Hundreds of years prior to the invasion of the Europeans; Native Americans had secured a civilized lifestyle which supported their lifestyle. The European colonization of the Americas forever changed the lives, bloodlines, and cultures of the peoples of the continent. Their populations were ravaged by disease, by the privations of displacement, and in many cases by warfare with European groups that may have tried to enslave them. The first indigenous group encountered by Columbus were the 250,000 Tainos of Hispaniola who were the dominant culture in the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas. Whoever was not killed by the widespread diseases brought in from Europe or the many conflicts against European soldiers were enslaved, and the culture was extinct by 1650. Only 500 had survived by the year 1550, though the bloodlines continued through the modern populace. In Amazonia, indigenous societies weathered centuries of unforgiving colonial affronts
The Spaniards and other Europeans brought horses to the Americas. Some of these animals escaped and began to breed and increase their numbers in the wild. Interestingly, the horse had originally evolved in the Americas, but the last American horses (species Equus scotti and others died out at the end of the last ice age with other megafauna. The suggestion that these extinctions, contemporary with a general late Pleistocene extinction throughout the globe, was due to over-hunting by native Americans is fairly unlikely, given the overwhelming evidence for some type of natural catastrophe as the culprit. The re-introduction of the horse had a profound impact on Native American culture in the Great Plains of North America and of Patagonia in South America. This new mode of travel made it possible for some tribes to greatly expand their territories, exchange many goods with neighboring tribes, and more easily capture game.
Europeans also brought diseases against