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View Poll Results: Do you think Canada would be more habitable overall if it was tropical?
Yes 18 54.55%
No 11 33.33%
Not Sure 4 12.12%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:23 PM
 
Location: In transition
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Here's an interesting thought I want to get opinions on. In my dream scenario for Canada as outlined in the "Changing Your area's geography to improve" the climate thread, I removed Canada from where it is now and placed it entirely in the tropics between 18S and 22N in the Pacific Ocean approximately 100W to 171E.
Anyway, in your opinion, would this make Canada be able to support a larger population than is currently the situation now and if so, where do you think the population centres might be.
I of course think it would be able to support a larger population which would have a much better climate overall. I think it's a good thing as the entirety of land could be farmed or used in some way.

Current Canadian cities/population centres in this scenario:

St. John's, NL - 13S 100W
Goose Bay, NL - 7S 108W
Halifax, NS - 16S 111W
Charlottetown, PEI - 14S 111W
Fredericton, NB - 15S 114W
Quebec City, QC - 14S 119W
Montreal, QC - 15S 121W
Ottawa, ON - 15S 123W
Toronto, ON - 17S 127W
Thunder Bay, ON - 12S 137W
Winnipeg, MB - 11S 145W
Regina, SK - 10S 152W
Saskatoon, SK - 8S 154W
Calgary, AB - 9S 162W
Edmonton, AB - 7S 161W
Vancouver, BC - 11S 171W
Whitehorse, YT - 0N 177E
Yellowknife, NT - 2N 162W
Inuvik, NT - 8N 179E
Resolute, NU - 14N 142W
Baker Lake, NU - 4N 144W
Iqaluit, NU - 3N 116W
Alert, NU - 22N 110W
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Finland
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Quite the opposite. I'm approaching the subject mostly from a historical perspective, because I'm not an expert on Pacific currents and climates.

First of all, the huge Canadian continent would have been probably mostly uninhabited. Probably (Australian) aboriginals and Maori could have reached the western coast and settled there, but the sheer size and the hostile environment (see below) of the continent would have meant that the population remained small.

No Canada in it's current place would mean no Bering Strait land bridge, so North America (USA and Mexico) could have been completely without people. So no Native American or Pre-Colombian Central American cultures. If the "Canadian Maori" navigated further east, South America could have been inhabited. I any case, these people would have arrived sometime like 1300 AD, which means the population would be very small if comparing to the real indigenous peoples of America, who first arrived some 17000-13000 years ago.

The Canadian continent would have been discovered by Europeans in the 1520's, probably by Ferdinand Magellan. As the distance from Europe would be enormous and the continent hard to reach, it could have been largely 'forgotten' until the early 19th century. As was in reality, the colonization would be targeted mostly to North and South America. The USA would be almost completely accessable by sea, so perhaps the French fur hunters could have established colonies on the shores of North Dakota, for instance. When the continent would be mostly uninhabited and the coasts easy to navigate, it would be a very appealing playground for all European nations. No need to go further west to tropical Canada.

So, a tropical Canada in the Pacific. For the mostly agricultural societies until the Industrial Revolution, a tropical climate was extremely hostile. The agricultural potential was poor for crops Europeans used, the soil hard to manage, difficult terrain for animal husbandry and the vast rainforest infested by malaria and other tropical diseases, and mostly impassable. Parts of Canada would be a tropical savanna climate with unreliable rain patters and poor soil, much as we see today in Africa. In fact, Canada would be a second Africa.
The indigenous cultures would not have been very developed, as history shows that it's very difficult to manage a sustainable advanced culture in the tropics.

It's easy to enjoy the tropical climates and warmth now in 2013 with all urban development, vaccinations, fertilizers and other modern inventions, but only some 100 years ago, a tropical climate was not very appealing to people. Not to mention 200 or 400 years ago. It's not a coincidence that the European migration targeted USA and Canada, and not Nigeria or Congo.

The population today would probably be a lot smaller than in real Canada. To remind you, Australia had a European population of 1 million in 1858, while Canada had 3 million. A tropical Canada would have missed out on all 19th and early 20th century migration to North America, and most of the immigrants would came well after WWII, like it did in Australia.
The population centers would be on the coast in more friendly and temperate areas, much like in Brazil and Australia, and the population today something like 10-20 million people, depending on how developed the continent would be, and how many that targeted Australia would have chosen Canada.

Interesting thread, but I'm confident that Canada is much better off where it exists today.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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It might have been seen as a more attractive place by European settlers who fancied plundering the land for their own gratification.

A better question would be: would Canada be a better country today if it was tropical? I think the answer is no.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:14 PM
 
Location: WINTERpeg
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Wonder what the climates of these places would be like? Desert somewhere?
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Finland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunno what to put here View Post
It might have been seen as a more attractive place by European settlers who fancied plundering the land for their own gratification.
Exactly. The Scramble for Africa would have been the Scramble for Africa and Canada. And as we know, despite from some railroads and some small scale education, Africa didn't benefit too much from the European colonization.
The price of coffee and pineapples could be lower.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:17 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
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Well said Ariete.

Not at all. Although much of Canada's climate is inhospitable, northern countries generally have a higher quality of life than those located near the tropics (historically and today). Of course there are exceptions and that may be changing with technological, economic, and political reforms, but overall I think Canada is better off presently than if it were located farther south. Dealing with subzero temperatures and snow in a first world country is easier than 90 F in a third world country with a lack of reliable infrastructure.

Canada is such a cool country. I don't want to imagine it any other way.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:31 PM
 
Location: In transition
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Interesting points. Brazil which is a mostly tropical country has a large population and a fast growing economy today. It's not as wealthy as North America but it's not Africa either. So, I don't know if I entirely agree with your premise Ariete. In addition, Australia is a first world country and is about half tropical and most of the rest is subtropical.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
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It certainly would be less habitable for me if it was tropical . But more seriously, I think 30 million people* is proof that it's already habitable enough as it is. Vast wildernesses to go with the populated areas makes it a better country in my view. Overpopulation and overcrowding brings its own set of problems that detract from "habitability". I opt for a lower population density myself .

*Yes, the vast majority live in the southern section, but people do inhabit every region.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: New Brunswick
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This is a fascinating subject. First of all despite the climate similarities with "Tropical Canada" to Africa there would be a big difference. Africa by the time of European colonization was already well populated. It's most likely that this Canada would have a very small native population probably smaller then North America. This immediantly takes away complications which Africa has. I would say that despite being in the tropics that European colonization would take root, the question is which country. Spain and Portugal have a large foot hold in Central and Southern America so I'm unsure if they would be interested in Colonizing another large land mass although with Portugal this may be a bigger possibility. For Britain this is another possibility but as Ariete pointed out North America would be even more appealing for the Brits taking away interest in a large but tropical landmass further form Europe. For France i think this is a stronger possibility. North America would be smaller leaving less room for British and French colonization side by side, plus back then relationships with the two countries weren't really friendly. I see it in the realm of possibility that the French would give up on North America and turn to "Tropical Canada" and settle it. After all the French in the 19th century did claim and colonize certain South Pacific tropical islands including New Caledonia and French Polynesia. This shows that France didn't shy away from tropical climates. Other possible colonization sources could include the Dutch and Danish.

As for how rich this Canada would be it's hard to say. It's true that Central and South America is poorer than North America, thought this is starting to change. But i believe that this is partly due to Portugal and Spain not being as rich as France and Britain. Australia with British settlement is partly in the tropics and it's a first world country although as the winter lovers would point out the major population centers are in the cooler part of the country. To have this country do well the settlers would have to adopt and apply new methods to thrive and who knows if this would happen as it strongly depends on the country colonizing it.

One final thought considering that this landmass would likely not be populated by Brits I have a hard time picturing it as a Canada, although tropical Quebec i could see.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: So Paulo
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Hmmm....

Ariete, if you think Southeastern Brazil is its most developed region because of its "friendly climate", I must say that is not quite correct. The first region to develop itself in the country was the Northeast, due to its tropical climate, which was better for sugar cane cultivation. It was because of the gold found in the Southeast (Minas Gerais) that the capital was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro that the region started to gain more importance.

Quote:
It's not a coincidence that the European migration targeted USA and Canada, and not Nigeria or Congo.
It surely isn't. That is part of why Europeans only tried to settle themselves in the extreme south of Africa, and why the French failed to settle themselves in southeastern Brazil.

Quote:
The indigenous cultures would not have been very developed, as history shows that it's very difficult to manage a sustainable advanced culture in the tropics.
Well, the development of cultures is complex and does not depend only on climate. If it was like that the native inhabitants of Northern Canada and Alaska would be much more "developed" then the Maya peoples, for example. Or, the Zulu would be the most developed people of Africa...

And, remember, even if tropical Canada was like a hotter Australia, that it would make it very different from Africa. See, Africa's kingdoms were much more "developed" than most of the American civilizations (not counting Inca, Maya and Aztec); and that's part of the reason why the African slave trade developed itself. Knowing that Africa's underdevelopment is not only due to the 19th Century Neocolonialism, but also due to the slave trade, tropical Canada would have a different place in history. Europeans could settle themselves there more easily than in Africa, for it would be scarcely populated. And, though tropical climates might be inhospitable, they do have an economic importance, if not, tropical America would not be colonized in the way it was.

By 2013, Canada would be a very peculiar country. I think the natives would be mostly wiped out, pretty much like in Brazil; it would be decolonized after WWII, pretty much like in Africa; and still, it would be populated by Europeans in a 19th Century context, resembling Australia a bit. The oldest big cities should be in the southwestern coast, near Australia, but the east coast should be a new region of development after decolonization, connected to the USA. Or, maybe, the Americans would colonize it already, not the Europeans, then, the oldest population centers would be in the east coast.

Well, just some thoughts. Interesting thread.
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