural practices and technologies into their lives.
Before the development of archaeology in the 19th century, historians of the pre-Columbian period interpreted the records of the European conquerors and the accounts of early European travelers and antiquaries. It was not until the nineteenth century that the work of men such as John Lloyd Stephens, Eduard Seler and Alfred P. Maudslay, of institutions such as the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University, led to the reconsideration and criticism of the European sources. Now, the scholarly study of pre-Columbian cultures is most based on scientific and multidisciplinary methodologies. Asian nomads are thought to have entered the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge, now the Bering Strait and along the coast. Genetic evidence found in Amerindians' maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA supports the theory of multiple genetic populations migrating from Asia. Over the course of millennia, Paleo-Indians spread throughout South America; when the first group of people migrated into the Americas is the subject of much debate.
One of the earliest identifiable cultures was the Clovis culture, with sites dating from some 13,000 years ago. However, older sites dating back to 20,000 years ago have been claimed; some genetic studies estimate the colonization of the Americas dates from between 40,000 and 13,000 years ago. The chronology of migration models is divided into two general approaches; the first is the short chronology theory with the first movement beyond Alaska into the Americas occurring no earlier than 14,000–17,000 years ago, followed by successive waves of immigrants. The second belief is the long chronology theory, which proposes that the first group of people entered the hemisphere at a much earlier date 50,000–40,000 years ago or earlier. Artifacts have been found in both North and South America which have been dated to 14,000 years ago, accordingly humans have been proposed to have reached Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America by this time. In that case, the Eskimo peoples would have arrived separately and at a much date no more than 2,000 years ago, moving across the ice from Siberia into Alaska.
The North American climate was unstable. It stabilized by about 10,000 years ago. Within this time frame pertaining to the Archaic Period, numerous archaeological cultures have been identified; the unstable climate led to widespread migration, with early Paleo-Indians soon spreading throughout the Americas, diversifying into many hundreds of culturally distinct tribes. The Paleo-Indians were hunter-gatherers characterized by small, mobile bands consisting of 20 to 50 members of an extended family; these groups moved from place to place as preferred resources were depleted and new supplies were sought. During much of the Paleo-Indian period, bands are thought to have subsisted through hunting now-extinct giant land animals such as mastodon and ancient bison. Paleo-Indian groups carried a variety of tools; these included distinctive projectile points and knives, as well as less distinctive implements used for butchering and hide processing. The vastness of the North American continent, the variety of its climates, vegetation and landforms, led ancient peoples to coalesce into many distinct linguistic and cultural groups.
This is reflected in the oral histories of the indigenous peoples, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories which say that a given people have been living in a certain territory since the creation of the world. Over the course of thousands of years, paleo-Indian