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View Diary: Indians 201: American Indians and European Diseases (63 comments)

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  •  Jared Diamond (8+ / 0-)

    Many archaeologists strongly object to many of Diamond's conclusions, pointing out errors in the data he presents. I have preferred to stay out of this debate as he does present some ideas which should be considered, but does appear to be uninformed in other areas.

    Corn, beans, and squash--the basic North American agricultural package--seems to have been well-suited ecologically for the area and produced calories with relatively little labor. This agricultural package was in place for many centuries before the beginning of the European invasion.

    •  but it supported no societey (0+ / 0-)

      but id supported no societey able to withstand European advance - which puts your claim in doubt.

      It did not even produce a society at par with the Inka and Aztec empires in middle and South America.

      If you follow the logic that efficient agriculture creates enough surplus calories to make division of labor possible, and division of labor is the cornerstone upon which civilization can develop, then, apparently, squash and beans weren't up for the task.

      To put it bluntly, had Northern American societes had had professional artists, soldiers, artisans and merchants, and the political infrastructure that goes with this kind of society, they could have possibly withstood that first, easy assault by Europeans and prevailed.

      •  The Aztecs HAD all that, and it did them no good (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa

        for two reasons: they also had a fanatical death-cult religion which made all their neighbors hate their guts, and they had absolutely no defenses whatsoever against smallpox - which, of course, the Conquistadors brought with them as an invisible, unintentional, but devastatingly effective "fifth column".

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 12:38:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  except they had all of these (5+ / 0-)
        To put it bluntly, had Northern American societes had had professional artists, soldiers, artisans and merchants, and the political infrastructure that goes with this kind of society, they could have possibly withstood that first, easy assault by Europeans and prevailed.

        "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" -Prof. Farnsworth "I prefer to be a total bitch about my science"--me

        by terrypinder on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 01:03:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Mexico is part of North America. And, yes, (5+ / 0-)

        the Mississippian societies certainly had division of labor, artisans, artists, long distance traders, hierarchical social structures.  Many of them had already collapsed for other reasons before the European invasions.  Further, native peoples did withstand the European invasions at first. The Iroquois, the Powhattan to name but a few.

        •  Miigwech. (6+ / 0-)

          The statement of the commenter to whom you and terrypinder replied is not merely insulting, but profoundly ignorant.

          Perhaps s/he should talk to Wings, who could document for him or her just how sophisticated and "professional" an "infrastructure" his own people have had for more than 1,000 years.  Not that he'd waste time on it, because we've both long since learned to recognize when someone is wedded to his or her ignorance.

          Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

          by Aji on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 05:49:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, so did the Aztecs during the... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          navajo, Portlaw, Ojibwa, Kitsap River

          ...first round. Cortes and his band of Spaniards and Indians allies barely survived. But then they returned.

          The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 08:28:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a very complicated story (0+ / 0-)

            and any gamer is driven to the conclusion that Cortez rolled a couple of natural 20s at crucial moments. :-) It could so easily have gone the other way...and what might have happened then?

            The Cortez expedition was staged from Cuba and financed from Spain. Would there have been willingness to mount another one after the failure of the first? (The governor of Cuba tried, but failed, to stop Cortez from setting out in the first place - he was "for it before he was against it", in modern parlance.)

            If the Mesoamericans had had even a decade or two to themselves, would they have been able to regroup and hold off any other prospective invaders?

            Food for thought for people constructing alternate histories....

            \

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 11:05:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  alternative to what? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ojibwa

              White European history?

              History is written by the "winners" after all, right?

              In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

              by vcmvo2 on Sat Nov 19, 2011 at 02:17:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Guess you never considered writing fiction at all (0+ / 0-)

                because the point went whizzing right over your head.

                "Alternate history" is a popular science-fiction genre, and every once in a while somebody plays around with what-ifs involving the Native Americans. What if they had been solidly contacted much earlier, by the Carthaginians or some other pre-Roman seafaring peoples? What if it was the Romans who made the contact? What if the Norse had been able to sustain their colonies? (See a couple of Poul Anderson stories, among other works.) What if Cortez' conquest had failed? (Andre Norton's Quest Crosstime does an interesting job of extrapolating from this hypothesis.)

                If it's
                Not your body
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                AND it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Sat Nov 19, 2011 at 11:38:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh I got your point (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ojibwa, Kitsap River

                  history has always been fiction written by the "victors." You went way out of your way to make your point. I don't really see why you need to promote your point as if it's the only pov out there.

                  In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

                  by vcmvo2 on Sun Nov 20, 2011 at 01:11:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  just looked it up (0+ / 0-)

      highly productive corn became widely used around 900-1000.

      While 6 centuries probably counts as many in most contexts, it counts less in terms of civilization development.

      But I should have looked it up before writing, and given it precisely.

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