October 13, 2008

No primitive Indians here

U.S. history books have Indians all wrong, says authorMann said researchers now believe Indians migrated to the Americas 20,000 to 35,000 years ago and grew to a population estimated at 40 million to 60 million people. And they lived in cities 800 years ago as big as those in Europe at the time.

One city in Mexico had 215,000 inhabitants who lived on an island in the middle of a man-made lake. Another, near modern-day St. Louis, attracted thousands of inhabitants before it was destroyed by floods. A city in Peru was surrounded by a wall greater than the one built around Rome.

The Inca empire, he said, was the largest in the world at its height. The Incas created a huge network of roads.

In the Amazon, Indians altered thousands of square miles of wetlands, Mann said, so they could live on mounds of dry ground and travel on raised causeways. They also created vast designs of raised earth whose purposes scientists still don’t understand.

In other parts of the Amazon, he said, researchers have found Indians made the dirt more fertile by mixing it with charcoal and millions of smashed pieces of pottery. Some estimate that 12 percent of the Amazon was transformed for agriculture.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Indiana Jones and the Stereotypes of Doom.


dmarks said...

If the Civil War was not about slavery, then, what was it about? I've had this sort of conversation so many times:

Other: The Civil War was not about slavery.
Me: What was it about:
Other: States Rights
Me: The right of states do what?
Other: Have slaves.

So it comes right down to slavery.

The pre-Columbian airliner idea is really Van Daniken-style fakery. It has been applied to ancient Egypt also. Pointing out hoaxes like ancient societies building airliners does nothing to diminish actual and significant accomplishments of these societies.

dmarks said...

1. The sculptures as such are not hoaxes. Perhaps "hoax" is not the best term for the fake stories about ancient civilizations.

Now, consider the idea that the fly-like sculpture was indeed a toy in imitation of an actual aircraft (as opposed to being an sculpture representing an insect or a fanciful winged lizard).

The wing configuration would fit that of a supersonic jet. Gliders and slow propeller planes tend to have long wings sticking out the sides, not the close "delta" wing formation. So, suppose ancient Colombia built jet airplanes. Don't you think there'd be some evidence of the machine shops, metallurgy, fuel extraction and storage, and test runways you'd need in order to have a jet program? Windsocks? Piles of lost luggage?

To look it another way, suppose that they really are models of jets. Would this mean that the full-size jets really existed? Let's say sometime in 4000 AD, an archaeologist finds a cache of Star Trek Enterprise toys in a basement. Would an archaelogist be able to make a sound conclusion that the civilization that cranked out the Star Trek" toys also made full-size working starships?

The idea that the Colombian sculptures are small models of actual aircraft gets more and more unlikely.

2. "... but to say the Civil War was only about slavery is a gross oversimplification."

Quite true (your statement)

Rob said...

I've addressed the issue of prehistoric Native flight before. See Hot Air Over Nazca and Inca Airplanes on Journeyman for details.

My education didn't cover the Vietnam War or the first Gulf War either. Of course, the Vietnam War was still happening and the first Gulf War hadn't happened yet when I was in school. ;-)

Slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War, but it was tied up in other issues. Here's one take on why the war broke out:


1. Economic and social differences between the North and the South.

2. States' versus federal rights.

3. The fight between slave- and non-slave-state proponents.

4. Growth of the abolition movement.

5. The election of Abraham Lincoln.