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 First Arrivals  (50 000 B.C.- 1000 B.C.)


According to the evolution theory, the human species in Asia, Europe and Africa has, over millions of years, evolved from ape-like creatures to Homo sapiens, modern man. But there is no evidence of such an evolutionary process in the Western Hemisphere. There are, in fact, no apes at all, living or fossil found in the Americas. The first people who set foot on the new land, those who followed and their descendants, were all Homo sapiens, men and women like ourselves, with the same mental and physical capabilities today’s people have.

Carbon-14 tests, developed in the 1940s, have provided archeologists with a very precise way of dating their finds that existed in the past. With this method they can measure the age of organic artifacts with a fair degree of precision up to the age of 50 000 years. C-14 tests prove that oldest traces of man in North America are about 12 000 years old. 

After decades of guesswork and unfounded theories of lost European tribes and lost continents, it is now held as conclusive that mankind first arrived in North America from Asia during the Pleistocene age via the Bering Strait land bridge, also known as Beringia. C-14 tests also prove this theory with dental evidence. Those who made the crossing - either by land or by water - were neither explorers nor settlers nor adventurers. They were simply hungry men and women following the game on which their livelihood depended. They were the Paleo-Siberians, the real discoverers of the New World. By all scientific evidence the first Americans entered a land quite different from the America of today. The climate of those glacial times was cooler and rainier. Lakes and swamps existed where no water exists today - i.e. in the deserts.

Increasing archeological evidence has pushed the estimated date for human arrival in North America further and further back, to about 50 000 B.C. The migration from Asia continued from this time over many millennia in many waves.

There were three major waves of migrants.

  • Geological and archeological evidence points to an ice-free corridor for several thousand years between about 40 000 B.C. and 10 000 B.C. along the spine of the Rockies. Immigrants could come during this time period to the New World. During the Late Wisconsinan Glaciations, about 18 000 years ago, however, the ice was at its maximum and covered most of Canada and much of northern United States. There was no migration at this time.

  • A second corridor was formed further east along the Alberta - Saskatchewan plains during another melt.

  • Finally, a third passageway developed around 10 000 B.C. to 8000 B.C. along the Yukon, Peace and Liard rivers.

From these routes early immigrants could have dispersed eastward along the river valleys of the Great Plains, westward through the South Pass of the Rockies to the Great Basin, southwestward around the heel of the Rockies to southern California, or southward into Middle America all the way to Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of the New World (South America). The people moved about as climate changed and the food supply increased or decreased. Changing climate was always, and still is, a fact of life. As each pioneer group reached a new area, they came upon a wide variety of animals, many of which they had never seen before. But never once did they encounter another human being who had preceded them - a true native. The reason? There was a blank page in the natural history of the New World.

Later migrations to the New World occurred long after the final submersion of Beringia, about 3000 to 1000 B.C. Eskimos were one of the latest migrants of the ancient Americas, they came around 3000 B.C.

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