No New/Old world division?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Shurik, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. Shurik Now with 38.5% more oogy!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Depends on what map you're using
    Ok, so this story has been pretty well discredited...

    But this is the AH discussion board...

    What if communication between the ancient M.E. and the Americas did take place? And as a continuation, instead of being forgotten, both halves of the world co-developed?

    Projecting through modern times is obviously so far changed from OTL as to be unrecognizable, but how would this have effected the ancient world's development of cultures?
  2. M79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Well, one could serve as a reservoir for the other, and it would mean there would be a lot more people around at various times. Could you imagine massive or just lots of feudal kingdoms in the Americas that have roots in Peruvian, Egyptian, Persian, MesoAmerican, and Greek culture with influence from the Chinese and Japanese (as naval technology improves)? Would a Caravel might be possible using little more than Roman technology?

    If nothing else I'd love to see menus from the resulting cultures...
  3. Atom Future Human

    Dec 5, 2006
    Well, The native Americans get badly hit by diseases early on. Also gold and silver weren't mined in Mexico until 700 AD (lack of metal working). If anything I would expect it to be a strange backwater waaaaaaaay far away. Although math might be developed more.
  4. Nicomacheus Member, Sociedad Thrasybulo

    Nov 15, 2007
    If the early Native American cultures get horses and/or cattle, then that could significantly alter their ability to develop on par with Eurasian cultures.

    Here's a list of similar shifts:

    1) Better draft animals = better agriculture = more food = more people = more cities = more disease resistance
    2) North America becomes traversable
    3) A horse enables warfare and transport on a scale unknown in early America
    4) Sailing technology makes the Caribbean into a quasi-Mediterranean. Perhaps the harsher storms in the former encourages even greater naval advances on the part of the Americans.
    5) Foods like corn and the potato enable further urbanization in Europe/Asia.
  5. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

    Jun 21, 2004
    Cheyenne WY
    corn took a looooong time to develop for temperate areas, and potatoes never made it out of Peru before the Spanish came along. A better idea (if we are going to assume a POD of regular contact between the hemispheres) would be to transfer the whole agricultural package from the old to the new world... wheat, cattle, horses, pigs, sheep. As we know from our own history, these things all do fine over here, and if they'd made it over in Ancient times, it would have given the NAs a big leg up....
  6. Shurik Now with 38.5% more oogy!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Depends on what map you're using
    I'm not a pathologist, but were the diseases in question common enough to have been an issue that early?

    That would be my guess.

    Short of large scale migrations, I'm not sure I understand what you mean

    Tandoori Guinea Pig Sushi... On Pasta!

    As there is no evidence of large scale shipping (ships of a large scale) at that time, I'm guessing contact would have been sporadic, with easily carried goods being traded.

    Another question is which direction contact would have been made? Via West Africa/Brazil? Or the looong way, via multiple trading posts along the Indian and across the Pacific?

    How would each effect the development of maritime science?

    I'm guessing Polynesian canoe/catamarans (if they even existed that far back) wouldn't work too well in an Atlantic squall, and the high sided ships needed for the larger storms on the Atlantic would be overkill for a South Pacific fleet.

    Either way, I'm seeing a while before any large animals are going to be transplanted. Pigs and sheep, maybe, but anything bigger is going to need much larger ocean going craft than existed then.

    I was aware of the temperamental nature of corn, but with the climate in the "Cradle of Civilization" corn would do well in Egypt or other Mesopotamian areas.
  7. Nicomacheus Member, Sociedad Thrasybulo

    Nov 15, 2007
    I agree. But if the ideas of the POD is regular contact, both ways, then there may still be a chance for the potato. Are you saying that neither developed in NA at the time of a possible ancient contact? That might be case, I'm not up to speed on my pre-colombian history.

    If not, however, the potato alone revolutionized the ability of peasants in Europe to feed themselves: Frederick the Great encouraged his peasants to plant it because it provided an insurance against the forraging of an army. Hence, peasants during the many wars of the 18th and 19th centuries fared somewhat better than their forebears during the Wars of Religion in the preceding centuries due to their increased ability to store food, in the convienient form of the potato.
  8. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

    Jun 21, 2004
    Cheyenne WY
    the potato never made it out of Peru before the Spanish conquest. It was cultivated only in the high cold plains, where it could be kept without refrigeration. Unless these ancient contacts somehow make it all the way to Peru and find something neat about potatoes, they aren't going to make it out of Peru anytime soon. Keep in mind too that at this time, potatoes are pretty small, mostly just pebble sized.

    As for corn... it took millenia to first develop it from the tiny grain that it arose from into a form large enough for harvesting, and then centuries more to acclimatize it to the temperate lands. If we're talking contacts in the Ancient times, the food transfer will be all one way... old to new...
  9. sunsurf Member

    Jan 1, 2004
    Dale Cozort has an essay called New Guinea conquers the world (sort of).

    Google doesn't seem to pick it up so I went digging around his old site and finally found it. Dale has left AOL and is now at, but he isn't doing as much there.

    He's working on some full-length novels.

    Here's one of his on Earlier agriculture in the New World

    I know I've mentioned this before but...pottery similar to Jomon pottery of Japan, has been found in Chile. So early Japanese/Polynesians might have settled in S. America, expand their settlements, keep sailing around the coastlines and discover Europe before any large kingdoms emerge.

    The Polynesians or Japanese might make contact with the earliest Chinese and influence things that way. The earliest Chinese might take an interest in what the Polynesians brought from S. America, and those goods get traded westward across Eurasia...

    Here's another idea; I suppose it would have to include earlier agricultural development as well. (And I'm acknowledging the earlier comments on this thread. Let's include those as well.)

    The islands of the Caribbean might have a role analogous to the islands of Greece, with semi-independent kingdoms developing separately but trading with each other. A powerful kingdom to the northwest analogous to Rome (the Mississippian empire) arises and comes into conflict with a kingdom analogous to Egypt (the Mayans) and the Phoenicians (the Olmecs).

    The Mississippian empire collapses and there is a dark age dominated by an oppressive religious tradition.

    But then there's a Renaissance and the development of the Scientific Method while new religious traditions emerge...

    An Age of Exploration begins when the Mayans discover Europe...

    How much of that is ASB? :)
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2007