Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alexander Helios, Jun 15, 2019.
Going to take a wild guess Buffalo and Moose
Not quite, that's a little too close to home. Something more exotic. You'll find out eventually.
Llamas and alpacas. or Big Horned sheep and Muskoxen
Oh, i missed it, sorry
Llama trade >>>>>>>> Spice trade
Do a Google image search for Peabiru map, they should be one of the first to pop up.
Can llamas survive in the Caribbean? I know there's a few llama farms in my homestate of Florida, so I guess they could survive in the region. If so, that would open up a whole new world of possibilities.
Taino llama Calvary when?
As cool as it sounds, I don't think llamas are rideable.
Their temperament are too unstable to be a cavalry, unfortunably
So, I'm doing some more intensive research into the natives of the West, so I'd like to know if anyone has any good information or sources on its prehistory? Preferably during the Late Archaic Period (even more specifically around 1500BC to 1000BC), though I recognize that's a very specific timeframe. Information on languages, primarily the history of Uto-Aztecan and Kiowa-Tanoan, would be very useful. Heck, at this point I wouldn't mind a glottochronology. I'd also like to hear any suggestions you guys might have concerning the area.
I've done quite a bit of research on Oasisamerica and the West in the past week or so, so I'd like to share some ideas I have for the area, and see what everyone thinks.
The butterflies will hit the Colorado Plateau via the Arkansas and Platte Rivers. This will take place around 800 BC, as a certain culture from Louisiana expands into the river systems of the Great Plains (strangely enough, it is believed they originated in the West, supported by linguistic cognates between the Tunica, their descendants, and the tribes of the region), reaching the Rocky Mountains. They'll exchange agricultural innovations, and proto-Hohokam style irrigation will spread into the Plains and beyond.
For possible domesticates from the region, I'm thinking mesquite trees could be very useful. I recently got my hands on an ethnobotany of Southern Arizona (more specifically the Gila River), so I'll do some reading to see what plants from the region could be potential crops.
On the animal side of things, I was thinking bighorn sheep, but I'm not sure if their social structure would lend to well to domestication. I still have to do some research though. If anything, they'll probably be domesticated in the Columbia Plateau and spread south from there.
As far as ethnic groups go, the Southwest will be sort of similar to OTL, with Yuman speakers in the Lower Colorado River Valley and surrounding areas (possibly expanding north into the Colorado Plateau, haven't decided yet). The Northern Uto-Aztecans will also be relatively the same, with the Numic expansion taking place (if it hadn't taken place by 800 BC, sources vary), with them expanding into most of the Great Basin. There might be some remnant groups of Hokan (another debate) peoples in the Great Basin that in OTL migrated to California after the Numic migrations, but I'm not sure yet. The Takic peoples have already expanded into California by this point, so there won't be too many changes there.
Where things will get interesting are the Southern Uto-Aztecans. By this point, the Proto-Pimans had probably split off, becoming the ancestors of the Hohokam (and possibly inventing that irrigation system mentioned earlier). They'll be fairly important. The rest of the Southern Uto-Aztecans, instead of migrating south, will go east, via the Rio Grande.
So what does everyone think? Any ideas?
I notice you've mentioned that these alternate Pre-Columbian Native American will domesticate animals that went undomesticated OTL. This is fine, as the big topic I'm trying to raise is diseases and, more specifically, plagues. All plagues, AFAIK, come from illnesses that infect domesticated animals where the virus or bacterium accidentally infected a human. Due to the fact that this is a very rare occurrence and that most animal domestications occurred in the Old World vs. just a few (and more recently) in the New World, this meant pretty much all plagues emerged in the Old World due to more chances across time and space. Given that domestication in the New World is more widespread (and maybe happened earlier?) ITTL than OTL, I'd assume there would be at least one or two plagues coming from the New World, ready to send Europe back to Black Plague-esque nightmares come 1492. Is this correct? I'm guessing you did look into this, given how impeccably well-researched this TL-in-development appears to be, and it's also not like I'm expert in Pre-Columbian American history or how disease spreads, but disease is a really important force in world history, and given the potential ramifications of that, I'd like to know that they'll at least occur (them not occurring seems a tad ASB to me, but again, I'm no expert). Regardless of the answer, this TL seems genuinely fascinating and given that you've put a lot of work into it, I look forward to reading it.
Welcome! I'm glad you brought up diseases, as I don't recall discussing the subject in this thread.
Not necessarily domesticated animals, but you're on the right track. Diseases usually spread when a human is in close proximity to an infected animal. Domestication certainly increases this risk, as humans are more likely to be around an infected domesticated animal than an infected wild animal, but there are exceptions. For example, rodents have been a major vector of disease throughout history.
You hit it on the spot as to why most plagues appeared in Eurasia and not the Americas.
Yes, ITTL domestication will be widespread, but any animal domestication at all (at least north of Mexico, who in our timeline had bees and turkeys) is a step up from OTL.
Without spoiling too much, yes, there'll be a few plagues making their way to the Old World in this timeline, but we won't see anything close to 60% of the population dying. Nonetheless, there'll be casualties in Europe, and heavy ones at that.
Yeah, disease has been very important in the history of civilizations, so it'd be pretty ASB to not tackle the issue in my timeline.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.
Seems like it would be a lot of labor to control which trees thrive and which ones don't when a single mesquite plant is so difficult to remove. Not to mention those thorns.
Introducing them to non-native areas would lead to huge social changes, as seen IOTL when mesquites (or the similar acacias from Australia) have popped up in Namibia and Ethiopia in recent decades. This seems to have happened in parts of the US so it's still very relevant.
Mountain goats have a more suitable social structure from what I've read and are common in the adjacent mountains to the Columbia Plateau.
Isn't the thing with animal domestication and disease that most of our diseases came from only a few domesticates? Pigs, cows, and horses seem to be the biggest three, while there aren't a lot of common human diseases that came from goats or sheep. That's why I'm skeptical of the common "add new domesticate, get new disease" logic I've seen here. Who's to say it wouldn't just be a difficult to transmit disease associated with only those handle the animal daily or otherwise practice poor hygiene?
Good point. Could we see selective breeding that favors smaller, less invasive strains of the trees? Or is that too much? I guess a society that is familiar with domestication and it's benefits could theoretically accomplish this, but mesquite trees, as you said, are very hard to control.
Invasiveness might also be controllable without selective breeding. The reason why mesquite trees colonize large swaths of land in a relatively short period of time is due to ruminants overgrazing, leaving fields barren and ripe for mesquite trees to move in. If a society is aware of this problem, they can take measures against this, like for example having animals graze on a field rotation system, away from mesquite trees.
That's interesting too. Somewhat related, but I recall reading somewhere that when the two species interact, mountain goats assert their dominance over bighorn sheep, so potentially could we see domesticated mountain goats leading herds of bighorn sheep, or is that outside of the realm of plausibility?
The diseases that pop up in the New World during this timeline won't necessarily come from the alternate domesticated animals, as most of them are poor vectors of disease. They'll either be transmitted through pests, such as rodents or ticks, or be transmitted into domesticated animals through wild animals. Here's a list of OTL diseases endemic to North America that might help narrow down what I'm thinking:
In OTL, Yuman speaking people extended from San Diego and covered much of Baja California, with the exception of the Waikuri and Pericú from the southern tip of the peninsula. With salt grass agriculture and a boost in population, Baja California could be predominantly Yuman speaking, the Cocopah (of the mouth of the Colorado river), the Kumeyaay (of San Diego), and the Cochimi (of central Baja California) could be the most populous and/or powerful if they exist in your ATL. If civilizations rise and cities analogous to San Diego and Los Angeles appear, Takic speakers like the Tongva would have the Los Angeles basin area as their center of civilization and population growth, while the aforementioned Yuman speakers could establish larger settlements in the San Diego area.
Mesquite trees, salt grass, acorns and prickly pears would make for a good agricultural package in the desert and Mediterranean climates southern California has, but how well would corn and other Mesoamerican crops fare under drier conditions, would drought resistant varieties need to be cultivated before they could be viable for Yuman and Takic gardeners?
Can we expect to see a Uto Aztecan speaking Eygpt like state on the Rio Grand? Also since the southern Uto Aztecans are moving east how much eastern land will be Uto Aztecan speaking in this time line?
To that you could also add the tepary bean and I believe there was also a local form of amaranth that potentially could have been domesticated as well
Yeah, the general locations you've mentioned will be the location of the most developed Yuman speaking states, though more emphasis on the Colorado River Valley, and possibly Lake Cahuilla (depending on when it existed and when it didn't).
At this point in time, Core Yuman was starting to diversify into its three branches, so the languages will be more or less similar to OTL, but the names of people groups and locations will vary from OTL.
That's interesting. Takic peoples would certainly be at an advantage. I could also see them expanding further North.
Great suggestions for the crop package (should we call it the Southwestern Agricultural Complex?). I'm not entirely sure if acorns are domesticable, but the rest of the plants will be pretty useful.
As far as I remember, the Oasisamericans had already acquired corn through contact with Mesoamerica. As for how extensive its use was by this point, I'm not too entirely sure.
It's in the cards, but I haven't made up my mind yet. The Rio Grande is pretty big for a single state. Either way, the region will be mostly, if not entirely occupied by Uto-Aztecan speakers.
For now, the plan is to have Southern Uto-Aztecan speakers (misleading name, since the subgrouping is areal) slowly expand east via the Upper Rio Grande. By 500 BC, some groups will reach the Pecos River, and start to move north into the Plains.
Another idea I had that might interest you is that while they're in Central Texas, they could possibly be the ones to breed those heat resistant varieties of wild rice (by cross-pollinating domesticated wild rice with zizania texana) we discussed earlier in the thread.
Tepary beans were already cultivated by the peoples of the Southwest in OTL, so they'll also make an appearance ITTL. Same goes for amaranth, though I can't recall what species specifically was farmed.
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