Pre-Columbian Civilizations

Article

August 20, 2022

Pre-Columbian civilizations are civilizations that existed on the continents of North and South America and disappeared before the appearance of European colonists in them in the 15th century.

History

It is believed that the ancestors of the Indians and Eskimos moved to America 30-20 thousand years ago from Northeast Asia through the region of the Bering Sea and the Strait. The level of culture of the first settlers corresponded to the Late Paleolithic and Mesolithic cultures of the Old World. The settlement of the Indians on both continents and the development of new lands by them dragged on for many millennia. Before European colonization (began in the 16th century), most of the tribes of North and South America were at various stages of the communal-tribal system: some were dominated by the maternal clan (Iroquois, Muskogee, Hopi, many tribes of the Amazon basin, etc.), while others formed paternal family (tribes of the northwest and southwest of North America, many tribes of South America). Some peoples were at various stages of transition from tribal to class society. The Indians of Central and South America (Aztecs, Mayans, Incas) already lived in class societies.

Indian Religions

The religions of the Indians are diverse, but, not representing traces of monotheism, they made it very difficult for the missionaries to translate the Christian concept of "God". This, however, does not apply to the Incas, whose worship Viracocha gradually acquired monotheistic features. The idea of ​​a deity among the Indians did not have time to decide and take on the exact meaning; it is also difficult to determine what their ideas about the creation of the world are. In many cases we are dealing with the adoration of the luminaries, the sun and the moon, who are looked upon as husband and wife; sometimes the heads of the tribes are required to make sacrifices to them. Natural phenomena also evoked personifications - water, thunderstorms, thunder and lightning: the Peruvian hymn to thunder has been preserved. The number four is magical in many tribes; numerous primates are also recognized. Cosmogonic and other mythological stories are collected in large numbers among the Incas; they all bear a great resemblance to the Polynesian. They also have their own legend about the flood. Animals, especially birds, play a large role in all stories, just as they are most often found in totems. In connection with these