WI The Columbian Expedition was a complete failure?

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

  1. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

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    Because that's what actually happened. The main force of the Aztec army was from the core of the empire. This whole time you've been demonstrating a very poor understanding for how the Aztec empire actually worked or even what it was. The Mexica, Acolhua, and Tepaneca supplied more warriors than anyone else. I don't know why you seem to think all "Aztecs" were effete noblemen sitting in offices either. Most of them were commoners who were trained to fight from childhood and even the nobles were expected to fight and given military training as well. Priesthood does not exempt one from service either, these aren't Christian monks.
     
  2. Winnabago Banned

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    Priesthood does exempt one from campaigns, because you’re busy priesting it out. Same thing with bureaucrats.

    You don’t get it. This is a natural process, that comes with having a capital with an extremely high population that needs to be managed. If for some reason the Aztecs refused to do this, you’ve made yourself a very disorganized capital.
     
  3. 9 Fanged Hummingbird Some Random Guy

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    *headdesk*

    No, you don't get it. You insist on arguing about a subject which you very clearly have no understanding of. You keep using stereotypes or ideas based on foreign cultures which have no relation to what we're talking about to continually drone on about a very silly, nonsensical point that is completely off topic. Here I would advise anyone who would continue to debate with you to not do so because you will never give up on this crusade and will just continue to say the same thing without any sources or knowledge backing you up. I'm just shouting at a brick wall here and I apologize to the OP for aiding in dragging this thread so off-topic with such a vain effort to make you see reason.
     
  4. Winnabago Banned

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    That’s all very interesting, but this topic is about the Columbian Expedition failing, no matter how much you wish to make it about me. I suggest PMs for that.

    Also, what sort of cultures would you say I am referring to?
     
  5. Hnau free radical

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    Hey, at least there's more pages on this thread which will attract more attention... Thanks guys! ;)
     
  6. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    Hopefully what good things have been added make up for the silliness of the argument.

    One thing I can think of - if Columbus fails, the term "Columbia" probably doesn't exist. Yes, this is obvious, but the point is that even names are going to be different.

    It's only a detail, but it's a significant one, and especially if the Aztecs don't fall to the first European invaders and similar. Semi-respected native kingdoms will make a stronger distinction between those groups acknowledged as civilized and those which...aren't. So how the Americas will be seen at the time and by history could change drastically.

    OTL seems to have seen it all washed away as the civilizations in a position to be treated as polities got conquered, so it didn't come up. Here...it might.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2012
  7. Yelnoc Negusa Nagast

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    So, how likely is it that the Portuguese don't go conquistador on the Aztecs, assuming it is them who first make contact? I think the fact that Portugal was not as heavily involved in Reconquista as Spain (which had just wiped out Granada when Columbus set sail) will make them less agressive, at least at first. However, with all of those precious metals lying around, tempting them, and the European advantages when it comes to warfare, I don't know how long that could last. Not to mention Spain might try to go in and take over that region anyways. In that scenario, would Portugal fight Spain in alliance with the Aztecs? That's an interesting scenario, particularly if the war plays out in Iberia.
     
  8. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    I would say less likely all things being even, but a Cortez like individual doesn't seem that much less likely.

    As for the precious metals: They might see it as easier to acquire it via trade, and sending a real army across the Atlantic would be a sizable feat of logistics (dauntingly so).

    As for Spain...that gets interesting, but I'm not sure what would happen. Beyond my understanding to guess.
     
  9. Hnau free radical

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    If the 1507 Spanish expedition takes a southerly route but still winds up in a slightly more northerly direction, and they follow the Gulf Stream north rather than explore to the south, then the voyage of Rodrigo de Bastidas might look something like this. They first sight land in northern Florida, they explore the Sea Islands, then eventually they find safe harbor in the Chesapeake and trade a bit with the pre-Powhatan Algonquin Indians, then they return home.

    NOTE: Some of those waters around the Carolinas were pretty dangerous with shoals and what-not... I'm guessing at least two ships sink or are shipwrecked. Let's say that most the sailors on these two ships die, but some of them make it to shore, eventually meet up with the natives, and at least one of them pulls a Gonzalo Guerrero among the Amerindians of South Carolina. Agreed? Now... it would be interesting if this person ended up being Balboa or Cortes...

    Bastidas Voyage.png
     
  10. Swan Station Under a hatch

    Ah... then our differences are merely in the precision of words. Technically, that doesn't say it was a hurricane, just a "storm that threatened to capsize the two caravels" (wiki's words). And, I imagine that the 15th century Spanish would not have cared what 20th century meteorologists would have called it, it's still a nasty storm. I never said the Atlantic was perfectly calm in February, just that hurricanes are rare.


    But, it's my understanding that the trade winds don't blow you to Florida, they blow you into the Carribean. I'm no meteorologist, climatologist, sailor or even a resident of the Atlantic coast, so anyone can correct me if I'm wrong and I won't argue.
     
  11. Yelnoc Negusa Nagast

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    I'm no meteorologist, but if this map is anything to go by, that scenario is possible.

    [​IMG]

    Hnau, what if one of the surviving shipwrecked sailors was the carrier of a disease, perhaps measles? I wonder what the effect of just measles introduced on a population would be; of course the natives died massively due to epidemics (I've seen estimates that up to 90% died) but that includes all diseases. Also, does anyone know if the Europeans had by this point developed any effective methods of combating measles or other diseases the natives would find deadly, methods that our adopted sailor(s) might introduce to the local populations?
     
  12. Hnau free radical

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    Done. One of the shipwrecked sailors has measles and introduces the disease to the Amerindians in the *South Carolina area. I wonder what might happen there... As to your last question, I have no idea what kind of 16th century medical technology would have been used against measles.

    Hey, I really don't know, but Columbus did use the word "hurricane" as well as "storm" to refer to the meteorological event that happened in February of 1493. I don't care what it was, it just provides us with our Point of Divergence.

    Considering that on Columbus's first voyage his caravels sailed almost directly west from the Canary Islands and he first sighted land in the Bahamas, I don't think it would be too out of the ordinary for Rodrigo de Bastidas to wind up a hundred kilometers northward, bypassing the Bahamas straight to Florida.
     
  13. Yelnoc Negusa Nagast

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    Here is what Wikipedia has to say on measles introduced to the Old World.

    Now, the source cited after that entry doesn't actually say that (or if it does I can't find where) so take that with a grain of salt. Regardless, it's evident that this will be devastating and not just to the Carolina natives. All of the Eastern North America was linked through extensive trade routes centered on the Mississippi River.

    Now, if we can delay the second contact by a decade or two, will have burned out its epidemic and while the populations will not nearly have recovered, some cushion is a better scenario then no cushion.

    I was looking around for medieval European treatments for measles and apparently the only thing that can help in the pre-antibiotic age is a lot of rest. However, I did find this site which claims the following.

    I can't vouch for the validity of that site either, and I think we can all agree that Native Americans in 1507 would have been more severely affected than the "most people" referred to in the quote. However, I don't think we necessarily need to assume measles kills off half of all eastern North American populations.

    Does anyone else have more reliable data on how various diseases affected the natives?
     
  14. Hnau free radical

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    As it is, I'm guessing from a general map of Amerindian trade routes that the Coosa, Caddo Confederacies, the Algonquian alliances and the Haudenosaunee are definitely affected by the 1507 measles outbreak, though it'll take time to spread to their areas. It seems like fatalities were about 50% so I'll go with that number. Most regions from Florida to the Mississippi River valley to New England experience the die-off, but it doesn't skip over to Mesoamerica or the Caribbean islands.
     
  15. Yelnoc Negusa Nagast

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    Why not? The Caribbean was thriving with trade at this point in history, facilitated by Mayan merchants in dugouts as long as galleys. The map you linked indicates that the Mayans traded turtles and bird feathers with the Caribbean peoples, and from there it certainly would have been carried into Mesoamerica by traders, and likely would have reached the Incas a year or two after sweeping through the Yucatan on the clothes of traders. I might make a "spread of measles" map at some point, if I ever have some free time.
     
  16. Cuāuhtemōc Twitter fiend

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    Huayna Capac and his son caught smallpox and died in 1525 while campaigning in Colombia, it was the same wave of smallpox that hit Mexico in 1520. It would take only a couple of years for any disease that hits Mesoamerica to strike at the Andean peoples.
     
  17. Hnau free radical

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    Hey, if you want to make a map for it, then let's do it. ;) Measles hit the Caribbean and then the Yucatan, then Mesoamerica and eventually the Incans. In OTL, it took a while for diseases to hit the mainland of the Americas, after European colonies had already been established... here ITTL it would be quite different, with diseases racing ahead of European discovery even more than OTL. It's something different, so let's go for it. :)
     
  18. Snake Featherston Banned

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    If ancient-tech history has one lesson it's that empires doom themselves, and the nomads are just a part of that process and actually attempt to recreate the Empires. There is all of one case where there was an exception to this rule: the Mongols. And that was because Genghis Khan brought modern warfare's precursor to the Medieval era.

    Especially given how civilizations in a pre-modern sense treated hostile nomads: terminate with extreme prejudice. This is an old school fight here, with plenty of equivalents in the Old World. This in practice would be at the very most the Marcommanic Wars and that would be stretching things.
     
  19. Snake Featherston Banned

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    Are we talking about the Bourbons, the First Republic, First Empire, the Restored Bourbons, the Hundred Days Bonapartist Regime, the July Monarchy, the Second Empire, the Third Republic, Free France, Vichy France, the Fourth Republic, or the Fifth Republic when we say France?
     
  20. Elfwine Byzantophilic Brony

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    Yeah. If the Aztec are as f--ked over internally as the WRE was, or the perfect scenario the Arabs ran into in the North (relative to the Arabian peninsula) - unlikely given the lack of an equivalent Two Empires Mutually Exhausting Themselves - there might be more. Otherwise, nomads alone are not enough, barring Mongol style invaders as you noted.

    Even in the best possible scenario for the nomads, there's not enough of them to establish themselves on top of the heap, and failing that, the Aztecs remain the most powerful of the potential hegemons (since their tributaries will be bleeding at the hands of said nomads too, maybe more so as they're the ones more exposed, not the Aztec core).

    It would be fairly easy, relatively speaking, for the Aztec to have a civil war. Going from there to Imperial Fail is going to be harder - even if the Aztec tributaries temporally break free, what's to stop the Aztecs once they have their act together from re-imposing control?