The Full Wiki

More info on List of pre-Columbian cultures

List of pre-Columbian cultures: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This list of pre-Columbian civilizations includes those civilizations and cultures of the Americas which flourished prior to the European colonization of the Americas. These pre-Columbian civilizations established characteristics such as permanent or urban settlements, agriculture, and complex societal hierarchies.

Many of these civilizations had long ceased to function by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th - early 16th centuries), and are known only through archaeological investigations. Others were contemporary with this period, and are also known from historical accounts of the time. A few (such as the Maya) had their own written records. However, most Europeans of the time largely viewed such text as heretical and few survived Christian pyres. Only a few hidden documents remain today, leaving modern historians with glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge.

From both indigenous American and European accounts and documents, American civilizations at the time of European encounter possessed many impressive feats such as the most populous city in the world as well as modern theory of astronomy and mathematics.

Where they persist, the societies and cultures which gave rise to these civilizations may now be substantively different in form to that of the original. However, many of these peoples and their descendants still uphold various traditions and practices which relate back to these earlier times, even if combined with those more recently-adopted.

The cultures are listed alphabetically, with the approximate time interval of existence and modern-day location.


North America

  • Adena, 1000 BC to 200 BC, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and parts of Pennsylvania and New York.
  • Ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) culture, 1200 BC - 1300 AD, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico
  • Fort Ancient, 1000 AD - 1650 AD, Ohio
  • Hopewell, 200 BC - 500 AD, Southeastern Canada and eastern United States
  • The Fremont, 700 AD - 1300 AD, Utah and parts of Nevada, Idaho and Colorado
  • Mississipians, 800 AD - 1500 AD, Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States
  • Poverty Point culture, 2200 BC - 700 BC, lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf coast


  • Aztec, 1200 AD - 1600 AD, central Mexico
  • Huastec, 1000 BC - 1500 AD, Hidalgo, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí and Tamaulipas
  • Mixtec, ? - 1600 AD, western Oaxaca
  • Maya, 2000 BC - 1500 AD, Southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco, Mexican Yucatán Peninsula states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, and Yucatán; Guatemala; Belize; El Salvador; western Honduras
  • Olmec, 1200 BC - 400 BC, Veracruz and Tabasco
  • P'urhépecha or Tarascan state, 1300 AD - 1530 AD, Michoacán
  • Teotihuacán, 200 BC - 800 AD, near Mexico City
  • Toltec, ?
  • Totonac, ? - 1500, eastern Mexico
  • Western Mexico shaft tomb tradition, 300 BC - 400 AD, Jalisco, Nayarit, and, to a lesser extent, Colima
  • Zapotec, 500 BC - 1500 AD, Oaxaca

South America

Early South American cultures.
  • Calima culture, Columbia
  • Cañaris, ? - 1500 AD, central south Ecuador
  • Chachapoya, 800 AD - 1500 AD, Amazonas Region in Peru
  • Chavin, 900 BC - 200 BC, northern Andean highlands of Peru*Chibcha
  • Chimú, 900 AD - 1500 AD, northern coast of Peru
  • El Abra, 12500 BC - 10000 BC, Cundinamarca, Colombia
  • Huari, 500 AD - 900 AD, south-central coastal area of Peru
  • Inca, 1200 AD - 1533 AD, western South America, including large parts of Ecuador, Peru, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, north and north-central Chile, and southern Colombia.
  • La Tolita
  • Las Vegas, 8000 BC - 4600 BC, coast of Ecuador
  • Moche, 100 AD - 800 AD, northern Peru
  • Muisca, ? - 1500, central Colombia
  • Narino
  • Nazca culture, 0 AD - 800 AD, southern coast of Peru
  • Norte Chico or Caral-Supe, 3000 BC - 1700 BC, north-central coastal Peru
  • Quimbaya, 100 BC - 1000 AD, Quindío, Caldas and Risaralda departments in Colombia
  • San Agustin
  • Tairona, 100 AD - 1600 AD, Cesar, Magdalena and La Guajira Departments of Colombia
  • Tierradentro, first millennium AD, Department of Cauca, Colombia
  • Tiwanaku, 300 BC - 1000 AD, western Bolivia
  • Tolima
  • Valdivia, coastal Ecuador, 3500 BC - 1800 BC

See also

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address