By Zoltan Grossman
There were many other explorers who sailed to these shores, and even some who claimed to have arrived before Callicoatl--the Arawak, the Beothuk, and the Lenni-Lenape. But it was the Aztec flag of Anauak and the Inca flag of Tawantinsuyo that were first firmly planted on our soil. Soon after Callicoatl arrived, this land was named Omequauh after another Aztec-sponsored explorer. The Aztecs and Incas conquered and divided up South and Central Omequauh--the lands we call Africa, Iberia, and the islands of the Mediterranean Sea. Later, the Dakota and Ojibwe fought over and divided North Omequauh, my home continent, which we call "Europe."
Some great "European" leaders pulled together alliances of knights to resist the settlers, but our freedom fighters were never unified enough to prevail. Some of our Native peoples--among them the Irish, Corsicans, and Sardinians--were wiped out, their cultures lost to history.
You may know us as "Native Omequauhns," but we prefer to be called the "Original Europeans," or the "First Nations." We are not one people but many peoples, following different customs. We speak many tongues, which you may call "dialects," but we prefer to equate with your languages. We worship under different religions that were outlawed until recently, and are ridiculed to this day as mere superstition. The religion of my ancestors was known as "Christianity," and there are some of us who even today pray to a single god and his son.
Though we are commonly called "tribes," we have historically existed as nations, with our own borders, provinces, and capitals. The capital of my ancestors, London, was as great in its time as Cuzco or Tenochtitlan, until it was sacked by the invaders. My people, the York band of the English tribe, were once citizens of Yorkshire county (or province) in the English Nation (or "England"). Many of our peoples are not even called by their original names, but by derogatory names that others have given them. The Krauts, for instance, are more properly called the "Germans," or Deutsche in their own language. Similarly, the Frogs should be called the "French," or Français in their own tongue.
There was a time when our land would be stolen and our people divided and relocated, with only a passive response. But no more. The European Wars are being rekindled, as more nations are defending the lands our ancestors are buried under. Many remember the armed confrontations at the Long Fjord Norwegian Reservation about two decades ago, or at the Lake Balaton Hungarian Reservation two years ago. If our sovereignty is not recognized, these skirmishes are likely to continue.
A dubious scenario
Of course, a reverse conquest couldn't have happened like this. To put it mildly, it wouldn't have been a mirror image of the actual conquest. Here's why not:
1) Because of their disease-ridden livestock, crowded cities, and filthy personal habits, Europeans had much more exposure to disease. Which means they had much more immunity to disease also. Epidemics that wiped out 90% of the population probably wouldn't have swept through Europe.
If Native conquerors had arrived during the Black Plague, they might've been able to accomplish something. Assuming the Plague didn't wipe them out too, that is. Indeed, this might be the only scenario in which the Indians had a chance.
2) Even if Indians managed to cross the ocean first, the Europeans would've had metal and guns and the Indians wouldn't have. The conquest would've been a long slow process, not the lightning strikes of a Cortés or Pizarro.
Again, disease might be one factor that could've leveled the playing field. The only other thing I can think of is some sort of religious miracle. If Jesus had appeared and ordered the Pope to surrender all of Christendom to the pagans, would that have worked? I doubt it, but maybe.
3) Even if the conquest happened, Indians didn't have the same imperative to destroy other cultures and religions. I imagine a Native empire would've been like an Islamic empire: with an official religion and culture but with some tolerance for other religions and cultures.
Europeans would've been integrated into Native society, perhaps forcibly, rather than isolated on reservations. The evidence for this is that actual Native societies often integrated non-Indians (blacks, whites) without hate-based discrimination.
For more alternate histories, see Indians in Soy La Libertad and "What If" Stories About Indians. For more on the actual history involved, see Did Natives Discover Europe First?
Something else that throws a monkey wrench into the works of straightforward alternate history is the idea of alliances.
This more powerful oceanic Aztec empire could have allied with Europe's enemies and gotten the guns/etc from them.
...Looking at the history of what was going on in different places. The Ottoman Empire was in full flower in 1492. It is quite easy to imagine the Aztec armada making a deal with the Ottomans in which the Ottomans gained the best trade deals for the bounty of the New World, while the Aztecs get supplied with the best military technology and advisers of the day. Between them they'd have made short work of Europe.
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