In OTL, the discovery and especially the colonialisation of the Americas by European kingdoms happened in the context of an aggressive development of early proto-capitalism and rivaling absolutist monarchies which were struggling to monopolise power traditionally shared with feudal lords and corporations and defending it against their neighbours and nascent popular resistance. It resulted in an annihilation of indigenous polities and cultures, the extinction of many indigenous groups, the forced assimilation of others, the grabbing of indigenous land and the marginalisation of the natives in reservations.
In this timeline, Eurasian interest in the new continents, which are discovered already in the 9th and 10th centuries, is comparatively limited for many centuries; the establishment of contacts proceeds slower, since their focus is on trade, and the indigenous groups do not have a lot to offer at first. Indigenous groups, who are as stricken by imported diseases as they were in OTL, have centuries of time to recover from the shockwave of initial contact.
At this earlier contact time, indigenous cultures different from OTL contact time existed:
- the Mississippian culture was in full bloom, its city states dominating the valleys of the Mississippi`s tributaries and the adjacent plains
- in Central Eastern Atlantis, the sedentary civilization referred to in OTL as "Hohokam", "Anasazi" or "Pueblo Indians" was just fully developing
- Na-Dené speaking groups had not yet moved Southwards into the Great Plains
- the Haudenosaunee had not yet formed their confederacy and pushed Sioux tribes Westwards
- on the islands in the sea referred to in OTL as "the Caribbean", Caribs had not yet arrived but on the Southernmost islands, while the other islands are inhabited by Arawak groups, mostly Taino
- on the Southern Atlantic (OTL Mesoamerican) mainland, Nahua groups had not yet migrated Southwards; the Valley of Mexico is dominated by Toltecs, who, immediately prior to first contact, were afflicted by droughts caused by a climate change, just like their Eastern neighbours, the Maya, among whom the city states of Uxmal and Chichen Itza were most powerful
- in Caribia (OTL South America), the Inca had not yet formed their polity and the Andes were full of various kingdoms and federations, many of whom were afflicted by the same drought as farther North,
- while on the continent`s West Coast, the Chimú were about to expand their empire
- and on the East Coast, Tupi tribes had not yet expelled Jê tribes from the coasts.
All these groups took different developments from the moment of contact with Eurasian or African newcomers, but some general trends are observable. While some groups openly co-operate and fuse with the limited numbers of newcomers, others prefer to isolate themselves. But even the latter`s ways of life are changing rapidly: internal warfare, state-building, imported animals, weaponry, technology and philosophy influence them with or against their will. While colonisation is successful at the coasts and on the islands, creating societies heavily influenced by Celtic, Roman, Ostrogothic, Liberian and Chinese cultures, the inner regions of both continents host indigenous civilizations which have formed their own states.
The following gives an overview over
- the phases of contact, colonisation and development
- the main clusters of indigenous or mixed groups and their civilizations
First Contacts (9th-11th centuries)
First contacts between European and Chinese newcomers and indigenous populations happened in Atlantis in the 9th century, in Caribia in the 10th century.
Ostrogoths were the first to meet Atlantic indigenous peoples. They landed on Borikén (OTL Puerto Rico) in 865. From there, the Nesoi Zernikoi (OTL Virgin Islands), Ayiti (OTL Haiti and Dominican Republic), Yara (OTL Cuba), Malliouhana (OTL Anguilla), Lukku-Kairi (OTL Turks and Caicos), Chaimakos (OTL Jamaica), Wa`ladli (OTL Antigua), Karukera (OTL Guadeloupe) and other islands were discovered in the late 9th and early 10th century.
Celtic whale- and seal-hunters encountered Inuit on Polaris (OTL Greenland) in 853 after having visited the island for more than two decades already. In the late 9th century, they also encountered the Beothuk on Nova Hibernia (OTL Newfoundland). In the 10th century, they were followed by a few seasonal settlements of fishermen, later joined by more settlers, who made contact with a number of Algonquin tribes.
Chinese explorers encountered groups of Aleut in 904. The Sui Empire laid claim to all the land it discovered along the West Coast of Atlantis, establishing a few colonies under the baojia military system, and compelling some chiefs of Tlingit, Nuu-cha-nulth and Coast Salish to accept titles as vassal kings throughout the 10th century. Sui`s main focus lay on controlling the Western Taipingyang (Pacific) with its profitable spice trade and the sea route to India; therefore, colonisation and domination of Atlantis was not enforced, and the Chinese colonies exerted little actual influence (except for involuntarily bringing fatal diseases to the indigenous population).
Isolationist and Miscegenist Alliances (10th-13th centuries)
Imperial and Anti-Imperial Wars (14th-16th centuries)
Independent Development (17th century - present)
Celtic Callalit-Nunatum and Wabanakia
Celtic whale- and seal-hunters based on Glaciana were the first to establish contacts with indigenous people of Atlantis, the Inuit of Polaris (OTL Greenland) in 853. At this time, the heyday of Celtic explorer missions already lay int he past: the tycoons who had previously financed them were rigorously taxed now and could no longer afford to fund such missions. The exploration of Polaris and, subsequently, of the North-East Coast of Atlantis, followed limited economic scopes: Whale oil was important for the Celtic economy at the time, later followed by fishing, then, much later, the quest for oil and minerals hidden in the soil.
The whale- and seal-hunters remained based on Glaciana for a long time because the climate in Polaris in the 9th century discouraged settlement. Their contacts with indigenous groups were infrequent and of very low intensity. At the same time, the presence of a Celtic hunting fleet prevented other Europeans from crossing the Atlantic Ocean along the Northern route because Celtic sea hunter collegia were quick to claim the territories and waters for the Empire to keep other nations` ships out of the business, which had already begun to yield sinking return around Glaciana, where whales had become almost extinct due to over-hunting.
It was these consequences of over-hunting which brought both conflicts with the Inuit (who had to shift their diets, and were afflicted with imported diseases like tuberculosis, too) and motivated sailing trips farther and farther to the West. In 891, the first contact with an Algonquin-speaking group, the Innu, was made in Nitassinan (OTL Labrador). In 904, contacts with Beothuk on Nova Hibernia (OTL Newfoundland) were made. No intense contacts were established - the Celtic seamen followed a pattern acquired in the contact with the other coastal hunter-gatherer society they had much more experience with: the Sami in Northern Scandinavia, who lived along their Arctic trade route with Great Perm: better leave the barbarians alone, unless it absolutely cannot be avoided. Even during this early phase, contact could not always be avoided, though, as some ships were wrecked and some of their crew managed to swim ashore with no means for their survival available, and nobody but indigenous groups around for hundreds of miles. It is believed that, prior to 952, when the first seasonal fishing village, Medusae (near OTL L`Anse aux Meadows), was built on Nova Hibernia, approximately 200 Europeans from the Celtic Empire (mostly of Glacianian, Hibernian and British descent) were absorbed into Algonquin and Inuit groups in this way. They provided the indigenous groups with an amount of knowledge about life in Europe.
When Celtic fishermen, the first Europeans to exploit the rich resources of cod present all around Nova Hibernia, built approximately 20 houses for the summer, thereby founding the village of Medusae, in 952, the Beothuk, among them two old men of European appearance, confronted them with a demand for payment for the plot of land they claimed. The demand was uttered in broken Latin, but understood by the fishermen. They agreed that the Celts would pay a tenth of their trawled cod and shellfish to the Beothuk, if they could guarantee their safety from burglary, theft and assault by other inhabitants of the island. Thus was founded a peaceful co-existence between Beothuk and the first seasonal Celtic settlers, who still returned to their European homelands each winter, finding their dwellings safe, but with traces of winterly Beothuk habitation, when they returned each spring. Although the fishermen did not trade much with the Beothuk, the exclusively male Celtic groups sought the company of Beothuk women. Intensified contact brought dangerous diseases to the Beothuk, which might have been curable in the Celtic Empire, but for which neither the simple fishermen, nor Beothuk medicine men had remedies. Ultimately, diseases and pregnancies disrupted Beothuk society in such ways that it split into two groups: while one continued to seek and stabilise contact with the Celts, the other advocated first the removal of the settlers, but when they were defeated in an internal fight, they advocated isolation. Because the hinterland of the island did not provide much, the latter group left the island and found themselves a place among other Algonquin nations of the Abenaki group.
Some of Medusae`s fishermen began to stay over winter from the 960s on, and from later ships coming from Europe, they ordered and acquired sheep to diversify their diet. Thus, sheep were introduced to Atlantis. A second permanent village at Avalon was founded in 969. In both villages, mixed Celtic-Beothuk families occurred, and through kinship, relations with the other Beothuk grew close. The Beothuk took to sheep herding, too, and began to copy the loghouse design of the Celts, soon experimenting with longer loghouse structures to accommodate their larger family units. Repeatedly, epidemics like measles and influenza reduced the numbers of Beothuk. Whale- and seal-hunters, who still frequented the island and the nearby continent, began to diversify their economic portfolio and took to trading with the villages on Nova Hibernia, which were soon joined by villages along the continental shore, providing them with the tools, raw materials and some of the commodities Celts were used to having in Europe. At the same time, their presence also guaranteed the Celtic monopoly on settlement in the region. In 984, the inhabitants of the villages on Nova Hibernia`s coast, as well as the clans of Beothuk living all over the island, gathered for the first time in an island-wide Comitium. The Beothuk - and other Algonquin groups on the continent, too - had an acephalous society, and the democratic structures suggested by the Celtic newcomers appeared fairly natural to them. Beothuk had begun to learn a few words in Latin - especially for all those things their own language had no words for -, while the Celtic villagers, especially those with Beothuk wives, had learned some bits of the indigenous language, too. Misunderstandings still occurred, but such bilinguality was a common feature of Comitia in the Celtic and Roman Empires, where Latin or Greek often co-existed with Basque, Celtic, Raetian, Frisian or other languages. The first comitium laid down a number of laws, in both languages, and elected two judges for minor disputes.
This "Hibernian constitution" was soon copied among the string of villages established on the coasts of OTL Quebec and New Brunswick. Here, too, indigenous groups became divided into isolationist and cooperative factions because here, too, diseases and social tensions destabilised the tribal societies. On the mainland, the division ran deeper, though, as armed conflicts broke out repeatedly in the 11th century. They triggered the import of horses from Europe. Also, in 1021, the first Celtic monastery was built by a group of very active missionary monks, who improved both education and healthcare in the settlements on the continent greatly and were also frequented by Algonquin groups.
Both the division, and the symbiosis of the cooperative Algonquin with the Celtic newcomers increased dramatically during the four decades of isolation (1030s-1060s) caused by repeated pandemics of Black Death in Europe and a general marine quarantine declared by the Celtic Empire as a containment measure.
At the end of the 11th century, two mixed Celtic-Algonquin polities had consolidated themselves:
- the Foederatio Wabanakiaca, stretching along the OTL Quebec and New Brunswick coast, with the far more developed economic structure, including iron extraction and simple ammunition production, whose federal council united representatives from Celtic, indigenous and mixed villages, and which elected a joint military leadership commanding, in case of an attack, over 3,000 fighters of European and Algonquin descent;
- and the small and relatively primitive island polity of Nova Hibernia as described above.
The inhabitants of a few non-permanent fishing outposts on Greenland hit by the quarantine attempted to sail to continental Atlantis, but failed. Many died of hunger, and the last rescue of the survivors were Kalaalit Inuit. Their ships were wrecked by collisions with icebergs. Between 100 and 200 whale hunters and fishermen of Celtic descent were assimilated by the Kalaalit Inuit; nothing has been heard of them. In the 12th century, a new wave of Celtic and Roman explorers, this time with a background of academic science or adventurous exploring, arrived especially in Wabanakiaca and continued from there further inland, where they encountered hostile and isolationist indigenous groups, Many exploring missions ended with the death of their members, while a few survived and made it home to Europe with tales about the size and magnificence of the continent.
In the meantime, the anti-Celtic groups in the hinterland had acquired horses, too, in their warfare against the Federation, and through theft. They felt strong enough to challenge territorial claims of several Haudenosaunee tribes, who allied against their threat in a Confederacy of their own.
On Nova Hibernia, the village of Avalon develops into a town, with fish preservation manufactures and a shipyard. On the mainland, Capeca becomes the first significant town in Wabanakiaca. In the 12th and 13th century, various Celtic collegia established branches in Atlantis and the new craftsmen, along with impoverished townspeople looking for a new future on their own piece of land, made for a small, but steady influx of European immigrants. Celtic and Algonquin agriculture fertilised each other: while various indigenous groups of the region, who had already practised some agriculture before, quickly took to herding sheep, raising cattle and planting oat, barley and rye, the Celts learned to cultivate maize and squash. Both were also exported by Atlantic Celts to Europe in the 12th century. Various Algonquin texts written in the Latin alphabet had made their appearance by now and began to shape a Common Lennusiwik language.
The relatively peaceful, prosperous and autonomous 12th century was followed by warfare in the 13th. The whale-hunters had disappeared, and nobody enforced the Celtic claim to the Polaris passage anymore, so in the last third of the 12th century, more and more settlers from all over Europe had attempted to establish themselves further South on the Atlantic Coast. Although many of these settlements failed and their colonists died (of scurvy, syphilis, starvation or indigenous attacks), others succeeded, and this re-ascerbated conflicts between Europeans and indigenous groups. By now, isolationist confederacies had formed stable frameworks for their complex chiefdoms, and they had learned to use horses well in combat. The new arrivals had much better firearms at their disposal, though, so battles were bloody and neither side prevailed, i.e. neither were the new settlements entirely removed, nor could they stabilise themselves and expand into the hinterland.
In 1210-1218, an anti-settlement confederacy led by the Mahican tribe even forged an alliance which included the Celticised Wabanakiaca as well as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Supported with modern weaponry and mustering a great number of warriors, the coalition managed to eradicate all settlements South of OTL Maine.
The Coalition War had ample repercussions. Among the defeated and killed settlers were Swedes, Curonians, Venedians, Saxons, but also other Celts as well as Roman citizens. It creates tensions between the Celtic Empire and its neighbours in Europe. Lutetia and Rome ended the tensions among them with a state contract, defining the 36th parallel (Northern latitude) as the border of their spheres of influence (Celts in the North of Atlantis, Romans in the South).
After a few decades, the consequences of this division of spheres of influence began to show. The Celtic Navy was stationed on several islands on the East Coast of Atlantis; garrisons were erected on strategic points (mostly watching over rivers), and with the soldiers from Europe stationed there, a second wave of Celticisation set in, which did not absorb or syncretise much indigenous influence.
At first, the Celtic military presence pacified the Algonquian Coast and created more trading opportunities for co-operative indigenous groups. Wabanakian towns began to participate in the new Eurasian industrial developments, employing steam engines for various purposes.
But from the 14th century on, industrialisation reached farther into the hinterland. New coal and ore mines operated, new factories began mass production, and the Celtic Imperial Railways built railroads across Celtic Atlantis. More and more indigenous land was appropriated, ecosystems were disturbed. Many indigenous Atlantic people worked as wage labourers in Celtic factories and mines, becoming part of a newly forming proletariat.
A political philosophy originating in India, which was given the Latin name "communismus", found followers among indigenous Atlantic workers (both in the industrial sector and on the increasingly large Celtic farms). Like elsewhere, the Celtic Army reacted with brutal violence against their social protests and strikes, outlawing revolutionary factions, imprisoning their members, and killing thousands in armed conflicts. In Celtic Wabanakia, even the local government was eliminated and imprisoned: the Foederatio Wabanakiaca had supported communist policies and an alliance with communists in Rome`s Atlantic colonies.
After the self-government of the margo was done away with, the Celtic Empire officially took control, creating 19 towns as "municipia" and diving the rest of the land, whether held by indigenous groups, European settlers or mixed groups, into 36 "pagi". Under this system, Celtic industry expanded farther and farther. Oil was found in Wabanakia, and a petrochemical industry developed. In the Appalachians, beyond the official reach of the Celtic Empire, industrial companies acquired land from unaffiliated indigenous groups and exploited the coal and ore deposits, employing more and more indigenous workers both with and without Celtic citizenship. Social and ethnic unrest continued, but they were soon overshadowed by the beginning of a long, costly and protracted war with a huge indigenous anti-colonialist alliance, in which former enemies - Inoca, Ocheti Sakowing, Haudenosaunee, Na-Dené, Mahican and others - fought in a united front against the Celtic Empire, Rome`s civitates and their Mascoquian allies, as well as against the Toltec-Mixtec Empire and China. The Great Atlantic War lasted from 1441 to 1469. It brought massive destruction to Celtic Atlantis as well.
After their victory, the colonial powers established a military occupation of the indigenous heartland of Atlantis. Celtic military presence was relatively thin, but still stronger than Rome's, and so was the indigenous population, yet violence and conflicts continued. During a century of partisan / guerrilla warfare, countless acts of terrorism were committed, economic development was disturbed, but at the same time, a sense of a common indigenous identity grew stronger. Although this was felt in a much stronger way in the lands of the Haudenosaunee, who lived for a whole century under Celtic military occupation, Atlantic anti-colonial nationalism developed among the Algonquin groups in the East, too. Against frequent acts of irregular warfare, towns and infrastructure in the developed coast provinces had to be secured with guards, technology and other forms of military presence.
The increased intensity of violence in the occupied territories, and terrorist attacks which affected even the European heartland from the middle of the 16th century on - which happened simultaneously with the onset of the global climate crisis - led to the formation of the World Council in 1554 and the independence of the Union of Atlantic Nations in 1576. The Celtic Empire had withdrawn its troops from the lands of the UAN by 1577, and began preparing to secure its Western border, which cut through OTL St Lawrence River valley and proceeded Southwards along the Appalachian Mountains to the 36th parallel.
In the remaining decades of the 16th as well as throughout the 17th century, Celtic Atlantis underwent a deep economic crisis caused by the need to adjust to a carbon dioxide-neutral way of life. The UAN, where the few foundations of industry which had existed had been wiped out throughout the long wars, provided an attractive alternative model, at least for some Celtic Atlantic groups with indigenous backgrounds. More and more parts of Celtic Atlantis seceded from the Empire and joined the UAN. At the beginning of the 18th century, when this process was completed, Celtic Atlantis had shrunk to a mere 25 % of its former territory, united in the provinces of Lenapia, Wabanakia, Nova Hibernia, Innuum and Callalit-Nunatum. The remaining Celtic Atlantis was culturally European, regardless of the ethnic descent of its citizens, and became a peaceful, albeit economically rather marginalised, part of the Empire once again. Relations with the UAN had normalised at the latest in the 18th century, but throughout the 19th century, no free trade agreements were obtained with the UAN, which compromised the economic situation of Celtic Atlantis even further.
Today, Celtic Atlantis comprises the most sparsely populated regions of the Celtic Empire. It is a major destination for European, Latin-speaking tourists.
Rome`s economic and political focus did not lie in the West. For Rome, East Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Central Asia and Eastern Europe were much more important. Roman ships did not even venture to sail to Atlantis decades after both the North and the South route had been discovered and contact had been made. Public opinion was not interested (there was no threat of war, and no promise of great opportunities). To the Conventum and the Consuls, "Atlantis" and its barbarians was just as uninteresting as the endless forests and tundras of North Asia, the rainforests of Central Africa, or the zillions of islands in the Far East that the Chinese were so excited about. Roman society was tolerant of all sorts of faith, and it absorbed tens of thousands of immigrant peregrini every year; nobody felt the need to leave the Republic forever and begin a new life somewhere in the wilderness. Most of all, Romans valued their comfortable lifestyle. Settling in a land with no running water, no roads, no hot baths, no sports stadiums and no libraries sounded like something only mad fools would do - and this view was even embraced by the impoverished sub-urban proletariat, who had not left their poor hamlets among the unwashed people of the Alps, the Balkans, the Carpathians or the Caucasus in order to build new poor hamlets among unwashed people they could not even communicate with.
Romans engaged in international trade, though. They had much of it run by Ostrogothic sea-faring societies, who were perfectly connected with trading partners all across the globe and whose mutual insurance societies provided sufficient security to make sure sailors would not shirk a necessary risk. But some Societates Liberorum and some inner-Roman trading syndicates did maintain their own commercial fleets. And this was how Romans came into contact with the indigenous inhabitants of Atlantis. At the beginning, Ostrogothic syndicates kept quiet about where they had all the new agricultural products - corn, squash, bell peppers and the like - from. But that did not work for ever. By the middle of the 10th century, Roman sailors knew where the islands lay which were frequented by Ostrogothic traders, and they began to sail there, too.
This brought them into contact with various Taino tribes, many of whom had already been accustomed to Ostrogothic sailors. They greeted them with a few words in broken Greek, and they knew that the people in the huge boats were used to conducting trade using shiny round metal objects with nice images sculptured onto them. Romans and Taino got along OK, although both sides contracted dangerous diseases from each other, which reduced especially population levels among the Taino. (In the Roman Republic, ships who arrived with sick passengers already used to be quarantined in this age.) At first, no Roman settlements were established, though. Where it was deemed inevitable to leave some contact persons in charge of some business with the Taino behind, these miserable exiled Romans flocked to the emerging mixed Taino-Ostrogothic port towns like Guaynia on Borikén, where they had at least streets and oil lanterns, people spoke Greek, and halfway-decent public institutions began to see to it that water and sewer systems were built.
Roman involvement in Atlantis continued to be marginal throughout the rest of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century; often they remained mediated through Ostrogothic middlemen. The first Taino (and the first indigenous Atlantic person at all) to set foot on Roman soil was a delegate from Borikén to the Pangothikon in Tauris. When the Black Death pandemics interrupted trans-Atlantic trade for more than three decades in the middle of the 11th century, Romans almost forgot about the continent in the West.
Things began to change when contacts resumed in the 1070s. The Taino-Ostrogothic "Koinon Tainikon", comprising more than a dozen islands, had begun to act as an entirely independent federal state. More importantly, its traders had begun to export important goods and technologies (horses, wheeled vehicles, firearms and ammunition) to the Neolithic civilizations in Southern Atlantis (OTL Mesomerica), and said civilizations had begun to sink into a quagmire of warfare and diseases. When Roman merchants returned to the Taino Sea, they thus found ample export opportunities for products which Romans produced in excellent quantity and quality (arms) - but back home in Europe. It took less than a decade for over thousand Roman workers, craftsmen, managers and traders to settle on the island of Yara (OTL Cuba), where they found at least some of the necessary resources, and build the first Roman civitas in the lands of Atlantic indigenous people.
Roman weapon manufactures soon also employed Maya and Toltec refugees as cheap labour in its factories, which catered to the Maya and Toltec leaders. And contacts began to increase. More Romans came, and when some of the civilizations on the continent began to shield themselves against foreign influences and ceased trading, while others became exhausted by the wars and had too little to offer in exchange for Roman products, Roman merchants looked for new outlet markets in the region. They found city states farther in the North, less developed than the Toltecs or Mayas, but also less exhausted by warfare and diseases: the city states of the Mississippi culture and related indigenous civilizations of what came to be called the "South-Eastern Ceremonial Complex" in OTL (but which, at the time of OTL contact, had already almost sunk into oblivion). Thus, in the 12th century, Romans began to trade with groups such as the Caddo and various Mascoquian groups (Isiaci, Natcesi, Hitciti etc.), the name of whose ancient "mound" cities along the Mississippi and its tributaries as well as along rivers flowing into the Atlantic Ocean have been lost.
Inevitably, this kind of intervention brought concentrations of power, warfare, epidemics etc. to these regions, too, which at first hit the region of the Mississippi delta hardest (see more under "Inoca and Ocheti Sacowing"). A relatively stable development and a firm Mascoquian-Roman alliance was achieved only on the Atlantic East Coast in OTL Georgia. Here, the first civitas of the Roman Republic on continental Atlantis was founded, too: Colonia Sabina apud Cusoas.
Like on Yara, Roman as well as neighbouring indigenous settlements intensified agriculture, planting various domestic and European crops for subsistence, but also sugarcane and cocoa for export to Europe and even Asia. To this end, especially the Roman-influenced Mascoquians claimed more and more land on which other tribes lived. In the late 12th and early 13th century, massive conflicts began to erupt.