The Amazon tribes total in the hundreds. While some of these tribes have contact with the outside world, others do not. Those that do not are generally referred to as uncontacted tribes. Also impressive to consider are the linguistic attributes of the Amazon tribes. There are no less than 34 different language families in this South American region. Compare that to 21 language families for Asia, Africa, and Europe combined.
Numerous Amazon tribes inhabited the Amazon region prior to the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century. Some five million people made up these tribes, and it is common belief that the tribes themselves numbered around 5,000. After the arrival of Europeans, things such as war and disease wiped out many of the Amazon tribes. Today, approximately 500 tribes remain, and the Amazon Indian population totals somewhere around 500,000. These tribes and people are found in all of the Amazon region countries, including Brazil, which is home to approximately 60 percent of the Amazon Rainforest.
Some Amazon tribes, namely those that are uncontacted, don’t wear much in the way of clothing. Others are in close contact with the outside world and can often be seen wearing blue jeans, t-shirts, ball caps, and other clothing items that are customary in the Western World. Generally speaking, you should be prepared for a relative lack of clothing when taking Amazon Rainforest tours that include encounters with indigenous tribes. You can also expect to encounter natives who exhibit tattoos and other kinds of body art. Of course, the tours vary considerably, and you’re likely to get the lowdown before you actually set foot in a native Amazon village.
As a side note, uncontacted Amazon tribes have been discovered in recent years. In 2007, for example, an indigenous tribe in Peru was found living in isolation within the borders of Alto Purus National Park. It is fascinating to consider that tribes like these have managed to elude outside recognition of any real kind over the years, and in many ways, they are living ties to the Amazon region’s past.