The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period.While the phrase "pre-Columbian era" literally refers only to the time preceding Christopher Columbus's voyages of 1492, in practice the phrase usually is used to denote the entire history of indigenous Americas cultures until those cultures were vanquished, diminished or extensively altered by Europeans, even if this happened decades or centuries after Columbus's first landing.Genetic evidence found in Amerindians' maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mt DNA) supports the theory of multiple genetic populations migrating from Asia.A few, such as the Maya civilization, had their own written records.
Many of these peoples and their descendants continue traditional practices, while evolving and adapting new cultural practices and technologies into their lives.
Asian nomads are thought to have entered the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge (Beringia), now the Bering Strait and possibly along the coast.
Only a few hidden documents have survived in their original languages, while others were transcribed or dictated into Spanish, giving modern historians glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge.
Indigenous American cultures continue to evolve after the pre-Columbian era.
Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included permanent settlements, cities, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, major earthworks, and complex societal hierarchies.
Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European colonies and the arrival of enslaved Africans (c.