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Old 06-10-2019, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,801 posts, read 2,070,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikala43 View Post
Lack of beasts of burden in part.

I forget the rest, for good reading try Guns, Germs and Steel. It covers why / how different areas developed the way it did. Kinda a dry read though.
x 2

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond pretty much answers this question as completely as possible. FWIW I didn't find it dry at all, but certainly fascinating.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
31,272 posts, read 19,739,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShampooBanana View Post
x 2

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond pretty much answers this question as completely as possible. FWIW I didn't find it dry at all, but certainly fascinating.
It was super good, but I really had to push through certain sections. I wish Bill Bryson (A Short HIstory of Nearly Everything) would do something similar - he makes stuff so darn accessible.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:53 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,074 posts, read 19,415,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShampooBanana View Post
x 2

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond pretty much answers this question as completely as possible. FWIW I didn't find it dry at all, but certainly fascinating.
I have long known about this book, but never got around to reading it.

Time to head to the library.
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Old 06-10-2019, 06:54 PM
 
304 posts, read 141,738 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Guard View Post
The Americas did not have horses before Europeans.
I know what you are getting at, but that statement is incorrect.

The horse did evolve in the Americas, but became extinct 8000 to 12,000 years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses..._United_States

However, you are correct that the European settlers brought a variety of horses to America. And it was these European horses that played such a central role in the plains Indians.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,080 posts, read 2,816,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by townshend View Post
I know what you are getting at, but that statement is incorrect.
Okay... Americans did not have horses before the Europeans arrived.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Southern Most New Jersey
1,069 posts, read 802,630 times
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OP - Did you ever study native Americans. I mean really study them.

Native Americans have always led a life many can't comprehend. The other groups you mention are long gone.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:44 PM
 
6,231 posts, read 3,521,306 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
They had the first four. They probably would have had written records in another century, possibly infused from other cultures that didn't wipe them out as a first step. The only significant NAN written language is Cherokee, which was developed by a native who was influenced by European writing around 1810.
Don't forget the "newspaper rocks" scattered about the country. This is one near me:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffers_Petroglyphs

Some of the glyphs are so old no one has been able to interpret them yet. Work is being done and in time perhaps they will answer questions about precontact civilization.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,080 posts, read 2,816,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
Don't forget the "newspaper rocks" scattered about the country.
...
Some of the glyphs are so old no one has been able to interpret them yet. Work is being done and in time perhaps they will answer questions about precontact civilization.
Describing petroglyphs as written language is a bit of a stretch. No one considers the Lascaux paintings written language, for example. It's unlikely there will ever be an interpretation that's even mostly free of guesswork, just like Cretan Linear A.

Even the Central American nations had only glyphic recordings on the verge of becoming language.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
21,230 posts, read 14,251,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe from dayton View Post
I'll throw out several thoughts, then let other people take over.

The Hohokam built multi-storied houses and large adobe walls. They are most famously known for engineering and building an extensive irrigation and canal network.

The Mound Builders built extensively, and had walled cities and pyramids. Here is a very large and famous site: https://cahokiamounds.org/

A lot of Indians in the US were nomadic horse people, so they aren't going to build anything.

The Aztecs had a unified system of leadership and administration, while the US Indians were simply a collection of tribal groups -- they did not have a national leader or identity. It is referred to as the Aztec Empire for a reason. The empire was started by an alliance of tribes that were within relatively close proximity to each other. They also had a written language.

Geography. The size of the Aztec Empire at its height is still the tiniest of a fraction of the size of the US.
This isn't entirely true.

No tribes had the horse before the Europeans came, but you're right about the Hohokam and the Mound Builders. Their monuments were just as large as those in Central America but were different in concept.

There were North American nations that were as large, or larger, than either the Aztecs or the Incas, and just as sophisticated in their social order and administration. But it's true that none of them developed written language.

I do think geography and climate both play a huge part in the way a civilization develops. Life in a tropical jungle is much different in all respects than life is in more temperate North America.

The monuments may have needed to be huge to be tall enough to be seen through the trees and vegetation. And they may have needed to be of stone to keep from being overwhelmed by the vegetation.

In a climate zone where tall trees abound, as in eastern north America, monumental architecture could have been just as large and sophisticated, but wood is easier work than stone. It's quite possible wooden monumental buildings were made, but all wood decays, so they're all gone now.

In many areas of north America, there was no need to keep a society compressed into relatively small territories. There was so much empty land a people could move around, spread out, or come and go, forming new alliances and new societies as they went.

Almost all of the ancient monuments have a great amount of religion attached to them along with a king's divinity. Those religions never spread much farther than the civilization's influence.

In north America the religions could have been vastly different, without the ties that led to monument building. It's also quite possible that smaller tribal groups in north America have more advantages than large tribal groups, especially in the more westerly regions.

The question isn't as simple as monuments or size or social order. The Aztecs were a fairly new culture that arose from much older cultures, and that rise must have come from something that caused the need for a new social order.
The Incas were an older but much smaller civilization that suddenly grew and changed drastically. Why all this happened is mostly unknown, and it's also mostly unknown as to what or how the north American civilizations changed or how they changed.

To me, it seems to all boil down to the need for change or the lack of the need in other places. No need, no change.

We don't know if the Aztecs had the same universal sign language of north America. If the Aztecs couldn't sign or speak a strange language, they would have the need to create a written language to allow them the time needed to learn how to communicate with strangers. No need for writing when strangers can communicate instantly with signs.

No need for monuments when everyone shares the same notions about Gods.

No need to control others when there's more than enough room for everyone in all directions. So no need for empires.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:50 AM
 
Location: Southern Most New Jersey
1,069 posts, read 802,630 times
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banjo, some excellent points. And let us not forget availability of food sources.
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