Special Report

This Is the Oldest City in America

The Pilgrims came ashore at Jamestown in 1607. The Constitution of the United States was not ratified until 1788. Between those two dates, much of the East Coast of America was settled, though some settlements were established even before 1620. In fact, the first European settlement came even earlier, in 1565.

However, there were a number of thriving, settled cities in the United States that were founded well before any Europeans arrived. The oldest known city in America, Oraibi, is located in Arizona. Estimates place the founding of this city at between 1100 and 1150.

To determine the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the continental United States, 24/7 Tempo perused several historical sources, publications, and archives.

There are a handful of Native American cities in the southwestern part of the country that have been continuously inhabited for over 500 years. These cities had been in place before Spanish conquistadors first stumbled across them in the 1500s in their search for legendary cities of gold.

In addition to being the oldest known city in America, Oraibi stands out in several other ways. The residents of the city still adhere to the ways of life passed down from their ancestors and generally do not interact with the outside world. It is difficult to estimate exactly how many people still live there.

Many of the oldest Native American villages have become historical sites featuring tours and other activities, but this is not the case at Oraibi. There are no tourist areas in the city, and photography is prohibited.

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