Christopher Columbus lost at sea

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Niceguy, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. Niceguy Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2007
    Let's change history a little and have Christopher Columbus's 1492 expedition be lost in a storm, all three ships lost with all hands and never heared from again. What happens? Sooner or later someone else would travel over the atantic ocean but who would that be and would they have their loyalties elsewhere? Would this lead to another form of colonization era in american continents?
  2. NapoleonXIV Banned

    Jan 1, 2004
    America, Home of the fee and the knave
    You might see a stronger Portugeuse presence in the New World, maybe a stronger Portugal overall.

    What could be very interesting would be what might happen if the Portugeuse are the ones who run into the Inca and Aztecs. While Cortes et al were no slouches at taking sides in local civil wars the Portugeuse actually ARMED their allies in the Far East. WI Inca with muskets under Atahualpa are attacking Cuzco with their Portugeuse allies in 1505?

    This isnt Guns of the Tawnatinsuyay (sp?) is it?
  3. Flocculencio Fabian Socialist

    Jan 12, 2004
    Well, the Portugese would have bumped into Brazil since if you're sailing South following the currents, the fastest route around Africa actually takes you way out into the Atlantic, almost to the Brazilian coast.

    I don't know if Nap's idea about a stronger Portugal is practical because Portugal has the same problem as the Netherlands. No matter how powerful and extensive it's overseas Empire is, it's home base is always vulnerable to bigger, nastier European neighbours. All it takes is for the homeland to be threatened and you'll see colonies being handed over in appeasement.

    France, Spain and the UK didn't really have this problem because the former two were already 600-pound gorillas and the latter was unassailable by land.

    Also, the cod fishermen from the British Isles and Brittany had most likely already been landing on Newfoundland to resupply after fishing the Grand Banks. They just tended to keep quiet about it because they didn't want too many competitors.
  4. Admiral Brown Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2007
    Buenos Aires, la ciudad junto al río inmóvil
    If Columbus expedition fails, Spain might have focused on Muslim Northern Africa, and left America aside. America may be left for the Portuguese for a while. They'd probably have stayed in Brazil, and left the rest pretty untouched, because they were more interested in their empire in the Indian Ocean.

    So, the Incas and Mesoamericas might have their numbers reduced through smallpox and other disseases, as these illness spread westwards. But this will be better for them, cause they'll be better prepared when other European arrive (Portugal? Spain? Holand? France? England?).

    They might also recieve some European tecnologies from Tupi Indiands in Brazil (who would get them from the Portuguese). May be also some domesticated animals, though that will be harder. (May be the Portuguese bring cattle or horses to Uruguay, it reproduces, and, by the end of the century, these animals reach the Tawantisuyo).
  5. Philip One L only

    Apr 19, 2007
    True, but I could see it going another way. Spain was broke when Columbus set sail. Without the influx of wealth from the Americas, this isn't going to change. Portugal was already rich from its African adventures. More money from the Indian Ocean routes was just around the corner. Add to this American wealth, and Portugal can afford a very nice army.

    Maybe Portugal and France split Spain -- Aragon to France and Castile and Leon to Portugal. Or maybe John II lives and Portugal gets Castile for free.

    Correct, but this is likely to lead to a vastly different pattern of colonization. There would still be plenty of time for someone else to jump ahead in Central and South America.
  6. Flocculencio Fabian Socialist

    Jan 12, 2004
    Both good points. Interestingly enough how does this affect European politics. England has always had an alliance with Portugal- in OTL this was undermined by Portugese dominance by Spain but in TTL England will have a powerful continental ally.
  7. Tocomocho My other car is a steam tank.

    Aug 1, 2006
    It has been discussed several times in the forum, and the general consensus is that Cabral would discover Brazil in 1500 anyway, because his expedition (unlike Cabot's one) wasn't related in any way to Columbus'. Cabral was trying to round Africa and 'hit' America by accident, claiming that "new island" for his king.

    I don't think that there were commercial relations at all between the Brazilian coast and the Inca Empire, so Peru would still be untouched by European knowledge and diseases well after European settlements were growing there. That could change if, at least, the Portuguese or somebody else discovers the Plata River and sails it upwards till meeting some Guarani tribes carrying gold jewels and ask them from where that gold came.

    But not being interested in colonization doesn't left the Portuguese uninterested in seeing what the hell was there. In OTL they sent expeditions to Terranova well after signing the Treaty of Tordesillas, for example.

    If for "broke" you mean political divided, yes, by 1492 Castile and Aragon are still different countries, but the dynastical union is closed, and Navarre is doomed because of this.

    If for "broke" you mean "bankrupt", that is false. True that American gold and silver were what made Spain the superpower in the second half of the 16th century, but before the Americas the country was rich compared to other western European nations. Aragon had a Mediterranean trading empire, and Castile could grow vast ammounts of crops and sheeps for exportations (specially wool from the later to England and the Low Countries); Add to them African gold flooding through the Sahara towards Melilla and Granada, as well. Combined, Aragon and Castile were a monster comparable to what had been the big guy through the entire Medieval ages, France. Charles of Gaunt didn't need any American money to bribe the elector princes and take the Imperial Crown, he just raised the taxes in Castile.
  8. euio HAI KRALL

    Feb 12, 2007
    It's Tawantinsuya.:D