HBO plans "Confederate", where the US South successfully seceded

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HBO plans "Confederate", where the US South successfully seceded

Post by lpetrich » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:45 am

HBO Picks Up Game of Thrones Showrunners’ Civil War Drama: Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have a new project in the works.
HBO announced today that it has ordered Confederate, a new drama series from Benioff and Weiss that takes place in an alternate version of America where the South successfully seceded from the Union, “giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution.”

The series takes place during the the lead-up to “Third American Civil War” and will follow a collection of characters on “both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone — freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.”
It has already provoked lots of controversy, and its creators respond in an interview: HBO’s ‘Confederate’ Producers Respond to the Backlash
Another concern some have raised is that a show like this could end up as almost pornography or wish-fulfillment for white supremacists and the alt-right. What’s your reaction to that worry about a show where the South won the Civil War.

MS: I think that [using the word] “winning” creates the wrong image. [In the world of Confederate], it was a standstill.
The Creators of HBO’s Alt-History Civil War Show Face Backlash Head On | Vanity Fair
The series was initially dreamt up by the Thrones showrunners, who later brought the Spellmans into the fold. Weiss remembers having the idea after reading a bit of Civil War history and learning how one of Robert E. Lee’s botched invasions could have altered the course of the war if it had gone as planned. “What would the world have looked like if Lee had sacked D.C., if the South had won—that just always fascinated me.”

Malcolm and Nichelle, who are black, said the material is “deeply personal because we are the offspring of this history. We deal with it directly and have for our entire lives. We deal with it in Hollywood, we deal with it in the real world when we’re dealing with friends and family members.”
'Game of Thrones' Creators, HBO to Air Alt-Civil War Series - Rolling Stone
Production for Confederate will begin following the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, which is expected to debut in 2018 or early 2019. The seventh and penultimate season premiered last Sunday. The episode featured Ed Sheeran singing the unofficially titled "Hands of Gold."
Confederate, a Civil War dystopia from the Game of Thrones creators, is already controversial - Vox
“It goes without saying slavery is the worst thing that ever happened in American history,” said Weiss. “It’s our original sin as a nation. And history doesn’t disappear.”

...
“Pretty much the only black people in Game of Thrones are slaves,” Ira Madison writes at the Daily Beast, adding that Game of Thrones’ track record on depictions of sexual assault is similarly uninspiring. “Do we need another show from them where the black people are slaves and the threat of rape from slaveowners is ever-present?”

When Adalian asked Benioff and Weiss about the backlash to how they’ve treated race on Game of Thrones, Weiss instead emphasized that they are “very hyper aware of the difference between a show with a fictional history and a fictional world, and a show that’s an alternate history of this world.”
It's still very early, so it's hard to say how the series will turn out.

Will it feature the North trying to appease the South by being unwelcoming to runaway slaves? Complete with the South acting as if nothing the North can do is ever enough, short of the North sending its entire black population southward.

Or both the North and the South being more friendly to western Native Americans than in our timeline, because they need all the friends they can get for confronting each other.

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Post by lpetrich » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:48 am

No, I Will Not Be Watching HBO’s Confederacy and Neither Should You – Waking Writer by Berneta L. Haynes.
1) I will not watch any fantasy show about an alternative reality where the Confederacy won the war and slavery was never abolished. Period. It is a thinly veiled white supremacist fantasy cloaked in liberal whyte guilt. I’ll pass.
Whyte? With a y? Why not "honky" or "cracker"?

After more comments in that vein, she proposes
7) Why isn’t Hollywood interested in other alternative realities, like one where the Native Americans won, where there was a successful slave uprising in the American South, where Jim Crow never happened, where the Mexican-American war turned out differently, where Wounded Knee never happened, where Shirley Chisholm became president? Oh right. I know why.
What interesting scenarios. Maybe BLH could try writing some.

Native Americans won? They were lots of small communities, and some of them were hostile to each other. They also could not catch up fast enough technologically and socially to succeed in fighting us off.

But there are some possibilities. Imagine Hernán Cortés and his men failing to conquer the Aztec Empire. The Aztecs would likely have celebrated with a victory barbecue featuring HC himself as the main course. In that timeline, the Spaniards stay in the Caribbean islands and the Aztecs trade with them, getting iron and domestic animals and the like. They become much more difficult to fight, and the Spaniards become content with diplomatic relations. During this time, the Aztecs recover from smallpox and other Spaniard-introduced diseases, and they become carriers, infecting their neighbors.

Further northward, in the Mississippi River valley, the Cahokians had an impressive society around 1100 - 1300 CE. If they had recovered after 1400, they would likely have suffered from European-introduced diseases around 1500 - 1600, but since they were not in much danger of being conquered, they could have recovered from that also. By 1800, they would have had the unpleasant experience of lots of refugees fleeing from the east coast. So they decide that they don't want to suffer that fate, and they reach out to Spain for an alliance. They end up getting domestic animals and lots of technology, and as the United States expands westward, the Americans run into the Cahokians.

Eventually, the Cahokian leadership and aristocracy gets too full of itself and the Cahokian empire falls apart. By by then, about 1900 (say), neither the Americans nor the Canadians have much desire to acquire land from the Cahokians or their successor states.

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Post by lpetrich » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:48 am

As to a successful slave uprising in the American South, that would be very difficult. I think that the only thing that could make that work would be some foreign power wanting to weaken the early US. Like Spain.

Jim Crow not happening? In our timeline, Reconstruction was followed by a counterrevolutionary backlash called Redemption, which made Southern black people second-class citizens again. To keep Reconstruction going would have required a lot of political will from the North, and that is rather doubtful.

Not sure about the Mexican War or Wounded Knee -- the US was too powerful, and it would have to have suffered some big distraction to be defeated there. Like suffering its Civil War earlier or later than in our timeline.

As to Shirley Chisholm becoming President, among alternate-history buffs, that is known as a "wank". That's when something or other gets turned into a big victor.

-

As to how to tell stories that span long time periods, I think that Alex Haley's "Roots" offers a way to do that. Follow the adventures of some family over the centuries. But Isaac Asimov didn't even try to do that in his Foundation series.

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Post by MattShizzle » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:08 am

This is actually a common AH in the US, second only to Hitler winning WWII. Harry Turtledove wrote a 10 novel series on it (1 book comprising a 2nd war in the 1880s with the UK and France taking the side of the Confederacy and the US ending up allied to Germany, 3 comprising WWI - with the sides the same, 3 the interwar years with a Confederate artillery Sergeant from the war taking the place of Hitler, and 4 comprising WWII - with the Holocaust against Blacks in the US. Hitler actually has a bit part as a Sergeant who a German officer tells a US officer not to take seriously. It ends with the Confederacy occupied and forced to rejoin the union. WWI ended with Canada occupied by the US and it remains so throughout the rest. Except for Quebec which is given independence and allies with the US. The series was published from 1997-2007.) There was a movie about this taking place in modern times, except there the CSA actually conquered the US.

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Post by Jobar » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:54 pm

I have all the Turtledove series, and several less well known ones- another stand-alone novel by Turtledove, The Guns of the South, and a trilogy by R.W. Richards which begins with A Southern Yarn. I know of numerous others- it's one of the standard themes of alternate history sf. Some of them romanticize the South and slavery outrageously, but some of them, like Turtledove's, do not.

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Post by MattShizzle » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:51 pm

[quote=""Jobar""]I have all the Turtledove series, and several less well known ones- another stand-alone novel by Turtledove, The Guns of the South, and a trilogy by R.W. Richards which begins with A Southern Yarn. I know of numerous others- it's one of the standard themes of alternate history sf. Some of them romanticize the South and slavery outrageously, but some of them, like Turtledove's, do not.[/quote]

Did you read "Armistice" yet? Came out about a week ago, I finished it a couple days ago.

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Post by Politesse » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:09 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]Native Americans won? They were lots of small communities, and some of them were hostile to each other. They also could not catch up fast enough technologically and socially to succeed in fighting us off.[/quote]That's a load of hooey-balooey. In all of the Americas, only two nations (Canada and the US) remained solely in the hands of white oppressors for more than four centuries, the rest have all reverted to indigeneous or partially indigenous hands. I realize that white elites like to consider mestizo populations "basically European", but that is less an objective look at reality and more a racist fantasy meant to explain away how all of these revolutions suceeded despite the supposed superiority of "pure" European empires; on rational grounds, there is no reason for the average Mexican to think of themselves as more Spanish than indigenous, let alone the average Mapuche or Yanomamo.

In the US and Canada, plenty of folks remained on their traditional lands or militarily defeated the US/Canada/Mexico on various occasions. The usual response of these empires is to do some punitive raids and simply declare victory (like Bush Jr in Iraq) despite having failed to seize the land or extinguish the culture as had been their original goal. There are plenty of peoples, such as the Navajo and the peoples of Nunavut Province, who not only held on to their original land and (for the most part) independent government, but have actually seen a noticeable expansion of their land since their first contacts with Europe. The Navajo certainly didn't dominate the entire Dinetah the way they do now in 1600. Don't erase inconvenient histories.
Eventually, the Cahokian leadership and aristocracy gets too full of itself and the Cahokian empire falls apart. By by then, about 1900 (say), neither the Americans nor the Canadians have much desire to acquire land from the Cahokians or their successor states.
They did run into the successor states of Cahokia, massive confederacies like the Haudenosaunee in the north, and the Aniyunwiya in the South. The former have refused to assimilate and have never ceded governance to the U.S., they have their own government, their own diplomatic relations, their own socioreligious structure and languages, and have recently successfully pressed suit to have their passports recognized by other foreign powers. The latter were successfully removed from their land by force, quite famously, though remnant communities remain sprinkled through the southeast. Though once declared "extinguished", they too have rebuilt an independent government and host both the second largest population of any indigenous nation, the second most widely spoken indigenous language, and a lot of legal weight these days.

Neither US nor Canada have gotten tired of "aquiring land" from them; they face constant incursions onto treaty-guaranteed land, violations of the agreements exchanged for land in treaty, or developments on adjacent land that would affect their communities; just keeping the land they have, and keeping extra-national exploitation and crime off of it, is a constant battle but one which they continue to wage with relative success, usually legally and violently when necessary, like any other tiny nation with an imperialist neighbor.

A poignant quote, from the article linked above:
Kathy Smith, chair of the Haudenosaunee women’s lacrosse board, played an integral role in getting their passports recognized this year. She remained resolute in her goal and was successful.

“If we get Canadian and American passports, we’re basically agreeing to be Canadian or American citizens. And by doing that, we are undermining our treaties that we have with those governments,” Kathy Smith, chair of the Haudenosaunee women’s lacrosse board, said in a July 2015 interview with Lacrosse Magazine. “We can’t have treaties with ourselves.”
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Post by Politesse » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:20 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]As to how to tell stories that span long time periods, I think that Alex Haley's "Roots" offers a way to do that. Follow the adventures of some family over the centuries. But Isaac Asimov didn't even try to do that in his Foundation series.[/quote]

James Michener's novels use this strategy often, "Centennial" is one that is quite relevant to the current discussion as it follows US expansion westward through intergenerational dynastic struggles. His other novels use other narrative strategies that can work; my favorite of these other approaches is "The Source", which follows Judean/Israeli history by jumping back and forth between an archaeological investigation of a tell in the modern day and historical stories of the personal circumstances that led to the deposition of the "anomalous" artifacts they come across in each layer. "Tales of the South Pacific" is less cohesive, but the short stories are tied together at various points by shared plot points and characters.
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Post by lpetrich » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:15 am

[quote=""Politesse""]
lpetrich;675046 wrote:Native Americans won? They were lots of small communities, and some of them were hostile to each other. They also could not catch up fast enough technologically and socially to succeed in fighting us off.
That's a load of hooey-balooey. In all of the Americas, only two nations (Canada and the US) remained solely in the hands of white oppressors for more than four centuries, the rest have all reverted to indigeneous or partially indigenous hands.
[/quote]
But they were conquered just the same, and their national governments are successors of the colonial administrations, not the original ones. Mexico isn't ruled by some successor of the Aztec Empire, and Peru isn't ruled by some successor of the Inca Empire.
There are plenty of peoples, such as the Navajo and the peoples of Nunavut Province, who not only held on to their original land and (for the most part) independent government, but have actually seen a noticeable expansion of their land since their first contacts with Europe.
So they are autonomous communities inside territory claimed by their conquerors.
Eventually, the Cahokian leadership and aristocracy gets too full of itself and the Cahokian empire falls apart. By by then, about 1900 (say), neither the Americans nor the Canadians have much desire to acquire land from the Cahokians or their successor states.
They did run into the successor states of Cahokia, massive confederacies like the Haudenosaunee in the north, and the Aniyunwiya in the South.
I don't see how those are Cahokian successor states. They are both in the Appalachians

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) -- upstate New York (northern Appalachians) -- northern Iroquoian languages

Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) -- southern Appalachians -- southern Iroquoian languages

Cahokians -- possible continuity with contacted peoples suggests Algonquian languages

The Cahokians were mound builders, and mound building was spread over the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and also in the southeastern US ((Wikipedia)Mound Builders). Mound building was not very common in the northern Appalachians, though the Cherokees did build mounds.

The Cahokians were at a central spot in the (Wikipedia)Mississippian culture, and in my scenario, their society survives European diseases.
Neither US nor Canada have gotten tired of "aquiring land" from them; they face constant incursions onto treaty-guaranteed land, violations of the agreements exchanged for land in treaty, or developments on adjacent land that would affect their communities; just keeping the land they have, and keeping extra-national exploitation and crime off of it, is a constant battle but one which they continue to wage with relative success, usually legally and violently when necessary, like any other tiny nation with an imperialist neighbor.
That's because it's inside of claimed territory and not outside of it.

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Post by lpetrich » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:45 pm

I'd earlier called Shirley Chisholm becoming President an alternate-history wank:
Alternate History Wank - TV Tropes
In the parlance of Alternate History fandom, a "Wank" is where a single nation, culture, political theory, or philosophy is singled out and advantaged, typically disproportionately at the expense of its contemporaries.
Like the Roman Empire lasting to the present day and conquering the world.

I called it a wank because it seemed too much like wishful thinking, with SC being Berneta Haynes's Mary Sue. But I thought about it some more, and I've decided that there is indeed a path to the White House for her.

In 1972 or 1976 or thereabouts, a white male Southern Democrat wins in the primaries. I will call him Billy Wagoner. Despite his triumph, rumors circulate about his health, rumors that he is not as healthy as he seems. But he goes on to the convention, and he selects Shirley Chisholm as his Vice President. In part to balance the ticket with a black female Northern Democrat.

BW and SC campaign, they win the election, and they get inaugurated. But a few months afterward, BW suffers a heart attack and dies. SC becomes President. To reassure everybody about her health, she gets a thorough medical checkup, and the doctors reveal that she is in good health.

I don't know how it might continue from there.

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Post by lpetrich » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:02 pm

To see what language the Cahokians might have spoken, I consulted (Wikipedia)Indigenous languages of the Americas. That gives the language distribution roughly at time of contact. Though there were many earlier migrations, there likely was not much around the time of contact (1500 - 1900 CE).

Here is a list of the main language families of people who were living where mound builders had lived.
  • Iroquoian (Cherokee): southeast US
  • Muskogean: southeast US
  • Algonquian: Ohio, Illinois, upper Missouri rivers
  • Caddoan: lower, central, upper Mississippi river
  • Kiowa-Tanoan: lower-central Mississippi river
  • Siouan: central to upper Mississippi river east of Caddoan, then west of the upper Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains
This suggests that the mound builders were not some unified polity but people in separate communities who gradually spread the tradition of mound building from community to community, complete with crossing ethnic lines. However, some mound builders may have migrated, overrunning their neighbors and eventually splitting up into separate communities.

So there was almost certainly no big Cahokian Empire. It would also have been difficult to build and maintain without fast transport, like horses.

A good starting point for comparisons is comparing lists of relatively-conserved vocabulary, a method pioneered by Morris Swadesh ((Wikipedia)Swadesh list). Appendix:Swadesh lists - Wiktionary has a big list of these lists.

Here's Sergei Yakhontov's 35-word subset of the canonical Swadesh lists:

1. I, 2. you (singular), 7. this, 11. who, 12. what, 22. one, 23. two, 45. fish, 47. dog, 48. louse, 64. blood, 65. bone, 67. egg, 68. horn, 69. tail, 73. ear, 74. eye, 75. nose, 77. tooth, 78. tongue, 83. hand, 103. know, 109. die, 128. give, 147. sun, 148. moon, 150. water, 155. salt, 156. stone, 163. wind, 167. fire, 179. year, 182. full, 183. new, 207. name

This might be a good place to start.

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Post by Politesse » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:17 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]To see what language the Cahokians might have spoken, I consulted (Wikipedia)Indigenous languages of the Americas. That gives the language distribution roughly at time of contact. Though there were many earlier migrations, there likely was not much around the time of contact (1500 - 1900 CE).

Here is a list of the main language families of people who were living where mound builders had lived.
  • Iroquoian (Cherokee): southeast US
  • Muskogean: southeast US
  • Algonquian: Ohio, Illinois, upper Missouri rivers
  • Caddoan: lower, central, upper Mississippi river
  • Kiowa-Tanoan: lower-central Mississippi river
  • Siouan: central to upper Mississippi river east of Caddoan, then west of the upper Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains
This suggests that the mound builders were not some unified polity but people in separate communities who gradually spread the tradition of mound building from community to community, complete with crossing ethnic lines. However, some mound builders may have migrated, overrunning their neighbors and eventually splitting up into separate communities.

So there was almost certainly no big Cahokian Empire. It would also have been difficult to build and maintain without fast transport, like horses.

A good starting point for comparisons is comparing lists of relatively-conserved vocabulary, a method pioneered by Morris Swadesh ((Wikipedia)Swadesh list). Appendix:Swadesh lists - Wiktionary has a big list of these lists.

Here's Sergei Yakhontov's 35-word subset of the canonical Swadesh lists:

1. I, 2. you (singular), 7. this, 11. who, 12. what, 22. one, 23. two, 45. fish, 47. dog, 48. louse, 64. blood, 65. bone, 67. egg, 68. horn, 69. tail, 73. ear, 74. eye, 75. nose, 77. tooth, 78. tongue, 83. hand, 103. know, 109. die, 128. give, 147. sun, 148. moon, 150. water, 155. salt, 156. stone, 163. wind, 167. fire, 179. year, 182. full, 183. new, 207. name

This might be a good place to start.[/quote]

This is all well known. You're also using "Cahokian" to mean "Mississippian" here, which is not correct. Mississippian is the name for the whole archaeological phase; "Cahokia" is a city, and by association all those places under its political sway. Most of whom those places ultimately inherited or replaced by powerful Iroquoian or Muskogean confederacies (either way, "successor" is a reasonable way to describe them) by the time that city was abandoned, hence my naming them successors. You were the one who brought up "empire", that isn't how politics was done in the Northeast.
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Post by Politesse » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:27 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]The Cahokians were at a central spot in the (Wikipedia)Mississippian culture, and in my scenario, their society survives European diseases.[/quote]
It did survive European diseases, and empires; we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the currently living peoples of the Northeast and Southeast are the direct descendants of the Mississippians, linked by genetics, language, cultural affinity, and religion.

Most especially the Iroquoian peoples of the Northeast, in the case of Cahokia, though there are many descendant communities throughout the Eastern US.
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Post by MattShizzle » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:29 pm

A very early South wins the Civil War was written by Winston Churchill - "If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg." Well, technically it's written as an AH essay about if the North had one by a historian in an AH where the South won.

I've read that the first AH EVER was written in Ancient Rome and was about if Alexander the Great had invaded Rome (of course they have Rome win, which would have been extremely unlikely had it happened.)

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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:23 am

[quote=""Politesse""]
lpetrich;675102 wrote:The Cahokians were at a central spot in the (Wikipedia)Mississippian culture, and in my scenario, their society survives European diseases.
It did survive European diseases, and empires; we know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the currently living peoples of the Northeast and Southeast are the direct descendants of the Mississippians, linked by genetics, language, cultural affinity, and religion.[/QUOTE]
Evidence?

Is this anything more than romanticism on the part of present-day "Native Americans"? Something like ancient Romans like Virgil tracing Rome back to refugee Trojan War heroes. BTW, I don't like "Native American". Many of us palefaces have ancestors that were living in the US and elsewhere for the last couple of centuries, and we have become culturally very distinct from our homelands, so many of us palefaces qualify, even if we haven't been here as long.

Algonquian likely diverged some 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, and Iroquoian some 3,500 to 3,800 years ago (north-south split). Their distributions suggest origins near the Great Lakes. However, the first mound builders lived in what's now Louisiana about 6,500 years ago, and the Mississippians flourished from 800 CE to 1600 CE.

Early Caddoan seems likely for the earlier mound builders, and Caddoan split into north and south branches around 3,000 years ago.

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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:39 am

I got another idea for an alternate history in which "Native Americans" hold off Europeans much better than in our timeline. It is that they domesticate the buffalo ((Wikipedia)American bison), giving them a head start.
Despite being the closest relatives of domestic cattle native to North America, bison were never domesticated by Native Americans. Later attempts of domestication by Europeans prior to the 20th century met with limited success. Bison were described as having a "wild and ungovernable temper";[40] they can jump close to 6 ft (1.8 m) vertically,[41] and run 35–40 mph (56–64 km/h) when agitated. This agility and speed, combined with their great size and weight, makes bison herds difficult to confine, as they can easily escape or destroy most fencing systems, including most razor wire.
But much the same thing was true of aurochsen, the wild ancestors of domestic bovines ((Wikipedia)Aurochs).
Historical descriptions, like Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico or Schneeberger, tell that aurochs were swift and fast, and could be very aggressive. According to Schneeberger, aurochs were not concerned when a man approached, but when teased or hunted, an aurochs could get very aggressive and dangerous, and throw the teasing person into the air, as he described in a 1602 letter to Gesner.[9]
Domestication took place in a rather small spot -- a mitochondrial-DNA study suggests that domestic bovines are all descended from some 80 Middle-Eastern aurochs cows around 8500 BCE (Origin of Modern Cows Traced to Single Herd | WIRED).


So in this timeline, some of the first mound builders domesticate buffalo. In our timeline, Watson Brake at 3500 BCE was the first of the mounds, and Poverty Point at 1500 BCE was a rather impressive Archaic-era construction. The (Wikipedia)Eastern Agricultural Complex of crop plants was domesticated by around 1800 BCE, so I'll make buffalo domesticated by around 2000 BCE.

These animals prove a great convenience, just like domestic bovines. They live off of grass, so they don't compete with their masters for food. They can be eaten, they can carry loads, they can pull plows, and they can be milked. That last one would have provoked the response that it provoked among Europeans several centuries earlier: diarrhea and lots of intestinal gas from lactose intolerance. But when drinking buffalo-cow milk proves convenient for surviving famines, this creates selection for lactose tolerance, and North Americans join Europeans there.

Domestic buffalo enable this Louisiana society to spread, and they also spread across ethnic lines, as crop plants do. They spread into Mexico, and if the Aztecs emerge in this timeline, they eat beef rather than human flesh.

Eventually, maize and beans are imported northward, and they become crop staples in North America.

In the meantime, eastern North Americans domesticate turkeys, ducks and geese, getting more meat in their diet.

A common way for buffalo to carry loads is to put them on a sort of sled called a travois -- some sticks extended from a harness on the animal to the ground. That is rather awkward, and some ingenious craftsman thinks of an alternative. Put the far end of the travois on a sideways rod, and put disks on the ends of that rod, while letting the disks turn. Thus doing what some European craftsman had some several centuries earlier: inventing the wheel.

That helps domestic buffalo pull even bigger loads.

Then the first Europeans come and spread their diseases, like smallpox. But in this timeline, the populations in east-to-central North America are too high to allow the social breakdown of our timeline. The diseases spread gradually, with each afflicted population becoming a carrier to its neighbors.

Europeans also introduce horses, which go wild, and which get re-domesticated again. As in our timeline, some North Americans become horse-riding nomads, but some continues to be sedentary farmers. Like smallpox, horses spread first in the Mississippi Valley and its tributary-river valleys, then eastward across the Appalachians. Horses cause a lot of disruption, because they enable new war-fighting tactics. They also prove convenient for watching over big herds of buffalo. Thus the Indians become cowboys.

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Post by Politesse » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:23 am

Despite being the closest relatives of domestic cattle native to North America, bison were never domesticated by Native Americans. Later attempts of domestication by Europeans prior to the 20th century met with limited success. Bison were described as having a "wild and ungovernable temper";[40] they can jump close to 6 ft (1.8 m) vertically,[41] and run 35–40 mph (56–64 km/h) when agitated. This agility and speed, combined with their great size and weight, makes bison herds difficult to confine, as they can easily escape or destroy most fencing systems, including most razor wire.
Bison were quasi-domesticates; they weren't herded like cattle, but people did go out of their way to create favorable hollows for them, and managed the herd population to encourage food-heavy and relatively docile beasts just like other pastoralists. Their temper does not allow for them to be easily penned, however; they can jump six feet and through most kinds of fencing; when bison are domesticated these days, it's usually by separating them as calves and essentially parenting them. Which works, but would have been very inefficient for our North America Pleistocene forebears. Why go through so much work to keep them penned, when there are plenty to go around without expending that much effort? There would have been no obvious benefit.

I've certainly never heard of anyone putting a halter on a bison. Sounds like a good way to get yourself killed.
These animals prove a great convenience, just like domestic bovines. They live off of grass, so they don't compete with their masters for food.
What would be the advantage here, though? There were already plenty of bison, there was never a scarcity situation like in post-glacial Europe where there weren't enough to simply hunt and live off of; the bison economy of the Plains was healthy until relatively recently.

They don't produce milk in any great quantity, by the way.
Domestic buffalo enable this Louisiana society to spread, and they also spread across ethnic lines, as crop plants do. They spread into Mexico, and if the Aztecs emerge in this timeline, they eat beef rather than human flesh.
The Aztecs never ate human flesh for food; most of their protein was derived from legumes and insects. There were also dishes that involved larger game such as migratory birds, turkeys, dogs, and deer, but only the wealthy consumed these regularly.
Eventually, maize and beans are imported northward, and they become crop staples in North America.
Maize, squash, beans, gourds, sunflowers, and other crops were imported northward shortly after your timeline starts; there would be no Mississippian culture without them.
In the meantime, eastern North Americans domesticate turkeys, ducks and geese, getting more meat in their diet.
Turkeys were domesticated in real life also, that part isn't an alternative history.
A common way for buffalo to carry loads is to put them on a sort of sled called a travois -- some sticks extended from a harness on the animal to the ground. That is rather awkward, and some ingenious craftsman thinks of an alternative. Put the far end of the travois on a sideways rod, and put disks on the ends of that rod, while letting the disks turn. Thus doing what some European craftsman had some several centuries earlier: inventing the wheel.
The cart was not invented in Europe.
Then the first Europeans come and spread their diseases, like smallpox. But in this timeline, the populations in east-to-central North America are too high to allow the social breakdown of our timeline. The diseases spread gradually, with each afflicted population becoming a carrier to its neighbors.
That's largely what happened.

But high populations do not make epidemics less deadly, quite the opposite; the worst outbreaks of smallpox and fever were in major population corridors like the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in the East and the Columbia and San Joaquin in the West.
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Post by MattShizzle » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:34 am

Harry Turtledove is actually my favorite all time author.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:21 am

[quote=""Politesse""]
Despite being the closest relatives of domestic cattle native to North America, bison were never domesticated by Native Americans. Later attempts of domestication by Europeans prior to the 20th century met with limited success. Bison were described as having a "wild and ungovernable temper";[40] they can jump close to 6 ft (1.8 m) vertically,[41] and run 35–40 mph (56–64 km/h) when agitated. This agility and speed, combined with their great size and weight, makes bison herds difficult to confine, as they can easily escape or destroy most fencing systems, including most razor wire.
Bison were quasi-domesticates; they weren't herded like cattle, but people did go out of their way to create favorable hollows for them, and managed the herd population to encourage food-heavy and relatively docile beasts just like other pastoralists. Their temper does not allow for them to be easily penned, however; they can jump six feet and through most kinds of fencing; when bison are domesticated these days, it's usually by separating them as calves and essentially parenting them. Which works, but would have been very inefficient for our North America Pleistocene forebears. Why go through so much work to keep them penned, when there are plenty to go around without expending that much effort? There would have been no obvious benefit.

I've certainly never heard of anyone putting a halter on a bison. Sounds like a good way to get yourself killed.
These animals prove a great convenience, just like domestic bovines. They live off of grass, so they don't compete with their masters for food.
What would be the advantage here, though? There were already plenty of bison, there was never a scarcity situation like in post-glacial Europe where there weren't enough to simply hunt and live off of; the bison economy of the Plains was healthy until relatively recently.

They don't produce milk in any great quantity, by the way.
Domestic buffalo enable this Louisiana society to spread, and they also spread across ethnic lines, as crop plants do. They spread into Mexico, and if the Aztecs emerge in this timeline, they eat beef rather than human flesh.
The Aztecs never ate human flesh for food; most of their protein was derived from legumes and insects. There were also dishes that involved larger game such as migratory birds, turkeys, dogs, and deer, but only the wealthy consumed these regularly.

Maize, squash, beans, gourds, sunflowers, and other crops were imported northward shortly after your timeline starts; there would be no Mississippian culture without them.
In the meantime, eastern North Americans domesticate turkeys, ducks and geese, getting more meat in their diet.
Turkeys were domesticated in real life also, that part isn't an alternative history.
A common way for buffalo to carry loads is to put them on a sort of sled called a travois -- some sticks extended from a harness on the animal to the ground. That is rather awkward, and some ingenious craftsman thinks of an alternative. Put the far end of the travois on a sideways rod, and put disks on the ends of that rod, while letting the disks turn. Thus doing what some European craftsman had some several centuries earlier: inventing the wheel.
The cart was not invented in Europe.
Then the first Europeans come and spread their diseases, like smallpox. But in this timeline, the populations in east-to-central North America are too high to allow the social breakdown of our timeline. The diseases spread gradually, with each afflicted population becoming a carrier to its neighbors.
That's largely what happened.

But high populations do not make epidemics less deadly, quite the opposite; the worst outbreaks of smallpox and fever were in major population corridors like the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in the East and the Columbia and San Joaquin in the West.[/quote]

And it was a virgin field epidemic. What happens then is everyone gets sick, those who were infected early and start recovering die because there is no one to feed them or give them water.

I remember reading somewhere that some pre-Columbian people used wheels on toys. Without a draft animal they weren't of much practical use, I suppose.
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:46 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]I remember reading somewhere that some pre-Columbian people used wheels on toys. Without a draft animal they weren't of much practical use, I suppose.[/quote]
Yes. But domestic buffalo would have been put to use as draft animals, just like domestic bovines.

Why It Took So Long to Invent the Wheel - Scientific American
Wheeled vehicles were invented around 3500 BCE somewhere near the eastern Mediterranean Sea -- either southeast Europe or the Middle East. This was not long after cooper woodworking tools became common there -- chisels and gouges and the like.

It's such woodworking that was necessary to make wheeled vehicles feasible. One had to make a wheel have a close fit to its axle, neither too close nor too far. One also has to make the wheel very close to circular, with its center in the axle.

Wheeled toys are found in the Eurasian steppes at about this time, wheeled toys much like the wheeled toy animals of Central America.

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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:00 pm

[quote=""Politesse""]Why go through so much work to keep them penned, when there are plenty to go around without expending that much effort? There would have been no obvious benefit.[/quote]
The same might have been said about aurochsen. Why try to pen them when there were lots of them going wild?

But some people in the Middle East around 10,000 years ago succeeded in doing that with a herd of these animals, and some 80 aurochs cows became the mitochondrial ancestors of most of today's domestic bovines.
I've certainly never heard of anyone putting a halter on a bison. Sounds like a good way to get yourself killed.
A wild one, yes. But not one that had been bred for tameness. Putting a halter on an aurochs would likely have led to a similar fate.
They don't produce milk in any great quantity, by the way.
Maybe, but how much milk do non-milk-breed domestic bovines produce?

Once buffalo are domesticated, then they can get specialized as milk breeds and meat breeds and draft breeds.

Also, like many other domestic animals, they may get a variety of colors that their wild ancestors did not have.
The Aztecs never ate human flesh for food; most of their protein was derived from legumes and insects. There were also dishes that involved larger game such as migratory birds, turkeys, dogs, and deer, but only the wealthy consumed these regularly.
The Aztecs might not have eaten human flesh on a regular basis, but they did eat human flesh on special occasions.

So in this domesticated-buffalo timeline, I picture some Aztec priest cutting the heart out of a buffalo bull and offering it to the Sun.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:26 pm

Must not have hit submit.

Buffalo were only available in certain regions. Domesticating them would have allowed tranfer to regions where they were not prevalent.

Lamas were domesticcated in South America. They apparently were used for transport and plowing, according to Wikipedia.
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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Post by lpetrich » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:16 pm

[quote=""dancer_rnb""]Buffalo were only available in certain regions. Domesticating them would have allowed tranfer to regions where they were not prevalent.[/quote]
Yes indeed. Their range was the Mississippi Valley and nearby areas.
Lamas were domesticcated in South America. They apparently were used for transport and plowing, according to Wikipedia.
Llamas? They were domesticated in the Andes mountains.

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Post by Eldarion Lathria » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:16 pm

Whyte? With a y? Why not "honky" or "cracker"?
Because it's ok to bash white not people of no color cave beasts if you are a POC. But I will not be watching this because it seems more of the Lost Cause crap, heroic Confederates and cowardly Yankees, every Confederate general was a genius, every Union general was an idiot, every Confederate soldier was a hero, every Union soldier was a rat, every Southern woman was a noble lady, every Northern woman was a skanky whore, every plantation house was a Tara, every planter was a Thomas Jefferson. To salt this we'll have noble neggro slaves trying to escape to freedom, and dying painful deaths.

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Post by lpetrich » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:04 am

In effect, a Confederacy-lover's wank.

But it's still very early in planning, so we can't say how well it avoids being such a wank.

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