Sounds like 1500 is the point where serious trade links are just beginning to form between Japan and America. The start of something big I'm sure.
I wonder if an *Inca empire will arise. Interesting how the Andes were historically unified in such short time.
It will certainly be interesting trying to figure out how they interact with the coastal polities, although their homeland is somewhat far away from the areas Mesoamericans sometimes visit.
Mesoamerica is definitely getting turbo-charged in TTL, with luck much more of it might actually survive the colonial era.
Hopefully. Unfortunately, the Maya still have their inherent issue of being on the Atlantic coast (except the trading posts in southern Central America) and thus getting less time to figure out how to deal with things. The Purepecha might stand a better chance however, but I honestly haven't worked out much of what I want to do with them other than portray them as the powerful state they were OTL. They have a bit of a disadvantage as an inland state but even OTL the Purepecha attempted to fix that to varying degrees of success.
Thank you!
I almost missed the update! Fascinating stuff. I especially like how you take care to illustrate how technology and culture is transferred along the blossomin trade routes! I'm also looking forword to how the prolonged contact between Mesoamerica and the Andean cultures will transform them both.

On this note: Do you think that anything of the agricultural package transferred all the way from Fusania will have an impact on the Andean peoples? (And vice versa?)
Thanks. But there aren't too many elements of the Fusanian agricultural package transferred. It's hard to transfer an agricultural package in that short of time across that vast of distance with the change in local climate and latitude, so only a few basic elements arrived in Mesoamerica like towey goats, ricegrass, and tehi (which I left out should be mostly in the north of Mesoamerica since sisal, henequen, etc. are native to the other areas--tehi would simply be an exotic fabric and I guess something with edible seeds and perhaps medicine if necessary). And unfortunately, neither towey goats nor llamas do well in the tropical climate of coastal Ecuador, but I'd assume the Manteños would find it cheaper and easier to import llamas from nearby highlands (as they did to a small degree OTL).

Ricegrass seems like a winner on the Pacific coast of South America (if it ever makes it there) since Mesoamericans know it as drought-tolerant animal feed that thrives on poor soils. Probably muscovy ducks (although those are Mesoamerican) and maybe chuckwallas. Obviously the reverse would be even more beneficial given quinoa and potatoes are incredibly useful crops, but they need to pass through that filter of Western Mesoamerica in which they wouldn't make too much different and be rather confusing to any local told to plant and prepare it (as root crops are fairly rare and quinoa needs extra preparation to remove the inedible saponins). I think I've mentioned it before, but yes, the people of North Fusania would find potatoes incredibly interesting from a cultural standpoint should they ever learn of them as they are like wapato/omodaka but grow in dry earth instead of water.
I kinda wonder how the political situation of Hokkaido is like in the 1500s.
Since their is a new trade route to the Americas did some enterprising Daimyos deciding to conquer some parts to get in on the trade?
Did the native people of the region manage to form several states.
Is Hokkaido split between Americans rulers of the North, Japanese rulers in the South, with the Native people between them both.
I kinda wonder how the political situation of Hokkaido is like in the 1500s.
Since their is a new trade route to the Americas did some enterprising Daimyos deciding to conquer some parts to get in on the trade?
Did the native people of the region manage to form several states.
Is Hokkaido split between Americans rulers of the North, Japanese rulers in the South, with the Native people between them both.

I suspect Hokkaido is is fully spoken for by the Muromachi period.

As for Daimyo in Japan during the Shogunate, we have a conundrum:

If a clan decides to prepare a venture of conquest north beyond the home islands too quickly, its neighbors will attack it the first (honorable) chance they get. If they try to "make haste slowly" in terms of conquest, then either the Ringitsu take notice and defeat the Daimyo's forces in question in detail, or else the subordinate in charge goes native and declares independence, in which case, the Daimyo's neighbors dogpile him the first (honorable) chance they get, and ignore the Daimyo's overseas rebellion as a Confucian inconvenience, easily overlooked for the sake of appearances.

Bushido as a concrete, enforceable code, as opposed to an abstract sentiment and set of purely internal principles, was discredited by the fall of the Minamoto (Kamakura) Shogunate and had to be reinstated by Tokugawa Ieyasu when he proclaimed himself shogun at spearpoint.

Emperor Worship before the Twentieth Century was not even hypothetical; it was an utter canard. The Gempei War and its outcome proved it.
I was talking about Daimyo involvement cause of what happened to the Ryuku Kingdom who where conquered not by a central government but a Daimyo seeking to expand his holdings.
Also I’m pretty sure the Japanese only had control of the Oshima peninsula of Hokkaido at this point. They kinda let the tribes of Hokkaido do their on things until the 1600 when the Shogun decided to actively try to annex the island completely.
I kinda wonder how the political situation of Hokkaido is like in the 1500s.
Since their is a new trade route to the Americas did some enterprising Daimyos deciding to conquer some parts to get in on the trade?
Did the native people of the region manage to form several states.
Is Hokkaido split between Americans rulers of the North, Japanese rulers in the South, with the Native people between them both.
The Ringitsu are too far away and too small in number since only a few adventurers might ever go so far south--at this point at least. Their trans-Bering Strait interests are mostly focused on cutting wood (to supply the Manjimas/Aleutians), hunt sable (which they highly value as it isn't native to Alaska), and purchase iron which filters that far on the trade networks. It doesn't seem like they could have met the Ainu before the mid-13th century or so given that the northern Kurils are home to the declining Mishihase people (ancient Japanese identification of the Okhotsk culture who were probably related to the Nivkh). The Ringitsu also got hit with plagues in the 1240s and 1250s which caused famine in the Manjimas because of local trade collapse which limits interest in the Old World.

In any case, they wouldn't be able to do much to the Ainu compared to the Japanese given their weapons and armour are at best equivalent. It's also so far away that burning an Ainu kotan to prove a point (as the Japanese might) would be challenging and likely not very lucrative compared to, say, pillaging a Koryak village (which would have reindeer for the taking). So there's no real influence that can be spread other than incidental trade.

I actually do have an update on this area coming eventually so I'll spare most of the explanation for that entry. I covered some of this in this entry I did one year ago which goes up to about 1250.
Map 12-South Fusania in the Mid-13th Century
Below is a map of South Fusania and the adjacent part of the Great Basin (basically OTL Nevada) around the mid-late 13th century in the midst of severe drought and epidemic, although I have somewhat anachronistically used the greater extents of Lake Cahuilla [TTL Lake Pang] and Lake Tulare [TTL Lake Pasu] as they would've been several decades before. For this map, I tried to focus on the different cultures and peoples of the region along with the cities and included a bit of OTL Oregon and Idaho to "connect" this map with my other maps of Fusania. I used the ATL Chinese names for almost all of the cultures except the ones I regularly use other names for. A few of these cultures I haven't mentioned in the text for various reasons. Cultural boundaries are approximate and in an ethnographic style describing the typical "homeland" of a given people--they don't represent states or confederations. The colours represent the various cultural groupings in South Fusania.

At some point I will probably put out an alternative version of this map in a different style, because I had a few different ideas for this map. One of the other ideas is very similar but should be much more accessible for those who are colorblind.


Update schedule will remain very slow because I'm balancing a few different projects now, but I'll probably put out another map of South Fusania/Oasisamerica or maybe an update by the end of this month.
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Chapter 83-The Northern Rice Fields
"The Northern Rice Fields"

In the forests and swamps of the upper Misebi arose a civilisation far distinct from their more famous Siouan kin downstream. This culture, termed Upper Misebian by early European scholars after their custom of mound-building, innovated their own distinct lifestyle by 1100 more suitable for their homeland of woods, lakes, swamps, and frigid winters. They transitioned toward an economy centered around reindeer herding and aquaculture, an echo of Fusania's influence via the Rumahkaki, Innu, and Denu, a transition that reshaped the entire history of the region.

The root cause of the Upper Misebian divergence lay in the staple food of the people of this land--Vinland rice. Villages grew up in nearby sloughs and marshes where the ancestral wild form grew. The people considered it not just a staple of their diet, but a plant with special religious significance in its origin. Horticulture of Fusanian crops like omodaka, water amaranth, and especially river turnip, introduced from the north and west, led to new focus on managing these patches of wild rice due to its cultural prestige which the Fusanian crops never matched. Although a finicky plant, the constant experimentation in managing local conditions produced by the 13th century the earliest domesticated cultivars of Vinland rice, today a crop of international significance.

The adaption to this new sort of agriculture best fit for their environment changed the Upper Misebians. They became dependent on large manpower-intensive construction projects and unable to freely uproot their villages as before. They required increasing amounts of tools for clearing and removing the swamps and forests. This produced a great demand for labour, be it domesticated animals or humans, and as in Fusania this created the rise of a slave society focused around wars for rustling livestock and abducting men. The leaders who organised these large projects and wars gained great prestige, forming themselves into a strong class of nobility. They justified their demands on their own people and neighbours in terms of religion, creating the most stratified society of North America east of Fusania.

A natural conflict developed with the Middle Misebians to the south over this. Long accustomed to the Upper Misebians mining copper and shipping it south, the Upper Misebians now used their copper for making tools and local goods. Some of these tools include the weapons and armor the Upper Misebians used for making increasingly bold raids for livestock and slaves against the historically more powerful Middle Misebians.

The retaliatory raids provoked the formation of strong tribal confederations, the oldest and most notorious being the Pasucha (literally "red faces"). The Pasucha trace their origin to the city later called Vikingsborg [1], a rich trading center which for nearly a century had been dominated by foreign nobles and merchants from Mihithega. Legend tells Vikingsborg oppressed the local people using military force and black magic to gain copper, livestock, and slaves (allegedly in part for cannibal feasts), yet in 1149 their own soldiers mutinied and destroyed Vikingsborg, massacring the evil elements of the city and removing all traces of it from history--indeed even its name in Pasucha and other Chiwere Siouan languages simply means "place of ancient enemies", for they erased the original name from even memory.

While the destruction of Vikingsborg by the Pasucha certainly occurred, the Pasucha themselves likely did not coalesce for that specific event but for a series of conflicts with foreign elements from the south. Their villages merged together to form larger centers, each governed by a chief who acted as part of a confederation with other Pasucha chiefs. No chief dominated the other in practice, but the Pasucha confederation met at the city of Ohese [2], due to possession of numerous religious artifacts. These artifacts included those the ruling dynasty of Ohese retrieved in battle from the conflict with Vikingsborg, marking their right to be first among equals.

The Pasucha were not the only Upper Misebian group which formed a tribal confederation. In the east, the Upper Misebians faced increased pressure from the Mascouten (or "Fire Nation") and Menominee, reindeer pastoralists like themselves with an increasingly dense population. Making peace with the Middle Misebians to their south, they organised themselves into the Tejana ("people of the great lake") Confederation, a culturally related yet somewhat distinct group of Upper Misebians centered around the city of Mogashuch on Green Bay [3].

The Tejana represent a distinct culture among the Upper Misebians for their emphasis on exploiting the waters of Lake Michigan. By the mid-13th century, they established themselves as fine shipbuilders, prowing the lake in their longships they used for trading and raiding. They were so successful at these expeditions that much of the southern and eastern shore of Lake Michigan lay practically abandoned in the winter months, used only as lands for raising reindeer and moose. Around 1280, they even established a distant colony, the town of Kechangkhetera at the strategic chokepoint of the Straits of Mackinac whose residents became called the Teagra [4].

The northernmost portion of Upper Misebian lands inhabited by the Dahkota people was the poorest and most backwards due to the colder, lesser quality of the land, retaining a more egalitarian character even as dominant rulers arose elsewhere. Although the Dahkota developed classes of nobles, commoners, and slaves, they resisted the concept of concentrating power in one man and instead acted as a noble republic. Several noble republics centered around a single tribe existed in Dahkota territory in the 12th and early 13th century.

Uniquely, the Dahkota were the only mound-builders among the Upper Misebians who built the traditional conical mounds following their fall from favour elsewhere in the late 12th century. Among the Dahkota, the mounds served as the great tombs for their nobility where entire clans were buried upon death, filled with lavish grave goods. Despite the Dahkota lacking any sizable towns, their burial mounds might stand over 5 meters high.

Upper Misebian society organised itself around fertility rituals presided over by the ruling nobility and their priests. Practice of these rituals such as public dances blessed the land and water and rewarded the people with their crop of omodaka, river turnip, and Vinland rice. Success as a ruler depended being able to redistribute the agricultural wealth of their land in the form of great communal feasts and dances. Sacred artifacts termed bundles served as important symbols of power, with the most sacred of all being those held at the central city of a confederation.

The greatest symbol of these cities were the effigy mounds, heaps of earth arranged in the shape of animals, birds, or even people. While effigy mounds had been built for centuries, a revival in their construction occurred in the late 12th century. These mounds were owned by clans, who constructed them in the shape of ancestral animal spirits. Inside these mounds they interred dead nobles of their clan. Effigy mounds surrounded the longhouses of nobles and community leaders.

Outside of effigy mounds, mound-building ceased almost entirely by 1200, outside of the Dahkota people on the northern fringe of the Misebian world. Likely this was a reaction against Misebian culture and a renaissance of traditional culture. Conducting and revitalising the rituals of the past served as a way of reinforcing the structure of 13th century Upper Misebian society.

The focal political unit of the Upper Misebians from 1150-1300 was the tribe, which organised itself out of a collection of villages which claimed shared descent. Each tribe was centered around one large town of perhaps 2,000 people which dominated a collection of nearby villages. The tribal chief extracted tribute from these villages, who were usually ruled by relatives of the chief. Tribes contained anywhere from 15,000 to 40,000 people, dividing themselves into numerous subtribes.

Each tribe held numerous political and religious societies responsible for everything from hunting to herding to warfare. The leaders of these societies came from the nobility and served as prominent advisors to the chief, with the most prominent being the Braves Society whose members maintained order in the community and commanded military expeditions. Commoners could join these societies, but only through exceptional deeds did they achieve promotion to the nobility.

Tribal leaders commanded great authority and demanded taxes in the form of corvee labour, of which only the societies of priests and hunters were exempt. This labour demanded included anything from preparing new earthworks and dams for agriculture to mining copper to harvesting wood. Nobles organised these corvee efforts and acted as foremen over lower-ranking clan members. The tribes in any given confederation were autonomous and theoretically might switch allegiances if pressured (lest they be dispossessed of their land).

At the confederation level, tribes settled their differences, voted for peace or war with neighbours, negotiated rights to land, and most importantly, received spiritual authority. Each confederation held sacred artifacts at their capital, with the tribe in control of this bundle effectively ruling the confederation. The most prestigious temples and society chapters were all associated with the confederation center, and training under one of these leaders was considered a great honour.

From these centers of confederations such as Ohese or Khemnitchan [5] eminated the finest of all architectural achievements of the Upper Misebians, the Effigy Roads. These roads wove through hills, forests, and swamps, marked regularly (around every 25-30 kilometers) by large segments of hundreds of meters that curved around in the vague shape of sacred animals. They were simple constructs compared to effigy mounds--simply a cleared trail around 2 meters wide marked by waist-high rows of compacted dirt on either side. "Legs" of the animal the road represented led to roadside shrines. Inside these walls were interred offerings of tools and animal bones, but no human remains.

The regular, almost standardised construction of each road suggests a great deal of coordination in their planning and building. Dated to the mid-13th century, the effigy roads seem to represent the paramount center of each confederation asserting greater control over the tribes through the huge amount of corvee labour, the economic benefit, and symbolism projected. Their winding paths may also have been to confuse enemies and allow for easy sites of ambush.

Outside of these roads, trade remained conducted mostly by canoe. Specialised societies carried out trade using large, shallow-bottomed canoes to ply the many rivers of the land. Their most important trade route lay toward the south along the Misebi River, where they purchased all manner of goods from the Misebian peoples while selling timber, furs, copper, gold, and tin. Secondary in importance was the route west along the Minnesota River, where Upper Misebians imported bison products, gold, high-quality livestock, and rare goods from Fusania in exchange for wood, grain, and metals.

Their shipbuilding advanced in the 13th century as a result of an increase in trade and raiding on the Great Lakes. Birch bark canoes carrying about 10 people and over 2.5 tonnes of cargo remained the main mode of travel on all rivers, but on the Misebi and the Great Lakes they were supplemented by true sailing ships with a single sail and outrigger often termed an "Innu ship" for the culture it originated from (in truth this simplified form of a Fusanian ship originated among the Dena). These ships were larger and thicker, carrying over 5 times as much cargo at the cost of being difficult to portage and at risk of running aground in shallower streams.

Upper Misebian warfare in the 13th century centered around the hereditary class of warriors of the Braves Society trained their sons from childhood to succeed them one day. Because of the social status of the Braves who drew their members from those who counted coup in battle (wounded or killed their enemy in particular ways at close range), combat became dominated by close range ambush. Outside of the Braves Society and their prospective members, only the hunting societies contributed men to warfare as slingers and archers--mass levies of other men were viewed as nothing but cannon fodder for the elite Braves and skilled archers.

Despite the increased numbers, armies still followed small unit tactics focused on scouting and ambushing. War parties scouted the land, looking for ambush sites or enemy ambushes, often skirmishing with the enemy in the process. If possible, these war parties stole or destroyed crops or abducted livestock. Rarely did large battles occur, as units preferred retreat in the face of overwhelming numbers. Sieges of palisaded towns occurred through either trickery or through assault with simple ropes, ladders, and battering rams.

This sort of warfare centered around smaller units called for the utmost in coordination. Units thus divided themselves by clans, marking their bodies and armor with distinct emblems of their unit. Messengers held a role of utmost importance as they ran between each unit carrying important messages and changes in mission.

While initially unarmoured except for padded cloth, warriors by the mid-13th century added arsenical bronze helmets and lightweight wooden shields. Heavy infantry were unheard of, as all elite fighters fought in light gear and skirmishers and archers likewise only wore padded armor. For weapons, Upper Misebian warriors preferred a one-handed axe, universally made from arsenical bronze with a dagger as their sidearm. Braves Society warriors tended to carry more than one of these axes, the additional ones used for throwing at enemies.

Unfortunately for the Upper Misebian peoples, the drought of the 12th century returned by the mid-late 13th century, accompanied by a new challenge--the onset of the Little Ice Age. These factors greatly strained farming and started a deadly feedback loop. As land fell abandoned from crop failure, it reverted to prairie, prairie that was far more difficult to clear for farming in the future [6]. This increased the labour associated with farming which produced decreased yields.

Upper Misebian societies responded by increasing the number of slaves, either through enslaving starving peasants or seizing people from other communities as slaves, marking a breakdown in the once-peaceful relations between the great confederations. The number of raiding parties increased and battles might involve over 1,000 warriors on either side. The Braves Society, who coordinated these wars and provided social welfare to families of veterans and those killed in action, rose even higher in status.

Alongside the emergence of epidemic disease in the form of chickenpox, mumps, and seal flu, the large population of the region greatly declined. Up to 1 million people may have inhabited the cultural area termed "Upper Misebian" in the mid-13th century, yet just two generations later, only around 600,000 remained. Much of this is not the result of direct massacres (although these were common) but instead the increase in infant mortality from disease and malnutrition.

The strongest confederation remained the Pasucha. The Middle Misebians, equally damaged by this climate shift, proved easy prey for Pasucha raids that increased their population of slaves and livestock, while other Upper Misebian confederations faced external threads be it invading Algonquians in the east or raids from the Seven Council Fires in the north. Pasucha territory grew at the expense of other confederations and by 1300 ruled over half of all Upper Misebian land and population.

Their most notable leader was the chief of Ohese named Wirukananga, who ruled for thirty years in the late 13th century. Wirukananga led many raids and conquests, gaining the submission of numerous chiefs, and even sacked Khemnitchan, permanently crippling the confederation located there. A master at statecraft, he installed his many sons and male relatives as chiefs in the villages he conquered as well as crushed rebellions from among his own people. With his incredible influence, he dissolved the previous structure of nominally equal chiefs and introduced centralising reforms that permitted him to dismiss chiefs at will. He thus enshrined himself and his dynasty as supreme rulers who came to use "wirukananga" as their title, marking the beginning of what historians term the Pasucha Empire.

In truth, Wirukananga's reforms owed much to the great devastation of warfare and epidemic in this era. Among the Pasucha, tribal boundaries were blurred by the constant raising of soldiers and sacking of villages. Other confederations suffered even more from this issue. The blending of tribal lines drew further impetus for centralisation among all Upper Misebian peoples, despite Wirukananga's reputation as an archetypical tyrant. Seven confederations existed that were transitioning into true states in 1300--Ohese (the Pasucha Empire), Khemnitchan, Mogashuch, Hinugwas, Ruujanok, Inishuchra, and Manichoros [7].

Yet a new conflict would emerge with this centralisation due to the Braves Society increased even further in influence thanks to their achievements at bringing loot, scalps, livestock, and slaves back to their villages. Their role in giving gifts to the widows of those killed in war made them exceptionally popular. As the Braves Society offered high status to even low-ranking nobles, it served as a populist and increasingly autonomous force among the Upper Misebians, whose war leaders served as the only real check on the power of the paramount chiefs.

Attempts at organising these confederations in Dahkota lands failed miserably. Their perceived weakness invited raids from the Pasucha and Khemnitchan that pushed the Dahkota to band together. Heavily influenced by the Pasucha in the past, movements grew that rejected their cultural influence in much the same way the Pasucha revolted against Mihithega and the Middle Misebian influence. Representing all the Dahkota tribes, these rebels forged a single republican confederation termed the Seven Council Fires.

With their greater mobility as pastoralists, they became deadly enemies to those in the south, particularly during winter when they used sleds for lightning-quick raids. The Seven Council Fires pushed south and west into other Upper Misebian lands and seized them as pastures for their reindeer and goats. They won numerous victories, including seizing the crucial trade routes to Fusania along the Minnesota River, nearly destroying the confederation centered at Manichoros. Only their movement toward the Plains led to a temporary halt in the Seven Council Fires as it brought a number of powerful enemies against them.

As the Little Ice Age approached, the Upper Misebians faced challenges from all angles. Enemies from the Dahkota to Algonquian-speaking nomads threatened them, while rivalries with the Misebians to the south remained a constant threat. Their lands became less productive from drought and cold, and internal conflict increased. If they were to ever reached the stability and wealth they strived toward, there was no choice for this innovative civilisation to continue innovating among those cold bogs and forests.

Author's notes

"Upper Misebian" is my term for OTL's Oneota Culture, which this culture is roughly based on. With their natural environment and indeed fairly intensive gathering of wild rice, they naturally transitioned into an aquacultural civilisation most similar to North Fusania. As mentioned in an earlier update, they are Chiwere Siouan-speaking peoples as they almost certainly were OTL.

The effigy roads are based on the Puebloan road system associated with Chaco Canyon (both OTL and the system I described several chapters ago) in being a road system not solely for practical purposes. Like the Puebloan roads, the effigy roads include segments meant for symbolism rather than travel.

If you're noticing a pattern (civilisation builds up, drought/disease arrives and causes warfare), it cannot be understated how devastating the 13th century droughts in North America were, and the arrival of epidemics (light as they are compared to OTL smallpox and measles) only compounds things. IOTL, the archaeological record notes an increase an warfare, massacres, construction of palisaded villages, etc. so what I'm writing is a reflection of that.

This continues Chapter 19--the next few entries will expand on and continue elements I brought up way back then. My next chapter will cover the bulk of the Misebian [Mississippian] civilisation, focusing on the collapse of Cahokia [TTL's Mihithega] in the 13th century (as alluded to in past entries). I will probably split descriptions of other Misebian societies in the Gulf area and OTL Florida/Georgia into their own entry.

As always, thank you for reading.

[1] - Vikingsborg is the Aztatlan site in southern Wisconsin, considered one of the northern outposts of Mississippian civilisation OTL. Some archaeologists speculate the rulers of the city (or potentially the entire city) were foreign to the area. This is the site's common name TTL, given by Scandinavian explorers centuries later who attributed it to their ancestors.
[2] - Ohese is just downstream from Hanover, IL. It was an important native site even OTL.
[3] - Mogashuch is Red Banks, WI, a little northeast of Green Bay. Archaeology indicates it was a cultural important site for a lengthy period of time, as attested in OTL Ho-Chunk and Ioway legends.
[4] - Kechangkhetera is Mackinaw, MI
[5] - Khemnitchan is Red Wing, MN,
[6] - A likely factor in the decline of the OTL Oneota and Middle Mississippians, as the prairie expanded during the Little Ice Age and that prairie environment is very difficult to farm without modern ploughs.
[7] - Hinugwas is LaCrosse, WI, Ruujanok is Koshkonong, WI, Inishuchra is near Pella, IA, Manichoros is Mankato, MN. All of these were important Oneota sites OTL
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[1] - Vikingsborg is the Aztatlan site in southern Wisconsin, considered one of the northern outposts of Mississippian civilisation OTL. Some archaeologists speculate the rulers of the city (or potentially the entire city) were foreign to the area.
Might its rulers actually have been far flung Vinlanders who overstepped their bounds? I can't imagine why a dead city would be called Vikingsborg otherwise, even by later conquerors-- unless they thought it was theirs too, only to be disproven later.

A little nerve-wracking, seeing the Great Lakes people so wedded to bronze while sitting on the greatest iron deposits in North America. Hopefully someone gets the fires burning hot enough, heavy iron plows might be what they need to start turning over that prairie. Actually, the Vinlanders are already inheritors of Europe's heavy iron plow tradition...

Are the reindeer breeds strong enough to be good caravan animals, pulling wagons or bearing loads on their backs? This warfare is a problem but one could otherwise imagine the Dakhota running regular caravans from Fusania to Misebia. I'd also be interested in a religion traveling across such routes at some point. EDIT: Just realized this is what the last chapter is literally about but still, is this something a Dena or other group might specialize in by specifically running long trains of very sturdy animals between a well-mapped network of safe checkpoints
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1] - Jikken's knowledge derives from common old Chinese (mostly Han Dynasty) and Buddhist texts (like Xuanzong's writings) available in Japan rather than more specialised knowledge a learned Chinese scholar of 1500 might have on India, Persia, or "Daqin" (the Roman Empire). Admittedly I'm not sure what a Japanese scholar of that era might have access to, but I think it's plenty plausible that Jikken has only encountered particular texts.
Well there's many Japanese adventurers in Southeast Asia even OTL like Tenjiku Tokubei and Yamada Nagamasa, the latter even becoming governor of a Siamese province. A colonial Japanese traveler might be expected to know something of the seas even if it's just from talking to the sailors. But he should be aware Daqin is dead-- by the Ming era, the Chinese were already calling Portuguese weapons "Frankish (folang, folangji) guns", borrowing their terminology either directly from the Muslims or through Southeast Asia (Thais call Europeans farang too it seems).

The Purepecha might stand a better chance however, but I honestly haven't worked out much of what I want to do with them other than portray them as the powerful state they were OTL. They have a bit of a disadvantage as an inland state but even OTL the Purepecha attempted to fix that to varying degrees of success.
They are the Sunda to the Nahuas' Java, crammed onto the western third of a land they'll probably never dominate, but which can't always dominate them, and so on forever.

Something that might be interesting: immigration. First the Fusanians and then the Chinese, the Purepecha realm will be the first great, conventionally "Mesoamerican" realm a traveler from the Pacific encounters, and a good anchor for expeditions probing further inland. And if it's anything like Chinese immigration to Southeast Asia (not saying it has to be the Chinese who do it, the Fusanians might too) then it'll be an event worth discussing-- economic (founding whole new industries), political (supplying several thousand to the population-- in Siam, one of them even managed to drive out the Burmese invaders and become king), and even religious (Chinese Muslims may have had a greater hand in the conversion of the Malay world than previously thought) consequences may abound.

As for how many Fusanians or Chinese would move there, and whether they'd be accepted-- maybe at first it's just Shakunists fleeing persecution. Then it could be a far flung but profitable investment for the Wakashan cities. As for others, maybe plague/war at both ends-- the immigrants writing off their home societies as impossible to save, the new host society needing their labor for defense and resource exploitation (lot of iron in western Mexico, need hands to mine it). It might never be very many people, but in a society of fairly small mercantile and governing classes relative to the total it might be a noticeable proportion.

The most unrealistic bit is probably the distance, it is very far, but then again that whole arc between the northernmost Chuma and southermost Aztatecs consists of societies that don't extend very far inland, probably can't house as many new people and would prefer to kick them down the road. Premodern immigration as such shouldn't be thought of as unrealistic-- the Chinese have been moving to SEA for centuries by land and sea, Arabs and Persians moved to East Africa's cities, Germans and Mennonites were invited all the way out to the Volga. All were cases of populations seeing some way to get out of the zero-sum games in their homelands, preserving some transport link with it while pursuing opportunities abroad. It's just that instead of slotting into some liberal order as new citizens, they were absorbed in a corporate way as groups with some level of self governance in return for certain obligations. They might live separately from the locals... or might not, and a mixed population of Fusanian and Mesoamerican (with unpredictable religious allegiances, even if they identify first with the land of their birth) ancestry might develop.
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Im really liking the updates one the regions of America we have not seen yet, it is interesting to see how the technological advances in fusania spread in each region. Keep up the good work.
Might its rulers actually have been far flung Vinlanders who overstepped their bounds? I can't imagine why a dead city would be called Vikingsborg otherwise, even by later conquerors-- unless they thought it was theirs too, only to be disproven later.
I totally forgot the explanation from Chapter 19, basically I used the name because the original name was lost to history so the ruins became best known as Vikingsborg by later Norse explorers who believed their ancestors established a colony the natives later destroyed.
Are the reindeer breeds strong enough to be good caravan animals, pulling wagons or bearing loads on their backs? This warfare is a problem but one could otherwise imagine the Dakhota running regular caravans from Fusania to Misebia. I'd also be interested in a religion traveling across such routes at some point. EDIT: Just realized this is what the last chapter is literally about but still, is this something a Dena or other group might specialize in by specifically running long trains of very sturdy animals between a well-mapped network of safe checkpoints
There would be pack reindeer, yes, who would be the largest breeds akin to pack horses. No wagons, although sleds are common.
Well there's many Japanese adventurers in Southeast Asia even OTL like Tenjiku Tokubei and Yamada Nagamasa, the latter even becoming governor of a Siamese province. A colonial Japanese traveler might be expected to know something of the seas even if it's just from talking to the sailors. But he should be aware Daqin is dead-- by the Ming era, the Chinese were already calling Portuguese weapons "Frankish (folang, folangji) guns", borrowing their terminology either directly from the Muslims or through Southeast Asia (Thais call Europeans farang too it seems).
I wasn't really sure since it seems in some texts/maps Daqin did survive into the 16th century.
They are the Sunda to the Nahuas' Java, crammed onto the western third of a land they'll probably never dominate, but which can't always dominate them, and so on forever.

Something that might be interesting: immigration. First the Fusanians and then the Chinese, the Purepecha realm will be the first great, conventionally "Mesoamerican" realm a traveler from the Pacific encounters, and a good anchor for expeditions probing further inland. And if it's anything like Chinese immigration to Southeast Asia (not saying it has to be the Chinese who do it, the Fusanians might too) then it'll be an event worth discussing-- economic (founding whole new industries), political (supplying several thousand to the population-- in Siam, one of them even managed to drive out the Burmese invaders and become king), and even religious (Chinese Muslims may have had a greater hand in the conversion of the Malay world than previously thought) consequences may abound.

As for how many Fusanians or Chinese would move there, and whether they'd be accepted-- maybe at first it's just Shakunists fleeing persecution. Then it could be a far flung but profitable investment for the Wakashan cities. As for others, maybe plague/war at both ends-- the immigrants writing off their home societies as impossible to save, the new host society needing their labor for defense and resource exploitation (lot of iron in western Mexico, need hands to mine it). It might never be very many people, but in a society of fairly small mercantile and governing classes relative to the total it might be a noticeable proportion.

The most unrealistic bit is probably the distance, it is very far, but then again that whole arc between the northernmost Chuma and southermost Aztatecs consists of societies that don't extend very far inland, probably can't house as many new people and would prefer to kick them down the road. Premodern immigration as such shouldn't be thought of as unrealistic-- the Chinese have been moving to SEA for centuries by land and sea, Arabs and Persians moved to East Africa's cities, Germans and Mennonites were invited all the way out to the Volga. All were cases of populations seeing some way to get out of the zero-sum games in their homelands, preserving some transport link with it while pursuing opportunities abroad. It's just that instead of slotting into some liberal order as new citizens, they were absorbed in a corporate way as groups with some level of self governance in return for certain obligations. They might live separately from the locals... or might not, and a mixed population of Fusanian and Mesoamerican (with unpredictable religious allegiances, even if they identify first with the land of their birth) ancestry might develop.
A lot of incredibly interesting insights there, I can't say how similar it is to what little I have in mind.
Im really liking the updates one the regions of America we have not seen yet, it is interesting to see how the technological advances in fusania spread in each region. Keep up the good work.
Thank you!
I wasn't really sure since it seems in some texts/maps Daqin did survive into the 16th century.
What the... Huh. Well, according to this map Daqin is no empire, but a small polyp on the Big Ring of land what surrounds the Great Chinese Island.

It seems like even into the Qing, there was some disconnect between the geographers and other sections of state/society that have better intel. Every map is *for* someone and whether it's a pretty list of place-names or, you know, an actual depiction of geography probably varies. The latter is more work.
Map 13-Cultural areas of South Fusania, Oasisamerica, and adjacent regions in the late 13th century
Below is the promised map of Oasisamerica, Aridoamerica, and South Fusania in the 13th century. The shaded areas highlight the cultural regions found in the area.
Chapter 84-Down the River and Towards the Dawn: The Pathfinder
"Down the River and Towards the Dawn: The Pathfinder"

From T'ashatlinhl Qwinishtis, Saga of the Lands of Dawn (1470)

The warriors of Ohisi and the lands of the Wutucha

One year to the day after burying my father in these lands far from home, I finally departed the rude winter shelters my men established in the land under the great lord of Ohisi [Ohese]. We met once more with a Hillman warmaster who cautioned against traveling south, for there lay the many warlike tribes called Wutucha or Patuka [1] and beyond them the worst enemy of all, the great prince of Mihitika [Mihithega]. We explained we could not return, for we still had our mission in proclaiming every mountain and coast lay under the dominion of the Pillar King.

The warmaster lent me 400 warriors, all men of rude quality and led us to a river his people knew as the "Great River". Yet this river was not the same as the White Imaru [2] we traveled the previous year. I am sure to these Hillmen it is no different than the situation in the Lands of the Center [3] where there is the Red Imaru in the north, Grey Imaru in the center, and Yellow Imaru in the south. It was truly a river worthy of its name, so vast and wide with many boats and villages by its banks, so we deemed it the Dawn Imaru [4].

We set down the Dawn Imaru in the late spring, our hearts joyful as the coldest winter faded fast. The country grew more deserted each day. Around the start of the 6th month, we entered battle against a tribe of Hillmen as they attacked our encampment at the shore. They slew many of Ohisi's Hillmen and drove off the rest but their clubs proved futile against the axes of our warriors. We captured a man I believe led this war party (for in battle he wore a fine red cloak, copper helmet with eagle feathers, and wielded a great copper mace) and to my surprise, my Hillmen allies I recruited the year prior far to the west informed me he spoke their language [5]! I examined this fact myself and found even I could interpret traces of what he spoke from my command of Yatupahen.

I later learned in my journey the truth of this matter. These Wutucha, who call themselves "Tahushkanitina" (meaning in their tongue "people of the hills"), are much like the Hillmen of our homeland and settled their homeland from further beyond. They claim that many generations ago, this land was empty for its people fled wars between Mihitika and those Hillmen principalities further north. Wanderers for all time, they were granted this land at the behest of their gods, but only under the condition they abandon their old ways and learn the ways of this land. This is why the Wutucha worship at the old temples built by the former people of this land, dance the same dances, and keep eternal flames burning as is this country's custom, for if they do not, they will suffer famine, drought, and disease and surely be driven out.

We attacked a village of Wutucha days later and replenished our stocks of food and pack animals, although curiously, these Hillmen owned only a single reindeer, a fat, lame beast they told me they would offer to the lord of their country on the solstice. We slew every adult male and woman in the village and took the children as slaves. The Hillmen of Ohisi lingered much in this village as they unearthed the dead, looted graves, and extinguished every flame. So long did they linger we scarcely escaped the arrival of far more enemies. Five brave men of our homeland perished so our journey might continue, their corpses no doubt desecrated by our foul foes [6].

For the Hillmen of Ohisi, I realised I must punish them, lest they prevent the Pillar King's light from spreading to this dark and distant country. As we approached the country under the great ruler of Mihitika, I recalled the enmity between that prince and the prince of Ohisi. I devised a brilliant plan where I held a feast for my party and gave the Hillmen nearly much remaining salal wine. In their intoxication I took their weapons and armour and placed them in chains and set them under watch by men and dog alike.

At Nishikuta and the first meeting with the Anakutatkhs

How fortunate I was, for the next morning the canoes of Mihitika's vassal prince appeared, full of warriors with sails emblazoned in red. Even if my superior canoes and warriors would have defeated them, I was happy I did not have to fight for I drew their attention with the many slaves from both Ohisi and the Wutucha and received an invitation to the city of Niskikuta [Niskigoda]. There I witnessed the first market of the Anakutatkh people, a powerful and wealthy nation. Here surrounded by tall walls of earth and wood lived thousands of people, guarded by fierce and veteran Hillmen warriors [7].

At their market gathered many other Anakutatkhs who eagerly looked over the salt, slaves, bison pelts, and livestock. I saw many reindeer, which I am told the Anakutatkhs capture from the Hillmen further upstream. These were the main trade goods of Niskikuta. While I sold the children of the Wutcuha into slavery, the merchants refused to take the men of Ohisi into slavery. They called upon the warriors of the town who at once arrived and dragged them to the great plaza of the city where their scalps were sliced off by priests. There they affixed them to poles decorated with red coppers which their warriors danced around. I was informed that enslaving adult men produced useless slaves.

I suffered another setback, for the nobles of Niskikuta treated me as a mere merchant. I was not able to meet with the ruler of their city, who lived behind great wooden walls atop a high hill of earth the people raised for him. It resembled those great earthen pyramids once raised by the Amims centuries ago, yet unlike those old Amims he held his palace atop this hill, resplendent with strings of shining coppers and shells.

I gambled and feasted with the merchants of Niskikuta, where I first encountered the great sport of the Anakutatkhs and many other peoples of these lands. Their gamblers play the stickgame with the most peculiar rules[...] [8]. I did not wish to learn this barbarian code, so I waited several days until the ruler of the city held a great feast. He emerged from the roof of his palace atop the high hill, the sun gleaming off the many coppers and golds he wore on his cloak and summoned the people to play the hoop game [9]. The teams rolled their stones and threw their sticks as great throngs cheered them on. I gambled the night away with my men, yet lost nothing for I promised I would give the gamblers of Niskikuta much the next morning, yet before the sun rose I fled with my men.

At the greatest city of the east

We sailed downstream for two days and excitement built in my heart, for I knew Mihitika must be a grand city. The people of the villages we stayed at claimed it the mother of cities and the greatest of all in the world. Few had ever been to Mihitika, for it is a city of pilgrims. One cannot merely travel to Mihitika, for one must prove themselves worthy before entering its walls. I ordered my men to abduct the wives and children of a village headman so we too might be seen as wealthy. As the headman raised his warriors, we killed him and seized his possessions and distributed them amongst ourselves and his warriors who we pressed into service as guards.

On that clear summer afternoon, I witnessed Mihitika for the first time. Two small hills, one on either side of the Dawn Imaru, grew larger and larger as it became apparent these were the earthen pyramids of Mihitika. Yet before I might stand at their feet, I witnessed two great rivers colliding for here at Mihitika, the White Imaru meets the Dawn Imaru. How much water from how far away must end up at this site, where it might take half a morning for a man to swim across! There are no convergences of water so grand in the Lands of the Center, for only in the greatest floods might the Irame and Kuskuskai join the Imaru at such enormous volumes of water.

Mihitika lays on the western side of this river. It is a truly grand city that fills the river bank some distance inland with a myriad houses. The oldest families have their homes atop earthen pyramids of various sizes from the height of a man to the height of a tree according to their rank--I must have counted dozens of these [10]! Myriads of people must live in this city, for it is as large as Tinhimha, Matlnumakh, or Wayam.

At the chief plaza, a great myriad of people thronged in the marketplace in which we noted the goods of countless lands. I gained access with the slaves I took and the rare goods of my homeland I possessed to which I exchanged for the shells they use as currency. I saw few shells from our land, which these Hillmen consider among the rarest and finest shells. I was amazed when the merchant selling the single abalone shell demanded as his price twenty knives of bronze and twenty shells from the Eastern Sea.

They sold all sorts of livestock at the market, from the scrawny reindeer beloved by the Hillmen upstream alongside many breeds of towey goats, ducks, geese, and turkey. I saw goods from lands far to the south such as clothing dyed the finest colours, incense of strange colours, and jades and turquoise of all sorts. They sold great crystals and powders of realgar and cinnabar and all manner of gold and silver. I even encountered great orbs of jasper set in gold, laid inside a fine ivory case, a manufacture of the likes favoured by the wealthiest notables of Shonitkwu far away in the Lands of the Center.

I heard a great diversity of tongues in the marketplace, for although the people of Mihitika conduct their business in Anakutatkh, they come from many days beyond. I even saw men who came from across the eastern sea, their skin worn from the fierce sun of their homeland and their tattoos and manner of dress unusual. They wore bright feathers from their heads and shining earrings of gold. I inquired on their homeland to which they replied they come from a land called Maayap [11]. I wished for my ships to accompany them home, but these merchants refused my offer, accepting only the ivory I offered them in exchange for a strange powder they sold, which they claimed granted one endless strength to prevent desire from sleep.

All commerce in this marketplace is observed by the city council, who appoint a man to watch from a high earthen pyramid. He summons warriors who resolve all disputes in the market. I witnessed a man steal from a merchant caught by the guards not long after. They inspected the man for his goods and upon not finding them, they gave him away in slavery to the merchant he wronged. The merchant refused to own this man and sold him to another man in exchange for three live geese.

Although this earthen pyramid is quite tall, it is far shorter than the earthen pyramid beside it. It is a true mountain forged by men, much higher than anything ever made by the Amims and indeed more akin to a smaller version of the great buttes rising from their valley. I had to lean my neck back to see the grand palace sitting atop, surrounded by high columns decorated with strings of coppers and discs of silver that stood over a palisade that shone from all the metals hanging from it. It gleamed as the sun, the seat of the perhaps the greatest Hillman prince of all.

I was told that when the prince of this city stands atop his palace, he might see the palace atop the other great earthen pyramid across the Dawn Imaru [12]. He might use his powers of sight to see the palace even on foggy days so he might spiritually communicate with his counterpart. Such is the power this man has, and I endeavoured to meet him.

At the site of many shrines

I left Mihitika and crossed to the eastern side so I might encounter more noblemen. There I found many farms, and temples where few but farmers and priests live. They call it Numihitika, which in their language means "Ancient Mihitika." I showed them my wealth so I might enter unmolested. I learned from this man the old town was once called Mihitika as well. People from innumerable nations lived in this city and chased after its spiritual wisdom. But one day the priests lost their wisdom and for this they suffered divine punishment, for the spirits cursed them with floods, disease, earthquakes, and dischord. Myriads died and all but a few people returned home. Yet one day the people received new wisdom and revived their city.

Here there are innumerable earthen pyramids, home only to shrines dedicated to ancestors. The nobles of Mihitika tend these shrines and I heard many different tongues spoken among them, not just those of the Anakutatkh. I ventured into one such shrine and saw great flames burning producing fragrant smoke and chains of gold and copper dangling, yet nothing more. I was nearly killed by the men guarding this shrine, but I left my life and freedom to the spirits governing the stickgame, in which I was victorious even with the strange code used in this land.

There in Numihitika we came to the foot of a pyramid as equally great as the one across the river, where we had to lean our heads back to even perceive the top. There overlooking many pyramids (large in their own right) on which stood shrines and temples sat the grandest temple of all. Hanging coppers and discs of gold and silver shone all about this building and its palisade. I felt so many spirits call out to me in the eerie silence of this plaza, the wind whispering from the copper-clad columns at each corner.

First sight of the precious stones

I stayed in Mihitika for several days until the summer solstice, after which I had been told I would receive a meeting with the nobles of the city. Thousands and thousands of people filled Numihitika as they crossed the river in great fleets of canoes. They danced and celebrated and feasted in that once empty plaza, barbaric dances which might only be found in a Namal winter dance house [13]. Yet they shameless conduct these dances and festivities in the summer, drinking great quantities of a poisonous dark drink until they vomit it out.

As the sun began to set that evening, I brewed the powder the men of Maayap gave me. The earthy-tasting medicine gave me strength and focus as my spirit awoke and chased the sleepiness from my body. I celebrated the solstice with my own men and raised our spirits so we might spread light in this dark land. To my horror, I learned this was the same drink consumed by the dancers of Mihitika, made safe by not including the mixture of herbs they use. I pray this did not darken my spirit, and from there on I ordered my men to treat this drink as they might alcohol and beware of its evil nature.

As the night drew on, a great cloud of smoke erupted from the palace atop this pyramid. Nobles in brilliantly dyed robes with much shining jewelry of the city entered the gate and congregated in the yard of the plaza atop the first tier of the pyramid. They sang and danced in tandem with the audience below and summoned the high priest of the city. He was an ancient man with such grand finery, carried from the temple on a litter by subordinate priests.

Then the nobles parted, lifting a litter they carried to the high priest as the prince himself emerged. He was a surprisingly tall and handsome for a Hillmen, not like the stubby people of this country who practically starve on their diet of Hillmen grain [maize], and wore so many rich gems and silver and copper on his robes.

Yet the grandest of his adornments were the shards of the moon itself, set into a bronze scepter embedded with red gems embellished with gold. Every source of light that struck these shards danced about as if this stone nourished the spirits of our world. It looked as large as my thumb with each smaller stone the size of the tips of my finger. I have never seen stones so pure and beautiful in this world. The prince of the city handed the scepter to the high priest, who waved it about as he blessed the people and their land, but I was too transfixed on the stones to notice the ritual.

When I saw that piece of the moon, my spirit grew heated and frenzied out of its desire to serve my master the Pillar King. My breathing became sharp and only the knowledge we would all surely die held me back from ordering my soldiers attack the congregation of nobles and seize that scepter. I know braver men than me would have tried, for those stones must be the finest artifact in existance, the grandest gift possible for the Pillar King who upholds harmony in this world.

As the ceremony ended, I finally received my audience with the nobles. Before I even tried getting them to acknowledge the Pillar King as their ruler, I inquired just what those stones were. They called them moonstones and told me there was no rarer stone in existance. The prince of Mihitika owns the rarest of all, the largest moonstone in existance which his ancestors seized from the prince of the great city of Uhushetak [Ohoshetak] far to the south, who claimed it from its owner in the greatest match of the hoop game in history [14].

They are found in a single place in the world, the Moonstone Meadow far to the south at the border between the mountains and the plains. The stones are so hard they might only be cut with other moonstones. The only men who know how to cut these stones are the household servants of the prince of Awakai, who holds sway over the Moonstone Meadow and much other land [15].

As I learned these things, my heart became heavy, for I knew my destination. The moment I reached the eastern sea, I would set out for Awakai so I might seize the moonstones for myself and grant them to my master the Pillar King. I knew my spirit might slay me on the spot should I dare abandon my journey.

Of all indigenous American primary sources, few are more valuable than T'ashatlinhl Qwinishtis, Saga of the Lands of Dawn for reconstructing North America before the arrival of Europeans. Writing in a straightforward and self-aggrandising manner, Qwinishtis describes the many countries and people he passed through on his journey to reach "the eastern sea" at the behest of the Pillar King.

Saga of the Lands of Dawn traces Qwinishtis's journey from 1432, when he set out past the American Divides under his father, the military leader T'ashikwihl Nanaashwayik, to his eventual return to Fusania some thirty years later. He describes practically all of North America besides Central America and the northeast, recounting the customs of dozens of different ethnic groups along with the fate of his own expedition and his misadventures.

Like nearly all indigenous Fusanians, Qwinishtis was illiterate, so he dictated the book in his native Atkh language to a scribe who wrote it down in his native Coastal Script. The original Atkh text survives only in fragments but it was translated into Lelemakh, Classical Wayamese, and Namal no later than 1480. The Lelemakh text is also lost beside fragments, but the Wayamese and Namal survive.

Each text of Saga of the Peoples of Dawn differs slightly, editing the details of some figures involved (likely related to worries about restating stories of the ancestors of prominent people without ample permission, a legal issue in parts of Fusania) and at times adding new details. The Namal text in particular differs, leading to a once-common belief that Gaiyuchul himself translated it. However, Gaiyuchul was fluent in Atkh and clearly relied on the original as a source for Saga of the Peoples of the World. Likely the translation was produced by his fellow Katlamat School historian Akaimyakhust Qatlakhwakhkwala, whose own works that often centered on the Coastmen are largely lost.

The influence of the book began with Gaiyuchul's Saga of the Peoples of the World, among the earliest explicitly ethnographic work concerning Amerindians. For many educated Fusanians, it served as the foundation of their knowledge of the world. It reminded them of their cultural superiority as well as the central nature of their society, yet also told them about the wealth other lands had to offer. In particular, the spread of the book on the Imaru Plateau and in the Kuskuskai Plain likely resulted in increased trade toward the eastern Plains, although it is unknown if any tried following in Qwinishtis's footsteps as all archaeeological traces of Fusanians in the east can be attributed to trade and middlemen.

As a work of literature, it served as the template for future Fusanian travelogues (despite Gaiyuchul's critique of its style). It was dramatic, adventurous, and casual, not relying on the staid rationality of the Katlamat School and referenced a glorious past instead of the troubled political situation of the current era. It was among the first indigenous Fusanian works printed on woodblocks by native printers in the 16th century, retaining its popularity for many decades to come.

Foreign translations of Saga of the Lands of Dawn were just as important in East Asia. An anonymous translator produced a Japanese translation of the Namal edition around 1510, appearing as part of the wave of interest in Fusania among Japanese intellectuals spurred by the appearance of Jikken's commentaries and translations of Gaiyuchul's works. This translation and subsequent commentaries was one of the foundation works for East Asian interest in the New World. Translated into Chinese around 1515, it was believed to be a roadmap to unbelievable wealth. What started as the acts of adventurous merchants, eccentrics, and the politically disgraced became a flood of far more ordinary individuals seeking to make their fortune in the land. In particular, this was critical for the rapid growth of Nihonmachi and Chinese merchant communities in the New World that in time reshaped the economic and political situation of New World societies.

European translations were more limited in their influence yet still important for Western understanding of the Americas. The Spanish likely first encountered the book in their campaigns in Pacific Mesoamerica in the 1530s, but it was only translated in portions in the 1540s and not fully translated until the Jesuits produced a complete edition in 1582. This was joined by translations from Japanese a decade later produced by Portuguese missionaries. Unsurprisingly, this led to a new wave of conquistador expeditions aimed at the Misebi Valley and even Far South Fusania, some of which ironically repeated the exact folly of Qwinishtis's bloody and fruitless hunt for the Caddoan diamonds or those pursuits for cities of gold like elsewhere in the Americas.

Numerous myths of Eastern North America and its natives exist as a result of Saga of the Lands of the Dawn, such as fields where diamonds grow like wildflowers and great cities of gold whose rulers once commanded vast armies of Indians clothed in finely dyed cotton and wielding shining bronze weapons. These myths inspired innumerable expeditions and searches into the interior of the continent and rose to folkloric proportions. Qwinishtis himself became a legendary figure, a foremost leader of Indians whose life and status was exaggerated into being an "exiled son of the great Indian Emperor of the West." Despite being a barbarian to East Asians and a heathen to Europeans, he was often held out as the most brilliant and intellectual of his race, a stark contrast to the "wild Indians" or ignorant Indian peons most frequently dealt with.

Qwinishtis himself was, of course, no such person. He was the lesser son of Atkh nobleman and military leader T'ashikwihl Nanaashwayik, with his mother likely a Namal woman (although not a freed slave, as some have suggested). He was trained as a sailor, whaler, and hunter, as many youth, and fought alongside his father in the Pillar King's campaigns. One of these campaigns was the dramatic effort to subdue the entirety of the Plains using the "White Imaru" (Fusanian name for the Nisacha River) due to the religious zeal of the Pillar King and the mistaken belief in the inferior numbers and skills of the natives and size of the land. While this expedition was abandoned, T'ashikwihl Nanaashwayik refused to return, persisting with his attempt to reach the great eastern sea that in the Fusanian worldview logically existed to balance out the great western sea (i.e. the Pacific Ocean).

His life after his return to Fusania is little known. His wives had left him, for he was believed to have died 30 years before, but one of his sons still recognised him and cared for him until his death sometime in the 1470s. His reputation was poor, for he was deemed an eccentric who merely wrote a collection of tales he heard from sailors and merchants interspersed with fictional stories of battles, gambling, and exploration. It is likely he only enjoyed any credibility at all through the efforts of Gaiyuchul, who participated in the same expedition to the Plains (albeit he turned back with the bulk of the force) and himself explored parts of South Fusania.

Since serious scholarship began in the 19th century, Qwinishtis is often described as the "Marco Polo of the New World" for his frequent exaggerations. For instance, he describes the scale of Mesoamerican pyramids, sacrifices, and cannibalism as one where "rivers of blood begin on these mountains of stone as rivers of water begin on our own mountains" in order so that "the nobles of these lands might dine on human flesh each night." In addition to encounters with deities like Coyote, Qwinishtis describes meetings with fantastic creatures like the "furred dwarves" of the south who commanded "naked and ignorant peasants", "naked fish-men" of the islands, or the walking, man-eating bundles of reeds. The former appears to represent encounters with monkeys in the Caribbean and the latter Antillean and Gulf Coast peoples who inflicted slavery and brutality on Qwinishtis and thus were attributed a subhuman reputation.

Others describe him as "Marco Polo the conquistador", for like Spanish narratives, Qwinishtis presents himself as full of religious zeal, greed for precious stones he sought to present to the Pillar King, a tendency toward self-aggrandisement, belief the peoples he encountered were violent, uncivilised, and incapable of and frequent deceit and backstabbing. Psychologically, Qwinishtis seems to have been so devoted to the Pillar King and Fusanian concepts of civilised vs barbarian as a means of establishing the Atkhs as a civilised people, a concept of crucial political importance in his era as the Atkhs became more integrated to the "civilised" core of Fusania in the Imaru Basin.

Many of the deadly situations he found himself in were self-inflicted, in particular his constant struggles against Misebian cities, including those Caddoan cities he spent years fighting against to find diamonds (thus destroying his expedition) or his time spent as a galley slave to the Antillean pirates or porter to Olmec merchants. However, he was a talented fighter, skilled gambler, and brilliant deceiver, and this let him become master of an Aztatec ship and eventuallly return home.

Modern scholarship relies much on Saga of the Lands of Dawn, for Qwinishtis is practically our only source on the indigenous history of Eastern North America. He collected numerous stories, recorded many placenames and even phrases in indigenous languages. Without Qwinishtis, much of the history and even the very names of countless places in Eastern North America would have been lost, for little Misebian writing survives north of the Gulf. Qwinishtis paints a picture of a healthy, thriving civilisation, albeit one often torn by warfare and petty feuds, one far different than the cold, analytical descriptions favoured by Maya merchants or the dying lands portrayed by Spanish conquistadors. These are thus invaluable for modern reconstructions of the way of life of these cultures in their golden age.

Author's notes

I intended to write this as a short vignette to start the chapter on the Misebians, but it grew more and more elaborate until I had several chapters of a travelogue from Qwinishtis, who I introduced several chapters ago as a contemporary of Gaiyuchul. I plan on featuring more of these travelogues since they're great ways of showcasing different areas. I annotated the different toponymy Qwinishtis himself uses, which is because the Atkh language doesn't really have a sound for the "o" vowel and sounds spelled "r", "l", "b", "th", or "ng" so would be heard in a particular way.

Note that Qwinishtis is traveling in the 1430s, about 150 years further than I plan on describing (for now), but things are still broadly similar. The description on Qwinishtis and his text at the end is written from the perspective of a modern scholar. I tried hard to avoid spoilers for events I want to show later, but it should show the general direction of how and where I want to take this TL.

As noted, the next entry is the proper one on the Middle Misebians, which I have finished writing but instead of cleaning it up and arranging it, I wrote out all this instead.

[1] - "Patuka" is cognate with Padouca, the French term from Dhegihan Siouan that was used for hostile tribes (especially the Apache and Comanche). Given these are Athabaskan speakers, it seems fitting. "Wutucha" is an Atkh form of the Chiwere Siouan cognate "worucha".
[2] - Term for the "civilised" portion of North Fusania centered on the Imaru [Columbia River] Basin and Furuge [Salish Sea]
[3] - Both the Imaru [Columbia] and Shisutara [Fraser] had names meaning "great river" to the people who lived there, which is extremely common in indigenous North American toponymy. I have never disambiguated because I use later TTL Japanese names, but I imagine it would be distinguished "Red Imaru" ("red" symbolising "north") for the Fraser and Grey Imaru ("grey" symbolising "center") for the Columbia
[4] - This Imaru is the Misebi [Mississippi] River
[5] - Some mutual intelligibility exists between Athabaskan languages, which are not much more separate than the Germanic languages. However, Qwinishtis's knowledge of Yatupahen (an ATL Athabaskan language spoken northwest of OTL Campbell River, BC) isn't as useful since it diverged much earlier and has a heavy Salish substrate.
[6] - The attested Mississippian custom of grave desecration among defeated foes, where sacred flames would be extinguished and bodies of ancestors disinterred and strewn about. IIRC it's referenced by the Spanish and has associated archaeological evidence. While the Upper Misebians have different worship customs, they know enough about Middle Misebian groups (including the Tahushkanitina who have borrowed it) to desecrate temples as a sign of dominance. The five men who give their lives are ethnic Atkhs i.e. warriors Qwinishtis trusts far more
[7] - Qwinishtis uses the term "Anakutatkh" (an Atkh version of the Dhegihan for "us" or "ourselves" plus -"atkh" meaning "people") as a name for their ethnic group. As in 2019, I have arbitrarily assigned Dhegihan Siouan speakers to live in this area based on some evidence, although we don't know for certain since it was very multilingual in Mississippian--it may have been other Siouan groups, Muskogeans, or a now-extinct group akin to the Tunica, Natchez, Yuchi, etc. Niskigoda is Louisiana, MO at the confluence of the Salt River with the Mississippi.
[8] - The stickgame (a sort of guessing game popular among premodern Indian gamblers, nothing to do with various Indian ballgames called "stickball" aside from those also being associated with gambling) existed among some Siouan groups, but it was not the same as the form played in the Pacific Northwest (which I will call slahal as it is sometimes called today).
[9] - Chunkey, a popular Mississippian game OTL. It also occurred on the Plains and the Oneota culture, which is where Qwinishtis has seen it before.
[10] - OTL St. Louis had over 40 mounds which gave the city its old nickname "the mound city", all but one of which were demolished for farms and buildings.
[11] - Mayab is sometimes used as a synonym for Maya lands, or the Yucatan. It appears to be postcolonial in origin, but perhaps the Maya colonies in the Mississipi Basin used it to refer to their ancestral land in the Yucatan. Qwinishtis of course does not know much of the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic.
[12] - IOTL, one can see the Gateway Arch in the distance from atop Monks Mound in Cahokia. As Qwinishtis is seeing an ATL counterpart in St. Louis (the OTL highest mound was likely much smaller) which is located several blocks north of the Gateway Arch at about 10.5 km away, it seems plausible someone with very sharp eyes could make out Monks Mound even from this distance
[13] - As noted many chapters ago, Namal winter dances often involve temporarily inverting taboos as a sign of the darkness near the winter solstice. Most civilised peoples consider it scandalous, but not necessarily a barbarian Hillman custom
[14] - That is, the Uncle Sam diamond, a 40 carat stone and the largest diamond ever found in the United States. Ohoshetak is the Winterville site in Washington County, MS
[15] - The Moonstone Meadow is Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas, while Awakai is very near Murfreesboro, AR. For the purpose of TTL, I am identifying a decently-sized archaeological site in the region as the Caddoan town of Aguacay visited by the De Soto expedition.
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Chapter 85-Down the River and Towards the Dawn: The Splendor of the East
Down the River and Towards the Dawn: The Splendor of the East

The densest population in all eastern North America lay in the valley of its greatest river, the Misebi and its tributaries. In these woodlands of the Midwest and South, a powerful civilisation emerged, with its rulers demonstrating their incredible might through the grand earthworks they constructed. Its wealth and might rivaled all but the greatest cities of the Mesoamerica, the Andes, and Fusania and helped drive the burgeoning economic and demographic expansion that characterised North America in the early 2nd millennium.

The population of Misebian civilisation exploded in the 12th and early 13th century, owing to the productivity of their land. The "three sisters" of maize, beans, and squash produced a bountiful surplus in the rich bottomlands they lived in. The spread of crops like prairie turnips and nutsedge added to this surplus while in some particularly flood-prone areas (especially toward the Gulf), Misebians conducted aquaculture of omodaka, river turnip, water amaranth, and tuckahoe, a native water plant. In the forests surrounding many of their lands, the people harvested acorns, chestnuts, pecans, and walnuts alongside many wild plants and berries. Domesticated ducks, geese, turkey, and towey goats provided additional protein. The latter animal in particular substituted for increasingly exhausted deer populations in providing bone, skins, and meat offerings given to the wealthy.

There seemed to be no limits on this demographic expansion beside the ability to clear land, something even the smallest village might do. Even earlier challenges like soil exhaustion were alleviated in this era as Misebian villages adapted to cycles of crop rotation. Dung from goats and fowl fertilised fields while pesticides from herbs and tobacco and new breeds of dogs kept away insect and rodent pests from stores. The great demographic expansion and productivity of agriculture permitted a great increase in the nascent specialisation of the 11th and 12th century, tying the Misebian world together like never before. At the demographic peak around 1210 (before the Norse-introduced plagues and 13th century drought), over 4 million people lived in the Misebian world [1].

Political and societal organisation

The political organisation of the Misebians lay within local kin groups who gathered into villages. The people of the village elected one of their own, typically someone successful in life, as ruler and entrusted him with resolving disputes, yet demanded he not interfere in their lives and continue to contribute to the community. Beneath the village ruler came his second-in-command, the war chief (among some Misebian groups, the war chief and peace chief ranked equally) and those wealthy, prestigious men (rarely women) who formed the council. The commoners considered themselves politically and spiritually equal to their chief, inferior to him only in moral authority and wealth.

Larger towns naturally dominated smaller communities, and it was these towns which formed the basis of the Misebian world. Each nearby village and its people claimed their origin in this town, serving as the center of their ethnic identity. Towns served as the seat of a local ruler, his war chief, and his council of clan leaders who were crucial for maintaining the social order of the region. Most importantly they acted as ritual centers, where the town ruler demonstrated his power through grand festivals and monumental architecture such as their famed platform mounds where the ruler gazed down at his people during ceremonies.

Misebian towns were not necessarily large--they often held less than 500 people and sometimes were practically empty but for the ruler, his household, and his chosen retainers. Yet because they commanded such spiritual power, they swelled with worshippers during ceremonies and intervened in the affairs of larger communities. Their ruler might be frequently gifted rare goods from as far away as Mesoamerica or Fusania, dined on the finest meats, and walked on carpets of expensive towey goat wool.

A particularly prestigious and wealthy town often became the nucleus of a paramount center which headed a confederation. The wealth in these towns justified their claims to religious authority and thus political power. Often they had multiple large platform mounds, including one on which a sizable temple sat. Paramount centers dominated the landscape, drawing people from hundreds of kilometers away on the basis of wealth and prestige. While the ruler of the paramount center nominally served as head of the confederation, he and his council possessed no authority over subordinate towns beside familial ties and skill at persuasion.

The Misebian world can thus be politically divided into town-states and confederations. A town-state (or chiefdom) usually dominated a stretch of river and was around 400-700 km2 in area containing around 6,000-15,000 people. It occasionally united with several other towns into a small confederation, but the largest and most powerful political unit were true confederations based in the paramount centers. These might dominate several towns and innumerable villages across thousands of square kilometers.

Misebian polities were fragile. Because the ruling lineage installed relatives as authorities in smaller towns and villages, these posed potential threats to the dominance of the center should citizens choose to follow these relatives instead. When this occurred, it inevitably sparked a war unless the relative and his followers were appeased through words or gifts. Should the central town or city lose the conflict, the victor sometimes removed all symbols of ruling power to his own town, resulting in political rearrangement and decline of the once-central town.

Whether they served as rulers of a small town or the most prestigious city, Misebian rulers possessed remarkably little authority. They were religious figureheads consecrated by the high priest as a representation of the sun god and elected from the ruling family, typically the son of the previous ruler's sister. They made practically no decisions on their own, always relying on oratory, persuasion, and ridicule to rule through their council (which included the war chief and high-ranking nobles). The ruler was expected to display rich adornment and grant the people with goods from afar as well as to preside at ceremonies which included fertility rituals as well as a great sacrifice of towey goats, where the ruler would be the first to dine. In death, their slaves were often sacrificed for them.

Qwinishtis commented on this in his Saga of the Lands of Dawn:

"The escaped slave thanked me profusely, for I spared him a grim fate at the hands of the barbarians. As in our land, slaves often follow the ruler into death yet the barbarians of the lands of dawn conduct a great orgy of violence in their ignorance toward proper balance. The prince of a city takes his slaves with him, I am told. At the greatest cities, those magnificent plazas I witnessed are drowned in the blood of slaves and herds alike whenever a great ruler or priest perishes."

As war chiefs likewise held little authority, the Misebian system thus centered on town councils. The ruler appointed some of these seats from high-ranking nobles (often his own kin), but the most important were reserved for the heads of individual clans who represented their lineages (which included the town's commoners). The council directed daily life in a town by pressuring the clan heads to control members of their own lineage to act as needed.

Misebian religion focused on the priestly caste, whose members were selected on the basis of spiritual power and ancestry. Often the high priest of a town was a relative of the ruling lineage. These priests tended the most important rites of Misebian religion, that of ancestor worship involving great images of divinities and tending of sacred fires that represented their primary god, the Sun itself. While they did not control day to day worship and ceremonial dances, the wealthy men who sponsored them always approached the priests for advice. Similarly, they legitimised the ruler's power by public rituals that tied him to his ancestors.

By the 13th century, platform mounds declined in importance and constructed slowed. It is speculated this is due to the sheer proliferation of large platform mounds in the Misebian world and challenge in constructing larger mounds without the structures slumping over time from their large mass combined with flooding or earthquakes [2]. While they still built large mounds in their paramount centers, they also surrounded them with tall palisades often guilded in copper to form ornate walls meant to demonstrate the wealth and prestige of the ruler who commissioned the ornamentation.

Although mound construction slowed, what mounds they constructed were far more grand and impressive, often being constructed in two or even three tiers or having multiple mounds atop a single mound. The average height swelled to 15-20 meters, with a few isolated examples nearly 25 meters tall. This mound typically stood in opposition to a second, slightly smaller mound hosting the temple. Practically all newly founded towns and paramount centers from the 13th century onward featured construction like this while older centers were renovated to match this style, with the partial exception of the Gulf Misebians in the Lower Misebi Valley.


As in every other premodern society, agriculture served as the main Misebian economic activity. Yet the portion of farmers had decreased from practically the entire population in the early 11th century to allow for greater specialisation. Much of this is due to increases in agricultural efficiency and technology. Simple ploughs hitched to towey goats or dogs let farmers more efficiently till their fields, while their dung (along with that from domesticated fowl) served as fertiliser. The diversity of crops grown alleviated shortages in the event of local crop failure and replenished the soil of nutrients.

Like elsewhere, towey goat herding expanded in the late 12th and 13th century and reached south to the foothills of the Appalachians. Especially at the southern end, the towey goats in this region were smaller and mostly hairless, with male goats weighing around 90-100 kg and carrying around 15-20 kg. They were animals of crucial cultural importance and frequently offered as sacrifices at important ceremonies. The herds were the communal property of entire clans, with size and quality of the herds a means for the clan heads to display status.

While there was not a great diversity of breeds, the famed Indian fainting towey breed derives from Misebian times. Originating in the hills between the Tennessee and Choyaha drainage, the "fainting towey" fell to the ground when excited or startled, the product of a hereditary condition called congenital myotonia likely caused by a small founder population in that region. They were often used as meat animals, but their use as entertainment was known in the Misebian world, where they became symbols of jesters among some groups. Qwinishtis described an encounter with these goats, which was formerly used as evidence to attack the veracity of his stories:

"In that village, I came across a flock of towey goats, hairless and colourful from their time beneath the harsh summer sun and unpleasant air. I watched over my men confiscating these goats from the villagers when to my astonishment, a goat simply fell over! We fled the village at once without a single goat for we knew the spirits deemed those goats unfit to eat."

Misebian economies thus expanded with the massive increase in specialisation and urbanisation the food surplus permitted. Lineages working all trades from pottery to metalsmithing to merchants to farming to artisanry emerged. In some societies these were associated with particular clan groupings, yet in others clans tended to hold lineages within many professions. Specialisation resulted in the blossoming of trade and increasing connections in the Misebian world, even if such levels of trade remained well below that seen in Fusania or Mesoamerica.

Misebian trade routes ran primarily on water, and these water links resulted in the two great Misebian axes. The first ran down the Misebi River to its inland delta and then west toward the cities of the Caddoan Misebians at the border of the Plains. In the east, it ran down the Tennessee and Choyaha rivers, where locals fished out innumerable pearls from the rivers, to the lands of the South Appalachian Miseebians were rich mines where producing gold, silver, and copper and from there south along the rivers to the Gulf. This route is known as the Road of Pelts by Mesoamericans who imported the skins of towey goats, reindeer, and bison from this region.

The second axis was much more scattered, spanning numerous running along the Lower Misebi and the sheltered waterways of the Gulf, the most important trade route in the region. ran all the way in the east to the delta of the Apalachicola and north to the Fall Line and in the south extended toward the lands of the Coahuiltecans. The people of this culture, known as the Gulf Misebians, were latecomers to the Misebian world and differed in many respects culturally as a result.

Boundaries of the Misebian World

The Misebian world in the 13th century roughly divided into two factions. Those of the Middle Misebi, parts of the Ohio Valley, and the Tennessee, Choyaha, and Chattahoochee as well as many Caddoan towns were friendly due to their Mihithegan ties. On the other side were their historic rivals, the Natchez Misebians and many Gulf Misebians, the culturally separate Upper Misebians, and some groups of Caddoan Misebians whose closest trading partners were the Natchez and Gulf peoples. The Mesoamericans played a neutral role, their allegiance shifting to those who benefitted them most.

The borderlands where these cultures collided was a zone of small polities and frequent wars. Slave raids were common and ironically became a key form of cultural transmission when slaves were employed in arts such as pottery or farming. At times, it lay completely abandoned even in the ongoing expansion of Misebian agriculture. The heavily fortified towns in this area tended to be colonies led by refugee returnees or the adventurers from larger cities who gained influence over these people.

Astride the Misebian world lay the expanses of the Plains and the forested, less developed woodlands of the north and east. Here the Misebians traded their fine wares in exchange for bison skins and the pelts of towey goats, along with entire reindeer they slaughtered at feasts. The Plains in particular were important for the trickle of rare Fusanian goods such as the unusual shells of the Pacific or strange artifacts of silver (a rare substance in much of the Misebian world), whalebone, ivory, jasper, and jade.

Misebian peoples considered the natives of these regions as backwards and primitive, but skilled hunters and herdsmen. They were occasionally recruited as mercenaries or bodyguards for traveling merchants. Clashes between them and Misebian confederations occasionally occurred as one group sought to claim the pastoral land or herds of the other. As the climate cooled and Misebian lands suffered deforestation, wars increased in frequency and intensity.

From the east, Algonquian-speaking peoples pressed into Misebian lands seeking new lands for hunting and raising their livestock. Likewise, Caddoan-speaking pastoralists such as the Sahnish and Paani pushed from the west, as well as those from even further beyond like the Plains Salish, Kiowa, Nahisha Apache, and Plains Dena. The most notorious of these were those Dena bands who raided as far east as the Misebi itself, settling in a depopulated borderland and absorbing the survivors to become the sedentary Paduca peoples. Although they farmed, built mounds, and kept rites involving maize ceremonialism and eternal fires, they were starkly different in other regards and largely kept to themselves.

To the north lay the hated Northern Misebians, bitter rivals of the Middle Misebians. While some traded occurred, the Misebians preferred purchasing needed goods like copper, tin, or precious metals from the middlemen of the Eastern Woodlands. Much warfare occurred between these peoples, leaving a large buffer of depopulated lands. By the late 13th century, drought and cooling climate caused much of these lands to revert to prairie, whose hard earth proved nearly impossible to farm, yet war still continued as these lands became important grazing lands and particularly hunting grounds, where bison migrated from further west in increasing numbers

Mihithega, the Middle Misebian heartland, and the Mihithegan Diaspora

An archetypical example of Misebian civilisation was Mihithega [3], the greatest city in all eastern North America, crowned by its towering Great Mound, for centuries the tallest and largest structure in the Western Hemisphere north of the Bravo River. In 1200, Mihithega had a population at least as large as Wayam at its height and politically dominated a large area, albeit the city commanded a typical Misebian confederacy instead of a centralised empire.

Like the Wayamese Empire, Mihithega commanded the allegiance of a large confederation of towns and cities, using its monumental agriculture and powerful religious cult. Its political system centered around the redistribution and display of exotic goods from foreign lands, presented and displayed to the people at religious ceremonies. Yet unlike Wayam, Mihithega did not pursue the development of a complex bureaucracy to legitimise its central rule, instead relying solely on its religious influence and strength of its rulers' prestige. People came from far away bearing gifts for the priests of Mihithega in hopes they might purchase the privilege of living there. These gifts strengthened the prestige of Mihithega, which produced a feedback loop that powered Mihithega's economy.

This system started collapsing in the mid-12th century. Their allies and kin far to the north by the Great Lakes suffered revolts and conquest from the local people (such as the Pasucha who destroyed Aztatlan), cutting off a key source of copper, precious metals, exotic Fusanian shells, and imported reindeer. This decreased people bringing tribute to Mihithega, including crucial supplies of livestock, game, and salt, thus further imperiling the city's finances. The decrease in prestige proved most disastrous, however. Being less able to resolve disputes, the Mihithegan ruling class lost influence over outlying towns. These towns were more likely to go to war with each other to increase the own prestige, causing a regional economic decline and outmigration.

As Mihithega declined, clans exited from the city and returned to distant relatives or trade contacts they made elsewhere. The most important links lay toward the southeast, from where Mihithega increasingly imported much copper mined at Shaneha near the powerful city of Akatalla, gold from Chatolanochi, salt from Tabiahe, and yaupon imported from the Atlantic and Gulf [4]. This trade catapulted the basin of the Choyaha and Tennessee Rivers into the wealthiest section of the Misebian world by the early 13th century. Although this trade temporarily reinvigorated the fortunes of Mihithega, the decline was terminal. Pilgrims instead traveled toward the increasingly wealthy towns of the southeast, ensuring Mihithega possessed less and less to trade in exchange.

The final collapse of Mihithega came with the epidemics of the 1210s. Mumps, chickenpox, and whooping cough were novel illnesses among the Misebians and no doubt interpreted as signs of divine disfavor. Perhaps 10% of the people of Mihithega died of illness alone and many others fled the city for good. A civil war broke out, one in which rival centers intervened. By 1230, Mihithega lay absolutely abandoned.

That region would remain marginal in the Misebian world until around 1300, when the name Mihithega was transferred across the Misebi to a new city, suggesting even the elites wished to make a new start from Mihithega's troubles [5]. Old Mihithega, sometimes called Numihithega ("ancient Mihithega") became a religious center used as a vast complex for ancestor worship and public rituals.

The "Mihithegan diaspora" formed from this collapse continued to play an incredibly important role in the history of the Misebian world. As the city attracted people from around the Misebian world, Mihithegans back to their homelands or areas they had connections. There they married back into their communities and brought home new techniques and styles of art, pottery, farming and other technology, and religion, bringing about great cultural shifts wherever they went.

The bulk of these were in areas of strongest Mihithegan influence, drawing Mihithega's people southeast toward the basin of the Choyaha and Tennessee River. Here they reinforced local traditions and brought rulers great prestige, bringing about a golden age for the towns in this region. For several decades in the 13th century, Tabiahe with its productive metalworking, salt production, and weaving practically served as a successor of Mihithega. Its 8,000 residents lived below a great 26 meter two-tier pyramid constructed atop a high hill overlooking the Choyaha [6]. In the fashion of the 13th century, a subsidiary two-tier pyramid at 20 meters for the high priest was positioned opposite.

Typically, these Mihithegan exiles were revered in their new communities as purveyors of hidden wisdom and spiritual truths about the world. They arrived in a time of upheaval due to drought and especially epidemic, and the arrival of people bringing such wisdom was welcome to the Misebian peoples. Others clearly rejected them, perhaps viewing their arrival as proof of spiritual chaos or simply out of opportunism. This sparked numerous conflicts throughout the Misebian world, evidenced by the spate of palisade building and expansion of moats.

Southeast from Tabiahe, the Mihithegan diaspora revitalised the southern Appalachian region, long a backwater. They had sent many of their own people to Mihithega on pilgrimages, yet received precious little in return. Now hundreds or even thousands of Mihithegans returned to this area and brought not just wisdom, but practical methods, tools, and livestock. Towey goat herding became firmly established in the northeastern hills. The region expanded in population and wealth in the late 12th century, with cities like Italwa becoming important trading centers [7].

he Misebi Valley south of the Ohio, the Gulf Misebians largely rejected these Mihithegan immigrants out of their lengthy rivalry. The reasons for this rivalry likely originated in the past from Mihithega and other Central Misebian towns frequently raiding lands downstream. The great city of Yetshedi did as well based on their historic rivalry, although made little effort to excise Mihithega's influence from their more distant allies. Yet even here, the influence of the Misebian heartland appeared. Mihithegan slaves, as well as those who had once been slaves in Mihithega, brought new styles of architecture, pottery, and art to this area and even established rituals related to maize cultivation (as opposed to those centering on omodaka cultivation) as dominant.

Gulf Misebians

In the humid southern lowlands north of the Gulf of Mexico lived the cultures known as the Gulf Misebians. Their environment that permitted them no towey goats and resulted in frequent flooding led to a mode of life that prohibited full adaption to Misebian culture. They spoke a much greater diversity of languages, which gave rise to the Misebian trade language, the so-called Mobilian Jargon [8] based on the prestigious Muskogean languages.

The Gulf Misebians raised no animals besides waterfowl, turkeys, and dogs, owing to the hot climate of their land and were generally poorer due to their distance from the copper trade. However, they were wealthy for their agrarian economies which let them purchase the needed metals along with towey goats for ceremonies. They farmed large plantations of tehi and wove it into richly dyed clothing, while they controlled innumerable sources of yaupon, the main ingredient of the "black drink" crucial to ritual. This plantation labour was made possible by their extensive skill at earthworking in the swamps of their land.

Their greatest city was Ohoshetak [9], located at a strategic bluff along the Misebi. Ohoshetak's prestigious ruling lineage and impressive temple permitted it to dominate a substantial stretch of the Lower Misebi. With a population of around 7,000, they commanded an army of slave labour that tamed the local wetlands, built a complex system of levees, and even built a canal directly from the foot of the ruler's platform mound to the Misebi River over 5 kilometers away.

They extensively traded with the Caddoan Misebians, especially those outside of their largest centers in Nakuhmitsa and Nateshu [10]. The paramount chiefdom centered on Awakai was allied to many Southern Misebian cities. Located in the mountains not far from the Pahateno River, here in the high hills they raised towey goats and mined cinnabar, otherwise very rare in southeastern North America. Ethnic Tunica merchants, who controlled many of the trade routes in the Caddoan world, transported these eastwards to the Misebi.

By the 12th century, Awakai mined diamonds at the only pre-modern diamond mine in the Americas, the famed Moonstone Meadow. These were termed "moonstones" for their white color and sheen, a widely spread calque in Misebian languages. Although diamond cutting and polishing did not develop in the Misebian world until around 1350 when the art spread from Maya traders, even by 1200 these stones were prized for their incredible hardness and value in drilling beads and thus were the exclusive property of the wealthy. Diamonds, among other mined products, brought the city of Awakai great wealth and cemented its position of regional leadership.

Of the other Gulf Misebian cities, Okaholla perhaps equalled Ohoshetak, especially in militancy [11]. A city of perhaps 7,000 people with numerous mounds, it was often at war with Italwa to its west due to its constant raids on the trade routes. Okaholla's merchants derived a great profit from the goods seized on these raids while its rulers enjoyed much prestige. The greatest success of Okaholla came around 1215 when alongside its allies, Okaholla's warriors defeated those of Italwa, taking advantage of the Norse epidemics.

Subsequently they successfully besieged Italwa, razed the town, and plundered its temple. In typical Misebian fashion, they extinguished the sacred flame, murdered the priests and ruling family, and disinterred their ancestors, desecrating their bones and melting down the goods they were buried with. Italwa fell abandoned for nearly fifty years, inhabited again only after wandering Mihithegans resettled the land.


Ruins of Italwa in the present. It may have looked similar in the 13th century during the period of abandonment. The ruler's palace sat on the mound to the left, the city's foremost temple sat on the mound toward the right.

This sack marked the beginning of a great enmity between Okaholla and Italwa, one famous enough in the Misebian world to be mentioned in Maya chronicles. Italwa took revenge for their earlier defeat around 1275 as their new rulers raided Okaholla's hinterlands, killing the enemy's war chief and taking his scalp along with much plunder back to Italwa. The plunder and prestige from this event revitalised the newly re-established city, marking its return to power and restarting the endless war between the two cities.

Arrival of the Mesoamericans

Most crucially, this region benefitted from the arrival of Mesoamerican traders. As the Maya expanded their trading activities in the Caribbean, they arrived in increasing numbers to the Southeast along with occasional ethnic Nahua or Huastec merchants. The initial Maya efforts focused primarily on obtaining sources of tehi fiber, slaves, and gold, but by the latter part of the 13th century, Maya traders penetrated far deeper into the interior, searching for deals on slaves, gold, pelts of wild animals, reindeer, bison, and towey goats, and eventually yaupon, the ritual black drink of the Misebian culture. The Mesoamericans called the land Tikoot (in Maya) or Ehuatlan (in Nahuatl), both meaning "Land of Pelts".

This trade started what the Maya called the Ootbe, translating to "Road of Pelts", that stretched alongside the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Tennessee Rivers, reaching to the city of Yetshedi near the mouth of the Ohio River. Several great centers sprang up on this road, such as Pakanahuili, known for being a key portage site, and Italwa, known as great center of trade for copper and gold mined far upstream. Each of these cities had over 5,000 people and commanded sizable confederacies. Northwards, a powerful new confederation emerged at Taski, which increasingly dominated the copper trade, while Akatalla at the mouth of the Hiwassee grew further [12].

Despite claims of Maya explorers by the Great Lakes, few pochteca ventured beyond the main port of Kojche, founded around 1280, and even fewer, if any traveled past Akatalla. Those who did might pass the great city of Wewoka at the crossroads between the Misebi and the Choyaha, the city of Tihalenehe and its famed guilds producing stone goods (most especially hoes), and finally the greatest city along this route at Yetshedi [13]. Qwinishtis describes an alleged encounter with a Maya trader near Yetshedi in the mid-15th century:

"The Maayapatkh [Maya] hold presence in all great cities of this land, Yits'iniit [Yetshedi] no exception. These Mayapatkh in addition to their usual exotic dress and wares carried a great vase full of strange dark seeds from their homeland. I inquired as to the nature of these seeds and they said it was to be ground into a beverage. This I learned was the custom among the nobles of countless cities on the roads leading south from Yits'iniit, but not one popular in Yits'iniit for reasons I am unaware."

The Mihithegan diaspora linked itself into this trade, settling as far south as the coasts of the Gulf and the Atlantic. In addition to bringing their culture to emerging centers like Chuuj Ha or Zama, they brought the Maya fabulous stories of the interior of the country. The Maya hired these Mihithegans as guides, where they assisted in recruiting local porters to carry goods and most crucially, introduced them into local trade networks.

The Road of Pelts was the most famous place of Maya influence, but the Misebi was equally important to Maya trade, albeit contested by Nahuas and Huastecs. Upstream from the mouth of the Misebi River, the Maya settlement quickly led to the small native village gaining the name P'ol [14], a reference to the trading activities there. Bringing rare goods from Mesoamerica in exchange for tehi, slaves, and bison pelts, the Maya attracted a great number of merchants that were quickly followed by all number of people. From a small village, P'ol grew into a city of 5,000 people by 1300, the largest city in the Gulf and one which was increasingly Mayanised.

Outside of this region, Mesoamerican influence was more sporadic, but near the mouth of every major river system on the Gulf, Mesoamericans showed up to trade. These trading settlements rapidly expanded in size from the wealth brought in attracting migrants, resulting in the establishment of a Mesoamerican quarter in the city or an adjacent village. The Maya influenced the politics of these places, bringing with them their political culture and elements of their religion and architecture, yet the Maya preferred indirect control over direct rule.

The Atlantic coast largely lacked Maya settlements north of the Florida Peninsula. Although rich in yaupon and very near reindeer and towey goat herding, this area was plagued by storms and worse, piracy. Local fishing tribes, impoverished and cut out of the great commerce further west, turned to piracy against Maya merchants to fund their towns and internal conflicts. Worse, by 1280 the infamous Antillean pirates sailed even this far north. Even with these factors, the Maya still ventured here through alliances with local chiefs, with the northernmost Maya settlement at Zama on the Savannah River [15], established as early as 1300.

Chuuj Ha in the Alabama Delta serves as case study of Maya influence on the Misebians. The appearance of the Maya at the delta of the Alabama River inspired great commotion and interest. Most of the population relocated to a subsidiary settlement nearby called Chuuj Ha, leaving the old center (simply called Talwasi or "old town") serving as a ceremonial site. Here on this site deep in the swamp accessible only via manmade canals, the religious ceremonialism centered around worship related to trade and seafaring. Both Maya and local Misebian people are recorded to have both worshipped here and even been interred here and the city became richly decorated with goods from distant lands [16].

Ohio Valley Misebians

The largest city of Middle Misebian lands during the 13th century was Yetshedi, which grew rapidly from a typical town into a true regional settlement. Located across from the mouth of the Tennessee River just upstream from the mouth of the Ohio, this site served as the terminus of the Road of Pelts. Historically, the city was a rival of Mihithega, worshipping different gods and practicing different rituals. The confederations led by both cities occasionally clashed in great wars, of which Mihithega had the upper hand, at least until its decline.

Yetshedi's rulers in the mid-13th century built great monuments, likely to cement their status as the greatest city in the world. They raised what later explorers termed the Sun Mound and Moon Mound, which by 1300 stood as the second and fifth largest mounds in the Misebian world respectively at 30 meters and 26 meters. Both were incredibly wide at their base and held two tiers and in typical Misebian fashion served as residence for the ruling family and the city temple. Like other Misebian cities, they erected a great plaza, standing tall wooden columns covered in hanging copper plates to reflect light from the sun and moon.

Not as large as Mihithega at its height, the depopulation of many cities north of the Rio Bravo from warfare, epidemic, and drought brought Yetshedi to the status of largest city north of Mesoamerica in the late 13th century. As many as 10,000 people lived there, with the city ruling many smaller settlements spread over over 9000 km2 of land, totaling at least 150,000 subjects. Wares from Yetshedi were famed as far northwest as the Rumahkaki towns and as far south as the Gulf Coast. Yetshedi was so large, wealthy, and prestigious that it choked off the development of any comparable center for hundreds of kilometers and held substantial influence over lesser confederations.

The city-state often clashed with the nearest comparable confederation, Tabiahe over 180 km south (and over 300 km by river travel), over control of towns along the Choyaha and its tributary. This rivalry seeminglu lay rooted in Tabiahe's perceived assumption of Mihithega's mantle and Yetshedi's longstanding dislike of Mihithega. As a result of numerous wars, much of the area between the Choyaha Basin and the Ohio lay deserted in the 13th century due to frequent conflict. At times however, raiding parties penetrated far deeper, striking nearly at the heartland before retreating. Several towns ended up totally destroyed by these lightning raids that often employed trickery that was warriors attributed to spiritual intervention.


Ruins of Yunenekho [17], a town of Tabiahe's confederation. Raiders allied to Yetshedi sacked this town around 1295

The influence of Yetshedi spread up the Ohio River to the foothills of the Central Appalachians. Misebians from both Yetshedi and Mihithega settled in this area, fusing with local peoples and a later influx of Algonquian speakers. These Misebian peoples, who called themselves Kimaha in their language or later Acansa by later European settlers [18], seem to have gained leadership over local groups, perhaps from their ability to mediate disputes as the population increased. In the long-term, they culturally assimilated the western half of this society.

The Acansa disliked the overbearing demands of Yetshedi's powerful rulers and created a remarkably egalitarian society, as attested by Qwinishtis's description of them in Saga of the Lands of Dawn.

"As I searched for allies to punish the bandits of Yits'iniit [Yetshedi], I met the sturdy men of the Kimaatkhs [Acansa], yet they refused to enter my service. I inquired and discovered that the Kimaatkhs zealously guard their independence and serve no ruler they do not all appoint. They are much like the siyams of the Furusattsu yet even more free-minded, for all but the slaves of their nation hold this attitude."

While hereditary positions existed among the Acansa, they held even less power than the town rulers of the Misebians. The entire community (barring slaves) elected these men from hereditary nobles in great public elections held in the plazas of their community. These elections extended to high priests, war chiefs, ruling councils of towns, leaders in war, and practically any position of authority.

Economically, they herded towey goats and farmed maize, but extensively traded with the Massawomeck and the Shawanoki to their east [19]. They obtained timber, reindeer (a commonly sacrificed animal), and copper and bronze from further north in exchange for grain and Misebian goods. The Acansa traded these goods to both Yetshedi but also to those centers like Chiyaha [20] far to the south in the Upper Tennessee Valley.

Among other Misebians, they were famed for not just this "ungovernability" but their astronomical knowledge as well. While "woodhenges" and other circles of posts used to plot seasonal alignments were common throughout the Misebian world, the Acansa advanced this art even further. They utilised earthworks and mounds built by pre-Acansa peoples for their observations, tracking the 18.6 year metonic cycle that predicted lunar eclipses as people of this region had for nearly a millennium.

Their largest observatory, termed the Acansa Labyrinth, was a new earthwork built in imitation of the centuries older earthworks to their north. Its earthen walls marked the positions of the moon as well as the sun on the solstice. Its centerpiece contained a narrow window that illuminated a chamber with four sacred fires only on the solstice. These monuments gave the Acansa priests their famed astrological knowledge.


Misebian warfare proceeded as it had since the 11th century. It held a strong emphasis on ambush, where warriors were expected to demonstrate bravery in killing and scalping their foes. After outmanuevering and destroying their opponent's warriors in the field, the war parties besieged towns. Misebians used a variety of clubs, bows, and axes for their fighting weapons, manufactured from either stone or rarely bronze. Because of the hot, humid climate of their region, they rarely wore much armour outside of padded leather or wicker shields, decorated with red dyes, feathers, and polished copper to denote rank and status.

Misebian armies assembled on the basis of clan and town. Unlike the Northern Misebians where warfare was practically the solely domain of societies dedicated to warfare and hunting, a Misebian commander selected from all fit and capable men. Men were assigned roles and positions based on the number of enemies they scalped, ideally by clubbing an enemy into submission and scalping him while still alive. Special roles were afforded to those who carried sacred regalia such as the ceremonial maces, axes, or plates, often forged from is termed red gold, a reddish alloy of copper and gold [21] or otherwise painted with realgar or cinnabar.

Each town had their own war chief, responsible for organising raids and defense. In larger confederations, he acted as a local intermediary for the highest-ranking war chief at the confederation. His position was achieved by merit, selected from the highest rank of warriors (who in turn obtained their rank through collecting enemy scalps) by the council and clan heads.

Like peace chiefs, the war chief lacked in authority, for they were not permitted to raise forces without the consent of the council and the clan heads. They were expected to answer to the council and clan heads for all discipline they meted out to their troops (which might result in their removal, banishment, or even execution), hence a general reluctance to enforce order among their soldiers. Qwinishtis (himself a military leader) describes this as follows:

"I punished my auxiliaries for that premature attack against the Sutsiatkh [Caddo], as anyone might punish overeager warriors, but they showed no shame. They protested I was but a mere outsider who lacked permission from their clan chiefs to carry out such deeds. I protested to their war chief but he implored me to reduce their punishment for he might fall into disfavour among his nobles. When I flogged their leader, confiscated his sacred mace and plates, and withheld food from the rest for four days as any good commander might, a great mass deserted and promised I might receive their kin's punishment."

While Misebians venerated the war club as a symbol of courageous warriors, among outsiders their most famous weapon of the Misebians were their longbows produced from the Osage orange tree. These developed from the famed bows of Osage orange acquired from the Caddoans by the Tunica people of the Lower Pahateno River [22]. The Misebian longbow was prized for both the quality of its construction, its long range, and its stopping power against armoured opponents such as Northern Misebian raiders. They were most common on the Lower Misebi River and areas west, where the wealthy used these longbows in warfare and for hunting large game such as bison.

Longbowmen often vexed Qwinishtis in his expedition and contributed to his final defeat at the Battle of Nawitash [23], although his first encounter came in a skirmish against a war party from Yetshedi. "Most accursed of the enemy's forces are their bowmen, for the wealthiest among them use a bow as tall as a man. The arrows flew such distance we hardly saw our attackers as they cut our ranks down. So strong is this bow it pierced my flagbearer's bronze helmet and killed him instantly. I learned from a nobleman I captured that these powerful bows came from a people far to the southwest called the Sutsiatkh [Caddo], who trade them to all nations, for the people of this land prize these arrows so they might kill a bison in a single shot."


A so-called "borrow pit" at Italwa. Dirt from here became the great platform mounds of that city while the pit itself was filled with water to serve as both a moat and pond to raise fish

Because of the population density and frequent warfare, the Misebian world proliferated in fortifications. Towns and cities often had a steep earthen wall on which sat a palisade marked with even taller watch towers for defense. Most of these settlements also had a moat, constructed out of the pit which they dug the earth they processed into mud bricks or their great mounds, with an inner palisade surrounding the central mound or mounds. Even small outlying settlements had these walls and towers.

The many waterways of the Misebian world ensured the vital role of ships in warfare. Everything from small canoes to large river boats were used for supplying sieges or making quick raids against villages. Powerful war chiefs assembled entire fleets of river boats capable of transporting over a thousand warriors into battle while crafty warriors of the Lower Misebi Valley carried small canoes to utilise the many swamps and bayous as ambush sites.

The religious dualism common in much of the Misebian world ensured a specialisation of ships for war and peace. From an early age, warships were narrower and with shallower draft and often used much red paint in the decoration of the hull and sail, giving them the nickname "red sailed ships". Merchant ships, fishing vessels, and pleasure vessels abhorred this colour, using white markings instead, hence the name "white sailed ships." This distinction even extended to small canoes, although these merely differed in the paint and decorations.

Changes of the 13th century

The sea trade brought by the Mesoamericans reoriented the economy of the Misebian world, drawing people increasingly toward the coast, a migration aided by drought, soil exhaustion, local deforestation, and onset of the Little Ice Age. Traditional manufacturing centers like Tihalenehe declined in the late 13th century, never recovering from disease, drought, and the reduced value of their goods. These manufactories must have seemed pedestrian and old-fashioned compared to the rich new goods brought by Mesoamerican traders. Their population departed, often to larger centers where the artisans and merchants hoped to make money in other means or even directly toward the coast.

Thus, the Mesoamericans began the process of overturning the established Misebian world order--the Middle Misebian heartland sank into decline, while the once outlying South Appalachian and Gulf Misebians became increasingly wealthy. Violence marked this economic transition, as Ohoshetak, the paramount center on the lower Misebi, devoted much manpower in repelling raids from desperate Middle Misebian leaders. Tens of thousands migrated south, founding new villages or joining existing ones.

The Misebians of the 12th and especially 13th centuries differed from their ancestors in large part because of great economic shifts. The emergence of specialist producers and artisans in the 11th century accelerated and long-distance trade changed from a trickle to a torrent. Much of this is due to the emergence of local gold mining in the southernmost areas of Appalachia around 1200 and especially the great increase in towey goat herding. From towey goats came tools, regalia, blankets, meat, and clothing that formed the focus of the regional economy while the towey goats themselves permitted traders to carry more with them. Traditionally traded goods such as salt continued playing their vital roles, especially as population increased.

The 13th century also saw much disaster. It was a century of drought, particularly in the lands near middle Mihithega. At the same time, the climate cooled starting around 1250 from volcanic eruptions in the Old World. This produced a feedback loop that resulted in the expansion of the prairies in the northern areas of the Middle Misebian realm with their thick, almost impenetrable soil. Forests became more sparse and limited in scope while farmed fields away from fertile bottomlands degraded into wilderness.

This spurred a trend toward urbanisation throughout the 13th century. Ongoing warfare resulted in isolated hamlets clustering into palisaded villages and towns, while the ever-increasing splendor of the paramount centers drew a constant stream of immigrants. Drought and soil exhaustion, both frequent occurences in the 13th century, always caused an additional stream of migrants, for serving as a poor labourer or porter in a larger community was preferable to starvation if it meant greater access to maize and other stored crops.

The mitigating factor in urbanisation was the emergence of epidemic disease (mumps, chickenpox, and whooping cough) that in the immunologically naive population produced deathtolls as high as 10%. Worse still came the emergence of seal flu in Fusania, which around 1270 produced a great epidemic in Eastern North America that likely killed 15-20% of the population. In northern areas, abandoned farmsteads and smaller towns were never repopulated, their fields reclaimed by the wilderness.

Contact with the Norse brought the spread of black rats from Europe by the late 13th century. More efficient at consuming human stores of grain than native rodents and capable of outcompeting them, they further stressed the Misebian population, particularly in the north where black rats arrived at earlier date.

Misebian centers declined or collapsed in droves in these decades, viewing the plagues, droughts, and severe winters as spiritual curses. While they gradually adapted and progressively developed the rudimentary knowledge of epidemiology found in practically all societies, in the meantime upheaval tore their land. Civil wars and violence increased, often tearing towns in two. For instance, Ohoshetak suffered a civil war in the 1270s (allegedly between twin brothers) but the result was inconclusive. Traditional legend states one brother and his followers departed south and founded a new city also called Ohoshetak, but later became better known by its Muskogean name, Foshiyasha ("place of yaupon") [23].

The shifting trade routes, the cooling of the climate, drought, overpopulation, and cultural shift of the epidemics all contributed to the decline of the Misebian culture as a unified phenomena. By 1300, each region was becoming more and more distinct on the basis of religion, societal practices, agriculture, and economy (in particular the growing influence of Mesoamerica) simply because of different adaptations. For this reason, the Misebian culture is said to end around this date, with "Late Misebian" as an imprecise grouping that truly only applies to the successors of the peoples of the Misebian heartland.

Cultures on the edge of the Misebian world fell into decline. The Caddoan Misebians and Central Plains Misebians suffered drought, a cooling climate epidemic, and invasion by hostile peoples. The Caddoan Misebians withstood these changes, although centers like Nateshu or Nakuhmitsa were never as large or wealthy again. The Central Plains Misebians suffered far worse, their society dividing between traditionalist confederation that worshipped at the increasingly vacant city of Arikiritsiki and a more migrant confederation that allied with the Plains Salish and several migrant tribes and adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle.

At the same time, those nearer the Gulf and southeast benefitted from increasing prosperity. They eagerly accepted Mesoamericans into their society and their rulers reaped the rewards of Mesoamerican cargoes. For Mesoamericans, this northern country was becoming increasingly important for their economic pursuits, especially for the Huastec and Olmec cities shut out of trade elsewhere. With this, the Misebian world was irrevocably tied to Mesoamerica, and North American affairs as a whole.
Author's notes

This is a HUGE entry, something I've always wanted to write since I've long been fascinated by the Mississippian culture, wanted to see them do better, and over the years have visited several of the sites discussed in the entry. I relied on numerous sources, but the most frequently referred to here were Cahokia in Context: Hegemony and Diaspora, Mississippian Chiefdoms in the Deep South, and Mississippian Political Economy (the latter I would recommend for a more critical view on claims made regarding Mississippian complexity that pop up in both archaeological and popular literature). Political details I largely borrowed from accounts and analysis of Muskogean-speaking peoples like the Creek and Choctaw and archaeological speculation.

Some of this partially contradicts previous work in Chapter 19 and Map 4, but that's because I'm much better informed now than I was 3 years ago when I wrote that and want to do it proper justice. Consider this the "canon" version. This is a very frequent thing I've noticed with this TL lately, but so far I think I've done decent handwaves on issues like dates of migrations (earlier Athabaskan migrations because of reindeer

Because I've recently completed a trip to (western) Oregon and Washington, I've decided to insert pictures I've taken into this TL (nothing nice, just simple cell phone pictures, sorry). I'll intersperse these pictures into older entries I've of course visited several archaeological sites I've written about in this entry as well. I must note that visiting and driving through locations I've spent hours staring at on Google Maps or researching or writing about was both surreal and wonderful.

I described a huge number of people and places in this and the previous entry, and I do plan on doing a map for the Mississippians. However, my next entry will be the East Coast (roughly the states of North Carolina north to the Canadian Maritimes), which I've so far only mentioned in passing. This one will cover how the Algonquians and Iroquoian peoples are doing TTL, and will also include a bit of discussion on the Norse (which will be the entry after that).

As always, thank you for reading!

[1] - Roughly Missouri, southern/central Illinois, southern/central Indiana, southern Ohio, all of Kentucky (besides the northeastern corner), Tennessee, Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, eastern Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, northern Florida, South Carolina, and part of western North Carolina.
[2] - This problem was noticed at Monks Mound at Cahokia as early as the 13th century OTL--today's Monks Mound has been restabilised several times to preserve the structure.
[3] - Mihithega is my ATL name for Cahokia.
[4] - Shaneha is Ducktown, TN (a copper mining region since Mississippian times), Akatalla is the Hiwassee Island site upstream from Chattanooga, TN, Chatolanochi is Dahlonega, GA, Tabiahe is Nashville, TN (specifically Fort Nashborough/the French Lick, probably the largest Mississippian town in the Nashville Basin that would logically be even larger as salt production/trade is even more important TTL)
[5] - Transferring settlement names was common in the Mississippian world, as attested by the DeSoto expedition. The "new" Mihithega is at St. Louis, which was once nicknamed "the Mound City" for its enormous collection of mounds that were occupied for some time after the collapse of Cahokia. Likely the old Mihithega would still have the same name, but be disambiguated "Old" (or in Siouan "Nu-") Mihithega
[6] - That would be the hill the Tennessee State Capitol is situated on OTL. This mound and the palace atop would combined be about roughly half the height of the State Capitol building
[7] - Italwa is the Etowah Mounds in Georgia, one of the largest Mississippian sites OTL. It's history TTL is similar to OTL, where it was an important trade center that often traded with both polities on the Gulf and the Upper Tennessee River and had a rivalry with centers in modern Alabama that at one point succeeded in destroying the city
[8] - Mobilian Jargon existed in this exact role OTL. It seems likely that it existed in precolonial times but changed greatly as the most valuable trading partners in the Gulf became the French.
[9] - Ohoshetak is the Winterville site in Washington County, MS, just north of Greenville, MS
[10] - Nakuhmitsa is the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma and Nateshu is the Harlan Site in Cherokee County, OK
[11] - Okaholla is Moundville in Alabama
[12] - Pakanahuili is Atlanta, GA, Taski is near Cleveland, TN (identified by De Soto as "Tasqui"), Yetshedi is the Kincaid Site in Massac County, IL.
[13] - Kojche is Apalachicola, FL, Tihalenehe is Dover, TN and Wewoka is Florence, AL. In Mississippian times, this was the site of the Dover chert, famed for making widely traded hoes (although like many Mississippian-related claims, these are somewhat exaggerated by certain archaeologists).
[14] - P'ol is New Orleans, LA
[15] - Zama is Savannah, GA
[16] - Chuuj Ha is Blakely, AL (across from Mobile, AL) while Talwisi is the Bottle Creek Mounds, an isolated site in the Mobile Delta.
[17] - Yunenekho is Mound Bottom, a Mississippian-era ruin near Pegram, TN
[18] - "Acansa" is the root of the word "Arkansas", the Algonquian term for Dhegihan Siouan peoples and this would be an ATL Fort Ancient culture of Ohio/Kentucky/West Virginia which is fully "Mississippian" instead of laying at the peripheral like OTL. Fort Ancient was in all likelihood Dhegihan Siouan-speaking in the Mississippian era and only later did Algonquians (probably the proto-Shawnee) settle there
[19] - These are the people of the Monongahela culture in modern WV and PA who at least in part represent ancestral Shawnee (here called Shawanoki) as well as the Iroquoian-speaking Massawomeck (who OTL were destroyed as a people by the mid-17th century)
[20] - Chiyaha is at Dandridge, TN, the same as the town of Chiaha encountered by De Soto
[21] - Colonial accounts note Muskogean Indians (and many post-Mississippian natives of the South) carrying regalia like this in warfare, always made from copper. These seem to hold an antecedent in the Mississippian period. TTL, with the working and mining of gold common, the Misebians add gold to their copper to make a reddish metal (red a symbol of warfare i.e. the Creek "Red Sticks") akin to Japanese shakudo
[22] - The Pahateno is the Red River of the South. Osage orange, a very sturdy wood, was indeed a major trade good for the Caddoan and Tunica peoples OTL
[23] - Nawitash is the Battle Mound site in Lafayette County, Arkansas, reported by the chroniclers of the De Soto expedition as Naguatex
[24] - Foshiyasha is the Holly Bluff site (aka Lake George) in Yazoo County, Mississippi. Likely this was the great polity De Soto identified as the town of Quigualtam after its leader, but the Muskogean name I've given is my own
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Wow, Qwinishtis is a menace.

People being scalped while alive... is it possible to survive a scalping? I don't want to think about that...

The interesting thing about Mesoamericanization here is-- even while they impart their own practices, they are being confronted with a whole universe of unfamiliar things, and in adapting to them they make their own practices more robust and useful. The systems of Postclassic Maya writing and Nahua semasiography-- especially the latter-- can be used to record all the animals of the north, or some of the medical experimentation that is going on, some comparative treatises on warfare or army organization, the emerging field of naval warfare against the Taino pirates... and bring that knowledge down to the calmecacs of the south. I wonder if a syncretic deity could also arise in connection with livestock or medicine, depicted in Maya or Nahua literary and artistic terms but venerated through Misebian styles of worship.

Even before writing/semasiography I think that under the influence of Maya and Nahua poetic forms (Natchez calques of the Nahua dual-word kennings, like water-mountain for "polity")-- maybe the merchants aren't big poets but if they're settling down they might import educators from the old country for their children-- we should see a lot of Misebian oral literary/poetic/musical experiments. Different cities might see the promotion of their dialects as a sign of prestige, a soft power that parallels or even supersedes the religious significance of a multi-mound paramount center. Kind of a Provencal/Tuscan dynamic-- and so they might sponsor increasingly ambitious collations of local histories and mythologies into grand epics, stuff that might survive conquest in the way the Popol Vuh did. "Sponsorship" in this case being the troubadour deal of "here's a house and servants to attend to all your needs" or "here's some beef jerky, now get lost".
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