North American Population in 15th Century

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, it is estimated that there were 75 million Native Americans in both North and South America. The majority lived south of the Rio Grande – in central Mexico, and Central and South America. A Smithsonian Institution anthropologist estimated that the United States and Canada had a total of about 2 million people. Another estimate held that by 1492 there were 5 million people in the United States area, and 2 million in Alaska, Greenland and Canada.

The densest population regions would have been along the coasts and river valleys around the Great Lakes.

Trade routes over land, along rivers and coasts, allowed the spread of ideas and cultural influences among various tribal peoples. A typical region was the woodlands region near the Great Lakes where the inhabitants were farmers and fishermen, with hunting. The Iroquoian peoples are an example, and they lived in longhouses.