Indigenous peoples of California – Wikipedia

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“The Indigenous peoples of California are the indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California before and after the arrival of Europeans. With over one hundred federally recognized tribes,[1] California has the largest Native American population and largest number of distinct tribes of any US state. Californian tribes are characterized by linguistic and cultural diversity.

Before contact, California Indians spoke over 300 dialects of approximately one hundred distinct languages. Most indigenous languages of California belong to three language families: Hokan, Penutian, and Uto-Aztecan. Other language families, such as Algonquian, Athapaskan, and Yukian were represented, as well as language isolates, such as Chimariko, Esselen, and Karuk.

Evidence of human occupation of California dates from at the very least 17,000 BCE.[1] Prior to European contact, California Indians had 500 distinct sub-tribes or groups that consisted of 50 to 500 individual members.[2] The size of California tribes today are small compared to tribes in other regions of the United States. Prior to contact with Europeans, the California region contained the highest native American population density north of what is now Mexico.

19th century
The Population of Native California was reduced by 90% during the 19th century—from over 200,000 in the late 19th century to approximate 15,000 at the end of the century.[3] Epidemics swept through California Indian Country, such as the 1833 malaria epidemic.”

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