Before the Europeans came over on their handsome ships, before the “new world” was “discovered”, we’re told America was a great big empty land. Sure, there was an indigenous culture, but it was a handful of isolated people here and there, barely ever seeing each other. The continent was basically a blank canvas waiting for the mass of Europeans to come and settle it. A great wilderness with a giant vacant sign out front. Except it wasn’t.
Far from being just a bunch of ragtag tribes, Native Americans may have numbered as many as 100 million when Columbus first missed India by a few thousand miles. To gain perspective on this, one should know that the entire population of Europe numbered around 70 million in those days. Giovanni de Verrazzano, an Italian sailor, describes first seeing the East Coast of North America in 1523. “He observed that the coastline everywhere was ‘densely populated,’ smoky with Indian bonfires; he could sometimes smell the burning hundreds of miles away.”
It was Smallpox that wiped out about 90% of the population before the pilgrims arrived, contracted from European settlers used to living in close quarters with their livestock. Despite the plight of this plague, at least 1 million Natives still remained. And they were sophisticated. Television might have you believe the Natives were all about war paint and taking scalps, but there was more to the indigenous people by far. Native culture was all about extensive agriculture, opening up new trade routes across the continent and building America’s first city. Then “civilization” showed up, and any chance of recovering from that super-plague was swept away on a tide of smallpox, STDs and genocide.
About the Author:
I have been writing westerns for many years now. I feel my obsession with the Wild West stems mostly from my western heritage. My family is spread across the Appalachias, the Rockies, from the East Coast, all the way back to the west. I am mixed with Cherokee Indian, Irish, Black Foot Indian, French Creole, and several other nationalities I probably know nothing about. Through my journey to discover myself, I have managed to write some pretty amazing stories. If you would like to read any of my works you can find me at