South America 500 BCE

In the Amazon basin, the Arawak diaspora is in full flood.

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What is happening in South America in 500BCE

The Chavin civilization

Over the past few centuries, in the highlands of Peru, the first urban civilization in South American history has appeared. This is the Chavin civilization. It sees the construction of substantial temple complexes and the production of fine textiles and pottery.

The Amazon basin

In the Amazon basin, the Arawak diaspora continues, and is now beginning to lead to the development of various regional cultures, such as the Saladoid and Barrancoid ceramic cultures which have emerged in the middle Orinoco river plains by this date.

Arawak culture

The Arawak settlement design will have a long history throughout the Amazon basin. Fortified villages are constructed around large circular plazas; they look much like stockades, and may well have had a clear defensive purpose. The plaza was the natural center for communal life, and the design of these settlements may hint at the social and military characteristics which gave the Arawak speakers the advantage over their neighbors. The inhabitants were nourished by an agriculture based on manioc as the staple crop. However, the growing of maize in the region has recently begun to spread.

Next map, South America in 200 BCE

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Pre-Columbian civilizations of America

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