The indigenous people hadn’t always been there, nor had they originated there, as some of their traditions state, but they had occupied these American lands for at least 20,000 years.
How these people came to be is a subject that is complex and fraught, but it begins in the north.
We think therefore that sea level was somewhere between 60 and 120 meters lower than today.
So it was terra firma all the way from Alaska to Russia, and all the way down south to the Aleutians—a crescent chain of volcanic islands that speckle the north Pacific.
The Taíno were a people spread across multiple chiefdoms around the Caribbean and Florida.
Between December and June, the water between them freezes solid.
From 30,000 years ago until around 11,000 BCE, the earth was subjected to a cold snap that sucked up the sea into glaciers and ice sheets extending from the poles.
Until Columbus, the Americas were populated by pockets of tribal groups distributed up and down both north and south continents.
There are dozens of individual cultures that have been identified by age, location, and specific technologies—and via newer ways of knowing the past, including genetics and linguistics.