North America is, in historical terms, known as the New World. Humanity’s history may very well be younger here than in the Old World, but it is certainly no less fascinating or complex. From the arrival of hunters and gatherers in the west many thousands of years ago, to the few early settlements in the north east established by the Vikings around 1,000 years ago, and then the Europeans from the east starting at the end of the 15th century. North America is a melting pot of cultures and traditions probably like no other. Combine history with city breaks in the east and archaeology with adventure travel in the west.
With lively cities in the east and vast open landscapes in the west, Canada is one of the World’s top ten tourist destinations. A relatively young archaeological heritage offers visitors over twenty thousand years of cultural history. In the westernmost Yukon region there is evidence of the continent’s earliest people, while at the other end of the country are the remains of the first European settlement in Newfoundland left by the Vikings.
Mexico, part of the Mesoamerican cultural area, is well known for the spectacular pyramids and other monumental ceremonial centres of the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs. These dominant sites should not be allowed to overshadow the amazing rock art traditions of older hunting and gathering communities, which can be visited at various locations around the country.
As one of the world’s largest countries the Unites States of America has a fascinating and varied precolonial history. From the scenic woodlands of the east to the dramatic deserts of the west, the histories and cultures of First Nation people is as diverse as the landscape across the country. Histories that were often in conflict with the arrival of settlers from Europe, and the founding of the USA. Some of the best archaeological and historical sites have been specifically designated for their significance: at 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 61 National Parks and 129 National Monuments.
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