The Amazon rain forest is home to various tribes of forest
indians. There were thought to be about 3 to 5 million indians living there
when the European settlers arrived there in the sixteenth century. Many
indians died as a result of slavery but the main reason for the fall in
numbers was the indians lack of immunity to European diseases such as smallpox
Today there are only about 200,000 indians remaining. They are scattered among small communities and even there existence is threatened by the destruction of the remaining rain forest.
The first Indians were thought to have come from the north some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. In this time they have never thought that the land was theirs.