chapter  2
Pre-Columbian Cultures
Pages 13

In 1492, Christopher Columbus encountered a vast, rich environment that was home to a multitude of different Native American Indian groups who spoke different languages and lived in many different geographical zones and conditions. For more than 10000 years the peoples of the Western Hemisphere had existed in virtual isolation from the Eurasian land mass, and when Europeans arrived at the end of the fi fteenth century, they found civilizations in different stages of development that ranged from Stone Age hunters and gatherers, to rudimentary farmers, to Bronze Age empires that rivaled Egypt and Mesopotamia.