Early Kumeyaay history
Prior to 20,000 years ago, there were no humans living in North America – just plants, animals and microorganisms. That all changed when a group of Homo sapiens migrated out of northeastern Asia and across the Bering land bridge. These early humans found themselves at the top of North America, in modern day Alaska.
These Native Americans migrated and settled throughout North America. They chased herds of big game: woolly mammoth, mastodon, saber toothed tiger.
Eventually a group of natives wandered south and found themselves in the temperate Mediterranean climate of Southern California. Experts hypothesize human settlers arrived in the San Diego and Northern Baja region approximately 12,000 years ago. These early native settlers survived on the ample natural resources of the region: abalone, mussels, saltwater fish, deer, rabbit and a diverse selection of plants.
In time, a defined culture of Native Americans emerged in this region, the Kumeyaay. These people, also known as Tipai-Ipai, formerly called Diguenos, settled in a region that ran north to Oceanside and south to Ensenada, Mexico. From the Pacific Ocean, the Kumeyaay lived throughout modern day San Diego and Imperial Country – out to the the Salton Sea and the Colorado River. Estimates for the population of these people ranges from 3,000 to 15,000 people.