The Thule people established themselves in the Northern coastal regions of Canada and Greenland around 1300 AD.
It is believed that the Thule people replaced the Dorset people in that area. The Thule people originally belonged to Siberia and Alaska by the 10 century AD they started expanding themselves, defeating the Dorset People in various wars compelling Dorset to displace elsewhere.
The Thule people are also called Proto Inuit. Infact whole Inuit community living in Canada and Greenland are actually the successors of Thule people. Many biological evidence especially DNA mapping and blood samples have established relation between Thule and Inuit people. Many lingual and cultural patterns also suggest the same.
The evidence regarding the Thule people were firstly obtained from Commer’s midden in 1916 by whaling Captain George Comer, ice master of the Crocker Land Expedition’s relief team near Thule in Greenland which is now called Qaannaaq. The site is located in north western Greenland. Many other archeological sites have also been excavated suggesting that before Vikings there was a distinct culture flourishing in this region.
Cultural Development and History
The Thule people firstly came in contact with the outside world when Viking from northern Europe started trading in this region around 1000 AD. The Viking mythologies are full of evidences regarding these people. Vikings used to call them Skraeling. The Thule people after defeating Dorset people started expanding their territories.
During the 13th and 14th century ad when Dorset people almost declined the Thule people covered whole northern coastal regions of Canada and believed to establish themselves deep inside the continent. After the European attack in the 18th century ad and Mini Ice age between 16th to 18th centuries ad these people dispersed in different direction. As regional variations occurred these people were termed as Eskimos or Inuit in different regions.
Many settlement sites have been found regarding Thule people. The Thule used to live in houses which were made up of whale bones. These people used to hunt whales in summer. Settlement sites varied especially on seasonal basis.
During winter these people used to live in group of more than five houses and each house accumulates whole family. The summer houses were quite temporary and small like camps or tents. They were mostly used as a kill site and to store meat.
Diet and Weapons
The Thule people built toggling harpoons which were used to hunt large sea animals like seal, whale, walrus etc. There are evidence that these people also did land hunting killing caribou and polar bear. The Thule people also created certain weapons and tools like slate knives, umiaks, and seal-skin floats