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Other parts of the country supported a scattered nomadic population, the Sami, who ranged over vast areas hunting and fishing, even well into the sixteenth century in southern Finland.

  • A history of Finland by Henrik Mainander

My first question is: Does the word "supported" in the text above mean "feeding"? If it does how a part of population feed other parts?

Second question: Does the phrase "well into the sixteenth century" belong to the verb "support" or it belongs to "ranged over"? And how to distinguish these two?

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The land supported X

means X lived on that land, and obtained their needs from the land, including food, clothing and shelter. This may be by farming, hunting, mining and trading, or whatever method or combination of methods. Mostly it means that X lived on the land.

As for the time, the quote says that the Sami were present "well into the sixteenth century" and at least implies that they were

rang[ing] over vast areas hunting and fishing

during that period.

There is no suggestion that they were present but not "ranging" during any part of the period mentioned.

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