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The Atlantic actually did an article about this very question (and various other, related topics) back in 2002, titled 1491. It notes some very interesting points, including that we do have actual records of death rates, from Spanish missionaries who settled in the area: [Henry F.] Dobyns began his exploration of pre-Columbian Indian demography in the ...


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Before exposure to European disease the Americas were extremely populated. There is plenty of evidence of that. Middle estimates are about 50 million, though some argue 100 million+. But what we think of as plagues (like the Black Plague) are paltry nothings compared to what happened in the Americas. In some cases entire areas were wiped out...no survivors ...


13

Disease plays a significant role. Estimates vary wildly, but there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million people living in the Americas before Columbus. The vast majority of those would have lived in the Mesoamerica and Inca areas. Europe's population at this time would have been in the vicinity of 90 million. What pretty much everyone ...


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There are no reliable records (as @Joe indicates in comments: no records from the locals, unreliable information from the colonists), so I have to resort to "educated guesswork". Population density is a function of food production. Hunter-gatherer tribes in North America required more territory to support their lifestyle than agricultural societies in ...


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Let's start by making two assumptions: We're talking about the people who lived all throughout the Americas, from the far Arctic north to Tierra del Fuego in the far south. (Sometimes people use "Native American" to mean only the people who lived in what later became the US, but that's not a meaningful distinction before the US came to exist.) We're ...


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There is a nice short summary of pre-Columbian trade in the Amreicas by David Carballo. It looks like Cahokian trade was focused on the North American landmass and did not extend to Mesoamerica in a significant way. From the text: Following the adoption of Mexican maize as a primary domesticate, a Mississippian trading system began to flourish within ...


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TL;DR: Multiple factors conspired to make big sailing ships impractical. There is a multitude of factors that, put together, caused the American cultures not to develop significant seafaring capability. If I were to point out the most important ones, they would be: Lack of exploitable sea routes Lack of metal tools No large-scale cultural interchange ...


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They really didnt need to sail anywhere on a large scale. I suspect that the largest native american ships would be near the hudson river, but other than that, nope. They had a 3000 mile land mass to work with. No boats needed.


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At the time of discovery of America, the Europeans also did not have especially large sailing ships. The epoch of large sailing ships starts only in 17s century. In general the American civilizations when discovered by the Europeans were very far behind of the Europeans (ans Asians) in technology. They did not use wheels or iron on large scale, the things ...



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