Native American Migration

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    I’m really enjoying both series of Western Civilization!

    One question that I’ve always had, is the how/when/why did people migrate to the Americas in the first place? It seems most likely that they would have gone northeast to the Russia/Alaska area, but for what reason? It gets colder the more north you go, so I don’t know why people would want to migrate to an even colder environment. Did they cross the ocean to get to Alaska? Was it it solid ice? Was the sea level lower, and there was dry land linking the two together? How did they know there was even land in that direction in the first place? Also, when did all this happen? How long does it take for people to migrate all the way across the world setting up cultures all the way to South America?

    Do we have any way of answering these questions?

    Jason Jewell

    Hi, Brian. I’m glad you’re enjoying the lectures.

    The discipline of history, because of its reliance on written testimony, isn’t really equipped to answer your questions. They fall more under the purview of archeology.

    There are multiple theories as to how, when, and why people first came to the Americas. The one that seems to be most in favor right now is that they crossed a land bridge from Russia to Alaska in pursuit of big game during an Ice Age some 12,000 years ago. But any explanation involves a decent dose of speculation.

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