The arrival of Europeans brought about the end of the native civilizations in Central and South America. Europeans carried diseases that killed millions of Amerindians, and within 100 years of the arrival of these outsiders, the Amerindian population was reduced by 90 percent. Most of the surviving native people lived in the interior of the forest, either pushed there by the Europeans, or living traditionally in smaller groups.
By Rhett Butler
Date published: June 24, 2004 | Last updated: December 5, 2015