I. Prehistoric Times > O. The End of Prehistory (1500 C.E. to Modern Times)
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
O. The End of Prehistory (1500 C.E. to Modern Times)
 
The end of prehistory varied widely from one area to the next. It ended about 5,000 years ago in the Near East, with the Olmecs of 3,000 years ago, and then with the Mayans of 2,000 years ago in Central America, and with the Chimu of 650 years ago in the Andean region. Parts of central Africa and many remote Pacific islands did not come in contact with literate societies and emerge from what is technically prehistory until the late 19th century.  1
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, the European age of discovery linked societies in all parts of the world in ever more intricate webs of relations, which resulted in major adjustments in human societies everywhere. Extensive contacts with Europeans brought catastrophic culture changes. Infectious diseases such as smallpox and influenza killed off millions of native Americans who had no resistance to Old World viruses. European colonists with their firearms and sophisticated technology took over tribal lands and pushed back indigenous peoples into marginal areas on all continents. The process of contact and colonization continues in remote areas of the Amazon basin and highland New Guinea, where rain forests are felled and age-old lifeways evaporate in the face of exploitative industrial civilization. Despite these centuries of sustained contact and disruption, much survives of indigenous culture, religious beliefs, and values, often blended with new elements introduced from outside. Humankind is as biologically and culturally diverse as it has always been.  2
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT