Where the River Flows: The Story of Misia: A Native American Superpower

Chapter 1: The Great Kingdom
Thousands of years ago, civilization began to emerge on the Mississippian alluvial plain. Over time, the main center of civilization would shift north roughly to modern day Illinois and Missouri. During this time, the Midewin religion, originating from the northeast, would spread into Misia and throughout much of Eastern North America. From this region, known as the Inoka plain, the Hileni would conquer all of their neighbors and establish the Hileni Dynasty, the first imperial dynasty of Mihsiwahk ("The Big/Great Land/Kingdom), known as Misia in English. While sometimes people do travel by elk-pulled cart, the primary mode of transport is rivers. The Misians as a result become the world's greatest canal-builders, building canals connecting the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes and the Mobile River system. Due to their emphasis on water transport, they spread seafaring around the South Misian Sea (Gulf of Mexico) and the Caribbean, leading civilizations in this area to become more advanced. More civilizations also develop along the eastern seaboard and to the west in the American Southwest and Pacific Coast, although these are less well connected. Although regimes change and division occurs, Misia tends to remained united both culturally and politically throughout much of history thanks to the Mississippi River. In 1492, Misia is ruled by Emperor Manawesquah of the Kilsu Dynasty from the capital in Cahoqua/Kahoquah (OTL site of the Cahokia Mounds across the Mississippi River from St. Louis).

Meanwhile, Columbus arrives in the Caribbean. He is convinced he is in the East Indies, and after hearing about Misia and Mesoamerica, is convinced that these nearby regions are descriptions of China and India. King Guanacari, King of Ayiti (Hispaniola) who rules from the city of Dujozemi (Cap-Haitien), allows Columbus to establish a small settlement right by the capital for trading purposes. After Columbus returns on his second voyage, tensions mostly caused by the desire to convert the native Tainos to Christianity boils over into fighting. After Guanacari offers peace, Columbus betrays him and has him executed. Columbus and his small group of men are able to easily control the city, whose native population is being ravaged by plague. The minor caciques who were previously subject to Dujozemi's rule begin fighting to kick the Spanish out, although Columbus, seeking after their gold and spices, slaughters and enslaves countless people. Columbus is killed in 1501 by a group of Taino rebels, although by that point all kingdoms had been defeated and the fighting mostly came down to a few rebel groups.

Disease quickly spreads throughout the continents. In the summer of 1494, plague brought over by the Spanish in Caribbean reaches Cahoqua. Among the dead are many members of the imperial family, including the emperor himself. His 19-year-old son, Mamantwensah, is crowned emperor. A power struggle breaks out as the rogue general Mikaquah, fighting the Ojibwe tribes in the north, decides to build up a larger force to attack Cahoqua and start his own dynasty. Despite the unpopularity of the Kilsu dynasty due to the plague, Mamantwensah promises to redistribute the land of the dead nobility to his loyal peasant followers and amasses a force that easily outnumbers that of Mikaquah, allowing him to retain power and prevent any other challengers to the throne. He then precedes with his land distribution program, resulting in the formation of a massive class of land-owning peasants.

In the north, John Cabot arrives in 1496 on the island of Takamkuk (Newfoundland), referred to the English as Takamcook, where he establishes the small town of St. John's. The local Beothuk people, with whom he enjoys positive relations, tell him that if he goes west and follows the Wepistook River (St. Lawrence River), he will be able to make it to the Great Kingdom of Misia, which Cabot also believes to be China. In his journeys, he meets the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). While the river to Lake Eriron (Erie) is not navigable due to Niagara Falls, the Iroquois say he will be able to pass through their land if he brings them more guns and horses. He does so on his second voyage, and the English are able to settle by the port of Cheektowaga (Buffalo, NY). He then goes inland to the Misian port of Sandusti (Sandusky, OH), where he first makes contact with the Misians. Pleased with his haul, which includes, silk, yaupon tea, honey, spices, local whines, and maple syrup, he returns to England. He also leaves behind another wave of diseases, which also cause significant harm. Between 1494 and 1500, Misia's population had fallen from 60 million to 16 million.

After word arrives of the English in Sandusti, Emperor Mamantwensah summons Guama to his court, a Taino merchant from Dujozemi who lost most of his family during the conquest of his home and fled with his daughter to Shawasha (New Orleans) before making his way to Cahoqua. He warns about the Spanish, who he describes as pale men from across the Eastern Ocean who ride giant antler-less deer and carry sticks that produce smoke and fire, which he realizes matches the description of the men who visited Sandusti. On his third voyage in 1498, Cabot brings more men to Takamcook with some being sent to the Haudenosaunee lands while he sets out to explore the east coast. That summer, the Haudenosaunee and their English allies work together to conquer the lands of the Wyandot with their advanced weaponry, which they accomplish in a month's time. With the new men and the goods the recent expedition from England brought as well as a passport sent from England, William Brampton, an Englishman settled in Cheektowaga, leads an expedition to explore Misia. He and his men travel to Shicaqua (Chicago), but are prevented by a bureaucrat working for the Sipikapia (river keeper) from passing through the canal to the river. The Sipikapia arrives with orders from the emperor that any "pale-faced" foreigners from across the Ocean must be disarmed and escorted under careful watch to Cahoqua. After two days following the Inokaspi River (Illinois River), they arrive in the capital city, where they meet the emperor. The emperor questions them, and he brings out Guama, dressed in the uniform of a Taino warrior, shouting Spanish phrases that he had heard from the conquistadors on his home island to try to intimidate them. Guama eventually realizes that these men were not the same ones who destroyed his home, and breaks down emotionally.

(work in progress)

Ashipewahk– Misian exonym for Oasisamerica; literally means "Cliff Land"
Assinwati– Rocky Mountains
Awansachi– Appalachian Mountains
Cahoqua– Cahokia Mounds, across the river from St. Louis, MO
Cheektowaga– Buffalo, NY
Chesapeake– Norfolk, VA
Ileni/Hileni– First imperial Misian dynasty, similar to the Han of China
Kilsu– Current imperial Misian dynasty ruling since European contact; meaning "Dynasty of the Sun"
Mabila– Mobile, AL
Manhattan– if you’re looking this one up please get help
Mashowomuk– Boston, MA
Misia– Derives from Mihsiwahk, meaning "The Great Land/Kingdom"; includes the OTL American midwest and much of the south as its traditional heartland (basically the regions that were part of the OTL Mississippian culture)
Osachit– Jacksonville, FL
Sakimauchin– Philadelphia, PA
Shawasha– New Orleans, LA
Shicaqua– Chicago, IL
Takamcook– Newfoundland
Tanpa– Tampa, FL
Tekesta– Miami, FL
Tsenacommacah– federation/region based out of Virginia and Maryland based on the OTL Powhatan; one of the major powers of the Eastern Seaboard
Wabanakik– federation spanning Northern New England, the Maritimes, and parts of Quebec bordering on expanded Haudensaunee
Wepistuk--St. Lawrence River
Yamacraw– Savannah, GA

Chapter 1: The Great Kingdom

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Misia Medieval-Style Map WTRF.png

It was a bright summer day in the city of Kahoquah. It was the a type of day where the warmth was cooled by a soft summer breeze that soothed the soul and refreshed all those who felt it; the type of day where merchants and vendors would gather at the markets to sell everything from yapa and fruity wines to soft silk blankets that shimmered in the light with their colors to cocoa and spices and mysterious knicknacks from far off lands to the south; the type of day where farmers would reap a bountiful harvest of maize and manoomin and other delightful crops to be sold in the city; a type of day where the people would gather joyfully in the cobbled streets and by the docks as the children run to play in the river. Yet today was not that day. It couldn’t be that day. Over the past moon or so or however long it had been, Kahoquah had gone quiet. The entirety of Mihsiwahk, the entire Great Kingdom had gone quiet, except perhaps for the sound of the occasional weil or moan as another life cries out to the Great Spirit, only to be snuffed out. It starts with a fever, then fatigue, then headaches and back pains. Before you knew it, your entire body would be covered in a red rash and blisters and boils, and then death was on its way.

And now it was quiet. As Mamantwensah walked through the cobbled streets, passed by the market square, looked into the sorrowful faces of the fewer people there as before, saw that half the amount of riverboats stopped by the dock, he knew that the world had changed, and he knew that more were still yet to die. His world had changed. But that wasn’t why it was so silent today. Today wasn’t the day to mourn commoners.

An almost blood red wooden carriage, pulled by four wapiti bulls, made its way down the cobble street. On either side and in front of the carriage marched a melancholy parade of soldiers forced to endure the heat in suits of iron. Closer to the carriage marched nobles and priests, dressed in red silk robes. Closest to the carriage marched the last consort who remained of the Emperor’s harem of three. For whatever reason, the disease hit the ruling family extra hard. And there, marching alongside his father, was Mamantwensah, the last remaining and newly orphaned son of the emperor and the empress.

The carriage and the surrounding parade made its way down the artificial mound atop which sat the wooden palace to the east. Smaller palaces gave way to crowded streets, which eventually gave way to greenery. On all sides, the people of Kahoquah healthy enough to appear stood quietly and respectfully with blank expressions, albeit with perhaps a hint of fear. The carriage approached a great stone wall, surrounding a great mound not unlike the one upon which sat the palace. Passing through a gated archway into the green enclosure, the procession approached a great marble block, in front of which lay a humble flame. A group of servants dressed in ceremonial silk lifted the coffin made of the same blood red wood from the back of the carriage and set it onto the marble platform. A priest stood over the coffin as everyone else kneeled. In front of the coffin and next to the flame, Mamantwensah and his consort step-mother kneeled facing the rest of the crowd.

“Emperor Manawesquah, head of the Kilsu Dynasty, ruler of all of the Great Kingdom, protector of the Great River, master of the heavens and earth, keeper of the ways of the ancestors, and earthly son of the Great Spirit, has now left from this world to join his forefathers. Today, after a reign of 16 years, his body will be laid to rest here in the Heavenly Mound of Kings with those who ruled before him. As was his dying wish, he shall now be succeeded by his last remaining son.”

Another priest approached Mamantwensah with a silver bowl of water from the Mihsisipi River and a light blue silk cloth. Taking the cloth, he dipped it in the water and wiped his face, starting above his deep brown eyes, then down to his nose and cheeks and lips. He then stood up before the crowd in front of the flame.

“All hail Emperor Mamantwensah!” shouted the priest.

The crowd of priests, nobles, soldiers, and others on their knees bowed fully in respect, arms down to the floor. Mamantwensah, only 19 years old, stood looking at his people, people who were hoping for leadership to guide them through these difficult and confusing times. He knew that lives would continue to be snuffed out by this mysterious ailment. He knew that the growing instability would surely lead to war in the near future. He knew that he was still young and still had a lot to learn. What he didn’t know, however, was just how eventful his reign would be, and how his reign would completely change the future of his nation, his continent, and the entire world.
***
Historians generally consider there to be six thousand years of recorded human history. For most of this time, human history was completely divided. In what Europeans would know as the “Old World”, civilization emerged in four places– the banks of the Nile, between the Tigris and Euphrates, in the Indus Valley, and along the Yellow River in the North China Plain. Over time, these civilizations would give rise to countless others. The many great kingdoms and empires of Europe, Africa, the Near East, India, and East Asia that followed in the wake of these original civilizations would trade, battle, and spread ideas between each other, creating a divided albeit connected world of continuous civilizations. And yet, despite how vast this world was, and despite the seemingly impassable distance between the Western Europe and the East Indies or between Japan and Songhai, not a soul was aware of the vast land that lay across the ocean.

This so-called “New World” remained all but entirely isolated from the old for centuries. The exception to this is in 1000 AD when the Vikings made a brief landfall at the island of Takamkuk, a harsh and at the time mostly uncivilized landmass, with the first Beothuk kingdoms not yet rising for another hundred years or so. What these Vikings didn’t know, however, was if they had ventured further south, they would find great civilizations that existed in complete isolation from their own world, civilizations that rose and grew entirely separately, all from three original cradles of civilization. First were the fertile river valleys that flowed through the mountains of the Central Andes, mountains that would give rise to the Wari, the Chimor, and eventually the great Inca Empire. Next were the Olmecs who lived along the fertile eastern coast of Anawak by the South Misian Sea, who would eventually give rise to the Mayans, the Toltecs, and the mighty Aztecs. However, arguably the most influential of these cradles would be one that rose in the alluvial plains of the Mississippi River.

Misian Civilization began on the alluvial plain of the lower Mississippi some time before 2000 BC. The massive fertile floodplain with its rich sediments proved to form excellent farmland for crops like manoomin, little barley, goosefoot, sunflower, sumpweed, knotweed, maygrass, and squash. Corn, beans, and other crops arriving from Anawak would also come to be cultivated around 1000 BC, allowing the three sisters of corn, beans, and squash to productively be planted and harvested together. Grapes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, paw-paws, and other fruits were grown in vineyards and groves, and the yaupon plant was cultivated for tea. The people collected honey from stingless bees, and silk from giant silk moths, two insects which the Misians had begun to keep early on in their history. Rather than hunt for meat, the locals kept domesticated turkeys, ducks, geese, and rabbits, and later discovered that they could keep whitetail deer and wapitis in pens, the latter of which would eventually be used to pull plows to further increase agricultural productivity. In manoomin paddies, fish were used to fertilize the soil with their waste as well as providing an additional source of protein. Of course, if a local wanted to eat something other than the typical domesticated meats, wild game in the form of deer, bison, and other animals was plentiful, as was fish in the Mississippi river.

However, agriculture and fishing were only the beginning of the Mississippi’s usefulness. The Mississippi was a massive navigable river with branches stretching north towards the Great Lakes, east towards the Awansachi Mountains, and west towards the Great Plains and the Assinwati Mountains. Misian Civilization quickly spread over the course of a few centuries in all directions, and through the flat land and many rivers connecting these regions, trade, travel, and communication between all of these groups was easy, and larger kingdoms were able to form. It was in this period prior to the formation of the first imperial dynasties that the Inoka plain occupying much of the middle and some of the upper Mississippi came to become the most dominant center of Mississippian culture, when Mississippian cultures further came to displace the old southern Great Lakes cultures, and when Midewiwin would come to be the dominant religion in the north, putting an end to human sacrifices. As kingdoms grew in size, warfare became increasingly frequent.

In around 100 BC, Misia would be fully united for the first time under the Ileni Dynasty. Based around the Inoka plain, the Ileni expanded in all directions, creating a vast empire, connected by a network of rivers and shaping Misian identity. At its height around 150 AD, the empire controlled land from the Awansachis and Atlantic to the east, the South Misian Sea to the south, the Great Lakes to the north, and the Great Plains to the west. The dialect of the Inoka plain came to be standardized across the land, and to this day, the Misian people still ethnically identify themselves as Hileni. The Midewi fatih, practiced in the north, also came to be adopted universally by the Misians, and the Emperor would use the religion to claim that his rule was divine.

Perhaps the greatest innovation of the Hileni that allowed them to maintain such a massive and closely connected state despite the lack of horses was the construction of highly advanced canals using systems of powerful dams and locks. The Tumbikbi River to the southeast, for example, was connected to the Mississippi watershed through a canal to the Kakinampo River to the north. In the north, canals at Shicaqua and Milioke connected the river to Lake Michigami. However, the river was not the only highway for this great empire. All along its coastline, a chain of barrier islands formed a safe and easily navigable intracoastal waterway, allowing them to dominate the entire southeastern coastline of their continent. The one exception to this was the swampy Pikate peninsula, which was not conquered until later dynasties, although they did succeed in establishing a small colony at the tip. The Hileni Dynasty were masters at navigating their coastline, and soon found themselves venturing further away into the South Misian and Caribbean Seas, coming into contact with the civilizations of Mesoamerica and the chiefdoms of the Caribbean, trading their silk, tea, wine, iron tools, and other goods for cocoa, spices, and more, making Misia incredibly wealthy.

Exploring the coastline led them to discover the Kotsui River. While the lower portions of the river would come to form the southwestern borderlands of the empire, expeditions up the river led the Misians to make contact with the disunited cultures of Oasisamerica, an area they came to know as “Ashipewahk”, meaning “land of cliffs”. It would be developments in agriculture, technology, and navigation that would help the so-called Ashipes form larger, more advanced kingdoms, albeit ones that were still kept small due to the mountainous geography. Still, these people built massive cities on mesas, canyons, and cliffsides, and over time, their civilization would spread to the Kutsan people of the Haquat River Delta. The first united Kutsan Kingdom was established around 300 AD, and would remain stable for over a thousand years as the mountains and desert shielded the life-giving river from foreign intruders. Over the following thousand years, settled civilizations would slowly make their way up the west coast with the most advanced ones being those closest to the Kutsan in the south.

Meanwhile, closer to the Misian heartland, other civilizations rose and fell. Along the Atlantic coast east of the Awansachis and to the north of the Great Lakes lay a variety of kingdoms, federations, and other native states that were closely influenced by the Misians with similar architecture, writing, cuisine, and religious beliefs. While not benefitting from the massive extensive watershed of the Mississippi, these civilizations made use of their coastlines and relatively flat land to build their own well connected albeit less vast civilizations.

Along the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes, various states were in constant struggle with one another. In the Caribbean, different tribes fought one another for control of islands large and small. In Mesoamerica, kingdoms and empires came and went. In the Oases, the different Ashipe peoples struggled for control over rivers and trade routes to the east. Centuries passed and times changed, and only the Great Kingdom that stood at the center of the continent was eternal. Some dynasties collapsed and there would be warfare as other dynasties fought to take over, but for over a thousand years, Misia remained supreme. The entire order of this New World (barring the people who lived far south in the Andes) revolved around Misia. Every king, every chief, and every consul of every federation sought to win over the support of the Misian Emperor for the sake of power.

Time had passed since the ancient days of the Hileni Dynasty. Now, the Kilsu Dynasty, the Dynasty of the Sun, ruled over all of Misia. The arriving Europeans would bring new crops, new animals, new technology, new powerful weapons, and new diseases. Despite how much the world was about to change, it would only be a matter of time before the interests of the European powers too came to revolve around the Great Kingdom where the river flows.​
 
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Chapter 2: When Worlds Collide
Chapter 2: When Worlds Collide

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"Many of the men I have seen have scars on their bodies, and when I made signs to them to find out how this happened, they indicated that people from other nearby islands come to San Salvador to capture them; they defend themselves the best they can. I believe that people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves. They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart, in order that they may learn our language.
[…]
Several of my men have slowly begun to learn the dialects of the Indians, who have been able to give us greater amounts of information on their local geography. Somewhere to the northwest lies a landmass described as Calusa, a marshy land that is connected in the north to the vast land of Misihua, a land known for its wine, silk, honey, and other trade goods, including a leaf known as casina which makes a pleasant drink. It is my belief that the lands of Misihua and Calusa refer to the Oriental lands of Cathay and Mangi respectively. To the south lie other larger islands that make up the Indies, known primarily for their spices. The largest of these islands to the southwest is known as Cubao. Most of this island is ruled by a king referred to as a “casecua”. Another large and more heavily populated island to the southeast known as Ayiti is ruled by a casecua as well. With this information, I plan to chart my course further south in pursuit of these Indian kingdoms. West of Cubao is another landmass ruled by several great kingdoms and principalities, the largest being known as the Mechitco. The description of the land seems to be similar to that of India. There is not a doubt in my mind that the Lord has led me to discover the distant Orient.
[…]
When I first beheld Dujozemi on the island of Ayiti, I was astounded by its majesty. Tall pagan stone pyramids reached up towards the heavens in mockery of the Lord like the Tower of Babel. The men and women of the noble class seem to wear golden jewelry. There seem to be a variety of spices not yet known to the Christian man that are sold at the markets. If it pleases our Lord, we desire to seek the permission of the casecua to establish a Christian settlement that we may establish a presence on, and perhaps eventually conquer, this land."

– journals of Christopher Columbus, first journey, 1492

"The Beothuk of Takamcook, although a humble and primitive people, have spoken of greater grandeur and wealth to their west. Venturing where the western sea narrows into a gulf, a great river known to them as the Wepistook passes through the lands of the Inu, the Omamiwini, the Wabanaki, the Hodenosaunee, and several other peoples, eventually leading to the lands known as Misiwa. Misiwa is described as a massive empire, with productive fields of endless grain, with excellent wine as well as another drink known as yapa, and wealthy and powerful cities all ruled by a single emperor. I believe, from the description of the land, I believe that the land described is the land of Cathay as described by Marco Polo, and that Wepistook River is the northwest passage for which we had been searching."
–journals of John Cabot, first journey, 1497

***​

The first contact between Europeans and Americans in 1492 would not involve the Misians directly. Shortly after landing in the Bahamas, he learned from the local Taino people about the Pikate Peninsula, at the time controlled by the Calusa, and the Kilsu Empire further to the northwest. Additionally, as his journey would bring him south to Cubao and Ayiti and more people saw their ships, word spread to Misia. Most likely from merchants in the Caribbean or South Misian Sea, word eventually spread to Kahoquah by the end of the year about a “fleet of strange boats manned by crews of strange men unlike any men they had even seen”.

These strange men would eventually find their way in the Ayitian city of Dujozemi(1), the capital of the kingdom of Ayiti and the largest city in the Caribbean, whose name roughly translated to “throne of the spirits”. Being a major port on the northwest of the island, it had easy access to trade with both Misia and Mesoamerica, allowing it to become a major trading hub, and allowing the local casecua to dominate the other four smaller kingdoms in the island and unite them under his rule. When Columbus arrived, King Guacanagari greeted the travellers as guests, telling him about his island’s vast wealth. Due to damage to the Santa Maria, Columbus asked to leave behind the crew in a small settlement just outside the city. Guacanagari saw the Spanish as a potential new trading partner, and believing they would bring more wealth to his island kingdom, he agreed. The crew he left behind would build La Navidad, the first European-built neighborhood of the Dujozemi.

In November 1493, Columbus would return, this time with a much larger fleet totalling 21 vessels setting course for Dujozemi with riches from Europe, as well as horses, livestock, smiths, priests, soldiers, merchants, and other people. Settling in La Navidad, the voyage had found that the local settlers were alive and well, taking Taino wives and receiving aid from the casecua. Columbus once again met with King Guacanagari and sold him Spanish goods– books, tools, weapons, Spanish wine, horses, and more, in return for more gold and spices. Leaving behind two thirds of his fleet and continuing to explore the Lesser Antilles with his remaining ships, the new settlers began to find their place in the colony. However, trouble began to brew when several local priests began attempting to convert the natives to Christianity. That December, Guacanagari requested that the Spanish cease their missionary activities, believing that the increasing conversion to Christianity was undermining his power. About a week later, a group of Spanish Christians entered a Taino temple attempting to convert the Taino priests. After they refused to leave, fighting broke out in which two Christians were killed and three Taino were shot dead. Among the dead was Spanish priest José Ferrero.

By the time Columbus returned a few days later, news had spread throughout both the Spanish colony of a few hundred and the natives of the city. Many of the Indians, some of whom had begun to fall ill to an alien disease, came to express concern over the presence of the Spanish and wanted to see them gone. The Spanish, meanwhile, began calling for a crusade against the pagans, and as the plague disease began to spread more over the following month through the native population, more settlers began to see it as a sign from God. Several missionaries went to meet Guacanagari to offer for him to convert to Christianity, which he refused. Although he had personally grown quite fond of these foreign people and their religion, he knew that both his power over his own people and over the minor casequas depended on his faith. Over the course of January, more people died and tensions between the Spanish and the Indians only grew. Extending an olive branch, he invited the Spanish to come to his palace on February 4. Seeing an opportunity, Columbus surrounded the palace with soldiers and brought several armed guards with him, and when he entered the palace, all guns turned on Guacanagari, commanding him to convert. A local priest baptized him on the spot so that he would die a Christian. In Columbus’s journals, he confessed that while he sought to overthrow the kingdom for the glory of Spain, he had grown quite fond of Guacanagari as a man and wished to see him die a Christian rather than as a heathen. After the forceful conversion, all men opened fire, and the casecua of Ayiti was dead.

Following the successful coup, Columbus paraded through the streets with Guacanagari’s head, demanding that everyone would either convert and accept his rule or be killed on the spot. With the city having already seen its population cut and severely weakened, Columbus’s relatively tiny force of about 100 men was able to seize control of the city. Columbus assumed that naturally, the rest of the island would succumb to his rule.

Columbus was, of course, dead wrong. Not only did he control little outside of the capital city, but the four local principalities were now independent forces and would not be conquered so easily, requiring him to request a larger armada from Spain to send an army to conquer the remaining kingdoms. The last remaining Taino Kingdom, the Caizcimu Kingdom, would not fall until 1500, and even after that point guerillas would continue to fight their way through the jungles in the center of the island. Columbus would die before seeing the island pacified, being captured, dismembered, and set on fire by a group of Taino militants in 1501. Prior to Columbus, the island had numbered 1.5-2 million inhabitants. By 1520, following pacification and enslavement in pursuit of gold, less than 1,000 remained(2).

Meanwhile, as the Spanish spread throughout the Caribbean, the disease the brough would come further north. It is believed that diseases that had been decimating the people of Ayiti would begin to spread to the North American mainland in early 1494, reaching southern Misia in late January. With the entire empire being highly interconnected due to its riverine transportation network, the disease would begin to ravage the capital in Kahoquah early that summer. The royal family, in particular, was hit quite hard, with Emperor Manawesquah of the Kilsu Dynasty and all but one of his sons dying. Mamantwensah, the surviving 19-year-old son, would become the new emperor.

Immediately, trouble was brewing. In the view of many Misians, Mamantwensah was losing the grace of the Great Spirit. In early 1495, Mikaquah, a general in the north who had been at war with several Ashinabe tribes, had recruited a large army to prepare to march south, hoping to claim the throne for himself and become the new emperor of Misia. Hearing the news, Mamantwensah began to recruit his own army. Initially, there was popular opposition to the current dynasty, as many believed the dynasty had fallen out of grace with the heavens. To win the people over to his side, Mamantwensah knew he would have to come up with a strategy. The resulting plan was to send word to as many villages as possible with the message that all those who fought would be redistributed land from both those who had died of the plague as well as those who refused to fight. In a matter of two months, Mamantwensah assembled a massive force at Kahoquah. In April 1495, Mikaquah surrounded the city with his force not expecting resistance. Mamantwensah’s force stationed within the city walls fended off the attack, while the remainder of his forces successfully surrounded the distracted enemy force, putting them to the sword. Mikaquah was captured and tortured to death in the public square, serving as an example of what happens to those who attempt to overthrow imperial rule.

Throughout the late spring and summer of 1495, Mamantwensah hired an army of surveyors, sent to assess the lands left behind by those who died from the plague. By mid-1496, most of the land had been properly redistributed to the loyal peasantry. As more people continued to die of the plague however, land would continue to be distributed. This would create a system that would have major long-run political and economic effects.

As the Spanish continued to exploit the Caribbean under Columbus’s tyranny, a far more benign navigator arrived in the northeast of the continent. In the late August of 1496, Giovanni Caboto, known in English as John Cabot and in Misian as Shiyowani Kapotwah, arrived on the island of Takamkuk. The island was home to several small Beothuk kingdoms that in reality had rather small populations, and did not have large quantities of goods to trade besides perhaps lumber. Fortunately, what the Beothuks lacked in wealth, they made up for in knowledge. After learning to communicate, Cabot was able to find out about the Wepistuk River, which could be followed inland to the land of Misia. Passing through the river, one could look out on all sides and see vast farmlands and cities, most notable being the Haudenosaunee city of Kawenoteh, an island in the middle of the river that served as a major trading hub. Cabot learned from the locals more information about the river– it opened up to an inland sea known as the Ontario, and the river from the sea further inland could not be navigated, at which point one must cross the territory of either the Hodenosaunee or the Wyandot by foot.
Cabot continued his journey inland until he reached Oswego, a major Haudenosaunee port on Lake Ontario. Following a stream that emptied at the port, he made his way to the city of Onondaga. There he met with the Tadodaho and requested for both passage to the nearest port on Lake Eriron, as well as permission to either commission Haudenosaunee vessels or build his own ship. The issue was brought before the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee, who came to a consensus after a day of debates and negotiations– the English would be granted permission to pass through, establish their own shipyard at the port of Cheektowaga, and even have commissioned a fleet of Haudenosaunee ships for an initial voyage to Misia. In exchange, they were to provide a portion of the Misian and English goods they brought through, as well as horses and firearms. Agreeing to the arrangement, Cabot sailed back to Takamkuk, established the settlement of St. John’s on the island’s southeastern peninsula, and returned to England with news.

In the Spring of 1497, Cabot returned on his second voyage. He first left a third of his fleet of fifteen ships at St John’s on Takamkuk before continuing southwest towards the lands of the Hodenosaunee. He was greeted by several diplomats at Oswego, to whom he provided the horses and firearms that were promised. He then went to the town of Ongniara, a town on the eastern bank of the river of the same way that could not be navigated due to the massive waterfall in the middle. Travelling by horse, Cabot arrived at the port of Cheektagowa. Half of the expedition stayed behind at Cheektogawa to establish the English shipyard. The other half took the trade goods brought from England and loaded them onto six Haudenosaunee trade ships, captained by local sailors of the Wenro nation.

The voyage made its way to the city of Sandusti on the coast of Lake Eriron, a major Misian port on the lake with its natural harbor. For guns, books, woolen cloth, horses, livestock, and other goods, they received silk, yaupon, tobacco, wine, maple syrup, furs, and spices. Pleased with their haul, Cabot returned to the Haudenosaunee, and then to England.

Meanwhile, the voyages of Cabot would bring another, this time smaller wave of disease to the continent, albeit not matching the death toll of the initial wave. Still, the 22-year-old Emperor Mamantwensah managed to remain popular through his continuing policy of land redistribution. By the end of the century, the impact of disease was clear– Kilsu Misia had seen its population decrease from an estimated 60 million to only around 16 million.

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1- Cap-Haitien, Haiti
2- This number does not include those who inter-mixed with the Spanish or the small number that had converted and adopted Spanish culture, being counted among the mestizo population.
 
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I like it! The writing is very accessible, especially if don’t want a prolonged prehistory on the development of agriculture. One bit might be footnoting some more of the alt-location names just at first introduction. Many are self-explanatory but wasn’t sure on some.

I’m curious if with more domestication, are there any resistances or other diseases that developed in America. Additionally on how religious practices work.
 
I'll second that, @Neoteros

This is a pretty interesting timeline, especially since Misia seems (insofar as is possible) to not have collapsed from the plagues yet. And the notion of earlier, prolonged non-Spanish/Portuguese settlement in the Americas, even if in building trading posts and relatively benign exploration under Cabot here, is a big plus in my book. Makes me wonder how North America will end up in the long run!
 
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I like it! The writing is very accessible, especially if don’t want a prolonged prehistory on the development of agriculture. One bit might be footnoting some more of the alt-location names just at first introduction. Many are self-explanatory but wasn’t sure on some.

I’m curious if with more domestication, are there any resistances or other diseases that developed in America. Additionally on how religious practices work.
Cheektowaga is basically Buffalo, New York. Cahoqua corresponds with the location of the Cahokia mounds site across the river from St. Louis. Onandaga is the capital of the Haudenosaunee, roughly around Syracuse, NY. Also the Wepistuk River is the St. Lawrence, Takamcook is Newfoundland, and Sandusti is Sandusky, OH.
 
What sort of language do the Misians speak? I want to say it looks vaguely Algonquian, given the prevalence of "kwa/qua" in the names you've given so far, but there's the possibility that's borrowed.
 
What sort of language do the Misians speak? I want to say it looks vaguely Algonquian, given the prevalence of "kwa/qua" in the names you've given so far, but there's the possibility that's borrowed.
Good catch! It's primarily influenced by Illinois-Miami, although some dialects take some influence from the old southern languages. Mobile in this TL, for example, will still be called "Mabila" even though the b sound doesn't exist in Algonquin languages.
 
So is this like your earlier Amerindian TL, but "cut to the chase" so to speak? I'm interested, I always like the "clash of civilisations" aspect like in Lands of Red and Gold or other "alternate civilisations" TLs.

I take it the "Hill Tribes" in the southern Appalachians were subdued, hence why they don't appear on the map? I can imagine they'd be a hotbed of rebellion given the geography and the OTL history of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee, etc. AH.com likes to compare a "successful" Mississippian civilisation to China, but I think the South and Appalachia would be their equivalent of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangdong/Guangxi and easily fragment off. OTL, the South in the early 16th century had incredible linguistic and ethnic diversity.

How many local cultures survived the Ileni conquest? Did the Yuchi in OTL Tennessee survive? I think most of Tennessee and northern Alabama has great terrain for defense despite the rivers thanks to all the hills, and I'd love to see a resurgence of local kingdoms/rebels in that region. Without a doubt I think Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Nashville, TN would be important centers in this region.

What is happening in California and the Pacific Northwest? The Eastern Agricultural Complex would do well, especially supplemented with a few domesticates. I imagine they'd to a degree still rely on camas, wapato, and Lomatium (biscuitroot) given how old that tradition and how it can be incorporated in any horticultural/agricultural system but they would love metallurgy and knowledge of dam/canal construction. I think in a lot of TLs that region would be akin to Germany/Eastern Europe IOTL as a late developing but still very successful region which plays a huge role in its own right. Although I think compared to the Mississippi Basin, the Plains, or the Southwest/Oasisamerica, it's comparing medieval Europe to medieval India or medieval China. It would be an incredibly distinct region.
The people collected honey from stingless bees
Which species is this? To my knowledge, stingless bees don't range north of Latin America and aren't found in the United States, especially not in the Mississippi Basin. Although I don't deny a chance introduction of Maya beekeeping to the area with knowledge of how to protect the bees from the cold winters and spring frosts common in the OTL US South.
 
So is this like your earlier Amerindian TL, but "cut to the chase" so to speak? I'm interested, I always like the "clash of civilisations" aspect like in Lands of Red and Gold or other "alternate civilisations" TLs.
I enjoyed writing Tahkoxia, and it's a topic I may revisit some day in redux. The original timeline had its flaws, and I feel like it is just easier to focus on a story a bit closer to our own timeline, so I decided to focus on a TL where there is a more modest Mississippian cradle of civilization.

I take it the "Hill Tribes" in the southern Appalachians were subdued, hence why they don't appear on the map? I can imagine they'd be a hotbed of rebellion given the geography and the OTL history of West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee, etc. AH.com likes to compare a "successful" Mississippian civilisation to China, but I think the South and Appalachia would be their equivalent of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangdong/Guangxi and easily fragment off. OTL, the South in the early 16th century had incredible linguistic and ethnic diversity.

How many local cultures survived the Ileni conquest? Did the Yuchi in OTL Tennessee survive? I think most of Tennessee and northern Alabama has great terrain for defense despite the rivers thanks to all the hills, and I'd love to see a resurgence of local kingdoms/rebels in that region. Without a doubt I think Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Nashville, TN would be important centers in this region.
While there is of course greater homogeneity than other regions of the Americas due to the flat terrain, river system, and to a lesser extent elk carts, there is obviously still a degree of diversity. As mentioned, some southern place names, like "Mabila", are maintained, even if they don't make sense in the Hileni (Illinois) language. Groups like the Karankawa often cycle between independence and Misian rule, as do the groups in the Floridian peninsula. Of course, hills and other areas less easily accessed by rivers are less fully assimilated, although there are significant inroads into control of both Alabama and Tennessee with both the Mobile and Tennessee Rivers being highways for imperial control. But yeah, generally the people living closest to the major rivers and maritime routes are most assimilated.

What is happening in California and the Pacific Northwest? The Eastern Agricultural Complex would do well, especially supplemented with a few domesticates. I imagine they'd to a degree still rely on camas, wapato, and Lomatium (biscuitroot) given how old that tradition and how it can be incorporated in any horticultural/agricultural system but they would love metallurgy and knowledge of dam/canal construction. I think in a lot of TLs that region would be akin to Germany/Eastern Europe IOTL as a late developing but still very successful region which plays a huge role in its own right. Although I think compared to the Mississippi Basin, the Plains, or the Southwest/Oasisamerica, it's comparing medieval Europe to medieval India or medieval China. It would be an incredibly distinct region.
The east coast is in many ways similar to Medieval Europe, which is sort of a product of Geography. Rather than having a single wide river basin, there is a relatively small coastal plain with a few small rivers. Again, without horses, transportation is more difficult, but small states and kingdoms are able to emerge.
Oasisamerica is sort of like a more divided Middle East. Rather than having a bunch of large empires, the rough landscape and lack of horses or camels separates a lot of groups from one another. The one particularly large state is Kutsan on the lower Colorado and Gila rivers, which is basically the most advanced state in the region.
The west coast is interesting. It of course receives some Misian and Mesoamerican influence, but this is filtered by whatever gets through Oasisamerica. Misia can't reach the region by sea, and most Mesoamerican maritime activity is focused on the Gulf and the Caribbean.
 
Unfortunatly the New World nations appear to not possess gunpowder, although they most likely have the knowledge of iron/metal working. But they did gain some firearms from foreign trading; maybe they already have gunpowder, it's just that they haven't created any guns yet?
 
Unfortunatly the New World nations appear to not possess gunpowder, although they most likely have the knowledge of iron/metal working. But they did gain some firearms from foreign trading; maybe they already have gunpowder, it's just that they haven't created any guns yet?
They don't, strictly, need gunpowder to be militarily competitive. Gunpowder weapons are themselves still in their infancy, and handguns in particular are rare and not terribly advanced. They're a shock, certainly, but they're manageable.

If Misian metallurgy is up to the task of competing with European weapons and armor. The first two posts don't answer what state Misian metallurgical knowledge is in. That was the bigger disadvantage in this time period.
 
What's the PoD?
The PoD isn't any particular moment in time. Rather, it's the development of a more advanced culture in the Mississippi River Basin earlier on. The two big notable differences however are the domestication of manoomin (wild rice) and the Three Sisters arriving in the region thousands of years earlier.
 
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