Native American Population Pre-European Contact


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We all know how Europeans genocided the Native American population after contact in 1492. But I was shocked to just learn that pre-European contact North America had a population of 2-6M. For comparison, Europe had a population of 70-150M.

It's my understanding that North American has bountiful land comparable to that of Europe. If that's true, then how the fuck did the Native Americans fall over an order of magnitude behind Europeans in population, before any of the post-contact guns germs steel and treachery arguments could apply?

  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Begging the question, there was no genocide. There was population collapse due to disease, and the Spanish did enslave and work people to death.

    • 2 months ago
      lets exchange contact info

      >There was population collapse due to disease
      PRE-EUROPEAN CONTACT dumbass

      From the moment Columbus landed, there was a disease outbreak that spread across the Americas and wiped people out.

      >From the moment Columbus landed
      PRE-1492 dumbass

      I assume it's because they, as a whole, were far less advanced in medicine. Perhaps also due to the average American dwelling being less protective from the elements than the average European dwelling.

      Setting aside the flippant usage of genocide, american indians had no domestication in the from of draft animals before the arrival of european nations. Any scant metallurgy was limited to basic cold forging.

      shelters across the american continents differ in complexity about as much as they did in europe

      * medicine, dwellings, draft animals, metallurgy
      Still, why? Was it bad luck of just not accidentally inventing the technology in time or geologic determinism?

      >Native women lost economic and political power by not being able to reproduce at the same rate as their white counterparts. One potential effect of this is the increased risk of extinction of the Native American culture.
      Hmmmm. Wonder if this applies to anyone else?

      >Wonder if this applies to anyone else?
      The whole point of the thread is that native americans were strategically lost BEFORE they even knew europeans existed.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        hey dumbass, my post was in relation to your stupid inclusion of bad history in the OP, dumb boy

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >he thinks society-altering inventions are a result of accidents and not personal initiatives by great men

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >PRE-EUROPEAN CONTACT dumbass
        >PRE-1492 dumbass
        You think contact just happened over night retard? The population was massive even after Columbus. The explorers brought the disease and because of the foreign nature of their genetics, it spread like fucking wild fire. You think these tribes were isolated? Hell nah! They had continent-wide trade networks.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      The smallpox crap is fake.

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    From the moment Columbus landed, there was a disease outbreak that spread across the Americas and wiped people out.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I assume it's because they, as a whole, were far less advanced in medicine. Perhaps also due to the average American dwelling being less protective from the elements than the average European dwelling.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Setting aside the flippant usage of genocide, american indians had no domestication in the from of draft animals before the arrival of european nations. Any scant metallurgy was limited to basic cold forging.

      shelters across the american continents differ in complexity about as much as they did in europe

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      While I have no clue about those in what is now the US, the Aztecs far surpassed the Spanish in treating traumatic injuries/combat wounds, sanitation, better surgical tools due to obsidian, and while there was plenty of useless superstitious bullshit mixed in more of their medicines actually had medical value with active ingredients that did what they claimed. Whole lot of useful local plants, and all those human sacrifices and ceremonial light warfare meant a solid understanding of anatomy and wound treatment.

      • 2 months ago
        lets exchange contact info

        >Aztecs
        Interestingly enough, Latin America was doing far better than North America with a population of 40M.

        A combination of simple timing and population density. Human settlement in the Americas is easily thousands of years later than human settlement in Europe, Asia, and Africa. That delay translates to thousands of years of falling behind on significant developments in agriculture and domestication of animals, which in turn delays the founding and growth of major cities and civilizations, which in turn delays further developments in fields like metallurgy and medicine. It wasn't any failing of the Native Americans themselves, just a product of migration to the Americas taking as long as it did compared to other areas of the world.

        >That delay
        Any delay migrating would mean they should keep the tech advances to migrate with them. Also civs rose and fell many times like bronze age collapse so progress isn't purely linear. Finally why was latin america doing somewhat better?

        >he thinks society-altering inventions are a result of accidents and not personal initiatives by great men

        >great men
        Plural, proving my point.
        If Watt and Shockley had died as children then someone else would have invented the Steam Engine and the Transistor. They may have come a few years later but nothing to explain why the Native Americans were an entire order of magnitude behind the Europeans.

        hey dumbass, my post was in relation to your stupid inclusion of bad history in the OP, dumb boy

        >bad history
        History deals with facts, and facts involve the accurate recitation of who killed whom to take their stuff. Moralizing about how who was justified and whom deserved it and it was an accident and greedo shot first and other such nonsense is the domain of politics, not history.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          >f Watt and Shockley had died as children then someone else would have invented the Steam Engine and the Transistor
          We cannot be comfortably certain about that.

          • 2 months ago
            lets exchange contact info

            >We cannot be comfortably certain about that.
            Considering lots of great men (plural) were involved in both inventions anyway and that probably 50+% of the effort spent was more on petty bickering over who got the credit and patents and other rent-seeking activities rather than actual invention, we most certainly can.

            It's far more convincing to argue that [b]political[/b] destinies hinge on single great men rather than [b]technological[/b] ones. For example if not for Washington, perhaps the Americans would have lost to Cornwallis instead of defeating him, and America would have wound up becoming a "constitutional monarchy" (lol) like Canada and Australia.

            • 2 months ago
              Anonymous

              Leave you stupid reddit nagger.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          You're still wrong, there was no genocide. You are pop history at best. A casual pedestrian with pedestrian opinions.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          >why was latin america doing somewhat better?
          It's a complicated question to answer but simply put, the further south you get, the further from north you are. Why does that matter? Look at Inuit folk lore. A lot of stories reflect the harsh frozen hellscape they lived in. Resources are scarce, so they developed a culture of not wasting anything as doing so would insult the spirits of the animals they hunted. Natives came from Alaska first and migrated downward gradually, so they kept that tradition with them. It's why they were so eco-conscious to the point that it would interfere with war on some occasions. Of course, the further down you go, the more gradual the culture shift goes and when life can flourish in all seasons, the concept of conservationism became less important. Hence why they exploited the land and swelled to the point that more complex social systems were formed.

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    In the 1960s and 1970s, the Indian Health Service (IHS) and collaborating physicians sustained a practice of performing sterilizations on Native American women, in many cases without the informed consent of their patients. In some cases, women were misled into believing that the sterilization procedure was reversible. In other cases, sterilization was performed without the adequate understanding and consent of the patient, including cases in which the procedure was performed on minors as young as 11 years old. A compounding factor was the tendency of doctors to recommend sterilization to poor and minority women in cases where they would not have done so to a wealthier white patient. Other cases of abuse have been documented as well, including when health providers did not tell women they were going to be sterilized, or other forms of coercion including threatening to take away their welfare or healthcare. In 1976, a U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) investigation found that four Indian Health Service areas were noncompliant with IHS policies regulating consent to sterilization. Inadequate consent forms were a recurring problem; the most common form did not record whether the elements of informed consent had been presented to the patient or what they were told prior to obtaining consent, and physician misunderstanding of IHS regulations was widespread. The investigation found that these four service areas sterilized 3,406 women between the years 1973 and 1976, including 36 cases where women under the age of 21 were sterilized despite a declared moratorium on these sterilizations. Limitations of the GAO investigation were quickly noted. Senator James Abourezk pointed out that while even 3,406 sterilizations would represent a startling proportion of Native American women, this number was the result of a report which examined only four out of twelve IHS areas. Attempts to count the total number of sterilizations that happened during this period differ widely.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Native women lost economic and political power by not being able to reproduce at the same rate as their white counterparts. One potential effect of this is the increased risk of extinction of the Native American culture.
      Hmmmm. Wonder if this applies to anyone else?

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    A combination of simple timing and population density. Human settlement in the Americas is easily thousands of years later than human settlement in Europe, Asia, and Africa. That delay translates to thousands of years of falling behind on significant developments in agriculture and domestication of animals, which in turn delays the founding and growth of major cities and civilizations, which in turn delays further developments in fields like metallurgy and medicine. It wasn't any failing of the Native Americans themselves, just a product of migration to the Americas taking as long as it did compared to other areas of the world.

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    >We all know how Europeans genocided the Native American population after contact in 1492

    That's a marxist lie. The vast majority of Indians died from diseases which they hadn't evolved resistance. They also were the first to initiate aggression against white settlers.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >if you think the indians were genocides, you support command economy
      ?

  7. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    The Northern tribes got ass fucked by the land
    You have to consider that the Majority of Northern America isn't actually that great. The most wealth lies in the Mississippi/Potomac and California, where most of the population density of Northern America was. The rest was a massive desert, a massive mountain range, wide plains comparable to the eurasian steppe, and artic waste land
    The USA was largely built off the Mississipi, and expanded into California, which became a second pillar of their civilization, which also happens to be how the natives themselves settled; the most population density was around California and the Mississippi. And it took a lot of work for the anglos to get there; a lot of modern inventions, a lot of engineering to get to the point it's at today, and a lot of US land still isn't that useful or populated
    Another problem was the unreliability and unpredictability of the waters around America, particularly the East coast. It really crippled any hope of wide spread trade in the gulf of mexico and was a problem even the french and spainards had troubles dealing with in their colonial endeavors. It essentially created isolated pockets of population
    In conclusion the natives:
    >settled late
    >settled in the continent with the most land diversity in the world
    >settled in the continent that is extremely hard to trade in
    >where largely isolated from other native populations
    They tried, they really did. There is even evidence of a massive civilization that spread it's influence all over the Mississippi with a capital city that (allegedly) had population comparable to it's contemporary London or Paris
    It likely died due to massive floods destroying their settlements. The land simpley refused to be tamed

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      A good example of how stunted American trade was can be seen in the spread of Maize
      Maize orginiated from early Mesoamerican societies and spread to the greater Mesomerica, the Andeas, and eastern north America. Every where it went, it become not only a dietary staple, but a cultural and religious icon. The Mesoamericans worshipped a maize god, and the Andeans used maize alcohol in religious ritual. What's interesting here is that Maize spread to the Eastern North Americans much slower than it did to the Andeans. This is because it spread by trade to the Andeas, but reached the Eastern North Americans by Mesoamerican migrants spreading the knowledge. The impact it had on Eastern North America is obvious, the Cahokia were likely only so great because of what Maize brought to them, but how long it took pointed to the terminal lack of technological spread.
      And the Californians never got Maize, simply because Mesoamericans neve migrated there, providing more proof of isolated regions

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Another problem was the unreliability and unpredictability of the waters around America, particularly the East coast. It really crippled any hope of wide spread trade in the gulf of mexico and was a problem even the french and spainards had troubles dealing with in their colonial endeavors. It essentially created isolated pockets of population

      actually they weren't that isolated from one another

      while the ocean might have been turbulent there was a huge network of river systems they navigated with canoes, they could travel very far and engaged in long distance trade

  8. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I don't recall the exact details but it has to do with the stunted advancement of metallurgy in the Americas. While South America did indeed have some decent metallurgy in the form of gold smithing (partly due to how soft and easy to work with gold is), throughout the Americas there was little to no advancement in terms of using iron. No good iron or other staple metals means single-use or few-use tools were common place. This is obviously bad if you want a technologically advanced society.
    Would they have discovered "advanced" metallurgy techniques it eventually? Maybe. The point being Europeans caught the Americans with their pants down technologically and immunologically, and those cultures never recovered from that encounter.
    As to why they never had their "iron age", it's a complex answer. Technology and ideas spread like wildfire from one culture to the next. It's like a spark falling onto kindling, eventually the fire starts and becomes harder and harder to stop - the Americas just lacked enough sparks to get things going, figuratively speaking.

  9. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Because most injuns were stone age hunter-gatherers who couldn't even farm.

  10. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Weird thing is, a lot of the best land in North America was completely unused by 1500. In the 15th century, the core of the Mississippi valley was abandoned and became what archaeologists call the 'Vacant Quarter'.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      As said above

      The Northern tribes got ass fucked by the land
      You have to consider that the Majority of Northern America isn't actually that great. The most wealth lies in the Mississippi/Potomac and California, where most of the population density of Northern America was. The rest was a massive desert, a massive mountain range, wide plains comparable to the eurasian steppe, and artic waste land
      The USA was largely built off the Mississipi, and expanded into California, which became a second pillar of their civilization, which also happens to be how the natives themselves settled; the most population density was around California and the Mississippi. And it took a lot of work for the anglos to get there; a lot of modern inventions, a lot of engineering to get to the point it's at today, and a lot of US land still isn't that useful or populated
      Another problem was the unreliability and unpredictability of the waters around America, particularly the East coast. It really crippled any hope of wide spread trade in the gulf of mexico and was a problem even the french and spainards had troubles dealing with in their colonial endeavors. It essentially created isolated pockets of population
      In conclusion the natives:
      >settled late
      >settled in the continent with the most land diversity in the world
      >settled in the continent that is extremely hard to trade in
      >where largely isolated from other native populations
      They tried, they really did. There is even evidence of a massive civilization that spread it's influence all over the Mississippi with a capital city that (allegedly) had population comparable to it's contemporary London or Paris
      It likely died due to massive floods destroying their settlements. The land simpley refused to be tamed

      there was actually a civilization in the mississipi, the largest known to be above the mesoamerican basin
      It seemed to have been located around modern St. Louis and spread itself all around the Mississippi around the 11th century and continued on until the 14th century, until it died suddenly
      Some theorise overfarming, but there is no evidence. There is some evidence of some type of conflict, but not enough to siggest they were detroyed by an invasion. A popular theory is they were killed by a mississipian flood

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      nigga what, 4 million ? Aztecs in Mexico had 40 million alone you think the east of North America is gonna have less ? don’t try to justify your colonization, you’re literally an immigrant

  11. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Can anyone tell me the book that has a native woman's recollections of white men who were there before them and were basically like gods?

  12. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    >If that's true, then how the fuck did the Native Americans fall over an order of magnitude behind Europeans in population, before any of the post-contact guns germs steel and treachery arguments could apply?
    Euro diseases. Between first contact and the first thanks giving, they went through an apocalypse due to diseases that had evolved millennia apart from their biology. Archeologists estimate that between 80-90% of the population died off before colonization really began in earnest.

  13. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Native use of the land is extremely population-inefficient. A native population center in the low hundreds of people requires a massive acreage to support itself because they are completely dependent on seasonal migrations.It's not just the land in the immediate vicinity which they hunt, it's also the ring of lands neighboring this territory, which are a kind of "buffer" between neighboring tribes, deliberately left alone so that wild game can congregate there after they have been hunted out of their core territories. Then the natives will gradually move into these buffer areas while the old areas recover.

    It's definitely sustainable, it's just not going to support a very large population. Hence why these semi-sedentary tribes never got very populous.

    You did see much larger settlements, with thousands or tens of thousands, but these were more sedentary, agricultural peoples, and most of them did not survive to see European contact.

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