History and Culture

Beringia crafts.
Students at the Chukotka Multi-discipline College in Anadyr learn how to make traditional crafts from leather and fur.

NPS/Katerina Wessels

Beringia is renowned for its rich history and diverse culture. The human history of Beringia started when people first moved onto the land bridge in pursuit of land mammals, edible plants, and other resources for surviving the cold glacial climate. These people became the first Americans, some of whom later moved south from Alaska and populated the continents now known as North and South America. However, some of these people also settled in Alaska and became the ancestors of modern Inupiat, Yupik, Unangax^, and Athabascan.

Several theories exist about how prehistoric tribes lived on and moved across the land bridge and into the Americas. Did they eke out a living in the bitter cold for thousands of years using fuel from dwarf shrubs and animal bones? Did the land bridge provide a corridor in the enormous ice shields that covered most of North America at that time? Or did they travel along the coast in boats? What is certain is that scientific debate continues, discoveries are continually being made, and much still remains to be learned and explained.

Last updated: August 9, 2017