Archaeological as well as
geological evidence suggests that the present-day United States was
originally populated by people migrating from Asia via the Bering land
bridge starting some 20,000 years ago. These people became the
indigenous people who inhabited the Americas prior to the arrival of
European explorers in the 1400s and who are now called Native
Americans. This may be valuable to know as part of your
For the California Subject Examinations for
Teachers (CSET) you may also wish to know that many cultures thrived
in the Americas before Europeans came, including the Puebloans (Aztec)
in the southwest and the Adena Culture in the east. Several such
societies and communities, over time, intensified this practice of
established settlements, and grew to support sizeable and concentrated
populations. Agriculture was independently developed in what is now
the eastern United States as early as 2500 BC, based on the
domestication of indigenous sunflower, squash and goosefoot.
Eventually, Mexican maize and legumes were adapted to the shorter
summers of eastern North America and replaced the indigenous crops.
The first European contact
with the Americas was with the Vikings in the year 1000. Leif Erikson
established a short-lived settlement called Vinland in present day
Newfoundland. It would be another 500 years before European contact
would be made again.
Several medieval Arabic
sources also suggest that Muslim explorers from Islamic Spain and
Northwest Africa may have traveled in expeditions across the Atlantic
to the Americas between the 9th and 14th centuries.
The above CSET-related
article on pre-colonial America is predominantly excerpted from Wikipedia and used
under permission of the GNU license agreement. It is provided as
a free CSET study resource for those seeking additional review on
Please note, however, that it is not written specifically for CSET
prep purposes, and does not cover all material needed to pass the
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