Eastern Woodlands culture area (see 'maps')
consists of the temperate-climate regions of the eastern
United States and Canada, from Minnesota and Ontario east
to the Atlantic Ocean and south to North Carolina. Originally
densely forested, this large region was first inhabited
by hunters, including those who used Clovis spearpoints.
7000 BC, with the warming climate, an Archaic culture developed.
The peoples of this area became increasingly dependent on
deer, nuts, and wild grains. By 3000 BC human populations
in the Eastern Woodlands had reached cultural peaks that
were not again achieved until after AD 1200.
cultivation of squash was learned from Mexicans,
and in the Midwest sunflowers, amaranth, marsh elder, and
goosefoot and related plants were also farmed. All of these
were grown for their seeds, which-except for those of the
sunflower-were usually ground into flour.
and shellfish gathering increased, and off the coast of
Maine the catch included swordfish. In the western Great
Lakes area, copper was surface mined and made into blades
and ornaments, and throughout the Eastern Woodlands, beautiful
stones were carved into small sculptures.
In the Midwest, however, beginning in around 200 BC groups
of people organized into wide trading networks and began
building large mound-covered tombs for their leaders and
for use as centers for religious activities. These peoples,
called the Hopewell, raised some maize, but were more dependent
on types of foods also used during the Archaic period.
Hopewell culture declined sometime after about AD 400. By
750 a new culture developed in the Midwest. Called the Mississippian
culture, it was based on intensive maize agriculture, and
its people built large towns with earth platforms, or mounds,
supporting temples and rulers' residences.
the Mississippi River from present-day St. Louis, Missouri,
the Mississippians built the city of Cahokia, which may
have had a population of 20,000. Cahokia contained hundreds
of mounds. Its principal temple was built on the largest,
a mound 30 m (100 ft) high and roughly about 110 m (about
360 ft) long and about 49 m (about 160 ft) wide (the largest
such mound in North America, now part of Cahokia Mounds
State Historic Site, Illinois).
this time period, maize agriculture also became important
in the Atlantic region, but no cities were built. See also
presence of Europeans in the Eastern Woodlands dates from
at least AD 1000, when colonists from Iceland tried to settle
Newfoundland. Throughout the 1500s, European fishers and
whalers used the coast of Canada.
European settlement of the region began in the 1600s. It
was not strongly resisted, partly because terrible epidemics
had spread among the Native Americans of this region through
contact with European fishers and with Spanish explorers
in the Southeast. By this time the Mississippian cities
had also disappeared, probably as a consequence of the epidemics.
The Native American peoples of the Eastern Woodlands included
the Iroquois and a number of
including the Lenape, also known as the Delaware;
the Micmac; the Narragansett;
the Shawnee; the Potawatomi;
the Menominee; and the Illinois.
box was made by the Mi'kmaq (Micmac) people of the
Atlantic Coast of North America. It is made of birchbark,
and the design on top is made of porcupine quills.
The Mi'kmaq used birchbark for many things, such
as wigwam covers and cradle boards.
Eastern Woodlands peoples moved west in the 19th century;
others remain throughout the region, usually in their own