144

In WW2 we didn't have digital computers. We didn't even have transistors. Even vacuum tubes were state-of-the-art. If you wanted to do cryptography on the battlefield, you used something like this Enigma machine. Basically a fancy typewriter, it did all its encryption with gears and wires. If you wanted to send a message your radio operator had to check ...


120

Europeans were introduced to at least one important disease from the Americas (syphilis), but far more Old World pathogens were introduced to the Americas than vice versa. There are several reasons for this imbalance. European agriculturalists lived in closer proximity to disease vectors than did most Native Americans. A number of important diseases started ...


63

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 ...


54

As DevSolar mentioned in his comment, this really depends on how you define 'major', but here are several case of migrants moving from the New to the Old World. From the Caribbean to Europe According the (British) National Archives, between 1948 and 1970, nearly half a million people left their homes in the West Indies to live in Britain There were ...


50

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 ...


49

Yes, there has been. As this infographic shows, there has been a back-migration of the DNA haplogroups C1a and A2a from North America (well, Beringia...) back into Asia. The infographic is sourced as Tamm E, Kivisild T, Reidla M, Metspalu M, Smith DG, et al. (2007) Beringian Standstill and Spread of Native American Founders. PLoS ONE 2(9): e829. doi:10....


47

"The Code Book" of Simon Singh mentions several points why code talkers where so useful. Speed: One of the colonels in charge tried exactly that: code machine against Navajo code. The Navajo was able to talk in real-time, while the machine fall hopelessly behind - very important during tactical situations. Strength of code: The Navajos was one of the few ...


40

Several good answers have already been suggested, but there are a few very important points that are worth mentioning: Native Americans were badly unprepared for the emergence of epidemic disease among their populations, both genetically and culturally. According to this article from 2002, there was a major genetic component to it: far less immune system ...


38

However, considering there was little to no knowledge of the new world I wonder why would the tribes risk to travel to far . . . it seems unreasonable [humans would] risk it to migrate towards the north in search for a place that may or may not exist In a general sense, this is not particularly remarkable. All humans evolved in Africa, and from there we ...


35

I think you are missing the true pattern of that map. Note that it shows a higher percentage of natives in Canada than it does in the US, and shows the same lower percentage of natives in the USA as in a geographically contiguous area of South America (1% or less). If anything, the real pattern there is that areas in the subtropics (but not subartic) have ...


35

The problem here is that there was no more an average lifestyle in North America than there was in Eurasia. Some peoples were hunter-gatherers, while others lived in densely populated agricultural civilizations. Even within those categories, there was great variation. Comanche* arguably lived lives much more like Mongols than they did like Cherokee. The ...


34

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 ...


30

SHORT ANSWER "Total War" is a bit grandiose and ambitious, but as far as I know very few Native American or American Indian groups in the USA had any sort of rules against harming noncombatants in war. LONG ANSWER As far as I know, as a general rule Native Americans or American Indians in the USA didn't have any sort of social rules against killing ...


27

Firstly, it is important to be aware that our understanding of the civilisations and culture of Pre-Columbian America is far from complete. Secondly, I don't propose to attempt to cover every civilisation, so this will - at best - be only a partial answer. However, with those caveats: As far as I am aware, we have no evidence that any pre-Columbian ...


26

The government has some good resources for research like this site for the Yokut tribe. This map from Berkeley not only outlines each culture but puts them into a super class based on language.


25

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 ...


24

In theory, yes that would cover any religion. In practice, not just no but hell no. Indian cultures, of which their religious beliefs were an integral part, were considered uncivilized and inferior. In the logic of time, this naturally meant the Indian "way of life" was an active harm to the Indians, as well as a standing threat to their neighbors. As such ...


24

In addition to Lars Bosteen's answer about modern migration, several hundred thousand South American people have migrated to Spain in the last decades, and Brazilians have became the largest group of foreigners in Portugal. Other European countries with fewer ties and common background with America seem to host smaller populations. Furthermore, if the "...


22

Chief Poking Fire's main claims to fame are probably owning and running an Indian museum, and founding and running a tourist village. He also apparently presented Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King with an Indian head-dress in 1948. The story that he was a Ukrainian Soviet WWII pilot who survived being shot down and escaped to Canada to become an Indian ...


20

First off, yes you are wrong. Some kind of long-term record-keeping seems to be a common requirement for civilized people, so both the Maya and the Inca developed something pre-contact. I personally think its likely the Mississippians did as well, but if so it hasn't survived. The Cherokee I believe did something similar to what you are asking. Sequoya, one ...


19

Code talking in an obscure language puts two layers of encryption on the message. The first layer is that it's a language. The second is that it's a code. The code part is usually pretty simple with code words replacing the real words. The phrase "Omaha beach" is simple code. The place we called Omaha beach probably has an actual name in French or ...


19

Flint points, obsidian, buffalo hides, salt, pearls, shells and (as mentioned by T.E.D.) copper were among item traded by Native Americans before Europeans arrived. That said, trade in North America prior to European contact varied greatly in its extent and volume, depending on area and epoch. From Trade Among Tribes: Commerce on the Plains before Europeans ...


18

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 ...


18

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 ...


18

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 ...


17

The Natives were enslaved, and for quite some time, and by 1616 there were laws in every colony which legalized the enslavement of Natives and outright referred to them as slaves. The only way they managed to get a reputation for being hard to enslave was by being enslaved. From first contact, Natives were enslaved. The enslavement of the Native Americans ...


16

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 ...


16

You need to distinguish their opinion of the Spanish prior to the defeat of the Aztecs and after. When the Spanish first arrived, they had guns and horses but were small in number. The native americans had yet to suffer the full depravities of not only the Spanish but also the deadly diseases to come, and they were strong both in population numbers and in ...


16

I am going to say Yes, to the title question, and No to the question in the body. Is there a link... There is a genetic link, but not in the direction you were expecting. An article published on the National Geographic website makes some claims concerning Native American DNA signatures located among Icelandic populations: Analyzing a type of DNA passed ...


15

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 ...


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