Did Columbus first discover America?
Did the Vikings first discover America?
Did the Chinese first discover America?
No, in truth the American continent was first discovered between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago by bands of roving hunters from the Siberian steppes, who made the lonely trek across to the previously unknown continent during the last Great Ice Age when the sea level fell enough to expose a narrow causeway that acted as a bridge between the two continents.
No signs have yet been found of any human habitation on the continent before these times so it must be assumed that they arrived to find an uninhabited land. With no real threats and a landscape teeming with wildlife they decided to stay, though they didn't have much choice in the matter as before long the waters rose as the Ice Age drew to a close and quite literally cut them off from their friends and family back in Asia.
With no boats and no chance of retreat, at least not until the next Ice Age (which hasn't started yet!), they must have decided to make the most of their new-found home, which just happened to be a continent so huge it spanned the two poles and contained every type of landscape imaginable, from rugged mountains and steaming volcanoes to parched deserts and hidden valleys, from endless wide-open plains to dank, dense jungles, and from frozen snow-bound tundra to idyllic tropical islands.
Fortunately these hunters must have taken their females along for the trek and over the centuries they spread and multiplied, so much so that by 1500AD, when they were finally discovered by the rest of humanity, there were upwards of 10 million natives spread across all parts of the continent.
These indigenous tribes by that time had settled into 3 rough groups:
1) to the north, in present-day USA and Canada, there were between 1000 and 2000 family tribes, most eking out a subsistence lifestyle by hunting, whilst living in tents and temporary settlements as they followed the wandering herds.
2) throughout the central part of the continent and on the eastern part of South America these same tribes had joined together into civilized groups who lived in stone-built cities where the landscape was dominated by huge temples, the scene of fearsome rituals where the citizens were largely kept in obedience under threat of human sacrifice.
3) and finally, on the Caribbean Islands and around the deltas of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers, a third group had settled, on the whole peacefully, though even amongst some of these tribes cannibalism was still practised.
There they had lived for more than 10,000 years, unable to get back in touch with the rest of the world. In fact they probaby no longer even remembered there was any more to the world beyond their continent. But their isolation was not to continue and this book tells the fascinating story of how this long-lost continent was finally rediscovered and of how it once more became a real and living part of the known world.
This excerpt is taken from the first chapter of Discovery - The Story of America by Anthony Treasure. This book is already published in the UK (listed on Amazon.co.uk) and is due to be published in the US at a later date. For now it is published as an ebook and as a SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER Discovery Part One is available to download COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE. Three further titles - Discovery Part Two, Colonization Part One and Colonization Part Two are also out as ebooks and can be bought and downloaded from the website. To claim your free ebook today simply visit http://www.farawaybooks.com