Background > First human settlement > Notes: Countries Compared

DEFINITION: Description of the first known or suspected human settlement within each geographic location listed. For the date or period of the described settlement, please refer to the according date stat.
Antarctica First permanent base in mainland Antarctica, operated by the Chilean Army.
Argentina Spear heads and human fossils.
Ascension Island Settled as a British military garrison.
Australia The oldest human skeletal remains are the 40,000-year-old Lake Mungo remains in New South Wales, but human ornaments discovered at Devil's Lair in Western Australia have been dated to 48,000 BP. Ochre fragments at Malakunanja II in Northern Territory are dated to ca. 45,000 BP.
Bermuda Settled by English survivors of the Sea Venture shipwreck, led by George Somers .
Brazil Charcoal from the oldest layers yielded dates of 41,000-56,000 BP.
Cambodia Laang Spean cave in the Stung Sangker River valley, Battambang Province
Canada Human-worked mammoth bone flakes found at Bluefish Caves, Yukon, are much older than the stone tools and animal remains at Haida Gwaii in British Columbia (10-12,000 BP) and indicate the earliest known human settlement in North America .
Cape Verde Settlers from Portugal.
Chile Carbon dating of remains from this site represent the oldest known settlement in South America .
China Bones found in a cave near Beijing in 1958 have been radiocarbon dated at between 39-42,000 years old.
Colombia Stone, bone and charcoal artifacts.
Cyprus Burned bones of megafauna.
Czech Republic Oldest human bones that clearly represent a human settlement in Europe.
Democratic Republic of the Congo Semliki harpoon heads carved from bone.
East Timor Fish bones.
Egypt Skeleton of 8-10 year old child discovered in 1994
Estonia The Pulli settlement on the bank of the Pärnu River briefly pre-dates that at Kunda , which gave its name to the Kunda culture .
Ethiopia The Omo remains found in 1967 near the Ethiopian Kibish Mountains, have been dated as ca. 195,000 years old, making them the earliest human remains ever found. They are older than the remains found at Herto Bouri , Ethiopia (155-160,000 BP).
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) Settled by French during the expedition of Louis Antoine de Bougainville .
Faroe Islands Agricultural remains from three locations were analysed and dated to as early as the sixth century A.D.
Fiji Radiocarbon dating of a shell midden at Bourewa on Viti Levu Island shows earliest inhabitation at 1220-970 BC.
France The cave paintings in the Chauvet Cave in southern France have been called the earliest known cave art, though the dating is uncertain.
Germany Three Paleolithic flutes belonging to the early Aurignacian , which is associated with the assumed earliest presence of Homo sapiens in Europe ( Cro-Magnon ). It is the oldest example of prehistoric music .
Greece Geneticist Bryan Sykes identifies 'Ursula' as the first of The Seven Daughters of Eve , and the carrier of the mitochondrial haplogroup U . This hypothetical woman moved between the mountain caves and the coast of Greece, and based on genetic research represent the first human settlement of Europe .
Greenland Saqqaq culture was the first of several waves of settlement from northern Canada and from Scandinavia.
Iceland Ingólfr Arnarson , the first known Norse settler, built his homestead in Reykjavík this year, though Norse or Hiberno-Scottish monks might have arrived up to two hundred years earlier.
India Recent finds of stone tools in Jwalapuram before and after the Toba supereruption , may have been made by modern humans, but this is disputed.
Indonesia Early humans travelled by sea and spread from mainland Asia eastward to New Guinea and Australia
Ireland Carbon dating of hazel nut shells reveals this place to have been inhabited for 9,700 years.
Israel Discovered in 1929-1935; remains exhibit a mix of archaic and modern traits and may represent an early migration from Africa that died out by 80,000 years ago.
Italy Two baby teeth discovered in Apulia in 1964 are the earliest modern human remains yet found in Europe.
Japan Genetic research indicates arrival of humans in Japan by 37,000 BP. Archeological remains at the Tategahana Paleolithic Site at Lake Nojiri have been dated as early as 47,000 BP.
Laos In 2009 an ancient skull was recovered from a cave in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos which is at least 46,000 years old, making it the oldest modern human fossil found to date in Southeast Asia
Libya Fragments of 2 mandibles discovered in 1953
Madagascar The population of Madagascar seems to have derived in equal measures from Borneo and East Africa.
Malaysia A human skull in Sarawak, Borneo, has been dated to ca. 34-46,000 years ago. (Archeologists have claimed a much earlier date for stone tools found in the Mansuli valley, near Lahad Datu in Sabah , but precise dating analysis has not yet been published.)
Malta Settlers from Sicily brought agriculture and impressed ware pottery.
Mauritius First settled by Dutch under Cornelius Gooyer .
Morocco Anatomically modern human remains of uncertain date, 90-190,000 years old.
New Zealand Though some researchers suggest settlements as early as 50–150 AD, that later went extinct, it is generally accepted that the islands were permanently settled by Eastern Polynesians (the ancestors of the Māori ) who arrived about 1250–1300 AD.
Norfolk Island Settled by Polynesians, later abandoned. Resettled by British 1788.
Norway The oldest remnants of the so-called Fosna culture were found in Aukra in Møre og Romsdal , and date from this period.
Oman Tools found in the Dhofar Governorate correspond with African objects from the so-called 'Nubian Complex', dating from 75-125,000 years ago. According to archaeologist Jeffrey I. Rose, human settlements spread east from Africa across the Arabian Peninsula .
Peru Stone and bone artifacts found in a cave of the Ayacucho complex.
Philippines Archaeologists, Dr. Armand Mijares with Dr. Phil Piper found bones in a cave near Peñablanca, Cagayan in 2010 have been dated as ca. 67,000 years old. It's the earliest human fossil ever found in Asia-Pacific
Poland A boomerang made from mammoth tusk.
Portugal Possible Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon hybrid, the Lapedo child .
Puerto Rico Carbon dating of burial site.
Romania Bones dated as 38–42,000 years old are among the oldest human remains found in Europe.
Saint Helena Settled by Fernão Lopes (soldier) . Later populated by escaped slaves from Mozambique and Java , then by English in 1659.
Samoa Lapita site found at Mulifanua Ferry Berth Site by New Zealand scientists in the 1970s.
South Africa Remains found in the Klasies River Caves in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa show signs of human hunting. There is some debate as to whether these remains represent anatomically modern humans .
Sri Lanka The earliest remains of anatomically modern man, based on radiocarbon dating of charcoal, have been found in the Fa Hien Cave in western Sri Lanka.
Sudan Anatomically modern human discovered 1924 with rare temporal bone pathology
Svalbard Settled by Dutch and Danish whalers.
Taiwan Chipped stone tool similar to those of the Changpin culture on the east coast.
Tonga Radiocarbon dating of a shell found at the site dates the occupation at 3180±100 BP.
Tuvalu Evidence of fire in a submerged cave last accessible 8000 BP.
United Arab Emirates Stone tools made by anatomically modern humans.
United Kingdom Human jaw fragment found in Torquay, Devon in 1927.
United States Stone, bone, and wood artifacts and animal and plant remains found in Washington County, Pennsylvania .
Vanuatu Lapita pottery found at Teouma cemetery on Efate and on several other islands.


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