What Is First American History?

First American History refers to the history of the indigenous peoples who inhabited North America before the arrival of European explorers and settlers. It is a fascinating and complex subject that spans thousands of years and encompasses a diverse range of cultures, traditions, and beliefs.

Pre-Columbian Era

The first humans to arrive in North America are believed to have come from Asia via a land bridge that connected Siberia and Alaska during the last Ice Age. This migration is thought to have occurred around 12,000 years ago, and these early inhabitants eventually spread throughout the continent.

During the pre-Columbian era, many different civilizations thrived in North America. These included the Anasazi in the Southwest, who built impressive cliff dwellings; the Mississippians in the Southeast, who constructed large earthen mounds; and the Hohokam in Arizona, who created an extensive irrigation system.

European Contact

The arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 marked the beginning of European contact with North America. Over the next few centuries, Spanish, French, Dutch, and English explorers established colonies throughout what is now Canada and the United States.

This period also saw significant conflict between Europeans and Native Americans. European diseases decimated indigenous populations, while warfare and forced relocation caused immense suffering.

American Revolution

The American Revolution marked a turning point in First American History. Many Native American tribes sided with Great Britain during the conflict because they saw it as an opportunity to resist American expansionism.

After the war was over, however, relations between Native Americans and white settlers continued to deteriorate. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 authorized the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral lands to reservations in Oklahoma.

Modern Era

In recent decades, there has been growing interest in First American History among scholars and laypeople alike. Efforts to preserve indigenous cultures and traditions have led to a greater appreciation for the contributions of Native Americans to American society.

Today, there are more than 570 federally recognized tribes in the United States, each with its own unique history and culture. First American History continues to evolve and shape the cultural landscape of North America.


In conclusion, First American History is a rich and complex subject that encompasses thousands of years of human experience. By studying this history, we can gain a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures and traditions that make up North America today.