What Civilization Relied Heavily on Hunting and Fishing to Gather Food

What Civilization Relied Heavily on Hunting and Fishing to Gather Food

By Sophia the SeaMonster on Dec 31, 2022

The short answer is: every single civilization on the earth, one way or the other, relied on hunting and fishing to gather food. So yes, I and you and our friends/families alive today all belong to people who were part of hunter-gatherer clans.

Assuming you’re curiously finding which were the most recent - or still exist - civilizations that appeared as hunter-gatherer societies, I’ve gathered helpful info on the topic. Plus, I’m going to cover what influence the practice had on their living and has now in the modern era.

So, let’s dive into some significant concepts to clarify what you may want to clear!

Hunter-Gatherer Culture: A Brief Explanation

The concept is as obvious as it seems to be. Hunter-gatherer is a culture that practices hunting/fishing animals and foraging (gathering) to meet their food needs. The foods include wild veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, and other nutrients like honey and other plant-based items.

Until approximately 10,000 (which expands back to 2.5 million years) years ago, all humans relied on hunting and gathering for food. Before the emergence of hunter-gatherer cultures, earlier groups relied on scavenging animal remains that predators left behind.

What Civilization Relied Heavily on Hunting and Fishing to Gather Food?

As mentioned earlier, hunter-gatherer societies have roots back 10,000 years. But those thousands of years ago started the Neolithic Revolution when agricultural practices were first developed. At that time, some groups abandoned hunter-gatherer practices to establish permanent sources that could provide a variety of ‘edible’ items for much larger populations. However, many hunter-gatherer behaviors persisted until modern times. As recently as 1500 C.E., hunter-gatherers still existed in parts of Europe and throughout the Americas. 

But assuming your focus is the U.S. only, it’s the ancestors of the modern-day North Americans whom we find as hunter-gatherer culture in the history of the U.S. So, what was that civilization? The Algonquian society relied heavily on hunting and fishing to gather food. The Algonquian are among the most popular and widespread North American native language groups.

At the time of the first European settlements in North America in 1565, all that Algonquian peoples occupied is now familiar to you in the 21st century. That is New Brunswick and much of what is now Canada, east of the Rocky Mountains. What we now know as New England, New Jersey, southeastern New York, Delaware, and down the Atlantic Coast through the Upper South.

As these are Algonquins who started the history of North America, this civilization in the early history of North America is known for having the slightest interest in producing their food. So, it’s pretty clear they were more interested in what mother nature has created for them, and they need to hunt it or gather what’s thrown in their direction. No farming or agriculture existed at all!

Since Algonquian means spearing eels or fish, those people lived in the area where the water provided Algonquians the primary source of food, and they did not farm because they did not stay in the same place long enough to grow crops.

Are Any Civilizations Still Rely on Hunting and Fishing for Food?

Yes. There are. Anthropologists have now discovered evidence for modern humans' practice of hunter-gatherer culture. They’re known as Homo sapiens, and their distant ancestors date as far back as two million years.

But the population of hunter-gatherers has declined dramatically over the last 500 years. Very few exist today, and the Hadza people of Tanzania are one of the previous groups to live in this tradition.

Final Thought

There are decades where centuries happened! Even though it’s as close as 500 years from when Algonquians established themselves as a hunter-gatherer civilization, it took them just a few decades to mold themselves according to the modernity around them. Those who chose to be reshaped survived by ending their nomadic lifestyle and starting farming. Those who couldn’t are today renowned as ‘nonexistent’ people.

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