WI: Columbus stranded in the new world

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by CELTICEMPIRE, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. CELTICEMPIRE Well-Known Member

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    So let's say for whatever reason Columbus survives the voyage to the Americas but his ships are so badly damaged that they cannot return home. What do Columbus and his men do? How do they interact with the natives? How long until another European explorer stumbles upon them?
     
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  2. CELTICEMPIRE Well-Known Member

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    Bump
     
  3. A Most Sovereign Lady Princess of the Kingdom of Maryland

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    They expected him to get lost and die anyway. There's a reason no one else would fund him.
     
  4. Lusitania Well-Known Member

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    The e petition be written off and nothing would be done for about 10 years. Then when news the Portuguese discovered land to west (sailing to India) there would be renewed interest with a host of countries trying to figure out what was there.
     
  5. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    Spain would assume he either died or couldn't get back. Someone else will try eventually and will replace Columbus in the historical record.
     
  6. Alexander Helios Pre-Columbian Satan

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    Depends on where they get stranded. Do you have any thoughts in that regard? Answers will vary greatly if he gets stuck in the Bahamas vs say, Hispaniola.
     
  7. 173rd LRRP Well-Known Member

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    Probably similar to Cabeza de Vaca’s experience. The indigenous told them to either get lost or become slaves/servants. They catch local diseases and die or are worked to death
     
  8. CELTICEMPIRE Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking Hispaniola.
     
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  9. SunKing105 Well-Known Member

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    Columbus and his men probably disappear without a trace and later the Portuguese will stumble upon Brazil as OTL, meaning that the initial area of colonization is farther away from the most advanced native polities, giving them time to weather the worst of the plagues and possibly adopt horses.
     
  10. CELTICEMPIRE Well-Known Member

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    So there's no chance of Columbus and his men integrating with the locals?
     
  11. liqmadiqkhan Active Member

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    Maybe the Incas, but horse trade across the Amazon all the way into Mexico seems ASB.
     
  12. twovultures Best leagues are NFL, FIFA, and Shmalkaldic

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    Columbus? Probably not. He was a glory hound, and did everything to give himself a political advantage even if he did not have the wherewithal to use that advantage fully; eventually, if nothing else, the local caciques he might ally himself with would pick up on this and kill him as a potential rival before he got out of hand.

    At least some of his men would integrate with the Arawaks; with knowledge of navigation, shipbuilding/maintenance, sails, etc. they would contribute something to the native cultures they integrated with, if only for a few decades before a second wave of colonialism crushes them.
     
  13. CELTICEMPIRE Well-Known Member

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    The last part interests me greatly, and it would be interesting to see what happens when the Europeans get there.
     
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  14. chornedsnorkack Well-Known Member

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    So WI Nina also does not get Columbus´ orders to change course?


    Result being that Nina stays with Pinta, and returns with Pinzon to Europe as per OTL... while Columbus and Santa Maria get themselves shipwrecked as per OTL. Not having Nina to escape, Columbus is stuck. The surviving Pinzons come back, but they have no specific clue where Columbus may have been lost.
     
  15. Magnum Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't they have established themselves as the upper cast on some random Carribbean island?
     
  16. chornedsnorkack Well-Known Member

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    The 40 men Columbus stranded at La Navidad tried to.
    They did not survive the attempt.
    With Columbus personally among those left behind (but same number of people), would he have done better?
     
  17. WilliamOfOckham Frog Emoji

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    I've always thought it was very unfair that a bunch of soft Mediterraneans got the glory of the final discovery of America when grizzled northern fishermen were well aware of the cod seas and could have, given a decade or two more, easily pushed on to find, chart, and eventually settle the northeastern coasts - and we could have had an America named "Newfoundland", as is proper, rather than after some B-list Italian explorer whose book a random German cartographer really liked.

    If we assume that Columbus' silence deters Iberian-funded explorers from embarking on the same, apparently suicidal, adventure, then the completely different direction of European conquest has massive knock-on effects for the natives and Euro-Americans both. Eastern Canada was, obviously, far less populated than the Caribbean and not really good for much save fish and putting undesirables somewhere, plus it didn't happen to be a perfect staging ground to conquer an immensely rich empire that was in constant crisis and despised by all of its neighbours. If Spain and Portugal only hear about the Americas from the English saying "so much cod!!! not much otherwise", then they'll probably delay significant investment for a little while and end up starting off in Brazil, rather than the Caribbean. So the original wave of Europeans lands in two places - Newfoundland (which might, in a nice twist of history, be called "Brasil") and Bahia - neither of which is anywhere near Central America, where the OTL Europeans pulled off the ridiculous stuff that eventually landed them total control over both continents.

    The native peoples of the Caribbean, unfortunately, are still pretty much screwed; there's really no way to stop that in a timeline beginning after, like, 1000 AD. But Mesoamerica and the Andes are a lot more promising. The Aztecs are still going to collapse, and spectacularly, but having them collapse solely due to neighbouring rivals and not an alien power is going to be interesting - and probably a lot better for native Mexicans in the very long run, since we can assume the European conquistadors actually benefited from fighting a single hegemonic state instead of groping around in the total chaos that a post-Aztec Meosamerica would be. Then the conquest of Peru was just dumb luck and wouldn't be reproduced (as such) in 9/10 timelines. If either is to be conquered (Mesoamerica quite likely anyway, Peru maybe not), expect them to be more "India" than, well, "America": trading posts, missionaries, native collaborators, officers taking the initiative, and a gradual, sleepwalking conquest rather than a coup de grace. And that's not even getting into the native peoples of North America, who will have an interesting time of history to say the least.

    1492 is the best PoD. It's the last time in history when a couple of simple, extremely plausible departures could have produced a completely unrecognisable world.
     
  18. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    There is a low level publishing industry of speculation on what happened to the 'explorer who disappeared'. Maybe there are TV documentaries revolving around what happened to this obscure & expensive failure of 1492.
     
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  19. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

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    In terms of geopolitics, I imagine he winds up in a similar way to Madoc ap Owain Gwynned (Assuming he even existed);

    In a couple decades, once the Portugese find Brazil, the Iberian Monarchs'll use him to claim land in the New World
     
  20. Umbral Member Monthly Donor

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    Very, very much this.

    Also: Colombus glowing descriptions of all the gold, silver, hard-working but docile natives, etc etc he'd found (he was lying), combined with the fact that lter expedidition really did find gold and silver in vast amounts is what started the European craze for far-away lands.

    The letter was reprinted so many times it was really the first meme. Read excerpts (translated) here.

    If the Americas is explored by someone more truthful in their letter-writing, colonialism takes off much more slowly all over the world.

    Also, the waves of disease will roll ahead of the Europeans, meaning they will not hit at the same time. European advance may even be much slower since they will not find roads and towns but wilderness.

    An interesting thought I've had regarding a discovery from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and their vast cod resources: Cod was the backbone of the Hansa. They would have been very interested. A timeline where Hansa towns and factories dot the east coast of Newfoundland would be very interesting.