Giving Doug Muir's "Bronze Age New World" Another Look

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Hnau, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. Hnau falante de português

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    Fascinating alternate timeline. This group had a good share of interesting and educated writers. What a fun project to work on, when it was in its hey-day!

    http://www.seedwiki.com/wiki/bronzeagenewworld

    The POD is that around 500 CE some Arawak Indians of the Caribbean develop a navigational package that allows them to sail up and down the Atlantic coast of the New World, from Delaware to Brazil. They raid, they trade, and in providing this new stimuli, technology advances more quickly throughout all civilizations that encounter them. This means bronze-working, which originates in Mesoamerica and spreads from there after being adopted by these alt-Arawaks. Hence the title.

    The New World transformed into its Bronze Age equivalent is very fascinating. There is a dark and Burroughsian element to the cultures that are created... I like the mood of it. Columbus stumbles upon a post-apocalyptic civilization, rather than an edenic one, due to some wicked diseases spreading around just prior to 1492. These diseases eventually find their way to Europe by 1520, causing some nastiness that would likely even the playing field. However, the timeline never got farther than the 1520s... which is too bad.

    Check it out and let's talk about it, especially if there is any potential for resurrecting what they had created.
     
  2. Ampersand Anti-Social Socialist

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    Having just read the first two installments, I'd say hell yes. I do not know much about Arawak and Carib history and society, but it's without doubt an interesting scenario. I'm... weary of collective timelines, but, if well disciplined and/or with a definite scenario, no problem.
     
  3. Thande Brexit Out Now, Funk Soul Brother

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    Thanks for the link. Somewhat reminds me of a study Tony Jones did about one of the Mexican tribes developing similar navigation and establishing contact with the Inca.
     
  4. Hnau falante de português

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    Please review the plausibility of all that follows. What I will be doing is organizing the contents of Bronze Age New World into a formal year-by-year timeline.

    --

    ~450-500: An isolated group of Arawak Indians in northern Venezuela develop more advanced navigation technology than in OTL. This entails a long-range trade-and-exploration ship with the following description: double-hulled canoes, similar to Polynesian vessels, with a large square sail, a sharp bowsprit, bowlines, and a bowsail. The hulls are burn-shape-scrape dugouts, rigging is made out of woven grass. Large steering oars are used on one side. For short range travel, monster canoes paddled by oarsmen are used, a cross between Northwest Indian canoes and an Anglo-Saxon oar-ship.

    This isn't as good as what the Polynesians developed, but its better than OTL and good enough to cross large stretches of blue water.

    ~500-1300: The *Arawaks take to the seas in force. They raid Mesoamerica periodically for centuries, Viking-style, devastating coastal polities and civilizations, picking up treasure, foodstuffs, slaves, but most importantly technology such as agriculture, architecture, and writing. Their warriors don't penetrate any area more than a two-day's march, though... this means that a damaged Mesoamerican civilization is able to manage in the highlands of southern Mexico.

    ~700-1300: The *Arawak civilization reigns as the supreme power of New World side of the Atlantic. They are aggressive and expansionist, setting up colonies on every stretch of coastline they can find, from South Carolina to Brazil. Their power is established through very advanced Neolithic technology, they never quite shift into a pure agricultural civilization, instead they are gardener-fishers with major farming areas few and far between. The reason for this is because their culture gives farmers a very low place in their society... no tender of the earth can be treated with any respect, in contrast to noble seafaring warriors. Simplified Mesoamerican hieroglyphs are transformed into a Phoenician-style alphabet, which allows for extensive record-keeping, and thus social stratification and specialization.

    ~950: The chaos of the *Arawak raids has been encouraging some serious tinkering with weapon technology. In this year, some unsung genius mixes copper and tin together to make a blade. In OTL the Mesoamericans knew of bronze... they just needed to be able to recognize its use as a metal for tools and weapons. Bronzeworking spreads through Mesoamerica, slowly but steadily.

    ~1000-1200: Though the *Arawaks never quite reach the Azores, as they don't like heading too far away from 30 degrees North, and they never reach Europe, they do make it to the Old World. At some point the *Arawaks make contact with the Guanches of the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco, but its so far away that only a few round trips are made... a number more voyages stay at the Canaries and never return, fearing for their lives. As such, the Guanches become a divergent peoples from OTL, they have a copper tint to their skin, and they navigate between their islands in catamarans with big square sails. There are a few *Arawak loan words and a few artifacts, but nothing that will affect history later on too much.

    ~1040: Near the site of OTL Baton Rouge, a slave revolt breaks out in the northernmost *Arawak city. The slaves are of mixed ancestry, but the revolt is led by those imported from Mesoamerica. When the revolt succeeds, they attribute its success to their gods. They cut their former masters' hearts out one by one.

    ~1050-1250: Freed from the *Arawaks, a new civilization arises in the Mississippi valley, a unique combination of *Arawak, Mesoamerican and Mound Builder cultures. The society is not very pleasant: they are warlike, xenophobic slave-owners, socially stratified, fanatically religious. They practice human sacrifice, ritual torture, and cannibalism. Outsiders are considered slaves at best, snacks otherwise. They raid the Plains Indians so intensively that the neighboring region, some 100,000 square miles in area, is almost completely depopulated. The Mississippians have tobacco and use it in all forms: cigars, pipes, chew, snuff. They also have developed a strong corn beer which is used in various unpleasant religious ceremonies. They have simple bronze horns for music... no bells or gongs. Government is through a number of regional god-kings, all owing titular allegiance to the Undying King in *Memphis. Its titular because the Undying King is strangled and buried every year to keep the corn growing.

    ~1100-1150: The *Arawaks finally pick up bronze-working after repeated exposude to bronze weapons from their Mesoamerican enemies and vassals. Through the *Arawak colonies the technology quickly takes root throughout the civilized portions of the New World.

    1148: A group of *Arawaks on a large canoe, headed to the Canary Islands, incidentally makes landfall on the Moroccan coast, near Agadir. Within a week, half of the group is slaughtered by Almohad slavers, the other half taken in chains. The enslaved *Arawaks soon perish from disease or overwork. Their huge canoe, with a great face painted on its sail, is seen as a piece of idolatry and an offense to Allah, and as such the Almohads burn it on the beach it is found. A few gold ornaments and pots make it to the market at Rabat, but otherwise nothing remains of this transatlantic contact.

    ~1150-1180: An *Arawak trader discovers the Amazon, which the native inhabitants call the River Sea. *Arawak sailors treat it as a curiousity, sailing down to its mouth to catch a few freshwater fish and fill their canteens. In a couple of decades, the natural port of *Belem is discovered and regular trade begins... no actual settlement at first, just a destination of choice for the annual trade fleets and the occasional slave raid.

    --
    At their height, the *Arawaks are sailors, warriors, and aristocrats, sometimes traders, artists and musicians, never farmers. Their cities look towards the seas. Their musicians play flutes carved from human bone and capped with bronze or gold. Women wear skirts of carmine and ornaments of jade and coral and gold. Architecturally, their houses are great round towers of slave-quarried stone. They sleep in hammocks, enjoy long barbecues, and communicate long-distance by blowing conch-horns in set patterns. They love pets: parrots, dogs, margays, sloths, parakeets, ocelots, jaguars, iguanas, monkeys. Men are judged by battle scars and tattoos identifying different ranks and proficiencies. It is a proud and warlike culture as much as it is rich and complex.
    --

    ~1200: The *Arawaks reach Bermuda, where they find several thousand acres of Bermuda cedar. A small colony of loggers is planted... the cedar is useless for shipbuilding, but is used to make expensive, sweet-smelling furniture which is shipped southwards.

    ~1200-1205: Slavers sailing up the River Sea land near OTL's Prainha, where they recognize tin in the black sand along the banks of the river. Word gets out about it, and within a few years instant boomtowns spring up between *Prainha and *Belem, the latter acting as a more convenient port on the way to the Caribbean. None of these are successful, the tin is too low-quality and not economically feasible in any way, but there are other products discovered. Parrots and monkeys for pets, for example. There is also an odd-looking red berry with black seeds that the natives trade to the *Arawaks for bronze axeheads [this is guarana, a plant that possesses the highest content of caffeine found in the natural world]. The seeds provided a pleasant stimulating effect, especially when roasted, ground into a powder and mixed with water. By 1250 no *Arawak anywhere in the Caribbean could concentrate on his navigation without his morning cup of "river berry". These products sailed north while trade goods and immigrants sailed south.

    ~1220-1230: Crop yields drop alarmingly among the colonies of the River Sea, this due to the poor quality of the soil next to the Amazon. This problem is solved purely by accident: a river berry magnate blames his slaves for not increasing food output, and exchanged them with a Mississippian slave ship for Mayan slaves. The Mayans are some of the best jungle farmers in the world, and are quickly able to end the food shortage when their techniques are replicated. This actually creates a food surplus, allowing for more leisure time to find and manufacture trade goods.

    ~1250-1350: A Mesoamerican culture copies *Arawak ship design but on the Pacific coast. The boats are small, inferior copies of the Caribbean craft, but they're good enough for coastal trade. Sailors trade obsidian, gold, beads, bronze, jade, and quetzal feathers, every year traveling a bit further north and south.

    ~1270-1350: The *Arawak civilization, widespread but never stable, begins to collapse. The great cities on Cuba and Hispaniola have teetered on the edge of Malthusian catastrophe for generations. Due to the neglect of agriculture, the soil has been exhausted and there is a growing reliance on slaving to top off the malnourished labor supply. *Arawak cities are extremely specialized in particular manufactures or foodstuffs, very reliant on trade. The *Arawaks need large trees for their war canoes, but they have never developed the idea of conservation, and deforestation becomes a problem. Constant warfare has thinned out the master class, which leaves the cities more and more vulnerable to slave revolt.

    War in famine are joined around the year 1300 by another horseman. The tloggotl virus, which has spent several centuries adapting to life in human hosts after jumping from the guayazi marmoset, a popular pet throughout the Caribbean. Widespread malnourishment renders whole populations vulnerable, and the turbulent movements of invaders and refugees give the microbe new fields in which to grow and spread. Tloggotl is a cousin of OTL's Machupo virus, a distant relative of Ebola. A hemorrhagic fever, it afflicts its victims with swellings that fill with pus. Severe cases resemble elephantiasis, which adds a demoralizing effect. This is a virgin-field epidemic, and casualties run over 20%, with many survivors scarred and sterilized.

    Plague, famine and war feed off each other. The final collapse is rapid. By the 1330s the *Arawak civilization has been gutted. A few colonies survive here and there, on the *Arawak's frontiers, but the main culture has ceased to exist. Populations on Jamaica and Santo Domingo drop by 90%, while some of the smaller Antilles are altogether emptied of humanity.

    ~1300-1350: The Bermudans have by this point lost the art of navigation. Contact with the mainstream *Arawak civilization was tenuous from the beginning, and with the latest catastrophes, and the deforestation of the island, the Bermudans have become completely isolated.

    ~1300-1350: Amazonian natives upriver of the *Arawaks adopt the Mayan agricultural techniques in stride, being close to organized agriculture already. Soon every settlement from *Belem to *Manacapuru is following some version of the ancient Mayan agricultural calendar. Every four years the forest is cut down in August and the remains are set on fire the following March, creating an intermittent ribbon of fire a thousand miles long stretching along boht banks of the river.

    ~1320: A trade ship from *Port of Spain docks in the *Belem harbour. It carries most importantly a letter from the king of *Trinidad to his Amazonian counterpart telling him the news from the Caribbean. The king of *Belem ignores the reports of plagues, famines, slave revolts and various bloody strife, thinking them exaggeration. The trade ship then leaves *Belem with some goods and never returns. No *Arawak ships from the Caribbean return. For the next two centuries the River Sea becomes completely isolated.

    ~1350-1400: Traders from the Pacific coast of Mesoamerica have reached the head of the Gulf of California and the mouth of the Colorado. There's also regular trade down to Panama and the Pacific coast of Colombia, where rumors are heard of a strange, rich civilization still further south.

    ~1390-1450: An outbreak of pneumonic Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever hits the Arkansas Mississippians, the vector being a Ute Indian from Colorado which was enslaved and brought far east to be ritually cannibalized. RMSF will spread over the years throughout the civilization, from Texas to Lake Erie. It kills 5% of its victims and blinds or cripples another 10%.

    ~1400: Colonization and stimulus-diffusion from the Mississippians has spread agriculture, writing and bronzeworking north along the Mississippi and its tributaries. There are small fortified towns as far north as OTL St. Paul.

    ~1400-1500: The Mississippians, as violent and cruel as their civilization is, begin developing new engineering and architectural techniques to help them tame the irregular floods of the Mississippi River. This includes complex levee systems, clay plumbing, the cofferdam, and the float valve. At the site of OTL Memphis step pyramids and a temple complex that rivals those found in Egypt. Near OTL Little Rock they mark the boundary of their civilization with a 120-foot stone obelisk, carved with the deeds of the God-King of *Arkansas and bathed in the blood of a thousand slaves. They almost invent the arch, but not quite.

    ~1400: In OTL's Maryland, there are a dozen towns of more than 2,500 people. This is the heartland of the *Chesapeake city-state culture, stretching from Norfolk to Baltimore. Its the youngest civilization in the New World, but its as technologically advanced as any other society, and quite wealthy. Their diet consists of corn, beans, pumpkins, domesticated turkeys, and numerous varieties of fish and shellfish from the Chesapeake and the numerous nearby rivers. They aren't very warlike, compared to the Mississippians or Mesoamericans, but there is constant bickering between the city-states, also ritual warfare that could be called Flower War-Lite, more like violent sport that leads to few, but very expected deaths. No human sacrifice, nor god-kings... the *Chesapeake city-states are very liberal for this hemisphere. The city-chiefs are limited in power, checked by tradition and councils of tribal elders. Their architecture is not as impressive as the Mississippians, but they are the continent's best metal workers and brilliant potters. The *Chesapeake produce gorgeous artwork, clever tools, and scribing is a respectable position. They are not enthusiastic navigators, but they occasionally sail as far south as the Okefenokee to trade with the *Timuchans and as far north as Cape Cod for whaling with bronze-headed spears.

    ~1400-1500: In Mesoamerica, the Tlon Empire is dominant. They are somewhat similar to OTL's Aztecs: they are aggressively expansionist and they have a huge extravagant capital city in Lake Mexico. But they're too different to be labeled *Aztecs. They use bronze freely, have the *Arawak navigation package, some notion of the wheel (not very useful without draft animals, but its allowed them to create a messay, two-man version of the potter's wheel), and they aren't nearly as unpleasant: human sacrifice forms only a very occasional part of the their religion, and always voluntary. There are more of them, too. By the 1390s, traders have made contact with the Incas, bringing back the potato and sweet potato by 1430. Tlon agriculture rapidly becomes more productive, and with bronze blades they can clear more land. By 1500 *Tenochtitlan is about half again as big as in OTL, and there are several other cities in the 20,000+ range. Contact with the Incas also gives the Tlon the guinea pig by the year 1400 and llamas by 1460. Llamas thrive in the highlands of central Mexico. They won't be used to bear riders, but they'll carry heavy packs of food and weapons, allowing Tlon armies to march further and faster. By the 1490s the Tlon Empire is about twice as large as OTL's Aztec state, covering all but the northern third of modern Mexico and much of Guatemala.

    Tloggotl is a problem, with epidemics hitting every generation or so, with particularily nasty ones striking ~1450 and ~1490. But well-nourished populations are somewhat less vulnerable, and every generation is more resistant than the last.

    ~1450: The Incas develop bronzeworking, thanks to trade with the Tlon to the north. Curiously, they reject other innovations, such as writing, finding them ugly compared to the knotted-cord quipu.

    ~
    1450-1500: The Mississippians grow decadent. There are frequent slave revolts, as well incursions from bronze-armed barbarians from the northern lakes. They have arrived at a solution to pneumonic RMSF, though. The Mississippians regard the spots of the disease as a 'Kiss of the Earth Spirit'. All those who bear them are promoted to demigod status, which involves having one's brains knocked out and then being cooked in an oven for a day and a half. It isn't pretty, but it works in containing the disease.

    ~1500: The *Chesapeake are consumed with a new cultural development: the song-shaman. He endlessly walks between the cities, carrying a hickory staff, a fan of kingfisher feathers, wearing a kilt and a medicine bag of bison hide. He sings and tells stories to all, and they are respectfully provided food and shelter wherever they frequent.

    ~1500: The Timuchan in northern Florida are very similar to their OTL counterparts, but have a significant *Arawak cultural and genetic influence, thanks to colonies that were planted in the area. They have bronze-working, boats that sail to the mouth of the Mississippi and to the city-states of the Chesapeake, avocados and corn beer. They are a very tall people, with men standing more than five and a half feet tall, as such, their warriors are reknown as stoic giants. The Timuchan are heavily tattooed, and most adults are expected to be tattooed from head-to-toe, women included. Even as tattooing is so popular, clothes from animal skins and cotton are popular still, and alligator boots, belts and globes are highly-prized. To make room for more tattoos to be seen, the Timuchan cut their hair as short as they can, some using sap to strip it out by the roots. Politically, the Timuchan are divided into several chiefdoms, all unified into one confederacy. There is a lot of bickering between chiefs and the elders in the head council, but war-making is relegated to outsiders only. The culture is not very expansionist or aggressive, but fiercely protective. Boys identified as warrior stock are recruited from all chiefdoms to the Ribbon City, near OTL Miami, the ceremonial capital of the Timuchan Confederacy, where they are trained and assigned to different borderlands in order to guard against raiders. Those who fail to perform admirably are sent back home by the council of elders, where they nevertheless provide a centralizing influence to their various chiefdoms as former denizens of the Ribbon City. Those who are worthy soldiers eventually take multiple wives at the Ribbon City, each sent from various parts of the Confederacy, where they create noble warrior lineages that compete and intermarry with one another. This has the effect of creating a melting pot in the City of Ribbons, where people do not identify as being part of a chiefdoms but as part of the Timuchan people. There is one gruesome thing the Timuchan do: all warriors slain in battle have their right leg, left arm, and scalp dismembered and shipped to the Ribbon City, where on the roof of some stone tower each body-part is tied to the top of a long wooden pole. Three poles to each slain warrior. That warrior's living family is expected to provide ribbons of alligator skin, which are tied to these poles. When all that is left is the bone, these remains are tied up in the alligator skin and carried in a pilgrimage to Lake Okeechobee, and deposited as close to the center of the lake as possible. It is a key religious tradition amongst the Timuchan and gives the city its name. Each building is expected to have three poles on its rooftop, with alligator ribbons flying and human limbs stinking. When the Ribbon City does not live up to its name, the warrior-nobility pushes for ever more grim suicidal expeditions northwards. Religion is very polytheistic and mystical, not given too much importance, but bears interesting similarities to Tantra.

    [Doug Muir said very little of the Timuchan. I decided to fill the gap with some of my own ideas on what they might look like.]

    ~1500: Bermuda has grown very strange. Women fish, farm and hunt for seabirds. Men maintain wells and cisterns of fresh water, take care of the remaining groves of Bermuda cedar, and construct elaborate towers of stone, mud, and wood, some reaching more than a hundred feet. These spirit towers are a work of art. Each artist-builder, at his death, will be flayed, his tattooed skin adorning the tower, his skull sitting atop his spirit tower looking out to sea. Old towers are allowed to decay, scavenging materials from them is sacrilegious ut commonplace, a frequent source of clan feuds. Its bizarre.

    ~1500: The jungle is reclaiming the great cities of Hispaniola and Cuba. The islands are inhabited only by the descendants of the *Arawaks' slaves. They are few, shy, and primitive. Their bronze tools have long ago corroded, and no one can remember what a ship looks like. Slash-and-burn fields of corn and cassava provide for the natives deep in the forested interior of the islands... the cyclopean ruins that dot the coasts are for them places of dread and horror, where the Shapeless Death may still lurk.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  5. Polish Eagle Resident Martian

    It actually seems very plausible. I always thought to myself that the reason the New World was primitive was because no tribe could ever pass on its developments to a successor, and by the time a lot of tribes developed metal at once, the Spaniards conquered.
     
  6. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Any evidence for bronze before ~1200 in Mesoamerica? How expensive was it with the technology they had - maybe there was a reason that (tiny) jewelry was the main use not (massive) swords?



    Red berry with black seeds??? Cacao beans grow in pods, and AFAIK 'red' is not a word used to describe the seeds. You ALMOST sound like you're describing coffee - but 1) coffee is native to Ethiopia, not the Amazon, and 2) the seeds aren't black.

    One of the interesting discoveries in the recent past is that there were large cities and civilizations in the Amazon in pre-Columbian times. Look up articles on e.g. "Terra Preta da Indio" (sp?). While the Mayans may have new techniques and crops, they will have little to teach the locals about jungle farming. The reverse, rather.

    see above

    Actually, OTL, bronze was used by a predecessor kingdom to the Incas, and they used it SOONER than the MesoAmericas (I believe).
     
  7. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    O, and your development of an alphabet is WAY too fast. A syllabary would be FAR more likely, and was developed several times independently. Alphabets are far rarer, and were, AFAIK only invented ?twice?.
     
  8. Hnau falante de português

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    Remember, this is not my timeline, I'm just transcribing what has already been written in various locations on that wiki I linked to. But your criticisms and suggestions are definitely needed in refining the TL...

    I might have been misinterpreting what was said on BANW. Maybe the *Arawak created a syllabary out of Mesoamerican-inspired glyphs. Yeah, in fact, they never do say 'alphabet' outright.

    Ah, shoot, I didn't say that was guarana? Well, that's what it is. I'll change that timeline. Has something like twice the caffeine as coffee, the highest caffeine found in the natural world, actually. The guy who wrote the piece about the Amazon, Gareth Wilson, said something about guarana-houses becoming all the rage in Europe around the 1530s, being much more popular than coffee, which was tainted by association to the Turks.

    Nope, not at all, but this is four hundred years after the *Arawaks begin raiding the Mesoamerican coastline. The Aztecs had tin throughout the Mexican highlands, not prodigious amounts but enough. In all the historical accounts I've read, the Europeans were astounded that the Aztecs and other nearby people had bronze but never used them to make tools, just jewelry. Some cultural thing. But at the same time it wasn't super widespread. I'm thinking that bronze weapons and tools will be an expensive commodity among the Tlon, but still ever-present in their empire. Very treasured, very necessary tools for building huge stone pyramids, roads and walls, clearing land, and for defending the country. Not a lot of bronze armor or shields, but lots of bronze blades for soldiers, and perhaps helmets. Is this outside of plausibility?

    True, but the Amazonian peoples were always gardeners and orchard-planters, they never shifted into true agriculture: large fields that take up a lot of labor. The techniques are probably much different. But, there are a lot of extremely useful technologies the Amazonians have developed, such as Terra Preta. I need to look through 1491 again. There was also this book that came out recently, The City of Z, concerning some huge Amazonian city-states before the Europeans came that are just barely being discovered. Fascinating stuff. The Amazon is going to be a very interesting place, but, when I look around the New World following *Arawak influence, what place isn't interesting? :cool:

    Mmm, you'll have to check that for me, and I will as well. I think they suffered from the same problem that the Aztecs had: they didn't understand the true value of Bronze. But, looking through the notes in BANW, Doug Muir recognizes that it would be much more plausible that bronze moves from the Incas to the Tlon, not the other way around, but he just handwaves it away and says that history isn't always plausible.
     
  9. Hnau falante de português

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    ~1200-1250: The Ho-Chunk (OTL Winnebagoes) pick up bronze-working from the Mississippians who they regularly feud with. Wisconsin has plenty of tin and copper to create bronze, and soon the Ho-Chunk, a barbaric northern tribe without much agriculture, are wearing bronze plate armor, bronze swords, bronze javelins, bronze greaves and helmets, creating bronze nails and hinges and all sorts of valuable tools. They don't take up stone structures, but build fantastically large wooden lodges and halls. It is during this period they absorb the nearby Menominee through raiding and intermarriage. The system of Ho-Chunk indentured servitude, lasting only a couple of years, and at the end of which a bondsman becomes regarded as family (and for girls, often wives by that point) helps the two cultures amalgamate quite quickly.

    ~1250: The Ho-Chunk become a tributary peoples to the Mississippians, essentially semi-civilized barbarians that are used as a buffer against less-civilized barbarians.

    ~1250-1500: The Ho-Chunk develop various new technologies as they continue modernizing and innovating. By freezing corn beer and clearing it of ice the next morning, they are able to raise the alcoholic content of the drink. They mix fruit in with the corn and are close to creating fruit wine. Drums are used as forms of long-distance communication that binds the Ho-Chunk peoples together for hundreds of miles. The Ho-Chunk create a centralized army used for protecting their territory, this means well-trained hoplite-esque warriors and a garrison in every town and along the edges of their territory. The Ho-Chunk develop bronze hot-tubs used alongside sweat lodges, using peat as fuel. This tradition spreads to the other Wisconsin peoples. The stimulus of Ho-Chunk fighting techniques forces other nearby peoples to adopt new styles of fighting as well. The Chippewa begin organizing bearskin-clad berserking axemen that match those found in medieval Europe, while the Dakota abandon bow and arrow for armor-piercing slings, becoming quite proficient stealthy hit-and-run raiders.
     
  10. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

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    Ah. Don't know that one. Learn something every day, thanks.

    I believe the stuff I read talked about fairly massive construction of roads and ?terrasses? and stuff. I don't remember details, or where I read it, but I think they did have full scale agriculture.

    talks about OTL Inca knives, axes, chisels and crowbars as well as jewelry.

    From what I can find, the Chimu used bronze, where the predecessor Moche did not. So, ~1300 for Chimu bronze? ?? actually being used for useful things like knives. I guess that iTTL, the Mesoamericans may have a leg up, as you have them using bronze earlier than that.
     
  11. Hnau falante de português

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    Bronze Age Florida

    In BANW, very little thought is given towards Florida. Its mentioned that there are *Arawak colonies, a surviving daughter civilization, and then suddenly a people called the Timuchan in northern Florida. It seems not much effort was made researching Floridan Amerindians... they are titled "canal-builders and dancers", artists with agriculture and bronze who were taken over by Ponce de Leon and his men when they were searching for the Tree of Life very easily, succumbing to disease and slavery so much that they become a forgotten people, after losing 90% of their population.

    Bah! Let's look at this again. Muir was just making stuff up to avoid doing some research.

    The Florida peoples are at first glance typical of North American Amerindians... very industrious and clever with the resources they are provided. As seen during European contact OTL, the Timucuans hunted alligators, manatees and did some whaling, fished, collected huge amounts of shellfish, gathered palm berries, acorns and nuts. They made a bread from a root known as koonti. They had a black tea ironically called "the White Drink" that was used ceremonially, causing people to immediately vomit, what they saw as purification. They planted corn, bean, squash and it is believed they used a form of crop rotation. Food was stored in granaries. The Ais tribe gathered palmetto, cocoplum, and seagrape berries. The Caloosahatchee culture hunted white-tailed deer, ducks, turtles, and gathered prickly pears and hogplum. The Calusa grew chili peppers and papayas and hunted porpoises, raccoons and snakes. The Mayaimi hunted eels. The Tequesta hunted seals, fished for lobsters, sharks, sailfish, and stingrays. The Tocobaga ate pumpkins, watercress, and maize.

    The Timucua were absurdly tall when the Spanish discovered them, and covered from head-to-toe in tattoos (no *Arawaks to teach them that in OTL, and yet they developed it). They worshipped the Sun, Moon and the animals, they believed circles, spirals and the sine-wave were holy shapes, and walled off their villages with huge posts buried in the ground. They practiced ritual dismemberment of their fallen warriors and mounted their limbs and scalp on poles, then tied vines to the top that radiated downwards. There was a Zen-like belief in the destructive power of the mind. Their chiefs had councils of elders that were as important as the leader. The Ais had barbecues. The Caloosahatchee had wooden masks, animal carvings, and painted tablets that all figured into their religion. They created an extensive amount of jewelry from bone. The priests of the Calusa communed with dead skulls and performed with women in vast processions of song. They wore wooden masks, some with horns, and had quite a cord-making industry from local plants. The Tequestas worshiped the bones of their dead chiefs and distributed them among his people after the flesh was cleaned off. They worshiped a stuffed deer that they believed was the personification of the Sun. The Tocobaga built large temple mounds and plazas for their villages, and slaved extensively.
    --

    It is during the 800s and 900s that the Florida peninsula is colonized by the *Arawaks, with raiders arriving from the west where they had colonized the mouth of the Mississippi and the south from Cuba. It takes only a decade for all the peoples along the Florida coastline to feel constant fear when looking towards the ocean. When those sails show up with their painted faces, the entire ocean village gets their things and books it inland. This is devestating for a culture built around the sea... those that survive are those that have already developed ways of life on the rivers and in the swamps. As the *Arawaks build colonies on the Florida coastline, however, slavers are able to embark regularly up those rivers and the Floridans are pushed back even more.

    Tribes clash with one another, fighting for space and food in the highland territories where the *Arawaks are too lazy to march to, where there are no rivers deep enough for easy canoeing. There is also ethnic intermixing as refugees are gobbled up by other cultures, ideas are shared, and they are all unified by their opposition to the *Arawaks. A lingua franca is established throughout the inland areas of the population grows closer together.

    The *Arawaks establish serious colonies on the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia during the late 900s. Here their stone towers can be seen on the horizon, and slavers make regular journeys on Georgian rivers and especially down St. Johns River. However, the area quickly develops a terrifying reputation. Slavers and warriors seeking fame and treasure sail up the foggy rivers to find people to capture, only to be met by tall speamen completely covered with spiralled tattoos. To the *Arawak, who gain tattoos through merit and skill, they are terrified by this people who apply heavy tattooing to even their children. Yet, the *Arawaks are aggressive in their own right, and terror is responded to with courage and wild abandon. Bragging rights are on the line.

    More terrifying are the poles they find staked along the river, bearing the disembodied limbs and scalps of the dead, draped in vines. The natives recognize this keeps *Arawaks reluctant to voyage further, and begin posting all their dead on the banks of the river, draped with vines. They even lash a horizontal beam to the pole, creating a cross, on each side hanging an arm, sometimes forced to clasp weapons. It scares the *Arawaks, it does. Meanwhile, the locals down south near the Everglades create cairns of combined human and alligator skulls to keep the *Arawaks fearful. Both cultures begin adopting a priestly class to build such presentations and manage them, even light long-lasting fires to bathe them in unearthly lights.

    Every village is walled once or twice over if they want to survive. Huge mounds are built, atop which the natives created crude wooden versions of the stone towers they see the *Arawaks building. Inside these strongholds the entire village can be gathered if necessary, and arrows can be fired from at masses below. Yet, the Floridan peoples are still being depopulated... their resistance to *Arawak slaving makes it more likely that those slaves that are taken are treated harshly, kept longer, more frequently denied the short indentured servitude the *Arawaks give to other peoples. And yet there are many freed indentured servants that do return to their villages and bring ideas concerning construction, poetry, boating, agriculture, writing and bronze.

    Lake Okeechobee is regarded as the refuge of all refuges. It is far enough away from the coastline and rivers that *Arawaks have only seen it a couple times in the centuries they terrorize the Floridans. It quickly becomes a melting pot of cultures. Smaller, crude copies of *Arawak boats allow the Amerindians into the center of the lake where they cast nets out to fish, and for quick trade with all people living around the lake. They built huge walled mounds and built an astounding amount of canals for a Neolithic culture. [1] When a canal connects with a sinkhole or accidentally combines with another canal during a rainy seasons, large pools are created where fish and eels are found. It doesn't take long for a system of aquaculture to be developed with such conditions. Artificial ponds, wetlands and eel farms are soon found around the Okeechobee coastline, all increasing food output.

    When the *Arawaks collapse, the situation changes for the Floridan Amerindians. The Sea Islands arise in a Timuchan slave revolt... the Song of the Burning City so famous on the Atlantic coast comes from the spectacular burning of the *Cumberland Island colony, following a horribly bloody slave revolt there. The successful slaves largely disperse to their homelands before the tloggotl hits their ports, not that there won't be any outbreaks of the disease. They take with them a number of bronze and gold treasures into the interior. When these bronze implements wear out, the Timuchan launch expeditions to the abandoned islands, and eventually occupy the stone cities altogether.

    There is still some fear of the sea... for a generation. A good thirty years after the *Arawaks vanish from Florida, the Floridan Amerindians are fishing and collecting saltwater shellfish like crazy. It doesn't require a particularly advanced technique. Okeechobee boats, small and crude compared to former *Arawak ships, are built in the Atlantic and on the Gulf, and limited trade starts up. It is discovered that alligator-hide boots and belts are in high demand with nearby neighbors, where the Floridans never traded too much of this due to mistrust of the *Arawaks. Peat, limestone, Cassina tea leaves (which replaces the guarana berry for a popular caffeinated drink amongst the aristocracy) and bone or shell jewelry are also traded by ship for bronze tools.

    Florida is now separated into two main cultures, both sharing similarities. They aren't political units, each is divided amongst themselves by various chiefdoms. Northern Florida from the Georgian coastline to the Gulf and down St. Johns River is occupied by the Timuchan, which is divided by about thirty chiefdoms. The Choobee occupy the rest of the Florida peninsula, centered on lake Okeechobee, and are divided by ten chiefdoms. Of the two, the Timuchan are the more populous, but the Choobee are the more unified, by a common religion, a respected common priesthood, and warfare between chiefdoms is uncommon. Among the Timuchan alliances between chiefdoms are made and broken, and war is often made to force tribute from nearby chiefdoms.

    Lots of new empty land, lots of new bronze tools to clear land, build canals and drain wetlands, trade and shoreline fishing means a steady population boom that will last until the Europeans arrive. The potato arrives a few decades before the Europeans, and corn is farmed more and more. This creates a golden period for the Floridan Amerindians, in which vast canals and mounds are built, as well as new cities (almost completely wooden, good building stone is expensive in Florida). New art forms, especially Timuchan dancing, flourishes.

    When the Choobee Confederacy is established, the response among the Timuchan is at first fear of such a huge, organized polity, with a common army. Bordering chiefdoms decide to join it instead of build up new armies against the southlands. Within a few decades, a few huge sieges and battles are waged, each immortalized in song, dance and frequent re-enactments, and the Timuchan are completely absorbed by the Confederacy, which becomes known as thee Choobee-Timuchan Confederacy. Each chiefdom sends an elder to Azeeto, the Painted City near OTL Tampa, where they participate in a council that bickers and achieves very little except for preventing wars. Each chiefdom also sends its largest and strongest of their young boys to the City of Ribbons near OTL Jacksonville where they are inducted into a well-trained common army that defends the borders and keeps the peace.

    The warriors serve in the army for at least seven years before they can go home, if they wish to destroy their reputation. Most stay in the Ribbon City where they become part of an extremely competitive martial aristocracy. Polygamy is allowed for warriors with enough rank, which allows them to create ever-larger aristocratic houses. Epic duels, regular assassinations, family blood feuds, secret societies and religious conflict is the universal source of entertainment. The conflict prevalent in City of Ribbons between the warrior-aristocrats creates pressure for the houses to adopt a very mercantile, corporate structure, and the competition to attain the most tributary chiefdoms stretches even to the Okeechobee. Fashion is given much importance in the Ribbon City, where silks, fine fur, alligator-hide and dyes are regularly paraded around the city plaza.

    There is also a lot of religious conflict in the cities, between the Cult of the Sun-Deer and the worship of the Virtues. The Sun-Deer is popular amongst the Choobee, the Virtues are widely acknowledged amongst the Timuchan, and only in the City of Ribbons and the Painted City is their any feud between the two, largely created by each's priesthood. The Cultists of the Sun-Deer take an oath of nudity and swear never to cut their hair, instead they subjecting themselves to the most complex tattoos found in the world, made using various dyes, charcoal, and the urchin-needle. They also take an oath to never eat venison accept for one sacred feast that takes place every two years. They collect the skulls of the dead as companions, depositing them once a year to their final in the Okeechobee, paint the shadows of pilgrims to the Painted City on its walls, and give ritual massages to pilgrims attending the hot springs near there. If a settlement doesn't have a stuffed deer made to stand on two legs, adorned with a gold jewelry, it is only a village, even among the Timuchan who regard it more as an art form than a religious symbol. The Virtues are a long list of suggestive advice that its alligator-hide clad priests must memorize and chant as they walk in public. They are forbidden to tattoo themselves, and must cover everything but their wrists and the top of their head with some form of clothing, preferably scaled. They are very monastic, taking to long sabbaticals in the wilderness where they must subsist by their own wilderness skills, and when they are in the cities, periods of seclusion where they meditate and practice various graceful, slow-moving dances. They are civil servants, sworn to help and aid all those that ask of their abilities, and encouraged to do all they can otherwise. They grow 'spirit gardens' where they meditate and dance to encourage their vegetables to grow, which they give freely of when they harvest them. In return for these services, people respect the monk-priests of the Virtues and give freely of their food and shelter. The Priesthood of the Virtues also administers to the ribbon-poles which give the City of Ribbons its name: the dismembered limbs and scalps that are mounted on long wooden poles and draped with vines and alligator-hide. Each is from a warrior fallen in combat, and the ribbon-poles remain until the bones fall away, which cannot be picked up by any man.

    Though the priesthood is very competitive for popularity, especially amongst the various warrior-aristocratic houses, most of the people of the Choobee-Timuchan are very non-religious, simply very respectful of their cultural traditions.

    This has been fun to write! Next: Ponce de Leon, the Tree of Life, disease and conquest, the collapse of the Confederacy.
    --
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  12. boynamedsue Banned

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    Hnau, is this new or "cannon" from the original? I've been reading Doug Muir's site and some of this doesn't come in.

    If there is going to be a continuation of the Timeline on here, perhaps a commitee should be set up to do it. The original is so good that any advance should be done with respect.

    Was anybody here part of the original crew?
     
  13. Hnau falante de português

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    I think B Munro might have been. I've seen his name mentioned.

    The Timuchan-Choobee Confederacy are my creation. I didn't feel that the creators gave Florida much thought, they just gave them bronze, mentioned alligator-hide clothing, canals and land reclamation projects, and dancing. They then erased the culture following Ponce de Leon's conquest and much more slaving.

    I'm in favor of having a committee. I'd really like to see the timeline continued farther than it was. I'd also like to throw in Jared's LORAG, making world history even less eurocentric and culturally diverse.
     
  14. Hnau falante de português

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    You won't find this from the seedwiki.

     
  15. boynamedsue Banned

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    Cool instalment.

    Should we perhaps start a new thread "Commitee for the continuation of BANW", where people commited to writing instalments and discussing the validity of ne material can sign up?
     
  16. Hnau falante de português

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    It seems like we could keep it in this thread, the creation of the committee, at least.

    Faeelin was involved at one point, I saw his name on the wiki. And, I just figured out that Doug Muir is none other than Doug M. here on AH.com! He's been gone a month, but I've messaged him, so maybe at some point he can reappear and take control of the helm so to speak. Until he gives some kind of consent to what we might do, though, I don't want to start any new organization to capitalize on his creation.

    For now on... suggestions, criticisms, extrapolations, all kept non-canon until Doug shows up? Is that fine with everyone that is interested in this?
     
  17. Hnau falante de português

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    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Guarana
    It will be grown mostly along the Amazon River, requiring a hot, moist climate all year round, and it can't cope with temperatures lower than about 65 F for very long. With those conditions, it could be grown in and around Liberia, in the wet Congo region, and throughout Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Malay Peninsula. It could be grown in parts of Central America, Madagascar, even in southern coastal India but I doubt it would really take hold in those areas. With these conditions, might the Dutch take guarana seeds to Indonesia and establish a very profitable industry there? Or might Liberia be fought over by the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and British in order to be able to run guarana plantations? Speaking of plantations, how labor-intensive was growing guarana? Will the Spanish bring in a massive amounts of slaves when they conquer the mouth of the Amazon, or will they be able to trade for large amounts with the natives far upriver?

    Guarana is likely to take hold in Spain first by the late 1520s, early 1530s. They will take the place of coffee and the effect that had on Europe when it became popular... but even more so. First it will be a class item, a beverage for the nobility, and there might be attempts to restrict lower classes from drinking guarana. Eventually, though, merchants will force the law in order to make money and it'll get through to the layman, the peasant and common laborer. It begins replacing alcohol, slowly but surely, in the very least being used to treat hangovers. Guarana-houses become central to social life in the towns, where literature is read, news shared and ideas formulated where before alcohol prevented all of these intellectual activities from flourishing. Gar és or garois (I'm making up French-sounding words here) take the place of caf és as centers of revolutionary organization or at least new political movements... and all much sooner than OTL. In Scandinavia, hot guarana is cherished three or four times a day. They make it in large quantities and drink it throughout the day, instead of coffee.

    More people get the jitters, as caffeine shock is more likely. What might that mean? People are addicted faster and more thoroughly, as there is more caffeine in guarana. It thus spreads and catches on more quickly than coffee. Even so, the Ottomans ban guarana and keep up the tradition of coffee, so the Ethiopean bean is not completely forgotten.

    We might actually see a more technologically and politically advanced Europe, thanks to the guarana berry, despite the population decimations of the Tloggotl virus as well as RMSF.

    I'd also like to call to attention corourke's A Pale Horse: The Plague of 1512. It deals with a major disease spreading through Europe at about the same time as BANW's diseases, killing more people, yes, and starting from Constantinople and spreading westwards, yes, but it analyzes the effects of disease on the early 16th century. I think that it should be analyzed in order to provide new ideas and material for BANW... we shouldn't copy it, by any means, but we should acknowledge corourke's conclusions.
     
  18. Ampersand Anti-Social Socialist

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    I'll have to go to classes right now, but when I come home I'll read the previous installments. I'm all for a comitee:cool:
     
  19. Hnau falante de português

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    Great!

    By the way, another reason to look over BANW and give it some polish is Charles C. Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. It was published first in 2005, after this project began, and so some of the 'new revelations' might change this TL considerably. I'm reading the book now, and I'm sure many here have already devoured it (I've been too stuck in the 20th century lately).
     
  20. Hnau falante de português

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    It seems that in this entry the Portuguese take over the Buhuraen, somewhere in the Amazon River. I believe that guarana will become a more important product than brazilwood, which makes me think... perhaps the country we know as Brazil will be named Guarana, or Guaran, or Guara, some kind of derivative of the berry? After all, Brazil did get its name from its first principal export, so...