Who really discovered America?

Discussion in 'History' started by cosmictraveler, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Mr. Chips Banned Banned

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    Undecided, you make at least two extreme statements there that are logically false. Native Americans were human. They had their problems. Europeans had their problems. They both had their plusses and minuses. North America suffered war, desertification and famine, cannibalism, human sacrifices etc. before the Europeans entered the scene and afterwards. If the answer to what we need to survive the information explosion is in analysis of past behavior, then let us embrace that and do a real comparative analysis rather than the extreme blanket condemnation of this or that which so easily fails on the weakness of its own incoherency.
     
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  3. Undecided Banned Banned

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    Native Americans were human. They had their problems. Europeans had their problems.

    Yes they did, nor did I deny that they had their own problems. I realize that the Inca had to fight numerous tribes and kill many thousands to unite their empires. I realize that in the Arizonian desert the Anazi (I think) cannibalized. I realize that the Aztecs were very warlike, and had no mercy vis-à-vis their enemies, etc. The problem with Europeans (which I am one whose family was a colonizer) is that we unilaterally decimated their populations, either through slavery, torture, foreign disease, we destroyed their cultures, destroyed their “heathen temples”. We cannot deny that we did create a holocaust which eclipses that of Hitler in America. Europe had her own problems as did the natives, but at least the latter did not export them.

    North America suffered war, desertification and famine, cannibalism, human sacrifices etc. before the Europeans entered the scene and afterwards.

    I doubt that desertification and famine were intentional, or even possible for the natives to accomplish. Cannibalism existed yes, but the only place I’ve seen that was in the Desert. Human sacrifices, almost every culture on Earth did that. Yes living in North America prior to the Europeans wasn’t nice, low life expectancy, no real healthcare, etc. But Central and South America had extensive civilizations and were intellectual advanced, arguably more then Europe in some respects.
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Instead of killing the Native Americans why didn't the well educated Europens educate the Native americans and teach them how to read, write and understand better. They , instead, massacered them and took everything away that they had, their land especially. Shows how Europeans expressed their values on others didn't it?
     
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  7. path Militant wiseguy Registered Senior Member

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    It was also those same more advanced civilizations in the americas that wrought the most havoc on their fellow native americans. The historical records we have been able to uncover about the Olmecs, Aztecs, Mayans and Tiahuanacans show societies which agressively dominated their neighbors. In human history (worldwide) when a stronger group meets a weaker the weaker group has suffered. The spanish conquest of central and south america happened with full cooperation from neighboring (competing) peoples of the dominant cultures, Inca, Maya etc. These neighbors were only too willing to visit a bit of vengence upon their former oppressors not knowing of course that they were just ushering in a new more devastating oppressor.
     
  8. MiTo filosofos Registered Senior Member

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    Indians ?

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  9. Undecided Banned Banned

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    path

    I said everything you said pretty much in the paragraph you omitted.

    The spanish conquest of central and south america happened with full cooperation from neighboring (competing) peoples of the dominant cultures, Inca, Maya etc.

    I doubt that very much because at the time of the Spanish conquest the Mayans were destroyed by famine, the Aztecs reigned supreme, and the Incas were isolated in South America. So unless I see substantiation, I don’t believe it.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Several inconsistencies in that statement. For starters, the ancestors of the most ancient Indians arrived between 12,000 and 20,000BCE. There was no China and no Chinese then. The "Oriental" or "mongoloid" (I hate that word) branch of the human race had not yet developed the epicanthic eye folds that distinguish them now. That's why the Indians don't have "slanted eyes." The origin of the Athabascan migration has been identified with surprising precision. I don't know that area of the globe so well but it looks to me from the tiny maps that it was near what is now the border between China and Mongolia. So it could be argued that the Athabascans themselves were a primitive Chinese tribe.
    It's widely speculated that the Athabascans could have come over before the Ice Age, when the Bering Strait was water, rather than walking across the Bering Isthmus later on when sea level had dropped a couple of hundred feet. The people in eastern Asia had quite sophisticated sailing technology. It's not implausible that they could have simply sailed over, staying always in sight of land, following the curvature of the land up the Siberian coast, past the Aleutians, and down the coast of Canada.

    If they could have done that, then it's certainly possible that someone else could have done it before them. There are plenty of tantalizing archeological sites in the Americas indicating that small numbers of humans had reached these continents long before the Athabascan migration finally established a population that survived, grew, and took over almost the entire hemisphere.
    If the early, now disappeared, migration from Asia was done in boats, they would have brought a good deal of their Neolithic technology with them. If the Athabascans then came over later on foot, they would have lost much of their knowledge and culture along the way. That invariably happens when Stone Age tribes make long migrations on foot: they can't carry all their tools and nobody knows how to write down the instructions for building the stuff they used to have.

    It's extremely unlikely that the Athabascans could have wiped out a far more advanced culture with a several thousand-year head start. If you're going to say, "Hey, the Germanic tribes did it to the Romans," the answer is, "Not exactly." The Germans lived in close proximity to civilization for centuries and simply chose to continue living a nomadic life. They had access to steel weapons and horses, making them a rather even match for the Romans. The Athabascans would have had no such means of defeating their predecessors in the New World.

    Perhaps a few adventurers had sailed here from what is now China and simply did not have the numbers to sustain a civilization or to fend off an attack by barbarians. But to speak as though there might have been a Chinese civilization forming in the Americas that was wiped out by the "Athabascan hordes" doesn't jive with the archeological records.
     
  11. fireguy_31 mors ante servitium Registered Senior Member

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    Some real good posts in here.

    cosmic...
    This is what Canada attempted to do, rather than 'conquering', and it failed miserably for a lot of reasons. The most notable of which was how and what they were being taught by the missionaries - ones charged with the responsibility to educate the 'savages' - in residential schools went contrary to how and what the little 'Indians' were being taught by their families out on the land. There are some fascinating stories about how the elders would teach the young the ways of the 'Indian' in secrecy of the missionaries.

    Anyhow, Canada's pathetic attempt to educate the 'Indian' failed - the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    The second part of your statement, '...understand better.' is misdirected. It was and is the Canadian government that needed to understand it's aboriginal population better, not the other way around.

    Undecided
    I agree completely!

    Path
    And it is the understanding of why and how this happens that progresses mankind. Turning a blind-eye to the historical context of why things are the way they are today does nothing for progress and everything for regression.

    Spider...
    Idealistic view of Native Americans? Well, if we're talking pre-incursion then no, it's not an idealistic view. They thrived in harmony with their natural environment for thousands of years.

    If we're talking post-incursion then yes, it may be viewed as an idealistic view. Afterall, living a way of life they did before incursion could never be completely replicated, what, with the imposition of a dominant European settlement HA! never. My thought is you're a little mislead by the meaning of 'idealistic'.

    I'm ranting off topic, I know. Yes, I agree it was the Aboriginal People of N.America who first set foot here - commonly known today as Native American or 'Indians'.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2004
  12. Hastein Welcome To Kampuchea Registered Senior Member

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    Europeans DID re-educate the natives. They made them go to white schools, cut their hair, speak English, and get rid of their customs. It was rather degrading but it worked to some degree. Many of them probably wanted to assimilate.

    To call these incidents 'massacres' or 'genocides' is simply a modern label that in retrospect is wholly out of place. Traditional warfare always revolved around taking land from others and subjecting the inhabitants, but today it is more PC to call it 'genocide', giving people the idea that one side is soley responsible. Did you know that many native cheifs willingly sold their land to the Europeans in exchange for guns and cotton clothes? When natives retaliated they got blown to bits.

    Personally, I admire the Native American life, as I do the lives of pre-Christian Europeans, back in the time when we were closer to nature. But let me not romanticize-the life of the 'noble savage' is a hard and cruel one, with high birth mortality and possible starvation.
     
  13. fireguy_31 mors ante servitium Registered Senior Member

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    hast...
    This is a little misleading. First, there was no such thing as 'native chiefs' prior to incursion. Most tribes were consensus based, depending on the circumstances - for example: When it came to war with another tribe the 'warriors' would gather and decide whether or not, collectively, to wage war (the Mohawk Indians never went to war without permission from the women); when it was a matter of moving the tribe, usually because food resources were scarce, the hunters would gather and collectively decide; when it came to spiritual matters the elders would gather. The idea that one person, a 'native chief'(a European concept)had any authority to sell 'Indian' land is prepostrous. Further, native americans had no concept of fee-simple title to land so, even if a 'native chief'(a European concept) did sign over 'title'(a European concept)to the land for whatever in return, the particulars were never fully understood by native americans. There is no better proof of this than the present day land claims.

    For the most part, native americans bartered for guns, beads, dyes and textiles with horses, pelts and meat - not land.

    What do you mean by 'retaliated'? If you mean retaliated in defense then yeah, they did get blown to bits - the US army formed war parties to force 'Indians' off their land, the 'Indians' didn't stand a chance. From what I can recall, it was always the Europeans (Americans) who were on the offensive. Even at Little Big Horn which, as we should know, Custer got his ass kicked by Sitting Bull, the greatest Sioux Warrior ever.

    You won't learn a thing from watching old John Wayne movies about the true historical context of the battles between settlers and 'Indians'.
     
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    The first European settlers were on the right track when they first arrived in America. They worked well with the Native Americans sharing with them their tools, customs , philosophies etc.. It wasn't until the next wave of Europeans came over did they start to take advantage of the natives and start to kill them off instead of working with them.

    I wonder what the difference was between the first whites and the second that made them so much different and change the approach to the natives? I mean here the whites are already establishing a good rapoire with the natives , getting along fine, then WHAM changes in thoughts. I just don't understand what makes people want to commit genocide as the second wave of immigrants did. Teaching and learning from others can go hand in hand as the first settlers found out. That is a great way to educate and understand each others ways and values. We all can learn from each other that we all have differences and respect those differences and share the land equally.
     
  15. Spyke Registered Senior Member

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    Some did attempt assimilation as preferable to being forced west of the Mississippi River. The Cherokee nation developed its own written language, with its own published newspaper, its own constitution based on the US Constitution, abandoned the tribal communal system in favor of private ownership, with many Cherokee becoming prominent cotton planters and slaveowners, and its own set of slave codes. But in the end Cherokee land was prime cotton land in the heart of the cotton kingdom,and although the Chereokee succesfully argued and won its Supreme Court case against the state of Georgia, the federal government eventually forced them into preent day Oklahoma.

    True, but that was because in the majority of tribes family lines were maternal. Women often made the final decision on whether war was permitted, but this was generally a formality, as they were usually not included in the actual war councils. But there usually was leadership in the tribes; if not an actual chieftain, then often times a spiritual leader. The first settlers at Jamestown found a large confederation along the Chesapeake, controlled by one tribe (Pawmunkeys), which was controlled by one powerful man (Pawhawtan). He allowed the settlers to survive those first few years mainly because he found them useful in that they could provide his tribe with weapons, which made control of the lesser tribes in the confederation easier.

    In one word, LAND. The first wave of settlers, both at Jamestown and then in Massachusetts, were rather dependent on the indigenous peoples for their survival. Once the settlements were firmly established, and didn't starve out, and they began planting, and as more settlers arrived, and moved further inland looking for plantable land, then it became competition for vital land as they encroached on tribal hunting grounds. There was already competition among the tribes, but the settlers cleared away great areas of forests along the rivers, which was also prime hunting lands.
     
  16. Hastein Welcome To Kampuchea Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks for the corrections Fireguy.

    I heard that early settlers actually resorted to cannibalism until half the population got up and left to go live with the natives.
     
  17. Spyke Registered Senior Member

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    The first 1588 settlement nobody really knows what happened to them. Because of the threat from Spain to England, no ships returned to Roanoke until 1591, and found a deserted settlement. Since no remains were found, it was assumed they were either killed off, either through cannibalism and then the rest taken by the natives, or either they all were taken by the natives, or either they asked the natives to accept them. It's impossible to know. But at Jamestown, which was settled in 1607, there were definite accounts of cannibalism during the first couple of years, and of digging up the dead for food, and of some settlers who went to live with the natives, although in small numbers, maybe a few women, as the natives had little respect for the settlers. Later accounts from natives in the Great lakes region on the French Jesuit missionaries were that they thought the missionaries were ugly (because of their beards), that they stunk badly, and were extremely annoying with their constant preaching, but they tolerated them mainly because they had great respect for languages and they liked the sound of spoken French ( I suppose since they had no written languages they put great emphasis on oral languages).
     
  18. Baal Zebul Somewhat Registered User Registered Senior Member

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    im not trying to piss off any americans.

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    In america they see atleast one UFO once a day so ...
    Yes, the aliens discovered America.


    Honestly, the islandic sagas have been confirmed in america exactly as Eric the Red described them so the Vikings were there first.
     
  19. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    Even the natives did not believe they discovered the place. Their creation myths never mention coming from some other land. Discovery is not the same thing as finding yourself already there.

    That is the myth. Actually, the practice of "Indian burning" altered the landscape in favor of open grasslands which supported larger populations of deer and elk. In warfare, rival tribes also set fire to each other's territory.

    I agree, for the most part, the Indians lacked the technology to truly exploit nature, but they were not above changing it to suit their purposes.
     
  20. fireguy_31 mors ante servitium Registered Senior Member

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    Spyke
    Without question you are academically astute within the realm of native american history. I judge, from your post, your knowledge is somewhat specific to the American Historical context. Mine, on the other hand, is specific to the Canadian experience so I will not question the accuracy of what you state.

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    Traditions amongst tribes and family units varried significantly, what was/is deemed appropriate in one Cree society or settlement, for example, may not be appropriate to the next. There is no template that can be applied accross the board, 'Indian' culture and society was/is far more complex than that - probably because of each tribes/family units autonomy.

    Spider...
    I said: “ I'm ranting off topic, I know. Yes, I agree it was the Aboriginal People of N.America who first set foot here - commonly known today as Native American or 'Indians'. ”

    Note: I never made mention of 'discover', I'm a little more aware of 'Indian' creation 'beliefs' than to stumble and inaccurately use the word 'discover'.

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    I don't see how this fact deviates from living harmoniously with their natural environment. I mean sure, they utilized fire for their benefit i.e. burning areas to attract native fauna and to foster the right elements to produce native favorable flora (blueberries etc.), and that may equate to 'altering' the landscape but, may i suggest that that practice in no way deems my assertion of their living harmoniously with their environment a myth.

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    I just don't understand where you're comming from here...
     
  21. thecurly1 Registered Senior Member

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    Asians discovered American when the trekked across that land bridge and became what we popularly know as Native Americans now.

    It sure as hell wasn't Columbus.
     
  22. Spyke Registered Senior Member

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    I agree (and now I have to ramble for a moment to get in the obligatory 10 characters)
     
  23. Undecided Banned Banned

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    I think one of the greatest failures of western society was the failure of the 1763 Royal Proclamation to the natives. That is when the real trouble started in North America...
     

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