historical era of the Americas before significant European contact
The pre-Columbian era means the history and prehistory of the Americas before there were important European influences on the American continent.
The word pre-Columbian refers to the era before Christopher Columbus, but sometimes it can include the history of American indigenous cultures as they continued to develop after the Christopher Columbus' first landing in 1492, until they were conquered or influenced by Europeans, even if this happened decades or even centuries after the arrival of Columbus.
Pre-Columbian can also mean cultures of any one of the great native civilizations of the Americas, such as those of Mesoamerica (the Aztec and Maya) and of the Andes (Inca, Moche and Chibcha).
- Sorenson, John L. and Johannessen, Carl L. (2006) "Biological Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages." In: Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World. Ed. Victor H. Mair. University of Hawai'i Press. pp. 238–297. ISBN 978-0-8248-2884-4