Re: Europe and the Americas

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Tue, 20 Feb 1996 20:10:49 -0500

This is going to be difficult. In another post, Dwight Reed castigated the
anti-Ayn Rand webpage non-developed-Americas-as-justification-for-
conquest mode of argumentation -- that the Americas-were-just-as-
developed-as-Europe-so-there -- as being based on fallacious culture
comparisons. And he rejected any argument based on a claim of "misuse,
etc... of factual information." As much as I reject the Ayn Randesque
arguments, I am also concerned about the prevalence of mis-information
about Indians, Incas, Inuits, or whomever. Therefore, I asked
for the source for the various claims.

On Tue, 20 Feb 1996, holmberg joseph marv wrote: (combining two posts)

> I can recall examples of materials obtained from Aztec Empire into areas
> like Sioux Nations...they are coloured beads, tonquine (misspelled?)
> materials, and ideas were spread. It was all on the televised documentry
> titled, "500 Nations".

I would suggest that, first, you get the book-to-the-show, then find the
specific references to your remembrances. Then check their sources. This
is not to say that there was no trade in either materials or diffusion of
ideas; if your "tonquine" is turquoise, then certainly New Mexico
turquoise can be found in Mexico, and an Aztec -- or related-- pochteca
trader may have been buried near Flagstaff. But I seriously doubt you will
find evidence for "Aztec Empire" (ending 1520) materials or ideas in the
"Sioux Nations" of Minnesota.

> By the way, I regret to say this but there are wheels to be found in
> Mexico. In the middle of abandoned marketplaces in the ruins. And yes,
> they had iron. Mostly employed for tools,

As another poster noted, yes there were wheels, on toys. And while there
was cold-worked copper, and of course sophisticated gold and silver
smelting, but I know of no use iron, meteoric or otherwise. There is no
mention is Gordon Willey's An Introduction to American Archaeology.

> but they prefered Osidian, these lava-dried materials. Correct me if I
> am mistaken.

Since you insist. While volcanic, obsidian is not lava.

> agree that they practiced a different form of government from place to
> place...from cheifdoms to emperor-ship...and who knows...somewhere and
> somewhen they practiced democracy, :-)