Logo   Prehistoric New England
In the beginning, there was no one here...



Every New Englander, whether of aboriginal, European, Asian or African stock, is an immigrant.

The western hemisphere was first populated by a Mongolian people who came from Asia, perhaps across the Bering Strait, anywhere from 12,000 to 25,000 years ago. They reached New England about 10,000 or 9000 BC.

We know very little about these first inhabitants, not even if they were the ancestors of the Indians who were here when the first European explorers arrived.

New England may be a fount of culture and industry today, but it was not so in ancient times. The greatest advances in ancient American civilization were made by the peoples of the American Southwest, the Valley of Mexico, the Maya lands, and Peru. The great Aztec, Maya, and Inca emperors would no doubt have looked upon the New England peoples of the first thousand years after Christ as the basest barbarians.

When the first European explorers arrived in what would become New England, they found the Algonquian tribes who hunted turkeys, deer, moose, beaver, and smaller animals; angled for fish and collected clams and lobsters; and raised corn and beans, pumpkins, and tobacco.

Attuned by tradition to their environment, the Algonquian peoples lived well but simply. They did not always get along with one another, however. Intertribal warfare was common.

There was no center of power among the New England tribes as there was in the Iroquois confederacy of New York, which offered a focused and sustained resistance to the encroachments of white settlers.

When the Europeans came, they did not need to "divide and conquer" New England's residents, for the indigenous peoples were already divided.

Next: The Explorers

New England Pre-History

The Explorers

Colonial New England

Timeline of New England History

New England Geology

New England History

New England Architecture

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