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" Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U. vary significantly, ranging from William M Denevan's 3.8 million in his 1992 work The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, to 18 million in Henry F Dobyns's Their Number Become Thinned (1983). or forced) became a consistent policy through American administrations.After the thirteen colonies revolted against Great Britain and established the United States, President George Washington and Henry Knox conceived of the idea of "civilizing" Native Americans in preparation for assimilation as U. During the 19th century, the ideology of manifest destiny became integral to the American nationalist movement. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the government to relocate Native Americans from their homelands within established states to lands west of the Mississippi River, accommodating European-American expansion.

Even before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with new European diseases, to which they had not yet acquired immunity; the diseases were endemic to the Spanish and other Europeans, and spread by direct contact and likely through pigs that escaped from expeditions.

Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations.

William M Denevan, noted author and Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said on this subject in his essay "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492"; "The decline of native American populations was rapid and severe, probably the greatest demographic disaster ever. In many regions, particularly the tropical lowlands, populations fell by 90 percent or more in the first century after the contact.

These were complex nomadic cultures based on (introduced) horse culture and seasonal bison hunting. Cultural activism since the late 1960s has increased political participation and led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations and to establish a greater cultural infrastructure: Native Americans have founded independent newspapers and online media, recently including First Nations Experience, the first Native American television channel; established Native American studies programs, tribal schools, and universities, and museums and language programs; and have increasingly been published as authors in numerous genres.

They carried out resistance against United States incursion in the decades after the end of the Civil War and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in a series of Indian Wars, which were frequent up until the 1890s and continued into the 20th century. Indian agents encouraged Native Americans to adopt European-style farming and similar pursuits, but European-American agricultural technology of the time was inadequate for the often dry reservation lands, leading to mass starvation. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have at times been controversial.

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