At the beginning of the fifteenth century, many native peoples populate North America. They speak countless languages and follow diverse patterns that are adapted to, and vary with, their environments. In some areas—such as the Northeast—they begin to group into more centralized political structures, while in the South, with the weakening of the important Mississippian centers, populations disperse into smaller communities. The arrival of Europeans at the end of the century, followed by the coming of fishermen, fur traders, gold seekers, and colonists, alters Native American lifeways forever. Contacts between Europeans and Native Americans increase during the following century, particularly in the Northeast, where trade expands and the arts of the region begin a period of integration of foreign elements into objects of everyday use. Such integration, in one measure or another, occurs throughout the continent, the specifics varying with time, place, and groups involved. New diseases, too, arrive with the Europeans, beginning a cycle of decimation that will last until the nineteenth century.