- from America 1492
Five hundred years ago, forests covered the eastern half of North America. In many areas, Native Americans cleared the underbrush with controlled burning. Some early European explorers described the forests as open and parklike.
That was because of the controlled burning. Native Americans also cleared fields for farming and made paths through the forest. Those paths eventually became roads and then highways.
In 1492, the Iroquois people lived in northern New York State. The Iroquois were not one people but a group of five separate peoples—the Mohawks, the Seneca, the Oneida, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. Each lived in different areas of the forest. The women did most of the farming. The men hunted and waged war. Men had to defend the villages against war parties from other tribes, and they also tried to expand their own territories. Boys were trained to be brave warriors when they grew up.