South Atlantic Peoples

The coastal areas of eastern South America and the interior of the Amazon basin were home to several million people at the end of the 15th century. This enormous area, bordering the Andes mountains on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, extends from present-day Argentina to the Guianas.

Socio-political structures were usually not highly developed in this area. The Tupi-speaking groups lived in villages in which related families resided together in large houses. They practiced slash-and-burn agriculture, and hunted and fished using blowguns and poinson-tipped arrows. Manioc, a tuber, was their staple crop. They engaged in warfare and some groups practiced ritual cannibalism. Tupan groups eventually overcame the Tapuyas, mobile hunters and gatherers.

Continue the Voyage with North America: Diverse Societies or abandon ship and use the Outline.