WI The Columbian Expedition was a complete failure?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Hnau, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    Interesting.

    Sounds like a fairly stable situation as long as the Aztecs are capable of being top dogs - meaning, as long as they're the strongest in the area, they can get away with this. Once they're not, someone will try to take that position.

    But not so much resentment of being their subjects as wanting to be the ones collecting tribute instead.
     
  2. Winnabago Banned

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    So why exactly did it even necessitate conquest? Were the Aztecs an empire, or a nation-state, as you portray them?

    Also, why was anyone willing to leave the side of the Aztecs if what you say is true?
     
  3. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Precisely. :)

    Now the one group of people I can see possibly conquering the Aztecs would be the Tarascans to the northeast of their Empire. The Aztecs and Tarascans were bitter rivals and had wars every so often, with the Tarascans easily and quickly beating back the several attempts by Montezuma and his predecessors to expand to their territories, often gaining land themselves. Once Montezuma is dead either through natural causes or murdered and his son in law Atlixcatzin succeeds to the throne, others have mentioned that there might be a rival contender or two to the throne, supported by the nobility. Tzuiangua, the leader of the Tarascan state, would not die due to the outbreak of smallpox due to the delayed arrival of the Europeans, and he would be in charge, instead of his young, naive son Tzintzicha Tangaxoan. War can be expected.
     
  4. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    They were neither. It was more of a hegemony by Tenochtitlan and their two lesser partners. The Aztecs as I mentioned saw themselves as a distinct, higher group of people that the people that they ruled over though they weren't a nation-state.

    Oh I don't know, because they saw the Spaniards as a means to liberate themselves from Aztec hegemony and perhaps impose their own rule. It was the intention of the Tlaxcallan leadership who wanted to take over the entire empire for themselves but Cortes did not let that happen.
     
  5. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

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    Conquest was waged for tribute. They were a hegemonical empire, just like every other empire in Mesoamerica. They wouldn't qualify for a nation-state in any case since they weren't one nationality, the Aztec empire was properly known as the Triple Alliance, which was the alliance between Tenochtitlan, Texcoco, and Tlacopan. All three of them were composed of different tribes, the Mexica, Acolhua, and Tepaneca. Sometimes people revolted over issues like deciding they didn't want to pay more tribute, but that wasn't often since the threat of force was enough to keep them in line. That, and they conquered a fair number of non-Nahua peoples.
     
  6. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

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    Personally I think the Tarascans are overrated. They weren't particularly large, the land they inhabited was not very densely populated and to the extent of my knowledge they only had one real city. That, and they were pretty much on the far western frontier of Mesoamerica. Internal collapse I think would be more likely than a successful Tarascan invasion.
     
  7. Winnabago Banned

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    Then it seems clear that the same would occur with any enterprising nomadic tribal invader, of which Mesoamerica had regularly.
     
  8. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Name one specifically that could, if you can.
     
  9. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    I don't know much on Mesoamerica, but I think it's telling that it takes a new element, a foreign element with strange powers - for people to say "Hey, these guys might be a good chance to rock the boat." OTL, that is.

    Not just a nomadic invader.
     
  10. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    The people of Mesoamerica, not just the Aztecs, had a rather negative view of the people living to the far northern parts of Mexico. They viewed them the same way as the Greeks and Romans referred to the Gauls and Germanic tribes, barbarians.
     
  11. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

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    You mean the Chichimecs? You think the nomads from the far desert with a very sparse population and primitive lifestyle could just walk across the desert and the Aztecs' vassals would just rise up because they decided having a couple hundred nomads with crappy weapons and no armor and no method of organization might join them?
    Yeah, the Spaniards weren't just random nomads. And even then were initially contested by the Tlaxcallans. They fought a few engagements with them before realizing they could be very useful, and for a while Cortez operated as part of the native army and command structure, using native tactics with some adaptations for the most part.

    @Cuauhtemoc: Yeah, a bit funny how Chichimec sounds like dog-people, how much of a coincidence is that? :p Though it was massive hypocrisy on the part of the Mexica, to be sure.
     
  12. Winnabago Banned

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    You mean, disregarding the large number of tough, combat-orieted tribes in the Sonoran who would notice a wealthy land with subjects itching to revolt?

    Seriously, don’t underestimate the Chichimecs. The Aztecs came from the north as well.

    Point being, a distraction for the Aztecs is a chance for rebellion for the provinces sick of giving tribute to a bloated system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  13. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Without numbers and a lack of organization, that doesn't amount to much.
     
  14. Winnabago Banned

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    Unless you’re the Aztecs. Then, it amounts to a lot.

    Seriously, never underestimate warlike tribesmen. If ancient-tech history has one lesson, that would be it.
     
  15. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    It also has the lesson that they only overthrow established states/empires when those states/empires are weak(er).

    And so far, we don't have anything particularly convincing on that being the case. The subjects of the Aztecs aren't thrilled at being at not being the ones in charge. That doesn't mean they're looking for a chance to rebel, since the people who would be itching to rebel are also the people the Aztecs are recruiting - meaning, they have no reason to mind, they're high and mighty in the current system.

    Obviously this doesn't mean it couldn't happen, just that it would take more than just warlike tribesmen showing up to make it happen.
     
  16. Winnabago Banned

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    If the ones itching to rebel are getting recruited into the Aztec bureaucracy (presumably built around moving tribute from the provinces to the Aztec core) isn’t that a bit of a bad plan to have when the Aztec government’s appeasement of the Tenochtitlan masses depends upon those tributes?

    Assuming what you’ve said is true, you’ve made a nation on a perpetual, ever-more-precarious tipping point as the capital’s population grows, even assuming no Chicamec invasion. No amount of acculturation can defeat individual optimization.

    My prediction: Raiders show up. The Aztecs call for troops, only a few come, the rest defending their towns or calling out for corn and sacrifices. Everybody realizes at once that the Aztecs have no power. The end.
     
  17. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Tenochtitlan and the other two members of the Mexica Triple Alliance alone could summon tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of warriors, more so than the tribes living in the north who at most had 10,000 people in total. It's not going to make much of a dent.
     
  18. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    No, because the ones who would be itching to rebel are part of the ones who like things working as they are.

    So the Aztecs have made a hegemony based on being the strongest power in the area, those who would be leaders of opposition are part of the Aztec system and have no reason to want it changed (as their position wouldn't change for the better at all), and all the tribute payers are beatable.

    So raiders show up, they may inflict some damage or they may be beaten off, and the system continues because they've done nothing to shake it up.
     
  19. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

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    Large number? There were quite a few tribes up there, but they weren't populous, they were desert nomads only barely eking out a living trying to survive in the desert, they weren't on the verge of toppling empires with a couple hundred warriors not used to real, full-scale warfare. And that the Aztecs (not clear if you mean Mexica or Nahua in general) came from the north means very little here. The Nahua aren't the Chichimecs, and the Mexica were one tribe of Chichimecs (perhaps a very large one) that got bullied and beaten around when they came to Mexico fighting against a kingdom much weaker than the Triple Alliance.

    Point being, a Chichimec invasion wouldn't be a distraction for the Aztecs. It'd be a minor incident some governor on the frontier heard about the neighboring states dealing with before he decided whether it was noticeable enough to tell someone from the Valley about. It's like saying a spark of drug violence in Alaska would signal the doom of the USA.
     
  20. Winnabago Banned

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    You can only summon tens of thousands of soldiers in a time of war, which had ended mostly with the reign of Montezuma. Otherwise, the people will keep going soft off the constant influx of tribute. By soft, I mean that they would stop specializing in war.

    @9 Fanged Hummingbird: It would most definitely spell the downfall of the USA if the president not only had little control over the states, but the states were also desirous of rebellion.

    It’s like saying a Mongol invasion of China is impossible, if most of the Chinese provinces want an excuse to rebel against China and the Chinese government is highly complacent.