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What if the Americas never existed?

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    Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 01:03
I found this idea somewhere else, and I found it very interesting. How would be the world if the Americas had never existed?
 
Well, in animals somebody mentioned the camel developed in the Americas Confused. I don't know about that but I do know that the horse developed in the Americas, too. And that would had made a big difference in the development of mankind.
 
With respect to agriculture, just imagine a world without potatos, tomatos, maize, avocados, strawberries, vanilla, chocolate, peanuts, pineapples, and thousand agricultural products more.
 
Just imagine a world without rubber and how we could drive our cars with wheels made of wood Confused. Imagine a world without quinine, where Africa was never colonized. Imagine a world without the red jackets of the U.S. Independence. Imagine a world without platinum, or without the rubber pears that help clean out bellies when people got sick Confused.
 
Imagine a world without Rum. A world without Tequila. A world whitout the inventions of the U.S. or the painters of Mexico. A world without tacos !!
 
Would Europe have developed as it did without the gold, silver, suggar, rum, cotton and tobacco from the Americas?
 
The question has been asked.
 
 
Yes, it would be a very different world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 05:52
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Moved to "Alternative History"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pabbicus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 07:10
If we consider it primarily in the colonial context, then Spain would have continued on as a near backwater in Europe, the entire european economy would have collapsed from a very present bullion crisis before they plundered all the wealth of the natives, Spain's overpowering economic might in the 16th century would not have existed, and they wouldn't have been able to shape European politics in the important ways that they did, and for the most part Europeans wouldn't have been nearly as powerful or influencial as they turned out to be on a world stage later.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 11:24
I doubt the Industrial Revolution would have never happened without the mass production of cotton, tobacco, rum, suggar and all the cheap agricultural products of the Americas. Remember that Britain was a main producer of good in the Americas with slave labour before developing a massive industry at hote. Perhaps even the Scientific Revolution could have been delayed, because the Age of Discovery awoke the curiousity of people. Besides, some scientific problems appeared with the exploration itself, as for instance the problem of longuitude and the declining of the magnetic compass.

Edited by pinguin - 11 Dec 2009 at 11:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 11:49
Originally posted by Pabbicus Pabbicus wrote:

If we consider it primarily in the colonial context, then Spain would have continued on as a near backwater in Europe, the entire european economy would have collapsed from a very present bullion crisis before they plundered all the wealth of the natives, Spain's overpowering economic might in the 16th century would not have existed, and they wouldn't have been able to shape European politics in the important ways that they did, and for the most part Europeans wouldn't have been nearly as powerful or influencial as they turned out to be on a world stage later.
 
I don't see how a country that continually defaulted on its debts could be said to have 'overpowering economic might'.
 
However, on the main theme, if the Americas hadn't existed, more or less the same things would probably have developed elsewhere.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 12:01
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I doubt the Industrial Revolution would have never happened without the mass production of cotton, tobacco, rum, suggar and all the cheap agricultural products of the Americas. Remember that Britain was a main producer of good in the Americas with slave labour before developing a massive industry at hote. Perhaps even the Scientific Revolution could have been delayed, because the Age of Discovery awoke the curiousity of people. Besides, some scientific problems appeared with the exploration itself, as for instance the problem of longuitude and the declining of the magnetic compass.
 
The problem of longitude measurement would still have existed without the Americas. Wuithout the Americas there would have been regular trade across the Pacific/Atlantic (after all the world would be much smaller) and you'd still need compass, chronometer and sextant for that. The bit about Britain being a main producer of goods in the Americas with slave labour before developing a massive industry at home is simple nonsense.
 
While the North American colonies (at least in New England) produced goods that competed with British manufactures (one reason for the lead-up to the Revolution), they did it without slave labour, and they didn't actually produce that much. Slavery as an American economic institution developed (as in most places) in the agricultural sector and mostly well after, or at best contemporaneous with, the development of British industry.
 
I also don't see how tobacco has to do with the growth of industry in Britain or Europe, and there are plenty of alternative native products to the others you mention (cotton, rum, sugar - by whîch I assume cane sugar is meant, since Europe and Asia had no problem producing sweet things before 1492).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 12:55
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I found this idea somewhere else, and I found it very interesting. How would be the world if the Americas had never existed?
 
Well, in animals somebody mentioned the camel developed in the Americas Confused. I don't know about that but I do know that the horse developed in the Americas, too. And that would had made a big difference in the development of mankind.
 
With respect to agriculture, just imagine a world without potatos, tomatos, maize, avocados, strawberries, vanilla, chocolate, peanuts, pineapples, and thousand agricultural products more.
 
Just imagine a world without rubber and how we could drive our cars with wheels made of wood Confused. Imagine a world without quinine, where Africa was never colonized. Imagine a world without the red jackets of the U.S. Independence. Imagine a world without platinum, or without the rubber pears that help clean out bellies when people got sick Confused.
 
Imagine a world without Rum. A world without Tequila. A world whitout the inventions of the U.S. or the painters of Mexico. A world without tacos !!
 
Would Europe have developed as it did without the gold, silver, suggar, rum, cotton and tobacco from the Americas?
 
The question has been asked.
 
 
Yes, it would be a very different world.


Just look at the rest of the world before the Europeans came to the Americas. It did quite well. So some of the post 1492 products from America the rest of the world could live without, even if the life probably would have differed in many aspects.

The implications of missing some of the animals and earlier plants that evolved on the American continent is another matter, they could have been rather serious. But who knows, without the concurrence from some of the animals that first developed in the Americas, the ecological niches they came to occupy would maybe be occupied by other animals that maybe could have been used in similar ways by humans.

Another thing one can add is that the weather and climate would probably also be different without the American continent(s). Winds, sea currents and similar would have had another distribution.

The world would have looked different today without the Americas, that is for sure, but exactly how it would have looked can just be speculations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 13:04
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

[Q
Wuithout the Americas there would have been regular trade across the Pacific/Atlantic (after all the world would be much smaller) and you'd still need compass, chronometer and sextant for that. 


If the world had been smaller then the gravitation would have been different. That in its turn would have led to a very different world, a world where humans maybe never had evolved.

An alternative is a world that is equal in size but where the place were the Americas lie would have been covered by the ocean. But such different land sea ratio would of course also have great implications for climate and ecology.
One can just study the effects of plate tectonics throughout earths history to see the variations in global environmental and climatic circumstances it caused.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 13:40
What total lack of imagination...and preoccupation for primitive flora and fauna not to mention whether it's going to snow of Tuesday!
 
You want "alternatives"...well! This is the way to go!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 13:48
How world would be different?  There wouldn't be USA right now and Spain would remain the second rate European power the rest of its history. Spanish language wouldn't have its current significance. All the rest would remain pretty much the same.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 14:22
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

How world would be different?  There wouldn't be USA right now and Spain would remain the second rate European power the rest of its history. Spanish language wouldn't have its current significance. All the rest would remain pretty much the same.
 
Quite wrong Sarmat, since that little maritime adventure by a penurious mariner actually distracted the Catholic Kings from their cause celebre: Death to the Moors! Few recall, that after Granada fell, the Cruzada (why, Castille actually even had a tax to pay for the effort) continued onto North Africa with Melilla coming into Castillian hands in 1496 and that Oran fell to the forces of Cardinal Cisneros in 1509. [Later, the emperor Charles took up the effort (Algiers and Tunis) but by then the "Go West Young Man" syndrome was too entrenched.] Why all of North Africa would be speaking Spanish today and, who knows, perhaps the Pizarros would have made short work of Makka and Madinah!Wink One way or another the "Spaniard" would have made it to the "Indies"!


Edited by drgonzaga - 11 Dec 2009 at 14:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 14:45
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

What total lack of imagination...and preoccupation for primitive flora and fauna not to mention whether it's going to snow of Tuesday!
 
You want "alternatives"...well! This is the way to go!
 
 
Excellent summary!
 
However, what I want to know is, if homo didn't become erectus until 2,000,000 BC then how did femina whatever get impregnated before that?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 18:06
Originally posted by Carcharodon Carcharodon wrote:

...
Just look at the rest of the world before the Europeans came to the Americas. It did quite well. ...
 
Quite well? If a single crop was missing from the European, the development could have been quite different. Imagine an Europe without potatoes, perpetually trapped in the cycles of hunger
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 18:47
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Quite well? If a single crop was missing from the European, the development could have been quite different. Imagine an Europe without potatoes, perpetually trapped in the cycles of hunger


Still the great Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Rome and many others managed to flourish without potatoes. And potatoes are no guarantee for not going hungry. Also that crop can fail as in Ireland.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 19:18
If you don't know how to plant potatoes, of course, or depend on a single variety.
Now, how could the old world had managed without horses nor camells, I wonder.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 19:19
Turnips, parsnips and swedes[1] are much healthier than potatoes. Tobacco didn't do much for the general level of health either. And then there's sugar.... And Treponema pallidum ...
 
The best foodstuff to come from the Americas was probably the bean, but Europe already had sme varieties of beans (cf Pythagoras).
 
On the other hand, where would the Americas be without the rest of the world?
 
[1] The vegetables, that is.
 
PS. Depends what you call a horse.
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The oldest species of Equus, Equus stenonis, was discovered in Italy, and is believed to have evolved from Plesippus-like animals at the end of the Tertiary or beginning of the Quaternary periods. Equus stenonis proliferated into two branches, one lighter in body mass and one heavier.

Equus stenonis crossed into North America, where similar forms known as Equus scotti are common; some types (Equus scotti var. giganteus) exceeded the modern horse in size.

wikipedia, admittedly. It's not as clearcut as you imagine. And as somebody else pointed out already if the horse was missing something else would almost certainly have evolved to fill the same niche.


Edited by gcle2003 - 11 Dec 2009 at 19:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 20:34
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Turnips, parsnips and swedes[1] are much healthier than potatoes.


Just imagine those guys without Vodka LOL (and Vodka is usually made of potatoes)

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


The best foodstuff to come from the Americas was probably the bean, but Europe already had sme varieties of beans (cf Pythagoras).


Half the foods came fro m the Americas
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


On the other hand, where would the Americas be without the rest of the world?
 
[1] The vegetables, that is.


With vegetables, not much. Just more diversity. The main contribution from the rest of the world to the Americas was milk and cheese.
 
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:


And as somebody else pointed out already if the horse was missing something else would almost certainly have evolved to fill the same niche.


That's just speculation. The fact is in the world there was a single animal able to work as a horse and that was the horse! You can't ride a llama, a zebra, a kangaroo or an ostrich!

There is a chance that without the horse mankind hadn't ride at all. Remember that camels also came from the Americas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 21:06
In fact the early horses (as Hyracotherium) are found also in Europe and Asia so it is not impossible that horses would have been present in the old world even if the Americas had never existed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2009 at 21:30
Proof, please Evil Smile. I bet you fall in your own trap this time....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ziegenbartami Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 03:02
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Well, in animals somebody mentioned the camel developed in the Americas Confused. I don't know about that but I do know that the horse developed in the Americas, too. And that would had made a big difference in the development of mankind.

This is contrary to what I've heard, which is that native North American horses went extinct thousands of years ago and exist in the Americas today only because of their introduction by the Spanish conquistadors. Can you cite a source?
Here's mine:
http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/97/2/107
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 03:57
As usual, the Pinguin exaggerates. The paleontological ancestors of the horse and camel have been discovered in what is now the Western Hemisphere; however, the continents of then were not the land masses of today. So the conjecture is rather irrelevant and akin to postulating if there were no Africa there would be no homo sapiens sapiens.

Edited by drgonzaga - 12 Dec 2009 at 03:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carcharodon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 12:48
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Proof, please Evil Smile. I bet you fall in your own trap this time....



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

Propalaeotherium at the Messel formation in Germany
http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Palaeofiles/Lagerstatten/Messel/fossils.html

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


Early horses lived in Europe, Asia and America.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 15:46
Carch, why, why why?
 
If we are going to cheer the tapirs on and discuss a humpless camel while perorating what came first the Mini or the Max, then just sit back, pop some corn and please...please refrain from citing Wikipedia...it's so pedestrian.
 
As for the "filling in" of all of those Evolutionary Trees, I wonder what a grasshopper in the Pleistocene looked like? And where oh where has Protoflea gone? Shucks, the mammals have all the fun...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Madgod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 15:48
OMG! I wouldn't be around to enlighten all of you! A world w/out Canada is a bad world. lol Since Canada did her fair share of inventions and perfections, like the telephone, the snowmobile, Maple Syrup and the best of all, HOCKEY! The second most popular sport in the world!
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No! You still can not export your pills stateside! Something about quality control...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ziegenbartami Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 18:28
Originally posted by The Canadian Guy The Canadian Guy wrote:

OMG! I wouldn't be around to enlighten all of you! A world w/out Canada is a bad world. lol Since Canada did her fair share of inventions and perfections, like the telephone, the snowmobile, Maple Syrup and the best of all, HOCKEY! The second most popular sport in the world!

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, no? And he was American, not Canadian Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 18:56
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

And where oh where has Protoflea gone? 
 
I trust neither you nor I ever find out.
 
PS Bell was a Scotsman.


Edited by gcle2003 - 12 Dec 2009 at 18:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 20:47
Originally posted by Ziegenbartami Ziegenbartami wrote:

Originally posted by The Canadian Guy The Canadian Guy wrote:

OMG! I wouldn't be around to enlighten all of you! A world w/out Canada is a bad world. lol Since Canada did her fair share of inventions and perfections, like the telephone, the snowmobile, Maple Syrup and the best of all, HOCKEY! The second most popular sport in the world!

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, no? And he was American, not Canadian Wink
 
Well, technically, Alexander Graham Bell was a Scotsman [born and schooled in Edingburgh--1847-1870], and emigrated to Canada with his father A. Melville Bell in 1870. He moved to Boston in 1871 so as to continue his work with the deaf and since all of this was long before the "Border Police" and the Immigration Panics of the 1890s, I believe Bell was rather unconcerned about papers. Since he did not take out "naturalization papers" until 1882--at the time he was taking control of Western Electric--one can surmise his sentimental roots remained with Scotland. His paternal family remained in Canada and he himself maintained a summer home in Nova Scotia [as did the Delano Roosevelts]. As with Carnegie, he probably continued to self-identify with the land of lochs and Nessie. He died on his estate Beinn Bhradegh at Braddeck, Cape Breton Island, NS in 1922 and is buried there.
 
 
Technically, he could have remained in Scotland and completed his creative work there...
 
So yes, we would still have the telephone since it is a by-products of Bell's interest in assisting the deaf!


Edited by drgonzaga - 12 Dec 2009 at 20:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2009 at 22:17
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

As usual, the Pinguin exaggerates. The paleontological ancestors of the horse and camel have been discovered in what is now the Western Hemisphere; however, the continents of then were not the land masses of today. So the conjecture is rather irrelevant and akin to postulating if there were no Africa there would be no homo sapiens sapiens.
 
As usual you don't understand anything Confused... And yes, without the Americas there would be no horses... Big smile
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