The term Pre-Columbian
is used to refer to the cultures of the New World
in the era before significant European influence. While technically referring to the era before Christopher Columbus
, in practice the term usually includes indigenous cultures as they continued to develop until they were conquered or significantly influenced by Europeans, even if this happened decades or even centuries after Columbus first landed.
The term Pre-Columbian is used especially often in discussions of the great indigenous civilizations of the New World, such as those of MesoAmerica (e.g. the Aztec and Maya) and the Andes (Inca, Moche, etc).
Also see under Pre-Columbian transatlantic contacts, Pre-Columbian population