The Native American Empire?

Discussion in 'History' started by Ayodhya, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. spidergoat alien lie form Valued Senior Member

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    Bison are rather wild and ornery animals, difficult to domesticate, I doubt they would take well to the plow. Wikipedia says they can jump 6 feet vertically, and they can break through most kinds of fencing.
     
  2. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    If I remember correctly, Hovenweep had a population of around 2,500 at one time. Sounds like a city to me.
     
  3. Gustav Banned Banned

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    so ahh
    who wants to pontificate about "cities"?

    /snort
     
  4. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    This sure looks like a city to me:

    [​IMG]

    As does this:

    [​IMG]

    And this:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Gustav Banned Banned

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    piss poor pontificating, papi
    lets wait for frag

    /smile
     
  6. spidergoat alien lie form Valued Senior Member

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    Those look like villages. Nice ones, but not very large. Wasn't Chaco Canyon a ritual site?
     
  7. Gustav Banned Banned

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    [​IMG]


    mountain or hill, goatman?
     
  8. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure what the maximum population for the Mesa Verde area was, but there were 2,500 people living in Hovenweep around the 13th century.

    http://www.nps.gov/hove/index.htm

    That's fairly densely populated for that area.
     
  9. spidergoat alien lie form Valued Senior Member

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    That's a hilltain.
     
  10. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't Vatican City a "ritual site?"

    Chaco Canyon had a population in the thousands, and residential buildings 4-5 stories high (again, the largest buildings in North America up until the 1900's), and was the center of commerce and administration for a vast surrounding area.

    Bear in mind that the entire population of North America at the time was only a few millions, and most of that was in the Aztec empire down in Mexico.

    At the time of their peaks, the Pueblo cities had similar populations to London, for comparison.
     
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Okay, I suppose that counts. From a sociological perspective, a good definition of a city is a settlement so large that the inhabitants do not all know each other. If the average household had six members (the birth rate was high but so was infant mortality) that's about 400 families. They might not have all been acquainted.

    The reason that living among strangers is the key to the paradigm shift from villages to cities is that that kind of life requires a formal government.
     
  12. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_American_indigenous_peoples

    In the above note the pre-Columbian population estimate ranges very widely.

    "While it is difficult to determine exactly how many Natives lived in North America before Columbus,[5] estimates range from a low of 2.1 million (Ubelaker 1976) to 7 million people to (Russell Thornton) to a high of 18 million (Dobyns 1983).[6]"
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Sure, but it's also home to 800 permanent residents. It's also so small and wealthy that it can afford to hire people who live outside to travel in and out every day to keep it running--especially in the Industrial Era with its fast-moving vehicles.
    Many historians estimate the population of the Western Hemisphere on the eve of the Christian occupation at more than 100,000,000. The Olmec/Maya/Aztec empire was considerably older than the Inca, so it probably had more of that population.

    Nonetheless, the Bronze Age had not yet arisen north of the Rio Grande so the population density there was limited to what Stone Age agriculture could support.
    This is difficult to believe. However skilled they were at administration, their technology was still Neolithic: stone and wood. No metal, no wheels. With the additional handicap of no draft animals larger than a dog dragging a travois.

    There were many Stone Age cities but their populations did not rival London, which was founded by the Romans in the Iron Age. Simply transporting food from the surrounding farms to the hungry mouths of the city would have been a Herculean project.

    And let's not forget that with Neolithic technology, the majority of the population had no choice of occupation except food production and distribution. It wasn't until the Bronze Age that enough people could be freed from that industry to even populate a large city.
     
  14. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    The only ancient ancient city that I know of north of the Rio Grande with a population rivaling London would be Cahokia, just East of St Louis.

    It boggles my mind that things could have gotten that large in the stone age. Although they do have evidence of copper workshop at Cahokia...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cahokia
     
  15. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    That's substantially fewer permanent residents than the Pueblo sites pictured above housed in their days.

    If it is, it's probably because you're over-estimating the historical population of London.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_London#Population

    True enough, but they had irrigated agriculture and grain processing/storage, not to mention meat curing and leather, so they could support fairly large populations.

    Roman London collapsed and was abandoned as the Roman Empire went into decline, about 400 AD. Anglo-Saxons then settled nearby areas, eventually leading to what became modern London, but for the first several hundred years it remained a small population more worried about repelling the next Viking raid than being the urban center of any kind of impressive empire. It wasn't until well after the Norman invasion that things really took off, population-wise.

    To London circa 600-1000 AD? Not hardly. We're only talking about a few thousand people.

    Or Chaco Canyon or the like - regardless, it's not like people had a lot of other things to do with their time.

    Standard theories of economic paradigms notwithstanding, my understanding of ancient Anasazi organization is that they had developed technologies for irrigation, fertilizer and grain storage, and that the cities essentially held large granaries that formed the nexus of the larger regional economy. I.e., the standard tension between "rural food producers" and "urban food consumers" doesn't really apply here, as the entire function of the urban areas was the accumulate, process, store, prepare and distribute food.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Are we talking about 1500CE, when the Christians began obliterating all New World civilizations and advanced Neolithic communities that were precursive to civilization? According to your Wikipedia citation the population of London at that time was between 50K and 100K. None of the Neolithic settlements in the AZ/NM/CO/UT region could possibly have been that big.
    But metallurgy delivered several key technologies that brought about a quantum increase in the productivity of farms and the throughput of food transport. The plow and the wheel alone probably increased the maximum food supply to a city, and therefore its maximum population, by an order of magnitude.
    No. I meant delivery of food to the Neolithic population centers in the Four Corners area. London was in the center of an Iron Age civilization that could grow more food and deliver it faster. I'm not sure what era you're talking about.
    Neolithic agriculture was a full-time job, and full time in those days meant 100-hour work weeks except in winter, when they repaired and replaced their tools. It was difficult for a family to produce significantly more food than they needed for themselves. This is why more than 95% of the human race were doomed to be farmers until the Industrial Revolution improved their productivity in the late 19th century. The farther back you go in history, the larger that percentage becomes.
    Standard Neolithic agricultural technologies the world over.
    Again, standard technology for pre-metallurgy civilization. But let's not forget that the North Americans had three deal-breaker disadvantages compared to their Neolithic counterparts in Asia and Africa.
    • Corn: the least nutritious of all cultivated grains. Its protein content is distinctly lower than rice, wheat, barley, etc., requiring its people to eat more meat.
    • No dairy animals. So they couldn't supplement their protein ration with milk, which is ten times as efficient use of pasture land as meat.
    • No draft animals. Draft and dairy are usually the same large domesticated herbivores and they had none. So all the musclepower for transporting food had to be human muscles. Using a population for traction competes with their use for tending crops and herds.
    All told, these handicaps were major obstacles to the establishment of civilization in North America. The Central Americans managed to overcome these obstacles and perhaps the North Americans would have succeeded eventually. But it would more likely have been east of the Mississippi, where trading networks were already in operation when the armies of Jesus came with their gifts of steel, gunpowder, alcohol, syphilis and smallpox.
     
  17. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    Fragle Rocker said "Corn: the least nutritious of all cultivated grains. Its protein content is distinctly lower than rice, wheat, barley, etc., requiring its people to eat more meat.
    No dairy animals. So they couldn't supplement their protein ration with milk, which is ten times as efficient use of pasture land as meat."
    What about potatoes an peppers? An I thought they had a type of wheelbarrow? I can't find the information about it right now though. An there where head hunters that ate human meat in South America. But the early "European's" left horses an pigs as well as ship rats an chickens behind whenever they left to go back home. The natives adopted fairly fast to those animals an the "Europeans" traded beads an seeds an food with the natives. If they had helped them instead an worked more with them things would have been very interesting
     
  18. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    There are wild horses. They all descended from spanish horses?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  19. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Having read "Collapse" by Jared Diamond, naah.
    Well, maybe in some locales.

    I think absence of the horse, the wheel, and steel really made huge aggregations of folks more difficult because it limits how far you can get outward to bring in food and firewood...
    But the intensive societies in North America seemed to end up deforesting where they were.

    From another book (and I'm not @ home, and am blanking on the name)
    it is noted the Iroquois Confederacy actually practiced controlled burns with the idea of producing lots of huge trees...they lived in woodlands, but they were actually practicing forestry management in some ways...their villages tended to be smaller though.
    .... The Inca were able to get around the transport issue by rotating people around so that they got a balanced diet.
    Not remembering how the Aztec did it...
    However, the tribal city states of Mexico were structurally invested in warfare for advancement of thier young men, and for religious sacrifice.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_warfare#Flower_War
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  20. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    There were no horses in the Americas before Columbus. Wild horses descend from European imports.
     

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