Land of Sweetness: A Pre-Columbian Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Every Grass in Java, May 31, 2018.

  1. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

    May 14, 2011
    The United Fruit Company, Arkham Office
    Because unlike the Mesoamerican civilizations they won't have any long lasting architectual monuments, which is how foreigners often end up judging civilazations
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  2. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Oct 30, 2014
    I just thought of something-- with the Mesoamericans fleeing southeastward from Panama to Venezuela and the Sikis inching northeast up the Amazon, will either be able to make contact with the Marajo culture, or the Tupi peoples further afield? If it is possible to establish a looping route from Temicco to Jocay to the Amazon to Marajo to Acuappatonco again, then it would conceivably be possible for a traveling Yucayan to run into the Arawaks and go "hmm, this belief system seems familiar" :p

    Although I suppose if the Siki are slated for collapse long before Spanish intervention, this is not exactly possible. Maybe the Inca can complete the loop instead? The Rio Ucayali is a tributary of the Amazon, and Qusqu is within easy reach of it.
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  3. Peter gabriel Active Member

    Jun 4, 2018
    well, it's all fantastic here, a work well done and super detailed. I wonder if the Siki Empire with its knowledge about the equator, have already deduced that the Earth is round observed by the difference of shadows
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  4. Milites Not a sahib

    May 16, 2011
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    I just wanted to say that I've been dropping by from time to time and reading through this marvellous timeline. Seriously, the prose is of an incredibly high quality! I'm eagerly looking forward to more :)
  5. FossilDS lanfang republic best republic

    Nov 12, 2015
    Monmouth, Democratic Republic of New Jersey
    I know this is probably out of the realm of possibility, but it would be really cool to see the Tequila Confederation pull off a miracle and keep the Spanish at bay. Seriously, a confederation of free villages, whose famous for it's alcohol, openly mocks royal authority, and speaks ten languages? Sounds like a cooler, mesoamerican version of Switzerland! I can't bear to see Cortés trample all over this little democracy.

    Nevertheless, whatever direction you take this timeline, I'm addicted. Jared's incredible Land of Red and Gold got me hooked onto Alt-History, and this timeline gives me that same feeling when reading it. It's just so cool to read about empires, cultures and politics so removed from the familiar bounds of the European and Western world.
  6. Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017
    Sorry for the lack of updates these past dozen days, been busy :( But you can expect a fresh steaming new post some time late this week.

    Well, that's how foreigners end up judging the remains of civilizations. But when foreigners find civilizations still in the process of thriving? Well, Europeans were hardly more impressed by stone Calicut than by wooden Beijing...

    Possible, but I wouldn't bet on it. The Amazon is a very, very, very long river, and the distance even from Lake Maracaibo to the mouth of the Amazon is about as great as the distance from London to Constantinople. Not that those are impossible distances, but when there's nothing special to entice either the Mesoamericans or the Sikis that deep into Amazonia—the former finds the northern coastline of South America much of the same (having looked at the relevant chapter in the Archaeology of South America and dug around for early colonial exports from New Granada, and there seems to be very little in Venezuela that they couldn't just get from Central America and the Caribbean), and the latter will have their own problem once Lakekala disappears—it's unlikely.

    Very possible, though they might also just credit, y'know, the gods.

    Thank you!!!

    The Spaniards will have to get through the Tarascans, and probably the Taiguanos to boot.....
  7. FossilDS lanfang republic best republic

    Nov 12, 2015
    Monmouth, Democratic Republic of New Jersey
    Don't sweat it man, you have been spoiling us with the constant and timely updates. Many authors on this site, including myself, cannot say that for our own timelines.
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  8. Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017
    Oops, forgot there were unreplied posts in Page 28.

    If we're talking about a literal road, no, because the Gulf coastline north of the Huasteca is sparsely populated and it makes far more sense to do everything by sea. If we're talking about a metaphorical road like the Silk one, yes, Tlamahpilhuiani is very much this Americas' Zhang Qian. A rather more bloodthirsty one.

    But do remember how little time there is left before the coming of Europe... Though the geography of the Natchez empire does make them far less vulnerable than, say, the Taiguanos or even most Mesoamericans.

    Well, there's a catch. The Rio Grande, Will Rogers once quipped, is the "only river in the world in need of irrigation." Even at its height it's navigable only up to Camargo/Rio Grande City at best, but the entire Rio Grande Valley up to Camargo and beyond would have been inhabited by Coahuiltecan hunter-gatherers, people utterly unattractive for any sort of trade. So, as was always the case IOTL, virtually all trade between Mesoamerica and Oasisamerica goes through Sonoran and Sinaloan ports connected to the northern pueblos by mountain trails through the Sierra Madre Occidental.

    Borinquen hasn't been mentioned because not much really has happened. It's s a time capsule, almost; far to the east and far to the east from Mesoamerican merchants, it still looks a lot like the pre-Age of Caciques Yucayans or the OTL precolonial Caribbeans. It will likely play an important role in the fifteenth-century saga of the Taiguano, so stay tuned.

    Jamaica is an interesting place, united under one kingdom, and yes, there will be a snapshot on the place sooner than later.

    Hopefully, though I'll have to do a bit of research. Information on precolonial Columbia is really hard to get for someone who doesn't speak Spanish...
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  9. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Oct 30, 2014
    Indeed, and that's before he turns into a condor...

    Taking the Zhang Qian analogy further, the Taiguanos would be our Parthian/Anxi middlemen, yes? Direct communication between Mesoamerica and the North Caniba might cut into Cocopan's profits, and right as the Europeans are coming too :/
  10. VigilantSycamore Member

    Oct 24, 2015
    I found out about this TL a few days ago when someone mentioned it on LORAG and it's awesome. Seeing how the different cultures are changing, developing, and interacting is one of my favourite parts. And seeing Ah Ek Lemba start losing is pretty satisfying. And there are a few things I'm wondering about:
    We've already seen Siki merchants with llamas on the Ācuappāntōntli all the way back in Entry 15, are there still Siki merchants bringing llamas with them to Ācuappāntōnco now? Given Ah Ek Lemba's new roads, transportation in Mesoamerica and Central America would be a significantly easier than before even if his empire starts falling apart, so is there a chance that Central American people will adopt llamas as beasts of burden before European contact?
    Will the katsina cults and the Taiguanos to encounter each other at some point? It would be pretty interesting if they did, since they're both clearly infuenced by Mesoamerican religious traditions, but not as bloodthirsty (at least I assume that's the case with the Taiguanos, since their own writings say that the Prophettess was scared when she saw the sacrifices to the idols for the first time), especially since the katsina cults are genuinely egalitarian, the Taiguanos claim to be egalitarian, and the despite those similarities the Taiguanos would probably see the katsina cults as idol-worshipping Caniba.
    Also, we've already seen that when Columbus encounters the Yucayans he'll identify Bacocolan with Prometheus, but how would the other major Abrahamic religions see this monotheistic faith that sees humanity as special among the one god's creations and extolls the virtues of human achievement while condemning idolatry?
  11. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2018
    If you need help with information in Spanish I could help you out. What are you searching specifically?
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  12. Threadmarks: Entry 56: Oaxaca, 1409

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017

    OAXACA, 1409
    Though he had successfully overrun the border defenses of Oaxaca in 1408, Mahpilxocoyōtl failed to reach the fortified sacred city of Lyobaa and withdrew to Quizii to pass the 1409 rainy season there. It was there that the Little Finger and his men learned of the World-Conqueror’s defeat. They scarcely believed it, at first—defeat? that word the King of Tiho had never known, it must be a lie, propaganda—but more and more proof of Huēcalpan trickled in in dribs and drabs, in the veiled words of messengers from Tiho and the brazenness of the display of captured banners at Cholōllān—the defeat was undeniable.

    Mahpilxocoyōtl was not fazed. The man was a true believer in Ah Ek Lemba, and for him, his king’s destiny to prevail was little less than the gospel truth; as for the calamity at Huēcalpan, the Finger denied with religious fervor any possibility that it might be consequential. The soldiers in Quizii were also enthusiastic, if only for the fact that they had nowhere else to go. After years and years on foreign soil, home seemed but a distant memory a thousand leagues away, infinite rows of hills and streams in between, a dream in a dream, somewhere only a god-king could bring them back. If only for the hope of going home, the men had to believe in Ah Ek Lemba.

    In September 1409, the harvest season, Mahpilxocoyōtl and the Yucatec army marched to Oaxaca. The fortifications on the Quizii-Oaxaca border had stalled them last year, but not now; the Tiho troops had taken care to raze them after their capture, and the vassals of Cholōllān had not had the time to reman them. Burning down cornfields, incinerating harvests, slaughtering peasants wherever they could, they reached the Zapotec city of Lyobaa in October, a little ahead of schedule.

    The theocratic city of Lyobaa was the holiest place of the Zapotec nation. There sat the conjunction between earth and underworld; there the great Zapotec lords received burial; there nobility from all of Zapoteca came to offer sacrifice and beseech Coquebila the Death God’s oracle for some favorable augury. In Isatian the city was called Mictlān, “Place of Death”. And when Mahpilxocoyōtl demanded surrender, the high priest wrote out a two-word pun in syllabary:

    Mictlān amomictlān

    “Mictlān [Place of Death], Place of Your Death”
    As he charted out the terrain to begin the siege, Mahpilxocoyōtl had his scribe give a two-word reply, also a pun and also in syllabary:

    Micqueh tiquintēcah

    “We lay down corpses”

    [If the three middle syllables are removed, one reads Mictēcah “People of Mictlān”]​

    Lyobaa was well-fortified, and the Tiho troops made little headway as the harvest season waned. In traditional Mesoamerican fashion, the war season proper began in November, the moment the harvests were done. Zapotec kings and Mixtec princes rallied their levies to war, and tens of thousands of cotton-clad warriors (some said a hundred thousand or more, though Mahpilxocoyōtl discounted such information) soon pooled like floodwater around the besiegers of Lyobaa.

    “They are too many,” someone said, “we cannot win.” And Mahpilxocoyōtl heard that someone’s words grow louder and louder, swelling like a torrential flood, more and more someones adding their voices to it.

    “We will win.”

    “How so?”

    “We are more desperate than they.”

    Night battles were rare in the pre-night vision world and almost unknown in the Americas. It demanded the strictest discipline and the closest concentration—two things until recently uncommon in the armies of the Western Hemisphere—to kill and be killed when so little could be seen, when an enemy soldier might be crouching under you and you would never know, not before the obsidian blade was already deep into your neck, the glass on the blood as cold as it was sharp. In all known history, Ah Ek Lemba alone had succeeded a large-scale night operation, and even that occasionally.

    The Battle of Yagüi was almost miraculous, a testimony to how far the Tiho army’s discipline had come.

    Mahpilxocoyōtl’s troops set off when the Moon was at her height, sputtering pine torches in their hands. The Mixtec and Zapotec armies were in three separate encampments, slumbering obliviously. No scouts. The Maya sped to where the warrior societies slept.

    The eagle and jaguar warriors awoke to the ghastly howls of Tiho troops deafening the ear, their nose stuffed from the pungency of burning aromatic pine, and knew that things were very wrong. Some of them tried to run. Their comrades scolded them: “We swore an oath to never die with a wound on our backs, only on our chests.” And so they stood their ground as arrows flew out of darkness and lodged deep into their chests (and not their backs). Or sometimes the eagle and jaguar warriors had slept too late last night and woke only to the sudden woosh of a mācuahuitl cutting through the air as it landed on their neck. Or sometimes the warrior was on his feet immediately, screaming the worst Zapotec profanities he could think of as Maya silhouettes glided in, swinging knives blindly into the dark, hardly feeling his injuries, until he tripped on something long and slippery—and realized his intestines were spilling out—and let out an unearthly shriek and all his strength deserted him and the Maya left him to die.

    The peasant levies were roused by the commotion, realized what was happening soon enough, and began to run en masse. Many of them fell into a nearby lake, forgetting it was there in the night’s obscurity, and drowned. Later legends told of the last straggling men fleeing over the lake, running over the mass of drowned bodies of their comrades.

    The Battle of Yagüi raged into morning, but by noon the vultures began to set in. The slaughter had not been as complete as Mahpilxocoyōtl had hoped, almost all the peasants having run and disappeared, but it was good enough. The Mixtec and Zapotec professional warriors had suffered unrecoverable casualties, and Oaxaca could no longer provide a realistic challenge to Mahpilxocoyōtl on the battlefield.

    The afternoon, the Maya toured the local lake, dyed black and red with bodies and blood. Mahpilxocoyōtl was not a literary man—he appears to have had dyslexia and could not read, and was notorious for his inability to draw—but he had the army scribe compose a song about the lake for the occasion.

    “How many lines, sire?”

    “Not too many. Three, perhaps.”

    “Salty-red today;

    “Buzzing-black tomorrow;

    “The day after, squirming-white.”

    “What does that mean?”

    “It means, sire, that now the lake is salty and red with blood; tomorrow the carrion flies will set in, buzzing thick and black all over the lake; and finally, when the flies are sated and depart, all there will be left is rotten flesh, where writhing white maggots play.”

    “What a wonderful song! Have the villagers call this place Squirming White Lake.”

    To this day, the local Zapotecs still do.
  13. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2018
    Mmh, if this campaign is won thanks to Little Finger, would that hurt Ah Ek Lemba reputation? Could he get paranoid about one of his most loyal subordinates and start hurting his own base?
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  14. FossilDS lanfang republic best republic

    Nov 12, 2015
    Monmouth, Democratic Republic of New Jersey
    Once again, fantastic update!

    It would really be interesting if the end of Ah Ek Lemba's conquests is similar to that of his old-world counterpart- his homesick troops refuse to conquer more and desert him. We are already
    seeing signs of it in the Cholōllān campaign...
  15. LostInNewDelhi Anarcho-Shaivist

    Oct 30, 2014
    The Fingers are starting to learn from their king, and establish reputations in their own right? This could get good.

    As always, I love how every side in the war is being pushed to its absolute limit here. Really reinforces the idea of the war being a formative struggle for almost all the successor entities that emerge from it in about... 20 years? Ah Ek Lemba is supposed to die in 1429, and while we do have plenty of time until then it's hard to say how it will be spent.
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  16. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    I could definitely see this happening especially after he conquer "his city" because I except Ah Ek Lemba's won't stop there and his troops will start to wonder why are we still conqeuring because for them they have conqeured the world for him and they want to go home to there familes and the land he promised them. So if he conquers chollian I could see a couple more campains before we see an Alexander soldiers like revolt
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  17. Threadmarks: Entry 57: Zacatlān and Ixhuacān, 1409—1410

    Every Grass in Java Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2017

    (N.B. tlalquiach is orthographic error for tlalchiach)
    In the harvest season of 1409, Ah Ek Lemba sent Mahpilhuēyac to Ixhuacān and took his own forces to Zacatlān. The road to Cholōllān that passed through Zacatlān was more traversable, so Ah Ek Lemba would arrive first if both fortresses yielded at the same time. And in any case, a return to Ixhuacān would have been terribly demoralizing for the men.

    Ah Ek Lemba had concluded that to take the two fortresses would require supply lines that could last extended rainy-season campaigns, hence the mission to the Théoloël state. He began the construction of great roads that connected the fortresses to the port of Cempoala, roads that would not sink into the earth when the wet season downpour came but would always allow the quick transport of Théoloël, Cuban, and Tamaltec corn, and of Yucatec arms.

    The aquiach of Cholōllān made his own plans. The ideal victory would be the Tiho armies dissolving into quarreling between each other, and that would mean that Ah Ek Lemba must come to distrust his own Fingers. So the Eagle of Quetzalcōhuātl marched to Zacatlān with a relatively small army composed only of professional troops, including many former mercenaries, and set up camp at a preeminently defensible mountainside just south of the Tiho camp. From here, the aquiach sent out scouts to pillage the northern Tamaltec countryside. The road-workers themselves were too well-protected by troops to be attacked directly, but the peasants and their harvests were at the mercy of the Cholōltecs, and without the peasantry to feed the workers, no supply road could be built. Ah Ek Lemba sent forth his own forces to protect the peasants, only to find that to fully defend the peasantry would require so many men that continuing the siege of Zacatlān would become impossible. A choice had to be made.

    Ah Ek Lemba withdrew to Tamallan in April 1410, forced to acknowledge that he had erred once more, that he should have built the roads before undertaking the siege. Another humiliation for Tiho, another triumph for Cholōllān. As they jeered at the retreating Maya, the garrison of Zacatlān greeted the aquiach with fanfare befit a god.

    Meanwhile, the tlalchiach led a large army, mostly of peasant levies, toward Cempoala. Mahpilhuēyac was alarmed and withdrew from Ixhuacān to give chase to the priest-king; when he heard of the Middle Finger’s advance, the tlalchiach immediately abandoned his march toward Cempoala and fled back to Cholōllān. The siege of Ixhuacān quickly resumed.

    Later in the year, Ah Ek Lemba found pamphlets that made his hands shake with rage:
    “From Ixhuacān the king fled;

    “From Ixhuacān his general makes the enemy flee.

    “The king lowers his tail from the aquiach;

    “The general makes the tlalchiach lower his tail.”

    “The king has no son; many are the general’s;

    “The succession is secure.”
    Mahpilhuēyac denied all involvement.
    The reception was muted upon the tlalchiach’s return to Cholōllān. Mahmāuhqui, the word was on the people’s lips—it meant “coward”—this was to be expected, they were saying, he was born under the sign of the Deer while his Holiness the aquiach was born under the sign of the Reed—and yes, thought the tlalchiach, it was true that those born under Deer were cravenly, but he was not, as a matter of fact, born under Deer—who was spreading all these rumors? He knew who.

    “I did not flee because I wanted to,” proclaimed the tlalchiach at last, “It was the aquiach who ordered me to flee. He said it would make Mahpilhuēyac look triumphant and sow dissension between Ah Ek Lemba and his Finger. And now I find that the aquiach had another motive: to make himself look triumphant in comparison to me, so as to bring me down. Know the truth, people of Tollān Cholōllān Tlachīhualtepētl!”

    The aquiach, too, denied all involvement. “You are a liar! I did not expect all this from you, fellow priest of the god of truth. I am no man to tell Cholōltecs to flee, nor to sow dissension between our ranks. This is the truth, people of Tollān Cholōllān Tlachīhualtepētl!”

    Of course all Cholōllān believed their hero the aquiach, and the tlalchiach’s reputation was becoming unsalvageable.

    The tlalchiach was outraged. He had done as the aquiach had asked him, fled before Mahpilhuēyac even as he saw his subordinates spit on the ground, all because his colleague had said such feigned cowardice would win the war—and now he lied so brazenly and everyone believed him and nobody believed the tlalchiach—but what could the tlalchiach do?

    All the while, the aquiach brooded on his priestly throne. It was true, he had told the tlalchiach to flee. But it was imperative that he pretend he had not, that they think the tlalchiach had fled from his own cowardly fear of the valiant Mahpilhuēyac. If Ah Ek Lemba was ever to learn that it was all a ruse to have him distrust Mahpilhuēyac, all the aquiach’s best-laid plans would go awry. Was it wrong, to make his colleague shoulder all the burdens of cowardice as he took on all the praise? Was he selfish? Yes… But better selfish than vanquished.​


    Without Cholōltec scouts raiding the countryside, Mahpilhuēyac successfully completed his supply road connecting Cempoala to the siege at Ixhuacān in April, before the 1410 rainy season. Another triumph for the Middle Finger. For Ah Ek Lemba, whose own supply road was completed only in September and only after scores of men killed by the aquiach’s troops, another insecurity.

    The World-Conqueror returned to Zacatlān in October on his freshly minted roads. Then in November came the news that the commander of Ixhuacān had surrendered to Mahpilhuēyac, opening the way for the Finger to march upon Cholōllān. Meanwhile, seventy miles to the north, Ah Ek Lemba’s second siege of Zacatlān had only just begun.

    Mahpilhuēyac’s name was hailed and toasted in the besieging camp of Zacatlān, and Ah Ek Lemba did his best not to frown.

    A few days later, the aquiach led a little army to the environs of Ah Ek Lemba’s camp. The king thought the Cholōltec force was small enough to safely engage in open battle. His men shocked him. “Perhaps it is not safe, sire,” said they. “We ought to wait until Lord Mahpilhuēyac comes.”

    “Do you mean that you trust Mahpilhuēyac over me? I, who am the reborn Quetzalcōhuātl, who conquers the world—do you put more trust in the finger over the god?”

    But the troops were reluctant, and Ah Ek Lemba was not a fool enough to go to war with reluctant men.

    A few days later, Lord Mahpilhuēyac received a letter painted in tēctlahcuilōlli from his king. It referred to the Middle Finger not by his noble epithets, but with his childhood nickname Ah Caanal Che (“Tall Tree”). Many later Yucatec paintings purport to be a reconstruction of this letter, including the following version, although almost certainly none of them are authentic:

    To Ah Caanal Che, my friend.

    I call you my friend

    Not a word used lightly

    Comrade—brother in arms—colleague—general—but no—

    I call you my friend

    We have come to make friends here

    I am glad that I have done

    That for which I came

    The world is a queer place

    Spokes of a wheel

    Day month year k’atun cycle b’aktun day again

    Rolling on

    The dead are alive and the living shall die

    The hills are all low and the valleys all raised

    Cuauhpatlān’s innocence—I am aware

    You who are my friend

    The stone, the flail—you are aware—

    You my friend owaya

    [Slander was punishable by execution in Ah Ek Lemba’s military law; "stone and stick" is a tēctlahcuilōlli metaphor for punishment]

    How soft the death of the Sun!

    How gentle the passing of Wind!

    [Both the sun god and Quetzalcōhuātl, of whom the Wind is an aspect, sacrificed themselves]

    Attend the gods in heaven, friend;

    dance with the flowers in bloom

    I will hear you as breeze between pines

    smell you as incense that wafts—

    What ought to be done is done!

    From Ah Ek Lemba, your friend.

    And Mahpilhuēyac understood that his friend and king was ordering suicide.
  18. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Apr 13, 2007
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    So. The obvious conclusion as a reader is that this is a forgery, and was really written by the Aquiach.
  19. Wolttaire Well-Known Member

    Aug 4, 2018
    aquiach house of cards will start falling down and I don't think Mahpilhuēyac will immediately kill himself he will ask for confirmation first to keep sure this is real
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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  20. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2018
    That would make too much sense. Looking at otl, that would be quite rare.
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