The native culture of North America developed in a context of isolation from the achievements, failures, and diseases that affected the peoples of Eurasia. What contact there was consisted of direct and indirect contact with the peoples of Central America and is reflected primarily in the introduction of maize and other agricultural products and in the construction of the often very elaborate temple mounds. In general, and even in those areas where village life and agriculture predominated, North Americans continued to practice hunting and gathering.

In terms of the resources available to cope with the coming European invasion, it should be stressed that the Indians did not have draft animals, did not possess any knowledge of metallurgy, and had not acquired any immunities to the diseases that had already ravaged Europe and Asia.

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