In North America, people had existed for many thousands of years in land as fertile and temperate as Europe. Yet, even upon contact, at large the Natives of North America still seemed rather primitive and simple, at least by European standards.
What would be the cause of this? Was North America simply over-abundant with resources, and thus offered no incentive to develop technologies and highly advanced civilizations?
I am not implying that the Native Americans were inherently inferior.
I rather hoped to call into question whether a land can be so fertile, or rather a "Eden" of sorts, that even a hunter-gatherer society would be entirely self-sufficient. A good example would be the ecology of the Salmon run in the far west. It seems that the nature itself provided everything that one would need.
Well, first thing to remember is there were no horses. Before the white man brought horses, if you wanted to travel you had to do so by foot, so things were generally more isolated, so generally it came down to a specific group being in an area where they would have both the means and a compelling reason not to just live as hunter-gatherers. Now, the Puebloans IIRC had settled villages and agriculture. They lived in a desert, and they also traded on occasion with Mesoamerican merchants IIRC. And, of course, you had the Mississippian civilization, who IIRC got corn, beans, and squash from foreign traders and had the good luck of settling along the Mississippi river valley, where they built a city-state that is thought to have had over 40,000 inhabitants at its peak.
Judging by the more advanced societies that existed in mexico and the andes, there probably was some lack of incentive to civilize in the north for whatever reason.
I can't imagine the IQ difference between the northern and southern natives would be big enough to explain such a huge gap in development.
You are wrong to assume such things do nothing. Intensive foraging allowed for Northwest nations to become heavily hierarchial and ceremonial.
They did infact practice things we now call agriculture seeing as ozette potato and other adopted from the Spanish remained in the tended gardens along with silverweed and other root crops.
They didn't laze about eating and not doing anything, their culture was forever evolving.
The biggest hindrance of native societies was the phytosensitivity and climatic issues of corn, it's advance was slow because it needed to adapt to colder climates. The Mississippian grain/psuedograin crops that were supplanted could not all compete and eventually became extinct, corn just was far too good and given more time access stable food would have built up New England Native societies as well.
Eden does not and has never existed, all populations before the industrial revolution worked for their food and faced famines like everywhere else in the world.
No beast of burden
No real crops
But also, yes, no real need to.
There were civilizations in North America like the Anasazi or the Mississipians that collapsed 400 to 50 years before the English arrived in North America. The little ice age brought down their civilizations.
Would you say that the Natives, if time had gone on without contact, would have developed contemporary European technologies like guns, steelworks, and large scale infrastructure? If so, within what timeframe? 100 years? More or less?
Considering they relatively only recenlty arrived in the americas and had to start from scratch without beasts of burden they did pretty well.
They also very quickly adapted to an equestrian lifestyle once horses were reintroduced by the pseudo moors.
Their ancestors were beyond stupid though for hunting the native horses and camels to extinction though without domesticating them
....why do you expect any people not in contact to go the same path as another?
It's like asking why didn't Europeans invent gunpowder, metallurgy or writing. They just didn't, nothing is wrong with them because of that it just didn't happen.
Not him, but which claim are you denying? It's basically impossible to conclusively prove or disprove that genetics is a factor in cultural development, so I guess we should leave that aside for now unless it's explicitly being discussed (ie refuting or asserting Diamond's conclusions). His comment on agriculture was basically, but not entirely, correct.
Probably not, regarding guns or steelworks. Gunpowder IIRC was discovered by pure accident when Chinese alchemists were trying to make an elixir of immortality. As for steel; well, in most of the settled areas, it was way too hot, and the areas where it wasn't (like Canada and the northern half of the USA) were too isolated.
Bronze weapons were occasionally used in Mesoamerica (the P'urepechas and the Incas, just off the top of my head, liked bronze maces) but iron generally wasn't used (because remember that the switch from bronze to iron in the Eastern hemisphere only happened because tin and copper became increasingly difficult to get whereas iron ore is basically fucking everywhere, and early iron was actually slightly worse than bronze, so it would've been extra pointless to even make much use of iron, much less ever figure out how to make the iron into steel.
Because much of the Old World had gone along relatively similar paths. China, India, Persia, East Africa, etc...
Of course, these civilizations were all in contact with one another at some point, but surely had extensive periods where they were isolated from one another.
Honestly, in terms of this topic, which is always on the front page, "why didn't Native Americans do X" doesn't have anything to do with genetics, not on the surface anyway. I don't know anything about it, but did the Native peoples not have trade routes and connection with one another? Were the North American natives completely ignorant of their more advanced cousins in Central America?
>Chinese trying to make immortality potions
Did their alchemists seriously have nothing better to do? I hear this all the time, Chinese trying to make immortality for centuries. The shitposters of their time, without a doubt.
>but surely had extensive periods where they were isolated from one another.
well, no, eurasia became extensively linked by trade right after settled agricultural civilisations came around.
It was actually a strong driving component in progress, enabling greater accumulative technological development.
So I'm the person you probably originally were talking to but strangely enough while Aztecs had toys with wheels they never utilized it for things like wheel barrels
Well yeah dude
Linguistic gaps and desert man, it's not like Aztecs went to New England and gave them corn. It took thousands of years for a single crop to make it on the other side of the continent and not everything in mesoamerican culture came along with it.
Entirely on foot, with no support, going with no orders, no guidance, no compelling reason, to travel in some random direction without any way of knowing what might be there or what they might find?
I think there were rickshaws in Mesoamerica.
Yeah, but on foot, which made it harder and more localized.
Trade and well established (meaning very old) conflict was true among the Aztecs and their neighbors. This was the reason the Spanish were able to gain an alliance with some of the smaller tribes (the Tlaxcala being the most important) during their campaigns against the Aztecs.
just like people are saying in the posts above, trade is heavily impeded by actually lacking beasts of burden.
There were also geographical factors, like the narrow and densely forrested chokepoint through Panama and central America that didn't exactly foster easy trade routes.
And I'm guessing the Mexican Gulf was a much poorer environment for maritime trade than the Mediterranean was.
Asked my Native American History Professor why Indian people didn't use copper more from the Great Lakes region, and why it didn't diffuse during the amazing trade that took place across the North American continent before the Mississippian civilization disappeared or whatever. He said, for the most part, that we're not entirely sure. He guessed on the spot complacency, as a possibility (sure, this new -insert metal- spear point looks cool and all, but what's wrong with the stuff we use now?) but no one knows for sure.
You're asking a good question, OP.
What are you talking about every Native American mound in Ohio and the part of the midwest was full of copper
Hell tribes in Yukon Territory were using copper.
I meant Northwest Territories
Also copper down there was more valued than gold, it was near the end used only for ceremony and jewelry by the elite so that effect stopped copper making into tools
lots of Indians in what is now the US Southwest had towns and cities with well-developed agriculture (including irrigation and canals)
I think its a wide combination of things really. They first arrived in The Americas proper just ~12,000 years ago, compare that to about 100,000 years ago when the first modern humans were living in the region of the Fertile Crescent. They didn't really have much to work with when it came to animals suitable for domestication, leaving them without livestock or beasts of burden. Which also led to them being far more isolated from each other than cultures in he Old World were. Meaning less potential for trade, little exchange of knowledge and ideas, and barely any pressure to advance.
The Americas were also a far more conducive environment for the hunter-gather lifestyle than other places humans have inhabited. Previous hunter-gather cultures only started to move past that stage when their populations outstripped the capacity of what nature around them was able to provide. Which is why I think you saw the more advanced indigenous civilizations popping up in the less ideal regions on the two continents.
All in all you have a group of people who had a fraction of the time to develop, lacked many things that were very critical to the development of advanced civilization in the Old World, and in general just had far less pressure to develop than civilizations/cultures in the Old World did.
>I rather hoped to call into question whether a land can be so fertile, or rather a "Eden" of sorts, that even a hunter-gatherer society would be entirely self-sufficient.
I don't know about American history, but this was pretty much what it was like in New Zealand. The Maori actually lost some indispensable technologies (like sailing and pottery) after emigrating because they became redundant and unnecessary.
Before the arrival of Maori, New Zealand had no real native predators. The largest mammal was a tiny adorable fruit bat that can fit in the palm of your hand. The ecosystem was so peaceful that many species of bird had lost the ability to fly all together. Just like how the Maori no longer needed sailing, the birds no longer needed to ever leave the ground.
Coming from the hostile pacific islands, with its sweltering sun, yearly hurricanes and limited resources, New Zealand must have seemed like a paradise. Probably the closest thing to a real Garden of Eden that our earth has ever produced.
Unfortunately, the natives birds were so fat, defenseless and tasty, that many of species were quickly hunted to extinction. RIP in peace, moa. We hardly new ye.
So, even though NZ was probably the most hospitable land on earth for a hunter gatherer society, the native tribes people didn't live in harmony with nature like hippies think they did.
Also this pic is incorrect, because the Maori never needed or even invented bows. They could just herd the birds into giant killing fields and slaughter them with ease.
desu, a society where half the population had to do all the work while the other half dicked about all day sounds pretty terrible, and i have to say that two eagles and his people deserved to be conquered.
Wtf are you talking about, the America's was by and large a farming society from the Inca to the Cassava growing peoples on the Amazon to the tannier and cassava growing Caribbean tribes to the corn growers of Mexico and later north america and the Mississippian cultivators of the floodplains
Even th buffalo hunters by and large were agriculturalists who gave up farming to hunt buffalo and trade with agricultural tribes.
Even in places without what you would call agriculture large scale systems of tending created extensive managed fields and orchards. Read "Tending the Wild" for that last bit, hell read any book because you are highly misinformed.
>Armies on campaign have walked across whole continents.
and they tended to be accompanied by miles of horse and ox drawn wagons carrying food, water, weapons and general supplies. The importance of pack animals to human movement cannot be understated.
Because the Natives of North America had only recently adopted organized agriculture (not, of course, the mesoamericans, who had long since learned that). An agarian society and the ensuing population burst (As well as the population pressures of that growth) is a major catalyst in the growth of a culture. The Iroquois Confederacy had only farmed for five centuries when the first Europeans began settling North America, and they were so powerful because they had led the pack in doing so.
there were no useful beasts of burdens in north america, besides buffalo, and those only happened in one region and i'm not sure if they're good for pulling plows.
It's hard to develop more than rudimentary agriculture when you have nothing but human labor to sustain it, and Iroquois et all did have agriculture and cities.
get a caribou, dog or buffalo to pull a plow as effectively as a horse or ox and i will pay your mortgage.
The Puebloan tribes of the American Southwest settled down in mud houses in the desert much like the Babylonians and had complex agricultural techniques. The Hopi, for example, raised specialty blue corn created through selective breeding.
The whole region of the American Southwest also sits on the largest iron and copper mineral deposits in the United States. Right now, foreign mining companies are moving into the American Southwest against the will of the peoples on reservations to mine all its copper worth $20 billion/year. Source: http://www.mintpressnews.com/congress-approves-secret-giveaway-sacred-apache-land-foreign-mining-compan/199871/
I'd say, if given enough time, they would have developed Bronze and Iron Age tools. They were just out of time and 4000 years behind when they finally managed to settle down and the Spaniards/Anglos arrived.
>against the will of the peoples on reservations
pretty sure that's illegal, unless those companies made some sweet deals with the tribal governments and gave them some (much needed) money.
Of course it isn't illegal, because because John McCain attached attached a land swap to a defense bill and Congress passed it already.
"Let's give these Natives 5000 acres of this land they don't want in exchange for these prime 2000 acres of land we need for a mine. Good? Good. It's all settled, then. Start building your mine and strike the earth, Resolution Copper."
Also, the mining company is foreign, so all the money that will be made will be going to the UK and Australia. The tribes are protesting in DC, but of course, nobody cares.
I don't know biology, is there a reason that's impossible? I remember reading that the ancestor of modern horses was some tiny PoS from the Americas or something, don't see why that has to be wrong.
Armies walked across the entire continent, on road systems.
That means you can keep up 5-6km/h for almost 18 hours a day. And the practical limit is so long there is light.
Once you have to cross uneven non road terrain that drops to 2-3km/h, and you get tired faster.
And remember: This is armies or traders. They KNOW they have shit to get done.
Regardless of how strong the Llama is, it has to follow traders, and the traders have their limitations too.
Honestly Native Americans were plenty advanced, they domesticated a whole range of plants, built some somewhat advanced architecture and had many advanced civilizations and societies. Sure, they weren't as advanced as Europe or parts of Asia but at the same time you really can't paint them as Australian Aboriginies or Sub-Saharan Africans.
One of the main reasons I think that the Native Americans lagged behind is that they never had horses so they couldn't transport goods over long distances as well which meant that trade would never be as good as it was with Europeans, they also couldn't use horses to plow the soil and have as good agriculture as Europeans - still they did domesticate many plants and must have independently discovered agriculture. Not having horses also meant that transporting rocks/bricks was a lot harder compared to how Europeans did it.
Also, when Spanish horses escaped into the wild and started to go feral the native Americans quickly learned how to ride and became fearsome horse archers within a generation.
what's that 5,000 acres the government's getting in return look like?
I mean it's not like horses were these nice easily tameable creatures originally
They were simply bred that way by humans
I think it has more to do with natives in general never really speccing into animal taming to the same degree as the old world
well canada is rather inhospitable actually
thick forests also tend to not be a very good place to make settlements
also you have to take a look at the "ideology" that many natives americans hade
they respected nature to a point where it was holy and it was taboo to take more then you needed to survive this probably played a part in why native north americans never evolved passed a point of hunter-gatheres
also we know very little about the history off the americas, societies that could easily rival late bronze age civilizations could have existed through out the americas but time destorys everything evidence and civilizations included
for example if they used clay to build their cities little evidence would be left today
also the america is two gigantic continents and remote locations could have evidence of great civilizations just that we havent found it yet
It comes down to agriculture, the lack of calories from easy work inhibits mental processes, hunting is time consuming. Hunting also doesn't lend toward building a structure or inventing. If you're relatively peaceful and just go shoot a buffalo or whatever...where's the need for invention?
I read a decent book about agriculture and human development, 10k explosion?
>this is very problematic
Haha suck shit.
If you had enough dogs and had a cart with wheels you could get things moving. Of course that would mean you would have to build roads etc. and i don't think they were willing to do either of those things.
So many people here seeing the adoption of agriculture & sedentary living as a historical inevitability. The shame. That's truly one of the big memes in historical discourse, the idea that everyone is somehow "bound" to pick up the plow and ditch the atlatl.
You may wish to check this book out, would clear up plenty of misconceptions.
>It comes down to agriculture, the lack of calories from easy work inhibits mental processes, hunting is time consuming. Hunting also doesn't lend toward building a structure or inventing. If you're relatively peaceful and just go shoot a buffalo or whatever...where's the need for invention?
The eastern tribes had agriculture and no buffalo. Not every Injun was a plains Injun.
The cause of this is european view of the situation. The way groups of humans organize themselves and technology are not inevitable. That is to say if we found another planet with intelligent life that doesn't mean they ever made a television or a democracy(or any particular thing we have that we think is an improvement on the past) They will be doing different things and that doesn't make them simple but if you come with a certain outlook/attitude you may call it that
I'm not saying its false, I'm saying that is ironic and quite an evil twist of history that the horse went extinct thousand of years ago in the continent that gave birth to them, and that the people living in said continent probably stagnated due to not having horses to begin with, and they were conquered by the people who had said animals.
Says the Graeco-Christian narrative of "progress". Thousands of cultures would wholeheartedly disagree with your statement.
One thing to consider that people haven't really brought up is how much easier the spread of ideas is in Eurasia than in the Americas.
Inventing things independently is really fucking hard to do. In Eurasia, things like bronze and iron smithing, writing, medicine, chemistry, math, navagation and printing were all invented in only one or a couple of spots. But since you have easily navigable terrain: flat, overland territory in central Asia, a calm inland sea and pretty regular rivers in Europe, regular trade winds around India, ect, you have a decent network of information from Korea to Spain.
In the Americas, on the other hand, there's basically isolated pockets of civilizations (that we know about). The Maya invented writing and advanced mathematics, but where are they going to go with that? Are they going to cut through jungle, try to navagate through a labyrinthine network of canyons and desert mountains of northern Mexico and the baijou of Texas and Louisiana to find a nation they've never heard of? The Inca were top notch metalworkers and engineers, they actually did invent the wheel, but in the Andes it was useless other than as a kid's toy. Sure, it would have been useful to the plains Indians to the north, but we have trouble getting across the isthmus of Panama now, let alone on foot back in the 12th century.
Places like the Americas, subsaharan Africa and Oceania certainly lagged behind, but that was because their competitors had the combined intellectual resources of two of the most populous continents on earth. It's perfectly reasonable that they couldn't keep up
You'll die with the rest of us once the oil runs dry. My sincerest apologies that you won't get to become a cosmic parasite, since you've certainly got the mindset down even though you're still living on a vibrant planet. Enjoy your daisy games in the sun, Leviathan. The world will swallow you whole, you detestable carcass.
I think they're either granaries or ball courts. I don't actually know much about the site
Which animal the had to do that? Seriously, tell me one that could be tamed and at the same time be as useful as a horse -which also happened to be the greatest war weapon during centuries-.