Columbus was positive that the island which he named San Salvador was only a bit of land lying off the coast of Asia.
In spite of the fact that very little gold or jewels were found, Columbus died believing that he had discovered a new route to the rich and fabulous East.
However, explorers who followed in his footsteps soon learned that this land to the west was not Asia, but a new and unknown country divided into two huge continents, which later became known as America.
Wherever they went throughout this land they found people different from any they had ever known. “They are very well made with very handsome bodies and very good faces,” wrote Columbus. “They have raven black hair and copper-colored skin.”
Marco Polo traveling among the Himalayas would have come across Tibetan tribes that looked much like these people, for the ‘indigenous’ peoples of America (as they are often now called) actually came to this land from Asia in some period far in the past.
Stories and traditions from antiquity tell us of people who were weak with cold and hunger came to what they thought was the edge of the land, in their hunt for nonexistent food, but when they looked out into the sea they could see another land that looked like it was warmer.
It didn’t appear to be covered with as much ice and snow as was Siberia from which they had come. They thought that perhaps they could cross this water on the many islands that dotted the sea in front of them.
They soon found some fishermen who had made boats from skins. Maybe they could get one of these boats and go to the other shore.
The fishermen told them that they too had often looked across the water and wondered what was on the other side. Some of the more daring decided to not only give them boats but to go along with them.
It was quite a band of people then that came to this new land, including children, dogs, and household goods.
This country across the water did indeed prove to be a better place. It was not quite as cold and there were many animals to hunt for food. There were deer in abundance and fish to spear off the shore with their harpoons.
They were so attracted to this new land that some of them went back to tell their families and fellow tribesmen. Soon there was a continual passage from Asia to the new land and back again.
In a time so many people came, and their families grew so rapidly that food again began to dwindle. It was thus that the younger and more adventurous started to push farther to the south. They found the country still warmer as well as enormous herds of deer.
This constant push to the south continued for centuries until the newcomers had spread out over all of both continents. Thus it was that America was peopled by the tribesmen from Asia in the dim distant ages before the year 20,000 B.C.