Prior to European contact, the indigenous native tribes lived in small camps along the riverbanks. After contact, some Miskito settled in small coastal villages close to lagoons in which fish were abundant and in the vicinity of English trading posts located near the river mouths. The Río Coco Miskito, however, established interior villages along the banks of the river below the rapids that impeded travel toward the interior. After the mid-nineteenth century, Moravian mission stations replaced trading posts as foci for Miskito village development. The Moravian missionaries encouraged strong community organization, and mission church activities provided a new focal point for Miskito community identity and cooperation. Miskito villages have varied in size from a few houses to 600 or more persons. Villages are kept cleared of grass; homes are built on pilings. They may be constructed of split bamboo or of sawed lumber; roofs are either thatched or of corrugated metal. There may be a separate kitchen. Houses were traditionally large, thatched, open lean-tos but now are partitioned into several interior rooms and a porch and contain doors and windows.