By 1492, the year in which Christopher Columbus stumbled onto a territory that would later be known as the the Western Hemisphere (North America, Central America, The West Indies, and South America), people had already been living there for tens of thousands of years.
These people lived in a variety of diverse habitats and climates. Their lifestyles and system of beliefs differed as greatly as did the languages they spoke.
Throughout the Western Hemisphere hundre___ùds of city-states and "highly-developed" urban centers had seen their apex and consequently fell, with others taking their place. Only the fierce Aztecs (Mexica people) in Meso America, and the Inca of the South American Andes mountains were still expanding at the time of the European arrival.
Each Pre-Columbian civilization was distinct from each other, and as a rule, these peoples did not view themselves as a unified group, unlike the Europeans who labeled them all "Indians".
With the arrival of the Europeans, many Pre-Columbian civilizations were decimated, enslaved, and / or forced to honor the beliefs of the new invaders. As a result of this, the cultures of the Americas would be changed forever.
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