How would the Native Americans have fared had the Chinese colonized the Americas?

Well before the 1700’s, at last in the Spanish and Portuguese territories. Really, what held them back was only the problem of scale. Spain colonized a significant chunk of the earth’s landmass in that period. Unlike most of England’s colonialism, they spread out across it.
Eventually, Englishment got themselves into gear and took over most of North America. But they didn’t in India, East Asia, or Africa.

I don’t think you need to have read Machiavelli or Sun Tzu, to think of something as obvious as “lure the enemy’s god-king to a parley and capture him.” An Inca general – well, certainly an Aztec general – might have thought of it, and pulled it off.

if white Christians killed many Amerindians it doesn’t mean that Chinese non-Christians would not have killed many more and much faster. Also with a lot less hand wringing and without Der Trihs type of people bitching about it forever after. Like I pointed out, there were plenty of savagery, even to the point of genocide in Chinese history - and they don’t bitch about it. It’s par the course from the standpoint of the culture.

I doubt it. Zeng He was a castrati…

I am afraid there is a small mystake here. The Han were very bad sailors, and Zeng He wasn’t from the Han dynasty but from the early Ming dynasty: more than a thousand years later.

I think the myth of the native extinction by diseases has been an excellent excuse to hide the largest genocide in history.

Chinese had not interest in spreading its empire. They wanted to spread theirs routes of commerce.
I could bet Native Americans would have had it better under a friendly Chinese relation, that would help them to improve theirs technology and give the big jump, rather than by the violent and inhuman European invasion of the Americas.

To bad history can be changed.

I don’t think too many historians use the extermination-by-disease theory as an “excuse” for Europeans considering that in at least one case Europeans at minimum considered using diseased blankets to kill natives.

Aside from that, in some cases there were undoubtedly unintended mass native deaths from unfamiliar diseases in the New World. On colonial Hispaniola, for example, IIRC the first Spanish settlers there were more interested in exploiting the native population for slave labor than killing them outright (not that enslaving them was any better). However, the Spaniards ended up having to import slave labor from Africa when the natives began to die en masse from smallpox.

In the Caribbean, natives were assimilated. The fact is so many native women assimilated to the settler’s society that this destroyed the tribal peoples. Today, 1/3 of the Cuban mtDNA is still Indigenous. Black slaves were imported to the Caribbean not because Indians were extinct, but because the crown forbade the slavery of Indigenous peoples, as suggested by Las Casas.

When I think in cruelty I actually think in Spaniards, but above all in Portugueses. However, when I think in Genocide, what comes to my mind are the British settlers of North America.

While intermarriage was a big factor, there’s not really any doubt that diseases also contributed majorly to the decline of the native populations. The indigenous population of Hispaniola, for example, was reduced from roughly 300,000 to just 1,000 over a period of less than fifty years, most of these deaths being due to smallpox. Smallpox outbreaks were common among the native populations in colonial New England as well. It is possible that even Pocahontas may have died of smallpox (although she had been assimilated into English society before then).

Again, the disease issues don’t absolve the European settlers of responsibility for the cruel treatment or persecution of the natives, but they were clearly a factor in the decline of the indigenous populations along with various other atrocities.

I don’t believe Malthus was referring to the Han dynasty, but rather to the modern Han ethnic group, itself the result of many generations of amalgamation and assimilation.

While there is no doubt infectious diseases affected Native populations, claiming a reduction from 300 to 1 by infections alone is simply ridiculous, and show how ignorant are many researchers. For instance, the native population of the whole Caribbean was around 100.000 at contact. As usual, the numbers of the original populations have been skyrocketed by modern “experts” that want to show a big decline, so increase the initial figures. Something it is not know is how many escaped to Mexico or Venezuela when Europeans arrived, which make sense given the Caribbean natives crossed the Atlantic as a routine. What it is known, though, it is that many Indigenous caribbeans went to Mexico with the Spaniards during the conquest of those territories.

In second place, 50 years afterwars, the natives declined, but how many were natives at that time? 50 years is three generations! That means, most of the population would be mixed already, and not counted as Indigenous. Indigenous people, in early “census” were only the people that weren’t Christians!

Yes, Pocahontas died of infectious diseases, but only after going to England! He lived enough to get marry and had a child, which shows that infectious disease weren’t as fast and radical as the popular mythology tells.

Of course it doesn’t. Most indigenous people that disapeared were exterminated by Europeans, not by germs.

You have a cite for that figure? As far as I’ve read that represents the very lowest estimate for the island of Hispaniola itself, exclusive of the rest of the pre-Colombian Caribbean.

You’re certainly correct that pre-Colombian population figures have become a somewhat politicized topics and I’d absolutely agree that the very highest figures appear to be untenable fantasies ( i.e. a population of 8,000,000 on Hispaniola ). Nonetheless scholarly consensus, even on the conservative side, seems to be that disease was definitely the biggest cause of demographic decline in the Americas and probably by a very substantial margin. There are simply too many eyewitness accounts to dismiss them blithely. Las Casas may have been functionally innumerate, the great bulk of pre-modern observers were and their numbers untrustworthy. But the general sense of catastrophic decline due to disease in particular was pervasive and probably indicates a broader truth. We have even much more modern records of the devastation of smallpox on the Plains Indians in the early 19th century and though dealing with much smaller populations the observed damage to small, agricultural, village-bound tribes like the Mandan accords well with the accounts from the 16th century.

My sources come from a Spanish Almanac printed in Miami for the 1992 celebration. I can find it for you if you want.

If the native population was so fragile, like some New Age scientists believe. How could you explain then that in places like Mexico, the Central American and the Andes the Amerindian population predominates, either in pure or mixed form?

With respect to catastrophic declines, as I said before, people never remember intermarriage, migration and population movements in the 50 years since contact.

As I said before, the best indicator that population was assimilated rather than just got extincted is in genetics.

Because the pre-Columbian population of what is now Latin America was much greater than that north of the Rio Grande, and because, even decimated by war and disease, they vastly outnumbered the Spanish settlers. (Except in the Caribbean and Florida, where the native populations were driven practically extinct. We have Indians in Florida, the Seminoles, but they did not arrive here until the 18th Century.)

But, depopulation there was.

15 millions for the Aztec Empire and 6 millions for the Inca is an ridiculous exageration. Come on, the whole Mexico had less that 30 million people at the beginnings of the 20th century!

With that dishonest schollarship it is easy to prove wathever the “scientist” wishes.

If one wants to have an idea about the density of the Amerindian population at contact, it is easy to read the book about the topic by Cabeza de Vaca. Surprisingly, North America was almost empty.

This seems like a total non sequitur.

You accept Mexico was easily able to support 30 million in 1900 when it was rife with infectious diseases.
The Aztec empire covered over 25% of that area, and much of what is excluded is semi-arid rangeland of low productive value.
Yet you find it impossible to believe that this large area of highly productive land with few infectious diseases was utterly unable to support half the population.

Are you suggesting that soil fertility declined dramatically in the intervening years or what?

Dishonest is a strong claim to make. Please provide evidence of this dishonesty.

No, it isn’t easy because we don;t have the name of the book or the publisher. With the information given it is impossible.

No, it wasn’t.

That’s just guessing. The Guessing game.

People forget that in ancient times the world has a density a lot smaller than today. And also forget that infectious diseases existed in the Americas BEFORE the Europeans arrived.

Some people also forgot Europeans and African weren’t immune to the same diseases. And they also forgot intermarriage in Latin America was widespread, something impossible to had happened if diseases were so deadly.

You are just deffending an intellectual fashion. There is no science here, giving the fact there wasn’t a census at contact. All we have is guessing, and the figures for guessing are increasing at a rate of 10% per decade. If the guessing game continue, at 2030 we would be speaking that the Americas had 20 billion people at contact. :smiley:

No, it isn’t guessing. BrainGlutonhas already provided the references which will give you the scientific methodology upon which those figures were based.

The only guessing being done here is by you. You still haven’t explained what methodology allowed you to conclude that it was impossible for Mexico to suport that number of people.

Are you saying that a population of 15 million for humid Mexico is *not *much lower than today? :eek:

And if you concede that 15 million is a much lower population density, then that is support for the figure. No?

You seem to be trying to support non sequiturs with more non-sequiturs.

Nobody has forgotten that.

The same as each other, or the same as the Natives? Because if you are claiming the latter you are plain wrong.

Rubbish. Brainglutton already explained this too you. Do you need me to repost it for you?

Well I;m convinced. :rolleyes:

No, that isn’t true.

BrainGlutonhas already provided the references which will give you the scientific methodology upon which those figures were based.

The only non-scientific figures being thrown around are by you. You still haven’t explained what methodology allowed you to conclude that it was impossible for Mexico to support that number of people.

One comment… and I may just be refusing to buy into the hypothetical… the Pacific ocean is WAY WAY WAY bigger than the Atlantic… so the logistics of colonizing and keeping control of the colony would be vastly more difficult, even if the ship-building and navigation technologies were on par.

It’s interesting to think about what would’ve happened when European and Chinese trailblazers met each other in the Midwest, perhaps at the Mississippi River, in the early 1600s.

That said, if the Chinese landed on the west coast and brought their diseases with them, those diseases would have eventually spread across the continent via trade routes as happened historically. If the Chinese didn’t go further inland than the west coast, or even the Rockies, those diseases would have had the time to decimate Indian populations but also for those populations to rebound somewhat and strengthened with immunities. Depending on the timing of European arrival, they could be at their weakest or thoroughly rebounded. The plains Indians in particular would’ve had the most amount of time to rebound before being confronted with a human enemy - Chinese or European.

“Han” as in “Han Chinese” the ethnic group. The “Han dynasty” was much earlier than our period.

Zeng He himself was some sort of ethnic central asian muslim, but that is beside the point.

Any support for the notion that the impact of disease on the native population was a “myth”?

I disagree that the Chinese had no interest in spreading their empire. They certainly did spread - at one point, Tang soldiers battled Arabs at the Talas river in what is now Kazakhstan, pretty far west of what we think of as “China” proper (the Chinese lost); the Chinese rampaged south until they were blocked by serious Vietnamese resistence, absorbing in a colonial manner the ethnic groupings in ther path … what stopped the Chinese was not a lack of interest in expansion, but the threat posed by the steppe nomads, particularly under the Ming (who had just kicked out the Mongol dynasty and were destined to be once again taken over by the Manchu).

In short, the notion that the Chinese would have been significantly friendlier and less disruptive to natives than europeans is I think misplaced. It is true that the Chinese did not establish overseas colonies, but that was expressly because they had more pressing concerns closer to home, and no really compelling reasons for such colonies (the Zeng He expeditions were given up because they cost money, better spend on anti-nomad defenses - the Euro colonies made money, at least initially).

Moreover, not all european relations with natives were bad from the native POV. Certainly if you were a carib the Spanish were a disaster - but not necessarlily if you were a native in the French sphere. Contact with euros for some meant access to guns in exchange for furs.