15th century in North American history

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14th century - 15th century - 16th century

The 15th century in North American History provides a timeline of events occurring within the North American continent from 1401 CE to 1500 CE in the Gregorian calendar. This time period (from 1000 BCE–present) is known as the Post-archaic period (Post-archaic stage). Although this timeline segment may include some European or other world events that profoundly influenced later American life, it focuses on developments within Native American communities. The archaeological records supplements indigenous recorded and oral history.

Aztec calendar stone, carved in 1479

Native Americans[edit]

  • 1479: Aztec Sun Stone, a monolithic calendar stone, almost 12 feet in diameter, is carved[1]
  • Athapaskan-speaking Apache and Navajo reach the American Southwest after migrating over three centuries from the western Canadian prairies.
  • Great Plains Indians lack horses; most live in villages and farm corn, beans, and squash at least part of each year.
  • The Native American population within the present boundaries of the United States numbers on the order of 10 million.

1490s: the Columbian Exchange[edit]

  • Spanish explorers sail around the Caribbean.
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus sails to the Bahamas and claims the New World for Spain.
  • 1493: Columbus returns to Spain, setting sail again for the West Indies with one thousand settlers and many domesticated European horses, cattle, and pigs. This exchange of goods marks the beginning of the Columbian exchange.
  • 1497: Italian navigator John Cabot sails from England to Newfoundland.
  • 1499: Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci sails to northern South America and recognizes the New World as a new continent.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aztec calendar stone." Aztec History. (retrieved 2 Nov 2009)