A Pre-Columbian North American Timeline Planning Thread

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alexander Helios, Jun 15, 2019.

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Should I Write This Timeline?

Poll closed Jun 22, 2019.
  1. Yes!

    29 vote(s)
    93.5%
  2. No!

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  1. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    After countless months of research (and by research I mean crying myself to sleep every night after trying to get a grasp on the academic hell that is any sort of scholarly consensus on pre-Columbian North American history), I think I have a pretty decent understanding on the peoples, cultures, languages, and archaeology to start to really plan out my timeline.

    The point of divergence is the domestication of wild rice (zizania aquatica) circa 600BC by the people of the Saugeen-Laurel-Early Point Peninsula Complex (likely the archaeological manifestation of the Proto-Algonquians, as posited by Fiedel) and the further development of what I'm nicknaming the Northeastern Agricultural Complex. The complex will include groundnut (apios americana), broadleaf arrowhead (sagittaria latifolia), cattail (typha latifolia) yellow lotus (nelumbo lutea), and the jerusalem artichoke (helianthus tuberosus).

    This development will lead to the rise of sedentary peoples in the Northeast, and my timeline will follow its effects on the Americas and beyond.

    I have a basic outline of what will happen throughout the course of the timeline, but I'm in that phase where it can and probably will change. So the purpose of this thread is basically to share my ideas before I put anything on paper.

    Thoughts, ideas, criticisms, and suggestions are welcome.
     
  2. Jing0ist_Peasant Banned

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    Oct 29, 2018
    Will this developed civilization effect Mesoamerica? If it does then won't this region which is highly conducive to high population density be much more prosperous the northwester state that only thrives on its agriculture. Unless some kind of silk road develops connecting mesoamerica then your state it would find it hard to cultuarally develop reletive to the central mexican highland cultures and mayan city states to the south. Maybe it could expand over the whole Mississippi basin and become a china like superstate with a population rivaling europe. That is the only way i see this developing a successful civilization.
     
  3. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    If they have sails than they'd reach Mesoamerica with little problem (and Mesoamerica will reach them). Plus they have a lot of copper and iron plus a good source of tin not far to the north so they'll have opportunities for metalworking. Comparing it to Mesoamerica is like comparing Europe to India or China.
     
  4. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    Though I'm definitely certain there won't be direct contact between the Northeast and Mesoamerica, I have entertained the thought of a thalassocracy in the Missisippi Delta trading in the Caribbean with the Classic Veracruz (and later Totonac), the Maya, and the Caribbean peoples (Taino, Macorís, and Lucayans). It could become a sort of Silk Road as you said. And for cultural development, I don't think contact with Mesoamerica is necessary for it to occur.
     
  5. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    I agree with the Europe-Far East comparison. As for the sail, I've been trying to search for a material that the North American cultures could make their sails from, but cotton only grows in warmer climates. So unless I find an alternative, I've hit an obstacle.
     
  6. Richard V Well-Known Member

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    Jul 5, 2013
    Bison wool.
     
  7. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Apocynum cannabinum, or Indian hemp. It wasn't domesticated but theoretically could be, and produces a fiber similar to hemp (hence its name). It also makes a useful poison, herbal medicine (its main traditional use amongst American Indians) and has some edible parts if treated. I don't see any reason you can't make sails from it (even if they might not be the best quality).

    Of course, if really needed, cotton can be imported from the Gulf/Deep South but I suppose the main use for boats outside of trade would be fishing the Grand Banks. You don't really need sails for the Great Lakes or rivers.
     
  8. twovultures Best leagues are NFL, FIFA, and Shmalkaldic

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    I would suggest in this case having the butterflies hit Europe with Norse contact. I like a good butterfly-netted North America myself, but most POD's have the alt-Native American civilization diffuse slowly northeastward; in this case, the northeast will be the epicenter of the alt-Native civilization, which makes it quite likely that the Norse find something they want to trade for and stay, kick-starting OTL's Columbian exchange. I suppose if you really want to keep the butterfly net, the Norse habit of murdering people for no reason could get them kicked out before trade really cements.

    According to Fitzpatrick's Seafaring Capabilities in the Pre-Columbian Caribbean, sails weren't really necessary for traveling in much of the Caribbean so there wasn't much need for them. If you do want them to develop, though, the delta is a fine place to go grow cotton and nearby Florida had catamarans according to the same article.
     
  9. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think bison wool wouldn't be a stable source to make sails from. Plus, it's range doesn't encompass where I'm planning the invention of the sail to take place (the Maritimes).

    Indian hemp will work, thank you! And yes, the sail won't really serve a practical purpose in the rivers. I was planning for the sail to be mainly used in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic.

    I'm not too keen on using butterfly nets myself, though I'm not sure I want to change European politics too much leading up to colonization. I haven't really decided yet. But I do want there to be a Norse impact on the Natives.
     
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  10. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    Aug 4, 2018
    do the timeline I always have a love for pre columbian timeline!
     
  11. twovultures Best leagues are NFL, FIFA, and Shmalkaldic

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    Well, to see what they change depends specifically on your Native civilization. But, there are two things that stick out that the Norse can 'give' (and that the Natives could not get on their own, like metallurgy). The first is wool-bearing animals; a potential limiting factor in Native American populations in the northeast was access to deer hide, which they needed for winter clothing. This meant that control over hunting grounds was a life and death situation, and perhaps created competition and the state of war that some traditions like the Iroquois reference in their legends (why have a Great Peacemaker if there wasn't a lot of war on, right?). But with domestic sheep and goats, while there's still potential for conflict you have a renewable resource for winter clothing concentrated in a denser region of land, removing a limiting factor of population growth.

    Secondly, there's smallpox. This disease did not reach Iceland until the 13th century, when the Icelanders were forced to submit to the monarchs of Norway. If they have a trading relationship with the Icelanders, the Native Americans will be exposed to this disease at this time. With a population densely packed together in the best farmland, the disease is likely to become endemic, creating populations that have been immunized by previous exposure when European contact on a large scale develops. The Icelanders are not likely to follow up with attempts at colonization, because their own population will have been devastated by smallpox, and shortly after will be struck again by the black death. The black death in turn opens up land in Norway, greatly reducing the economic impetus for colonization.
     
  12. SwampTiger Well-Known Member

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    Aug 14, 2016
    The Veneti used leather sails and ropes when contesting Julius Caesar. Hemp would be a better material.
     
  13. Richard V Well-Known Member

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    Jul 5, 2013
    What about Milkweed? The fiber from it’s stem is used by Amerindians all over the continent for cordage. Although AFAIK not historically done, course textile have been made from it. A modern use for the seed floss is replacement for down feathers in insulation, pillow stuffing. The floss has been called “the silk of America”, and the biggest producer is in Quebec.

    https://www.mnn.com/money/green-workplace/stories/farmers-milkweed-parkas
     
  14. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    Thanks! I plan to have it up and running in about a months time at most.

    The introduction of wool is an interesting prospect. Sheep and goats would dramatically help the Native Americans during the winter. It could also provide more protein into their diet.

    The introduction of smallpox is also a good idea. It could also solve the "Vinland Problem", with knowledge of the New World being reduced to legend before it can have any major impacts on Europe. And you can never go wrong with (at least some) Native American immunity to smallpox.

    I did some reading on the Veneti a few weeks ago and I came to the same conclusion, but I've decided on using hemp. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Milkweed could work as an alternative to hemp. Besides it's use to make sails, I'm interested in the milkweed "silk", and it's potential as a luxury cloth in the Americas. Maybe we could see a milkweed "Silk Road" propping up?
     
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  15. UnaiB Well-Known Member

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    Sep 20, 2017
    Will the butterflies affect the existence or not of the Incan Empire?
     
  16. Richard V Well-Known Member

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    Jul 5, 2013
    The silk fibers are very short, I don’t know if you can make cloth out of it. It is used as stuffing between cloth layers for insulation and buoyancy in life preservers. The insulating qualities have been tested in the Canadian Arctic and on Everest.
     
  17. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    It will definitely still exist in OTL. I don't think the butterflies will reach that far into South America, at least in the Pre-Columbian era.

    Yeah, you're right about the clothing part. Milkweed as an insulator will be more useful to the Natives, especially in the colder seasons.
     
  18. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    Hello everyone!

    It's been a while since I've posted anything in this thread, due to a multitude of changes to the original premise. But thankfully, now I have everything sorted out and solidified. The backbone is still the same (Proto-Algonquians in the St. Lawrence river valley developing agriculture), but the date has been pushed back considerably along with major changes to my agricultural package. Here's a (somewhat) ordered list of the things I have planned without spoiling too much:

    The Northeastern Agricultural Package develops, but instead of it developing in 600BC, it's earliest cultivar (wild rice) is domesticated in 2000 BC by the Middle Great Lakes-St Lawrence Culture. The package is consolidated by 1500BC, with the main domesticates being wild rice, groundnut, goosefoot, broadleaf arrowhead, and the jerusalem artichoke. Alongside these crops, the Canada goose, the mallard and the muskrat will be domesticated as microlivestock, and further down the line a certain animal that will be revealed in the timeline proper...

    Butterflies won't start kicking out of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Culture until 1000BC, with the development of an alternate Meadowood Interaction Sphere, where alongside the exchange of trade goods and the Meadowood mortuary complex, agriculture spreads throughout the network. The Algonquian language also spreads throughout the network, reaching all the way down to the Susquehanna River valley.

    The rise of agriculture leads to the development of more complex societies, leading to the development of the first civilization (hint) at the heart of the Meadowood Interaction Sphere, alongside an alternate Adena, who develop the first organized religion north of the Gulf of Mexico.

    That's all I want to reveal for now, but I have a lot of plans for my timeline. As a I said in the first post, I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts and suggestions. I'll also be more active in asking questions in this thread. I should have a list up of some I've been meaning to ask by tommorow. The timeline should be up by the end of August at the latest.

    So yeah, let's all hope I don't have another creative meltdown.
     
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  19. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

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    Aug 4, 2018
    just remember to create a separate thread for this and maybe leave a link in this thread but after that GO! this found absolutely fascinating! can't wait to read it!
     
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  20. Alexander Helios Unofficial Algonkologist

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    Jul 2, 2017
    Thank you! And yeah, I'll make a separate thread for the timeline proper.
     
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