Learned men, who read the story of the earth in the mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, and seas which cover its surface, tell us that America, although known as the New World, is really older than Europe. The sun has shone upon this continent and the rain has watered it for more centuries than we can count. If you study your maps carefully, you will notice lofty mountains, great lakes, and long rivers in many parts of the country; and you will see that it is beautiful and fertile almost everywhere, except in the far north, where snow covers the ground most of the year.
The same wise men who found out that the country is so old, dug down into the soil, examined the things they found there, questioned the Indians, and, little by little, discovered that our continent has been inhabited by many different kinds of animals and men. They found huge bones of animals which died thousands of years ago, and placed these in museums, where you can now see them. They also found the bones of some of the ancient men and women, with some of their weapons, tools, kitchen pots, and bits of their garments.
By studying these things very carefully, and by listening to the stories of the natives, they learned a great deal about the country which, from Greenland and A-las´ka in the north, to Cape Horn in the south, was once inhabited by tribes of Indians. None of these had white skins like the inhabitants of Europe, black skins like the negroes in Africa, or yellow skins like the Chinamen in Asia. But as they were more like the people in Asia than like those in Africa or Europe, some men now think they may once have belonged to the same family.