Louisiana had a sizable prehistoric population. Many ceremonial mounds still stand throughout the state as reminders of the Hopewell culture (about ad 1-800) and the Mississippian culture (about ad 800-1500), both popularly called Mound Builders, whose people lived in highly organized farming communities. Archaeologists believe that some mounds located at a site called Watson Brake near Monroe in northeast Louisiana were built more than 5,000 years ago and may be the oldest known remnants of human construction in North America.
In the age of European exploration, beginning in the 16th century, the region was inhabited by peoples of three Native American language groups: the Caddoan, Muskogean, and Tunican. Caddoan peoples included the Caddo, Natchitoches, Yatasi, and Adai. They lived in the northwestern part of the present state. The Muskogean peoples, who included the Houma, Choctaw, Acolapissa, and Taensa, lived in east central Louisiana on or near the Mississippi River. Most of the Tunicans, including the Chitimacha, Atakapa, and several smaller groups, lived along the Gulf Coast; the small Koroa group inhabited northeastern Louisiana. Eventually many of these peoples moved away, as did the Caddo in the 1830s, or were greatly reduced by war, disease, or intermarriage. As some groups disappeared, others migrated into Louisiana in waves occurring in the mid-1760s and mid-1790s. The Chitimacha, Houma, Tunica-Biloxi, Coushatta, and Choctaw still have communities in Louisiana. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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