Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

38

According to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, one of the first steps from a hunter-gatherer society towards civilization is agriculture. While agricultural societies appeared all over the world, the old world had a more suitable environment, especially with regards to the grains and large animals that lived there. The old world had wheat, which is ...


31

Columbus is traditionally (and indeed still) credited with the discovery of the Americas for a number of reasons, some dubious but others quite legitimate. First of all, we must qualify this discovery as discovery by Old World people. Clearly, the original "discovery" by the human species was some 40,000 years ago by the ancestors of the indigenous ...


13

I'm afraid I know nothing about which pre-Columbian cultures had any metalworking, but I can answer why metallurgy was, in 1492, very rare in the Americas but widespread in Eurasia. Paraphrasing liberally from Guns, Germs and Steel, which I happen to be reading at the moment, Native American peoples were largely hunter-gatherers. Metalworking, like any ...


13

The only ones I have ever seen were referenced in the Columbian Exchange as being passed to the Old World: bejel or nonvenereal syphilis Chagas disease which is more of a parasite from Central/South America pinta which is similar to bejel and another form of syphilis Mostly the effects, if you believe Jared Diamond, came more from the crowded conditions ...


12

In 1905 there was an attempt to make an entire "colored" (iow: Native American and freed slave) state in the United States. Sadly, Congress did not go for it. Today the American Indian tribes (aka: Nations) are in fact still in existence, with their own laws and elected governments. They even occasionally have their own election contraversies. Many also ...


9

Here's what evidence they had: The word "Croatan" carved into a post of the fort The word "Cro" carved into a nearby tree All the houses and fortifications had been dismantled (They weren't destroyed) They didn't carve a Maltese Cross into any tree (John white instructed them to do so, if they were forced to move) Because there was no cross, John White ...


9

On the topic of the Aztecs, an intriguing book on this subject is Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control, by Ross Hassig. The Aztecs were an extremely war-like civilization, that were constantly attacking and subjugating their neighbors. Interestingly, though, their style of warfare was quite different from what we are familiar with from ...


8

Australian cultures did not have access to good starter crops. This is explored at depth in an allo-history available here: http://alternatehistory.net/discussion/showthread.php?t=110941 on the topic of what crops could have been good starter crops. Indigenous Australian cultures were highly developed, including development of aquacultural structures and ...


7

This is highly speculative and subjective. After all, you put forth very valid contenders to hold the title, particularly the natives and the Vikings. But what I find most likely is that Columbus was the first to do it for profit. He (and those who paid him) were the first to capitalize on it. The Viking settlement didn't last all that long, and didn't ...


7

The earliest recorded example of bacteriological warfare seems to be the Hittite plague (1715 BC): A long-lasting epidemic that plagued the Eastern Mediterranean in the 14th century BC was traced back to a focus in Canaan along the Arwad-Euphrates trading route. The symptoms, mode of infection, and geographical area, identified the agent as Francisella ...


7

One of the main topics mentioned in Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel is that communicable diseases such as the Old World diseases (plague, smallpox, typhus, cholera and measles in particular) generally made their way to humans from close contact to domesticated animals (cattle mainly, but also pets and vermin). Almost all the large mammals of the ...


7

The railroad certainly received its share of harassment. Livestock was continuously rustled by tribal raiders, who also boldly shot up work crews and terrorized isolated station towns. Particularly vulnerable were route surveyors, who struck out on their own ahead of the work crews -- and sometimes paid for it with their lives. Twice, Native Americans ...


6

From what I've been able to dig up, the answer appears to be yes, but not as much as you'd think. It appears the Telegraph companies saw the danger every bit as clearly as you did, and actively took steps to prevent it. They made sure to meet with the cheifs through whose territory they ran lines, hired them to help construct the lines, and generally took ...


6

If you are talking about the Omelc/Aztec/Maya, at war with the Cree or Inuits, I very much doubt this ever happened, as, 1) They had no quarrel, and so, no reason to go to war. 2) They had no way of marching across the USA, according to my Google Earth measurements, the distance from New York/New Jersey to Honduras, is 4,000 km. An average human can walk 5 ...


6

Reading through the available literature there appear to be three main theories for the cause of the decline (that I'd consider credible anyway): environmental degradation, warfare and disease, and climate change. Typically these are cited as a group of possibly complementary possible causes. The main idea behind the environmental degradation theory was ...


6

Yes, albeit in a fairly weaselly way (it was tucked into the middle of an unrelated spending bill). I'm guessing that there are legal issues here; a government-issued apology could potentially open the government up to lawsuits (which, of course, they could decline to entertain because they are the government, but that would potentially be a bad PR move). ...


5

Depends on what you mean by advanced. If you mean in terms of metalworking, the lack of easily exploited tin deposits in the Americas means that a bronze age never took off. There was a copper-working culture surrounding the Great Lakes, and it pre-dated the chalcolithic in the old world by a few thousand years, but this lasted only as long as the accessible ...


5

The civilizations developed around the Mediterranean Sea (Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, Judes) were close together, wich made it easier to share ideas and practice commerce. China, India and the Aztecs had to be developed in a relative vacuum.


5

The Indians of the North-East had become dependent on the Colonists for supplies of ball and powder for their newly favoured ranged weapon, the flintlock musket. Their supplies of these rarely exceeded a season's worth, and they had failed to stockpile additional reserves in preparation for the war. Although the initial onslaught had chased the Colonists ...


5

Can't help much with the Massachusetts area, but if you're interested in pre-European America in general, I definitely recommend the book 1491 by Charles Mann. As Michael points out, a lot of what we know is based on European accounts. And those authors had their own axes to grind, consciously or not - a man trying to turn the local hunting ground into a ...


5

Yes, it was paid to some degree. The catch was that it was paid slowly due to bureaucratic sloth (possibly intentional) and were diverted in some cases by government agents and tribal leaders. Payment vouchers were issued and ledgers were kept of these disbursements however these records are often incomplete and probably inaccurate. You can find more info ...


5

The quoted indictment, the 27th against the King of England, refers to the use of slaves and Indians against the colonial rebellion. The most notorious of these policies was the Dunmore Proclamation (1775) which offered freedom and weapons to any slave in Virginia that would fight against rebellious colonists. The Virginians were infuriated by this act. The ...


4

First off, what is today the state of Oklahoma is the result of three "leftover" pieces of territory. The eastern part of the state was reserved for the "Civilized" (aka farming) tribes pushed out of the American Southeast. The western half was later divied up to other tribes (eg: the Osages) as they got pushed out of their territories. Generally they ...


4

I am answering only one of your questions: How come no native American states have formed? Arguably, some states have formed. Paraguay: According to Wikipedia, 90% of the population speaks GuaranĂ­. About 95% of the people are mestizo (mixed Spanish and GuaranĂ­ Indian descent. Little trace is left of the original GuaranĂ­ culture except the language, ...


3

Actually, the Indian territory was established in the 1830s and originally included almost all of the land between the current states of Arkansas and Missouri and on up into the current state of Nebraska. Almost immediately, white settlers began to move into the territory. Because the fertile land was so desirable for the white settlers, the 1854 Kansas ...


3

According to wikipedia, the current title for the earliest documented use would be the Hittites with the bacterial disease Tularemia in the mid second millenium BC. According to the texts, infected people were sent into enemy territory to help spread the plague there.


3

For contact between the inhabitants of present-day United States and present-day Mexico, you can also see the Wikipedia article on Chichimeca, the commonly used name for the peoples that lived to the north of the Aztecs. It appears not much is known about them. The map posted in another answer is beautiful and very informative, but we should remember that ...


3

You could look at the diaries of the colonists of the time, such as Anne Hutchinson who was captured by Native Americans, or John Winthrop and see what they note about the natives at the time. The problem with many of the tribes in the Massachusetts Bay area is that many were displaced by the Bay Colony and from diseases that were rampant up and down the ...


3

Columbus is credited with discovering "America" (the "Indies," actually), because he SET OUT to do so. He had been trying to find a trade route west, to India, and thought that he had done so; i.e., that what later became the "Americas" was "India" to him, which is why he called the locals "Indians." Other peoples, the Vikings, the Chinese, and others ...


3

There were several reasons. The first was that most of the LOCAL (to Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut) Indians had either been involved with King Philip, and were defeated, or conversely, had allied with the settlers, and were sharing the spoils of war. The second reason is that most of the damage was done in the initial part of the war against ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible