Where did the first people to live in North America migrate from?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The peopling of the Americas is a subject that is of great interest to archaeologists and historians.  The emerging field of genetics has drawn further interest in the anthropology of the earliest Americans.  

The most widely accepted theory of the migrations to America is the land bridge theory.   This theory posits that the sea levels declined enough during the last Ice Age to expose a large tract of land between present-day Alaska and Russia. This land bridge spanned the Bering Strait and has been given the name Beringia.  It is believed that between 19,000-15,000 years ago people from northeastern Asia trekked to the Americas, following large game animals.  There are scientists that believe this could have started as early as 35,000 years ago.

The exact timing and location of the migration are still subjects of fierce debate in the archaeological community.  While The Land Bridge Theory is the most widely accepted idea about the peopling of America, there are also theories of migrants traveling by boat across the Pacific Ocean.  

Images:
This image has been Flagged as inappropriate Click to unflag
Image (1 of 1)
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial