early human migration
Created on September 14, 2023
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Early Human Migration
Glaciers began to melt and disappear which opened up valleys which people could migrate down. People began to spread out across North America and also into South America. By 10,000 years ago they had reached all the way to the southern tip of South America. People also used simple boats which allowed them to sail down coasts and onto islands.
20,000 - 10,000 years ago
Land bridges allowed early humans to migrate onto what are now the islands of Japan as well as across the Bering Strait into North America. However, once in North America the way south was blocked by huge glaciers which made travel very difficult.
40,000 - 20,000 years ago
80,000-60,000 years ago
Humans migrated along the southern coast of Asia into India and Southeast Asia. From there they also began crossing over into Australia. To do this they probably had to make simple rafts from wood which allowed them to cross the shallow seas between islands.
Humans began migrating out of their original homelands in East Africa. Some travelled south or west into other parts of Africa while others crossed over into Arabia across a land bridge. People also followed the Nile River which allowed them to move into North Africa. .
100,000 - 80,000 years ago
60,000 - 40,000 years ago
New technologies – especially better clothes and tools – allowed humans to begin migrating into colder areas in Europe as well as Central and Northern Asia.
By 10,000 years ago, humans were living on every continent except Antarctica. However, there were still some areas which humans would not live in until much later. Many places nearer the North Pole were still much too cold and harsh. Humans only began living here once they learned how to make warmer clothes and hunt large sea creatures like seals and whales. Many islands in the Pacific Ocean had no people either because they were too far away from other land for people to reach in simple boats. Many of these islands were only settled in the last few thousand years once humans learned to make better ships.
About 1.6 million years ago the climate of the Earth began to cool. The colder weather meant that more snow fell in the winters and less melted in the spring and summer. Over time the snow was compacted into huge ice sheets called glaciers. By about 100,000 years ago, these glaciers covered large parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. So much water was stored up as ice that the level of Earth’s oceans and seas dropped by hundreds of meters in some places. This new land allowed animals, and the humans that hunted them, to move to new areas. The Ice Age also changed the weather in many places because the amount of rainfall decreased. Places which had once been forest or grassland began to dry out and even turn into deserts. Many animals, and early humans, were forced to move from the areas where they had lived for thousands of years. The migration of humans around the world took hundreds of thousands of years. There were still many places which humans could not live in because of the climate or geography. However, as humans began to learn new skills they were eventually able to migrate to these places as well.