Pre-Columbian era

The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history 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 American cultures until those cultures were extinguished, diminished, or extensively altered by Europeans if this happened long after Columbus; the alternative terms precontact, precolonial, or prehistoric Americas are used. Many pre-Columbian civilizations were marked by 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 pagan, men like Diego de Landa burned them 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. Many indigenous peoples in the Americas continue traditional practices while evolving and adapting to the modern world. 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, 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 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, including distinctive projectile points and knives, as well as less distinctive butchering and hide-scraping implements; 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 people domesticated and cultivated a number of plant species, including crops which now constitute 50–60% of worldwide agriculture.

In general, Arctic and coastal peoples continued to live as hunters and gatherers, while agriculture was adopted in more temperate and sh

St Michael's Church, Alnwick

St Michael's Church is an Anglican place of worship situated on Bailiffgate in the town of Alnwick in Northumberland, England. The current building dates from the 15th century but a 12th-century Norman chapel stood on the site prior to this; the church is dedicated to St Michael the Archangel, in earlier times it was dedicated to St Mary as well. It is a Grade I listed building, included in the book “England's Thousand Best Churches"; the first written mention of a church on the site is found in a charter of 1147 in which Eustace fitz John endowed the newly founded Alnwick Abbey with various gifts including the Chapel of Alnwick. Few remnants of this Norman chapel are visible in the present day church, some surviving stones with a diaper pattern are built into the chancel; the 1863 restoration revealed some buried basements of pillars in the late Norman style of architecture which existed in the first half of the 12th century. Old foundations were exposed by the 1863 restoration which confirmed that the Norman chapel had a long, narrow nave and a small apse.

The church suffered severe damage from Scottish raids during the first half of the 14th century during the Wars of Scottish Independence. The second half of the century saw repair work undertaken which saw the present nave built and the addition of the north aisle as well as the construction of the north wall all in the Decorated style The 15th century saw the majority of the present day church built, evidence suggest that the old church was in a ruinous state by this time. Towards the end of the 14th century the Decorated style of architecture was replaced by the Perpendicular style and it is in this design that most of the new church was built. Financial aid for the rebuild came directly from the monarch King Henry VI who issued a charter in 1464 granting the Burgesses of Alnwick a port at Alnmouth with tolls on exports from it, plus a fair and market at Alnwick that besides doing other work they might "make and repair their church"; the substantial money brought in from this Royal grant enabled the Burgesses of Alnwick to turn St Michael's into one of the finest examples of the Perpendicular style of architecture in the north.

The highlight of the 15th century work was the impressive and spacious chancel with its octagonal pillars which are elaborately sculptured. There were no further changes to the church until the latter years of the 18th century when Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland after renovating Alnwick Castle, repaired the chancel using his own architect Vincent Shepherd assisted by Italian craftsmen; the work included a new window in the middle of the east end, a fan vaulted plaster ceiling and oak stalls for the Duke and his family. A revival in church attendance in the early part of the 19th century led to a statement in 1811 by the church councillors that accommodation was insufficient; as a result of this, a sum of £2,000 was spent in 1818 increasing the capacity to 1,200, this was achieved by removing the small galleries and adding a large one at the west end. Funds for this project came from a large donation from Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland, other money was raised through the church rates and the sale of seats.

When Algernon Percy, 4th Duke of Northumberland was restoring Alnwick Castle between 1854 and 1865 he agreed to finance the restoration of St Michael's. The restoration started in 1863 and was overseen by Anthony Salvin, directing the work on the castle. Salvin swept away many of the mistakes of the two previous restorations, removing the plaster ceilings and the gallery, he strengthened some areas of the church and reinstated four pillars and the pointed arches to the nave, removed in the 1818 renewal, he replaced some of the Decorated windows with ones in the Perpendicular style. The chancel aisle was filled with oak pews donated by the Duke. One of the most eye catching exterior items is at the south east corner where there is an unusual lookout turret, used to warn of raiders during the border conflicts; the turret was used in conjunction with Heiferlaw Peel tower, four miles to the north, which had a wide view of the borders and gave an early warning of any attack. The turret was again utilised in the early part of the 19th century when a landing by Napoleon’s army was feared and a series of beacons were set up around the country.

The main tower stands at the west end of the church on foundations which go 30 to 40 feet below the surface, it is squat looking with battlements. The interior features two statues which were dug up from the foundations during the 1818 restoration, they were minus the heads and have modern replacements. One is of Henry VI and the other one is either Saint Sebastian or Maurice, a local saint martyred by the Danes. There are several Medieval grave slabs built into the wall, the oldest of these dates from the 13th century. Below the west window is the modern font made from Kilkenny blue-black limestone by David Edwick of Hexham, it was a gift for the new millennium. A small window to the right of the west window has fragments of medieval glass from the 14th century within it; the rest of the stained glass comes from the 19th century and contains what is described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "an uncommonly complete and enlightening survey of 19th century glass". The east end of the church features the altar.

The chapel has an interesting pillar featuring the Percy and de Vesci arms and a carving of St Catherine and the wheel on which she was martyred, it is called the Hotspur Capital and remembers Harry Hotspur, the famous warrior and son of the First Earl

Mato Verde

Mato Verde is a municipality located in the north of the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. It was founded in 1953; the population was 12,664 as of 2007 and the area was 664 km². The elevation of the city is 541 metres; the postal code is 39527-000. Mato Verde is part of the statistical microregion of Janaúba, it is surrounded by the following municipalities: Monte Azul, Rio Pardo de Minas and Pai Pedro. It is connected by paved road to the regional center of Janaúba to the south; the distance is 80 km. To the north lies the municipality of Monte Azul, a distance of 32 km; the distance to the state capital, Belo Horizonte, is 504 km. The distance to Montes Claros is Template:Convet; the municipality contains part of the 49,830 hectares Serra Nova State Park, created in 2003. The most important touristic site is the waterfall called Cachoeira de Maria Rosa, located 12 kilometers from the urban area. Inadequate rainfall and poor soils make this one of the poorest municipalities in the state and in the country.

The main economic activities are cattle raising and farming with modest production of cotton, beans and sorghum. In 2006 there were 1,002 rural producers with a total area of 39,851 hectares. Cropland made natural pasture 24,500 hectares. There were only 56 tractors a ratio of one for every 200 farms. In the urban area there was one financial institution as of 2006. There were 668 automobiles; the Gross Domestic Product was R$38,291,000. Health care was provided by 9 public health clinics. There was one hospital with 17 beds. MHDI:.669 In 1991 it was 580. State ranking: 674 out of 853 municipalities as of 2000 National ranking: 3,472 out of 5,138 municipalities as of 2000 Life expectancy: 68 Literacy rate: 72.9 Combined primary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio:.744 Per capita income: R$109.82 List of municipalities in Minas Gerais IBGE Mato Verde City Hall City Brazil