The Land and Its Early People

The Paleolithic Era (until about 6000 B.C.)

The first people arrived in Texas more than 13,000 years ago at the beginning of the Paleolithic Era. These early Texans were hunter-gatherers. There were also many ice age animals including mammoths, cave lions, giant sloths, and dire wolves. The Clovis culture may have been the earliest to spread across North America, and there are Clovis remains in Texas.

The Archaic Era (6000 B.C. to A.D. 700)

The Archaic period began when ice age animals became extinct and the climate began to change. People in Texas began making a larger range of stone tools, using bows and arrows for hunting, creating pottery for food storage, and creating trade networks that stretched hundreds of miles.

The Late Prehistoric Period (A.D. 700-A.D. 1500)

The Late Prehistoric period had a huge diversity in cultures across the state. The early European explorers found this cultural richness when they arrived in Texas in the 1500s. Along the coast, early explorers encountered groups including the Karankawa and Akokisa. Farther inland, the Europeans encountered mostly hunting and gathering cultures, including proto-Apaches. In what is now far West Texas, lived remnants of the Mogollon culture, which is best known by many people today for beautiful Mimbres pottery.

The Caddo had a very different culture, with large settlements in East Texas. They farmed and built a complex society, creating ceremonial plazas and large mounds. Legend says that when a group of Caddos met the Spanish settlers, they said “Tay-yas, Tay-yas” (friends). The state’s name is a derivative of the Caddo greeting, and the state’s motto is “friendship.”

Source: The Land and Its Early People
Courtesy Texas Our Texas, Texas PBS

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