Native Americans , also known as American Indians , First Americans , Indigenous Americans and other terms , are the indigenous peoples of the United States, sometimes including Hawaii and territories of the United States and sometimes limited to the mainland. There are federally recognized tribes living within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The ancestors of living Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15, years ago, possibly much earlier, from Asia via Beringia. European colonization of the Americas , which began in , resulted in a precipitous decline in Native American population because of new diseases to which they had no inmunity , attacks by whites , ethnic cleansing , and enslavement.
Years before Christopher Columbus stepped foot on what would come to be known as the Americas, the expansive territory was inhabited by Native Americans. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, as more explorers sought to colonize their land, Native Americans responded in various stages, from cooperation to indignation to revolt. Months after landing, Ponce de Leon is attacked by local Native Americans and fatally wounded. May : Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto lands in Florida to conquer the region. He explores the South under the guidance of Native Americans who had been captured along the way.
In fact, by the time European adventurers arrived in the 15th century A. Of these, some 10 million lived in the area that would become the United States. As time passed, these migrants and their descendants pushed south and east, adapting as they went.