Who were the indigenous peoples living in the Saint Louis area before European settlement?
Before European settlement, the indigenous peoples living in the Saint Louis area were primarily from the Mississippian culture. The specific groups include the Cahokia, Osage, Illiniwek, and other related tribes. The Cahokia were one of the most prominent groups, known for their large earthen mounds and complex social structure. The Osage, an Algonquian-speaking tribe, resided in the area as well, utilizing the land for hunting and gathering. The Illiniwek were also present and inhabited parts of the region, including the banks of the Mississippi River. These indigenous peoples had established thriving societies and traded with other Native American groups across the continent.
Additionally, the Tamaroa and Michigamea tribes also inhabited the Saint Louis area before European settlement. These tribes were part of the Illinois Confederation and shared a similar culture and language with the Illiniwek. They relied on agriculture as well as hunting and gathering for sustenance and were actively involved in the trading networks of the region.
It is important to note that the population and territories of these indigenous groups were not fixed and changed over time due to warfare, migration, and other factors. The arrival of European explorers and settlers ultimately led to significant disruptions and displacement of these indigenous peoples.