Native Americans refer to all the peoples and civilizations of the Americas (North, Central, South, Caribbean and various islands. This includes the natives of Alaska and Greenland to Tierra del Fuego. There would be about a thousand different languages and cultures.

Here are the major linguistic and cultural currents: such as the Algic languages (including Algonquin), Uto-Aztecan (including Nahuatl) mainly in North America; Mayan languages (including Quiché), Oto-Mango (including Coatzospan Mixtec) mainly in Central America and Mexico; the Arawakian languages (including Wayuu), Tupi (including Guarani), Quechua (including Cuzcanian Quechua) mainly in South America, as well as isolated languages.

Several indigenous languages have developed their own writing, such as the Mayan languages or Nahuatl. Many later adopted the Latin alphabet or designed a script more suited to their particularities. There are mostly settler writings on Native American customs.

americas america holidays

Festivals of the Peoples of the Americas

Holidays of the month

  • March 8, 2024 (1 event)

    March 8, 2024

    Nēmontēmi

    On this day, the Aztecs began the 5 Nēmontēmi, meaning "day to fill" because the Aztec calendar is only 360 days long. These days were considered cursed/sacred and one had to contemplate one's past year in calm and fasting. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #Aztec #Nemontemi #8Mars

  • March 12, 2024 (1 event)

    March 12, 2024

    Aztec New Year

    On this day the Aztec New Year took place. This day is still celebrated by some Nahua communities. Okote candles are lit, songs and dances are performed the day before. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #March 12 #nahua #azteque

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  • March 21, 2024 (1 event)

    March 21, 2024

    Pacha Pucuy

    On this day, the Incas began the month of Pacha-puchuy, the maturation of the earth. Black flames were sacrificed to the gods as a sign of veneration; and on certain days men had to refrain from eating salt and fruit, from touching their wives and from singing taquis. #mythology #myth #legend #calendar #21March #Inca #PachaPuchuy

Cultural areas in the Americas

Until recent decades, the late settlement theory prevailed, which maintains that human beings migrated to America from Asia via Beringia during the last ice age 12,000 to 14,000 years ago. However, traces indicating the presence of humans in the northern Yukon 24,000 years ago have been found. These data would suggest the crossing of humans from Siberia who would have occupied the now submerged territories of Beringia, and would have remained isolated by the glaciers some 8,000 years before dispersing in the rest of the American continent.

Scientists also support the thesis according to which the first settlement of America would have occurred 20,000 to 50,000 years earlier and would also be the result of a migration during which the human being would have taken different routes, such as as Mongolia, Siberia and the Arctic Ocean sea ice.

Subsequently, humans quickly occupied the entire continent where they formed various societies: in North America, the civilization of Mississippi and the city of Cahokia, the Iroquoian villages of Hochelaga and Stadaconé, as well as the Inuit, Dorset and Saqqaq cultures. In South America, the sacred city of Caral-Supe (the oldest American city) and the Sacred Valley of the Incas; in Mesoamerica, the Mayan cities of Chichén Itzá and Yaxchilan and the Aztec capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.

The Viking colonization of America is the first well-documented attempt at human settlement from Europe. According to the saga of Erik the Red, the first colonies were established in Greenland around the year 985 CE. His son, Leif Ericson, would then have explored Vinland (island of Newfoundland) around the year 1000 and would have entered into a relationship with the Beothuks. However, other pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contacts are presumed to have occurred even before the Scandinavian explorations.

The most developed civilizations of America, at the time of their encounter with Europeans, were not so technologically advanced as those of the Old World. For example, they had not developed the technology of the wheel and metallurgy had almost never any use other than decorative or monetary (notably in the form of coin axes): moreover, most Amerindians did not did not use a writing system, except in Mesoamerica, where they have been found on monuments as well as in codices.

However, this backwardness did not apply to all areas: certain American civilizations achieved a high degree of social organization and developed remarkable knowledge of astronomy and mathematics, as well as complex techniques of agriculture and architecture; thus, for example, the Aztec capital, Mexico-Tenochtitlan, was, when the Spaniards discovered it, one of the largest cities in the world, with an estimated population of about 200,000.