In the ensuing email exchange, Thornton indicated that his own rough estimate is that about 12 million Indigenous people died in what is today the coterminous United States between 1492 and 1900. 60 This number of deaths is almost 2.5 times the estimated decline in the Indigenous population during this time.
European settlers killed 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years in South, Central and North America, causing large swaths of farmland to be abandoned and reforested, researchers at University College London, or UCL, estimate.
By combining all published estimates from populations throughout the Americas, we find a probable Indigenous population of 60 million in 1492.
When the Europeans arrived, carrying germs which thrived in dense, semi-urban populations, the indigenous people of the Americas were effectively doomed. They had never experienced smallpox, measles or flu before, and the viruses tore through the continent, killing an estimated 90% of Native Americans.
They were not allowed time to gather their belongings, and as they left, whites looted their homes. Then began the march known as the Trail of Tears, in which 4,000 Cherokee people died of cold, hunger, and disease on their way to the western lands.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all individuals, including Native Americans, are subject to federal income tax. Section 1 imposes a tax on all taxable income. Section 61 provides that gross income includes all income from whatever source derived.
War and violence. While epidemic disease was by far the leading cause of the population decline of the American indigenous peoples after 1492, there were other contributing factors, all of them related to European contact and colonization. One of these factors was warfare.
But before Columbus, these continents were already populated. The indigenous people hadn’t always been there, nor had they originated there, as some of their traditions state, but they had occupied these American lands for at least 20,000 years.
The Native population continues to grow yearly. The Census Bureau projects that American Indian and Alaska Natives will reach 5 million individuals by 2065. At the present time there are 574 federally recognized tribes. The Cherokee tribe had the second largest population, with 262,224 individuals.
Many thousands of years ago, late in the Ice Age, humans journeyed across the Bering land bridge, from Asia into Alaska. Their descendants explored along the west coast of North America. As early as 1000 BC, they had covered nearly the entire continent. It is not known when the first people arrived in the Americas.
The Native population of America has made a stunning resurgence from the many forms of extinction. After the deaths of an estimated ninety percent of the population, the Native resurgence has taken full effect. The number of people who identified as Native American was 9.7 million in the 2020 census.