No Canal Necessary: South America As A Separate Continent

WI South America were separated from North America in ancient geological times and connected to Antarctica instead?

What would the historical and maritime impact have been on a world with no Panama Canal, but perhaps a Sea of Panama?
 
There's going to be some people coming in here saying that the butterfly effects will mean severe changes to history from such a far-back point that keeping the rest of the world that same would be ASB. They have a point, but thats no fun. So I'm going to assume you're going to go for the rest of the world being largely unchanged by this (admittedly very large) difference.

One thing you'll see is the survival of the South American marsupials and other animals that went extinct in OTL. At least for a time. Humans would expand into North America, and then may or may not bridge the gap to the southern continent. Both scenarios have their merits. But if humans reach there, the marsupial population would be reduced but still the ecosystem would be somewhat unique. It would change the environment of South America significantly. Chile and Argentina would be colder, and the Amazon more temperate.

Sailing between Asia and Europe would be far easier by taking the Panama strait, giving the Spanish an edge over the Portugeuse in controlling the Spice Trade. However, if the sea were large enough it could be quite difficult for the Spanish to control, and other nations would attempt to utilize the passage as well (though they would spend some time searching fruitlessly for a northern passage like OTL).
 
The "geography" of the Americas has been something funny to me. When people speak of the continents they say Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. And they separate Europe and Asia (which is something cultural and not geographic) and put together South America and North America which are clearly separate continents.

However when people speak about North America they include only the United States (and sometimes Canada) and exclude Mexico, Guatemala... and they create that fiction of Central America.
 
The planet's a lot warmer, for starters - they think the last round (ie, last 3m y) of ice ages started because Panama shut off the Pacific-Caribbean current.
 
Europe would be rather inhospitable place to live, cold and with low population.

Most likely the opposite. Before South America and Antarctica separated allowing cold currents to get around Antarctica there were tropical forests in Germany...
 
If South America is connected to Antartica instead in North America, Amazon forest would not be a tropical forest but rather a temperate forest. Southern tip of Argentina and Chile would be a frozen area.
 
We discussed this ATL before and had suggested an archipelago that still permit the migration of animals and people from north to south. Its likely that with two separate continents we could have two different names, America and Columbia (Colombia).
 
The "geography" of the Americas has been something funny to me. When people speak of the continents they say Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. And they separate Europe and Asia (which is something cultural and not geographic) and put together South America and North America which are clearly separate continents.

Well, that's how we see it here (and, judging by your post, I gess it's how it's also how seen in Spain): 1 continent, "América", divided in three subcontinents (América del Norte, América del Sur y América Central). The "Anglo" world apparently considers the Americas TWO continents: North America and South America. I've started a thread about this issue in chat: https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=92789. As I said there, I donsider that both views are equaly valid, it's just a matter of convention.

However when people speak about North America they include only the United States (and sometimes Canada) and exclude Mexico, Guatemala... and they create that fiction of Central America.

This bit (calling the Us and/or the US + Canada "North America") could be because, at least here, calling Americans "americanos" doesn't seem right, cause, Chilenians, Argentinians or Haitians (to name just a few) are also living in América, and thus, they could also be entitled to that adjective. On the contrary, by calling them "Norteamericanos" that inconvenient is solved. That doesn't solve anything, because Mexicans are also Norteamericanos. But that doesn't stop people for using these adjective.

However, this wouldn't explain why the "anglo" world also confuses North America with the US & Canada, and South America with Latin America (I've seen it on the forum on several cases). The reason behind this is that there is a cultural difference between Latin America and the US & Canada. The problem is that the cultural areas and geographical divissions do not much (no matter if you are speaking of "América" or "the Americas"). But there's a strong human tendency to simplify, which makes fighting against it a bit pointless.
 
Back to topic, I don't know how this will affect the climate. The fauna will be very cifferent: no camelids, for starters (llamas, alpacas, guanacos, etc.), as these come from North America (paradoxically). Marsupials might survive, as other has stated.

The key question is when South America is colonized by humans. Assuming the rest of the world stays the same (which is ASB), it would probably be occupied IOTL or latter. This would probably slower it's developpment: It won't have camelids, maize or anything South American Indians got from North American ones (and we ignore).

If it isn't colonised, and the rest of the world stays the same, it might be empty until the Polynessians arrive in the XIV century.
 
The "geography" of the Americas has been something funny to me. When people speak of the continents they say Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Oceania. And they separate Europe and Asia (which is something cultural and not geographic) and put together South America and North America which are clearly separate continents.

However when people speak about North America they include only the United States (and sometimes Canada) and exclude Mexico, Guatemala... and they create that fiction of Central America.

What kind of geography book are you reading?
 
The planet's a lot warmer, for starters - they think the last round (ie, last 3m y) of ice ages started because Panama shut off the Pacific-Caribbean current.

Good point. Just what I was going to talk about. Another thing would be agricultural production, assuming Latin America sees human settlement to begin with (unlikely it won't. Look at Australia and the places settled by Polynesians). Think about it the potato came from South America. The potato allowed Europe to begin to have crop surpluses. So the butterflies are endless.
 
The key question is when South America is colonized by humans. Assuming the rest of the world stays the same (which is ASB), it would probably be occupied IOTL or latter. This would probably slower it's developpment: It won't have camelids, maize or anything South American Indians got from North American ones (and we ignore).

If it isn't colonised, and the rest of the world stays the same, it might be empty until the Polynessians arrive in the XIV century.

Not entirely likely. I believe that research has shown that early settlers did not cross via the Bering Sea Landbridge but skirted it on rafts. There were at least two waves IIRC, the first that migrated by raft or primitive boats down the entire length of the Pacific coasts and a second one that did strike inland.
 
a map:

 
What kind of geography book are you reading?

Did you read my post, by chance??? Not everybody considers the Americas two separate continents. Almost all South Americans (and, judging by Condottiero's post, I guess most Spanish also*) consider "América" a single continent, divided in three subcontinents. It's just a convention.

* IIRC, Condotiero is Spanish.
 

JohnJacques

Banned
I think the archipelago idea has the most merit because it can cause the least climactic change while still getting the other effect across.
 
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