Skip to main content
147 votes
Accepted

Why were Navajo code talkers used during WW2?

In WW2 we didn't have digital computers. We didn't even have transistors. Even vacuum tubes were state-of-the-art. If you wanted to do cryptography on the battlefield, you used something like this ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 55.1k
54 votes

Has there ever been a major migration from the New World to the Old World? If not, why?

As DevSolar mentioned in his comment, this really depends on how you define 'major', but here are several case of migrants moving from the New to the Old World. From the Caribbean to Europe ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
54 votes
Accepted

How did Native Americans refer to themselves in the 19th century?

I'll answer with the aid of Osage, since that's the language I know (my father's people are Osage) and have good resources for. Osage is a Western Siouxan language, closely related to the Lakota ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
49 votes

Has there ever been a major migration from the New World to the Old World? If not, why?

Yes, there has been. As this infographic shows, there has been a back-migration of the DNA haplogroups C1a and A2a from North America (well, Beringia...) back into Asia. The infographic is sourced ...
DevSolar's user avatar
  • 14k
47 votes

Why were Navajo code talkers used during WW2?

"The Code Book" of Simon Singh mentions several points why code talkers where so useful. Speed: One of the colonels in charge tried exactly that: code machine against Navajo code. The Navajo was able ...
Thorsten S.'s user avatar
  • 5,126
47 votes
Accepted

Why did Native Americans originally migrate to the Americas?

However, considering there was little to no knowledge of the new world I wonder why would the tribes risk to travel to far . . . it seems unreasonable [humans would] risk it to migrate towards the ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
47 votes
Accepted

Did active frontiersmen really eat 20,000 calories a day? How does this compare to other highly-active people in recorded history?

The 10,000 calorie figure - or perhaps slightly lower - is about right as a ceiling for maintaining muscle mass over months of hard work with downtime only to sleep. Across the centuries, workers with ...
SPavel's user avatar
  • 11.2k
36 votes
Accepted

Where are the Native American primary source documents?

The basic problem here is that scientific study of cultures (Sociology, Anthropology, etc.) is a relatively new discipline. There are indigenous social scientists today of course (my little sister is ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
35 votes
Accepted

What describes the average pre-colonial NA Native American lifestyle (across several tribes)?

The problem here is that there was no more an average lifestyle in North America than there was in Eurasia. Some peoples were hunter-gatherers, while others lived in densely populated agricultural ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
33 votes
Accepted

Is this a photo of a historical reinactment of an 1868 treaty signing?

No, the pictures cannot be taken in 1868. In the second one you can see a person wearing a leather jacket with a zipper. The earliest zippers were available and practicable for clothing (beside shoes) ...
ccprog's user avatar
  • 5,498
30 votes

Is this a photo of a historical reinactment of an 1868 treaty signing?

Beneath both photographs is a description: This item was produced or created on January 24, 1955. The creator compiled or maintained the parent series, Photographs of Navajo Life in the Southwestern ...
Mark H's user avatar
  • 401
29 votes
Accepted

Did pre-Columbian Americans know the spherical shape of the Earth?

Firstly, it is important to be aware that our understanding of the civilisations and culture of Pre-Columbian America is far from complete. Secondly, I don't propose to attempt to cover every ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
28 votes

What are the occurences of total war in the Native Americans?

SHORT ANSWER "Total War" is a bit grandiose and ambitious, but as far as I know very few Native American or American Indian groups in the USA had any sort of rules against harming noncombatants in ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
26 votes
Accepted

What were the indigenous populations of California before American settlement began to peak?

The government has some good resources for research like this site for the Yokut tribe. This map from Berkeley, not only outlines each culture but puts them into a super class based on language.
EvanM's user avatar
  • 2,323
26 votes

Was there ever an attempt to give Native Americans their own country?

Yes, but not a fully independent country. By the end of the 18th century, after the US War of Independence, Europeans began to expand further west and this brought renewed conflict between indigenous ...
James K's user avatar
  • 1,370
25 votes
Accepted

Who was Chief Poking Fire?

Chief Poking Fire's main claims to fame are probably owning and running an Indian museum, and founding and running a tourist village. He also apparently presented Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
24 votes

Has there ever been a major migration from the New World to the Old World? If not, why?

In addition to Lars Bosteen's answer about modern migration, several hundred thousand South American people have migrated to Spain in the last decades, and Brazilians have became the largest group of ...
Pere's user avatar
  • 3,871
22 votes

Why were North American indigenous peoples underdeveloped?

Why were Native Americans much more under developed then their neighbors in the south. Copyright Skubasteve834, source: Wikimedia Commons, usage via CC-BY-SA. It's not quite fair to classify native ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 2,407
20 votes
Accepted

Did any Native Americans adopt a script from Europe (before being assimilated)?

First off, yes you are wrong. Some kind of long-term record-keeping seems to be a common requirement for civilized people, so both the Maya and the Inca developed something pre-contact. I personally ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
20 votes

Why is the name "Tecumseh" used for US Navy ships?

While Tecumseh was an enemy of the US while alive, his name was well known. The first ship named after him was a Canonicus-class monitor during the Civil War, some 50 years after Tecumseh's death. The ...
Jon Custer's user avatar
  • 2,645
20 votes

What did indigenous North Americans trade amongst themselves before Europeans arrived?

Flint points, obsidian, buffalo hides, salt, pearls, shells and (as mentioned by T.E.D.) copper were among item traded by Native Americans before Europeans arrived. That said, trade in North America ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
19 votes

Why were Navajo code talkers used during WW2?

Code talking in an obscure language puts two layers of encryption on the message. The first layer is that it's a language. The second is that it's a code. The code part is usually pretty simple ...
Walter Mitty's user avatar
18 votes

Is there a genetic link between North America and Vikings?

I am going to say Yes, to the title question, and No to the question in the body. Is there a link... There is a genetic link, but not in the direction you were expecting. An article published on ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
18 votes
Accepted

Are there any hypotheses on how the Dorset people disappeared?

There are several theories of disappearance of the Dorset people. Two are discussed in the article "Disappearance of Dorset Culture" published on the webpage of the Canadian Museum of History: ...
Moishe Kohan's user avatar
  • 6,275
17 votes

Was there ever an attempt to give Native Americans their own country?

The approximately 325 federal Indian reservations are formally and legally called "domestic dependent nations". So, you might consider this "their own countries". 25 USC (2020): ...
user103496's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Why have population maps indicated a stark divide in population density of the United States on either side ot the 100th Meridian?

The answer is related to the map you posted about rainfall. The population of the eastern third of the continental US is denser because of settlement patterns that reflect the local availability of ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k
14 votes
Accepted

What major Native American tribes were around Santa Fe during the late 1850s?

Here are two maps at different levels of detail showing traditional homelands in today's New Mexico:
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k
14 votes

What was the first instance of Native Americans using gunpowder weapons in battle and did they ever make their own powder?

Chichimec war 1550/1600 According to the book American Indian Quarterly published by University of Nebraska Press, gunpowder weapons were first used by native americans during the Chichimec war which ...
John Strachan's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Did Native-Americans Have Horses?

Not exactly. Equus, the genus that contains modern horses and Zebras, most likely originated in the Americas. Fossil records shows all species from that genus dying out in the Americas about 12,000 ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
13 votes

What describes the average pre-colonial NA Native American lifestyle (across several tribes)?

One very good book on this topic is 1491 by Charles Mann. The book gives an overview on what life in the Americas was like directly before and during the arrival of the first Europeans. It's written ...
KWeiss's user avatar
  • 623

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible