What would have happened if both horses and smallpox were introduced to the New World ~1000-1200AD by the Norse? (which seems entirely plausible)
That's ~500 years to build up immunity to smallpox, and to master horse warfare (and probably build some large empires in the process).
Is it likely that North America in particular would ever have been conquered by Europeans?
They put up a decent fight despite being massively out-numbered by the by-that-point extremely numerous and organized whites coming from the Atlantic coast.
If the Europeans were met at the shore by folks like that, might they have just said fuck it and stuck to easy-pickings in the Caribbean.
My guess is the Europeans just stick to trading with the Indians, which will give them a steady supply of guns and iron. Basically the approach the Europeans took to the rest of the Old World until really advanced weaponry (proper rifles, machine guns) allowed them to start mowing down the natives with relative ease. North America will probably end up something like the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia: colonized briefly before again regaining their independence.
I think they would be more difficult to colonise but the europeans would still likely win out. Even when the vikings encountered the Skraelings they were around 2000 years ahead technologically, let alone when muskets and organised militaries around in the 16th century.
Not sure that's a big worry. Horses breed like rabbits pretty much anywhere they're introduced, even small remote islands where you'd think inbreeding would be a problem.
The Norse would have brought over something like Icelandic horses, and while they're smaller than e.g. Spanish horses (Mustangs), they're still well capable of carrying an un-armored warrior, and of doing hard work as well.
I don't think I said anything about muskets being fired from horseback. But since you ask, probably sometime around the spencer carbine came about.
However, on foot and in formation, musketeers could crush a cavalry charge. Oda Nobonaga( or was it Tokugawa Leyasu?) was doing that in the late 16th century
The Europeans will be eager to trade with them for furs, and perhaps food crops to support their Caribbean plantations. The natives will want all the guns and other metal implements they can get their hands on. Learning to make their own powder is probably of more strategic importance than making their own guns.
The Europeans would be able to defend trading outposts on the coast (particularly since the Indians wouldn't have cannon), but any kind of penetration inland would make them extremely vulnerable to surprise attack.
If the Indians have horses, can trade for guns, and aren't so vulnerable to disease, then it will probably play out like early European settlements in West Africa and around the Indian Ocean: trading outposts that don't control any of the interior.
I think it was the palaeolithic American horses being really stupid (unafraid of humans). Horses in Eurasia (and Zebras in Africa) evolved alongside humans / human ancestors, so knew to be very afraid of us. The horses the first people in the Americans encountered didn't know were were dangerous, let alone that we could kill them at a distance with spears.
>Hypothetical history questions
This is the bread-and-butter of history discussion. You can only discuss something that actually happened once; you can discuss things that *might* have happened endlessly.
Why? The Indians were the ones out gathering the furs. The Europeans can just chill at their coastal (and possibly Great Lakes) trading posts, and swap furs for whatever the Indians want.
Indians can provide food to the Europeans in the trading outposts; the Europeans don't need to grow it for themselves. I don't think the Europeans were growing their own food in Africa of around the Indian Ocean either.
I don't think Europeans were ever out actually trapping furs in any numbers. The 'voyageurs' and such who went out brought trade goods to trading posts, and returned with the furs. The Indians could easily organize that kind of long-distance trading themselves.
Yeah the Indians could, but what if there is conflict between tribes? That definitely could impact the shipping of furs. If the Europeans controlled the land that wouldn't be an issue really, as its not like one nation is going to have a monopoly on furs.
Trying to conquer a continent in the face of STIFF resistance to level-out the supply of furs seems unlikely imo.
Once the Europeans have repeating rifles and machine guns, then they can pretty much do what they want, but by that point the prospect of large white settler colonies in North America is probably out.
If it wasn't smallpox, it would have been something else. 500 years is also a long time for Old World and New World smallpox to develop in different directions, such that by the time the Old Worlders come to the Americas, the Native immunity to their local smallpox might not protect them from Old World smallpox.
A few centuries mastering horse warfare, while consolidating into kingdoms in the process, would make the native americans MUCH more formidable than the horse-less Africa. What works against them, however, is smaller numbers unless they adopt larger-scale agriculture, or at least herding (if the Norse are gifting them horses, stands to reason they'd also bring pigs, cattle, and sheep to the mainland)
Still a massive leg-up vs. what actually happened.
The problem I suspect, however, is that the Indians in North America (north of Mexico) didn't live in densities high enough to keep smallpox going; you'd want regular waves of it through the population to build up immunity.
That's the proposed explanation for why African & Asian megafauna are the only ones that have managed to survive up until the present day. Lions, elephants & hippopotamuses evolved alongside our genus for millions of years, but mammoths, moas & Steller's sea cows didn't. The creatures of the world continent had the benefit of long-term behavioural adaptations.
Africa has metal and centuries of proper wars, I am also pretty certain that sub Saharan Africa has horses.
Yeah, sure the tribes will have mastered horse warfare (although not to the level of the Mongol tribes which the muscovites dealt with), but they will still mostly have just bows with stone tipped arrows and spears.
Indeed, it's no coincidence that the further you get from areas of ancient hominid settlement/evolution (Africa and tropical Asia) the fewer large animals have survived.
Still, the fact that they managed to wipe out EVERY SINGLE LAST HORSE on a giant continent is pretty amazing. You'd think there'd be some remote area where they could have hung on long enough to behaviourally adapt to us.
This too. The Vikings bringing smallpox to Newfoundland will suck for Newfoundland but I doubt it would help even the natives in New England or around the Great Lakes, let alone anyone in the big empires in Mexico and South America.
>I am also pretty certain that sub Saharan Africa has horses.
Up to a point, that point being the breeding area for the tsetse fly and malaria.
>Africa has metal
I wish to hear this African metal.
In seriousness, though, it's not like the Americas are short on metal, and the Incas were even starting to develop bronze working. In general the civilizations of the Americas lagged about 2,000-3,000 years behind their Old World counterparts, which makes sense since they didn't start showing up until about 2,000-3,000 years later.
I don't think horses could survive in tropical Africa because of disease.
And while yes, initially they'll be fighting with stone points, you can bet the first thing they'll do with any iron they trade from Europeans is put it on the tips of their arrows/spears.
If the Norse had set up a colony in North America the size of what they had going on in Greenland, then the scenario proposed in this thread seems pretty likely imo. In Greenland they has whole farms going on with all the expected European barnyard animals. Why they didn't do that further south, when they knew there were more temperate areas to their south, I really wonder about. Were they (essentially vikings) really that afraid of the stone-age Natives?
Indians were using natural copper around the Great Lakes iirc. Inuit used natural iron from meteorites. Not sure how much of a jump there is from that to figuring out you can extract huge amounts of the stuff from ore.
Not the greatest sources but it'll do
Sure, I know Sub Saharan Africa doesn't have many horses, but I think the metal weapons were a significant advantages. You don't here much about Powhatan marching into battle with iron swords and they were far away from mining like that at least in the north, can't speak for the Inca or Aztec.
They have them, but in smaller numbers than Europe and America. I am not sure if they ever traded for iron for their arrows since they weren't enemies and their enemies were rather lightly armoured.
>Not sure how much of a jump there is from that to figuring out you can extract huge amounts of the stuff from ore.
Well, in Europe, it took several thousands of years, and that was with a much more developed trade network for the exchange of ideas.
...neat, though I was making a (bad) joke about wanting to hear African metal *music*.
IIRC the Greenland Norse made regular trips to southern Labrador to collect lumber, and had at least one small settlement there.
Does anyone know why they stopped?
I read Diamond's 'Collapse' a long time ago, but I can't remember why he said the colony eventually collapsed.
Shit, forgot about the ice age.
But you'd think those folks, in their shitty treeless settlement, knowing there were much warmer and well-wooded areas to the South, might have thought 'hey, let's move down there'. Although I guess that *really* would have cut them off from Europe, and I think they did a good trade in walrus ivory and maybe narwhale horns or something.
I also remember the vikings being expulsed from the americas by the skraelings with violence. Some cultural disagreement, I don't remember the details. I think I recall the norsmen actually won the skirmish but decided to fuck off and don't settle anyways.
This is absolutely wrong as a good part of history is badly known and needs a lot of research and debate. And hypotethical history is frowned upon by most scientific circles.
It's only bread-and-butter among normies in pubs.