Reddit Reddit reviews 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

We found 113 Reddit comments about 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
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113 Reddit comments about 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus:

u/EstacionEsperanza · 381 pointsr/forwardsfromgrandma

I have this book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. It has a decent reputation among historians AFAIK, and one of the main points of the book is that Native Americans had fairly sprawling and diverse civilizations across North America before European contact. Lots of European accounts of Native Americans describe them as clean, healthy, tall, beautiful actually.

So yeah, Branco can eff right off with his summation of indigenous civilization as human sacrifices, slavery, and early death. I'm not an expert of pre-Columbus American civilizations and cultures. I know these things did happen in the Americas before European contact, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that it's pretty stupid to suggest Europeans were automatically the harbingers of civilizations and decency.

Christopher Columbus and his men helped decimate the population of Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. They forced native Tainos to collect gold. They severed the hands of men and boys if they didn't meet their gold quotas. They sexually enslaved women and young girls. They met any resistance with indiscriminate cruelty. An opening salvo in centuries of European barbarism towards indigenous people in North and South America.

Christopher Columbus was a monster and deserves to be remembered as such.

u/Khan_Bomb · 271 pointsr/history

That'd be 1491 by Charles Mann.

EDIT: Just to note. This is a controversial book among historians. Much of the info presented can largely be seen as conjecture without a lot of veritable proof behind it. So take it with a grain of salt.

u/bkkgirl · 199 pointsr/ImGoingToHellForThis

The reason tribes were small when Europeans arrived was because European disease arrived first, often with 95% death tolls. Except for the very first explorers (Pizarro, etc.), what European settlers saw was a post-apocalyptic society. Prior to that, Native Americans had as large and complex (and as violent) societies as any that existed on the other side of the Atlantic.

A good book about the modern scholarship on the subject is Mann's 1491, which I highly recommend.

u/The_Doja · 59 pointsr/worldnews

I'm in the middle of an amazing book that goes into great details about the current narrative and academic belief of Pre-Columbus Americas. It counters most common notions and really has some interesting points to back it up. The main one being that North and South America were not pristine wilderness lived in harmoniously with its people; it was actually very much so engineered by the hand of man to accommodate extremely large civilization centers. Some far greater than any European city at it's time.

It's really cool to hear how they piece together some of the political dramas of the Mayan culture based on their findings. From what I remember in the earlier chapters, part of the reason the Maya didn't need iron/bronze weapons was because their method of conquering was through assimilation and trade. They would provide surrounding city-states vast trade networks to gain wealth and knowledge, then redistribute populations around their giant network. Once a city became dependent on the income, the Maya would instate their own leadership into said town and slowly it would become Mayan.

If you're interested. Check it out 1491 by Charles Mann

u/ksmoke · 34 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

There isn't a universal tech tree in real life. It's kind of hard to say any culture is "more advanced" than another when they're so different. It's especially hard when we just don't know that much about the native societies in the Americas pre-Columbus. There's a really amazing book called '1491' by Charles C. Mann that's a pretty easy read and probably the best summary of our understanding of pre-Columbian America and would answer a lot of your questions.

u/23_sided · 31 pointsr/paradoxplaza

Disease and climate. We're finding more and more that disease and climate had a huge effect on how cultures managed to dominate the world by the beginning of the 19th century.

u/horneraa · 24 pointsr/AskReddit

>It is difficult to discredit or ignore the accounts of many Native Americans and indigenous people that ALL have stories of this same creature whilst being so far spread and some not even interacting with one another.

Trade networks in North America reached across the entire continent. Recent evidence suggests trade all the way into South America. Pre-Colombian civilization in the America's was much more complex than you're giving it credit for. The book "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" is a good start on this topic.

u/BushidoBrowne · 22 pointsr/BlackPeopleTwitter

If any of you are interested in American history (including South and Central American) , I recommend checking out

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Get that knowledge famo

u/jasonmb17 · 17 pointsr/askscience

Read 1491 by Charles Mann - great read, and covers the Amazon (and the rest of the Pre-Columbian Americas) quite a bit.

u/TVpresspass · 17 pointsr/canada

Actually archaeologists are now moving past the Bering land bridge theory, and tracking 5 distinct immigration events into the pre-Columbian Americas.

I wish I had more to back it up, but I just started reading this book this week. I'm hoping I'll have more to say about that when I'm finished.

u/exackerly · 15 pointsr/news

Check out a book called 1491 by Charles C. Mann. It's mind-blowing, will completely change the way you think about early Americans.

u/mtrash · 14 pointsr/Maine

You should read 1491 and America Before. Also there a numerous journal entries that have been published about the true history of Columbus and westward expansion.

Edit: words and formatting

u/luciasanchezsaornil · 14 pointsr/neoconNWO
u/[deleted] · 14 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

I'm not sure of the commenters sources, but I have read the same thing in two books.

1491 -

Guns, Germs and Steel -

I'm no history buff, but I thoroughly enjoyed these two books.

u/ZeusHatesTrees · 13 pointsr/history

> New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

I need to get me a hard copy of this puppy.

u/aspbergerinparadise · 12 pointsr/todayilearned

not exactly. When Cortes landed in Mexico in 1519 Tenochtitlan had a population larger than any city in Europe. His first attempt to sack the city he was routed and barely escaped with his life. He spent the next few years bringing smaller tribes to his side that had been at war with the Aztec empire. During those years the population of Tenochtitlan, and much of the region was ravaged by waves of small pox, hepatitis and other diseases. And then after more than 30% of the population died, widespread famine set in which further weakened the population. It's really the only reason that Cortes was able to conquer the capital city at all.

Some estimates put the population of pre-Columbus Central America at 25 million. It wasn't until the 1960s that the population reached the same levels again. Over 80% of these people were killed through disease and approximately another 15% died in the slave trade.

By 1630, the population that had once numbered 25 Million was down to 700,000.

edit: if you want to read more about the massive and sophisticated indigenous civilizations that were completely wiped out, I highly recommend the book 1491

u/Kerguidou · 10 pointsr/canada

The book 1491
should give you a basic answer to your questions. And you are welcome to dig more.

u/anthropology_nerd · 9 pointsr/worldnews

Archaeologists are finding increasing evidence that large portions of the Amazon are, to a certain extent, man-made. 1491 discusses these finds and I highly recommend the book if you like popular history reading.

Edit: People destroy things, the only that changes is the scale of the damage.

u/HippyxViking · 8 pointsr/worldbuilding

Honestly I don't think you need to come up with complex religious justifications - just read 1491. There's a lot of knowledge that's been lost or purposefully destroyed, but all across the Americas there were stunningly complex civilizations that largely didn't use metals at all.

It is probable that Indigenous American civilizations had several of the most advanced agricultural systems in the world, politics, philosophy, writing, mathematics, science and astronomy, etc. Architecture and engineering were somewhat different, but still complex and advanced, and their city planning was completely different than Europe's - Tenochtitlan was literally unbelievable to the Europeans who showed up, it was so clean, organized, and beautiful.

Post contact, or if there was no contact, it's very difficult to say what trajectory they would have gone, or if you can have a 'modern' or industrial society that skips metallurgy altogether - I can't really see how that would happen. Then again what do I know.

u/Cloverhands · 7 pointsr/books

How about this?

u/liltitus27 · 7 pointsr/bestof

while that is on the high end of estimates, it uses new knowledge to revise the much lower estimates you referenced. great read with methodologies, sources, and explanations of how and why the estimate is actually closer to 100 million: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

u/Kitworks · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Wow. Okay. Start here, it's an awesome book about Native American civilization before Europeans.

Then go further back and find literally any source talking about the way modern humans spread from Africa around the globe.

u/polynomials · 7 pointsr/worldnews

Everyone should read the book 1491 by Charles Mann! He talks about this a lot. There is actually already a significant amount of evidence that the hypothesis humans came across the Bering Strait and migrated southward during the Ice Age is not correct. There were some people that crossed the Bering Strait but some evidence in the past couple decades has been tending to show that the people that crossed tended to stay up there, and the people that made it farther south got there by other means.

For one, the speed of it is implausible because during the Ice Age most of Canada was covered in massive glaciers that early humans would not have been able to traverse. There was a melting period where it would have been traversable, but this was only for a few hundred years (if I remember the numbers correctly). It takes much longer than that for populations to permanently migrate. Archaeologically speaking, that amounts to a sprint southward, and there is no apparent reason why they would have pushed so far south so fast. There is also a curious dearth of archaeological evidence of human presence to be found along the proposed routes.

For another thing, the language evidence is consistent the Bering Strait crossers staying up north. The language of present day native peoples of the far North seem much more distantly related, or not even part of the same language family as those of more southern native peoples.

And there is also the fact that OPs post is not the first time archaelogoists have found evidence of human presence inconsistent with the Bering Strait hypothesis.

If I remembered more specifics I would say them but my friend has borrowed the book from me. But everyone should read this book!

u/AxelShoes · 7 pointsr/AskAnthropology

In my short time on /r/AskHistorians, it seems that 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus is consistently and almost universally recommended.

u/Guanren · 6 pointsr/funny

The book 1491 goes into this at length.

Largely what we would call circumstantial, but convincing, although you'll probably be reluctant to be convinced (as I was) because it's so mind-numbing depressing to think about.

Note: This was just after Columbus.

u/secesh32 · 6 pointsr/history

Read a book called 1491 opened my eyes to a lot of ideas id never heard.

u/MattieF · 6 pointsr/Futurology

In our era carbon capture brings the greatest measurable benefit, and it's young growth that accomplishes that most effectively.

Given the degree to which Native Americans cleared brush before their populations were encumbered by European disease and predation (see:, "more trees than 1900" pretty much means more trees than at any time in human history."

Together: That means a hell of a lot.

u/gblancag · 6 pointsr/AskWomen

I'm traditionally more into literary fiction, but I've been exploring non-fiction recently.

Currently Reading: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

Recently Finished: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration and Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy

Next on the List: Either Guns Germs and Steel or Devil in the White City. Haven't decided yet

u/techumenical · 6 pointsr/books

I'd recommend 1491 by Charles Mann over Guns, Germs, and Steel. It tries to answer the same questions regarding the apparent gap in technology between new world and old world peoples without resorting to geographical determinism--which, to me at least, felt like a bit of a stretch. 1491 is a good source for learning about science/technologies that fell by the wayside as new world clashed with old world (textile technology, using fire to shape one's environment, etc.).

u/CharlieKillsRats · 5 pointsr/travel

I'm a big fan of the books 1491 and 1493 by Charles C. Mann regarding the history of the Americas before and after Colombus and all of the misconceptions about it and the most up to date analysis of the american cultures.

u/581-4094 · 5 pointsr/The_Donald

Please, anyone wanting to understand the Native American / colonial period better please read the books "1491" and "1493" by Charles C Mann
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
They're the most insightful books on the reality of the European migration west and what really happened to the natives of North and South America. Whenever I hear someone opine about the plight of the Native Americans I tell them to read these books first.
I'm someone who has a big heart for their situation, it's just that there's a lot of history to understand on how we got here and it's not all what libs will spout off about.

u/iponly · 5 pointsr/WhiteWolfRPG

For books, /r/askhistorians (which has a strong group of indigenous American studies academics) often recommends 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and downplays Guns Germs and Steel, because Jared Diamond's research process was basically 1. create theory, 2. seek facts to justify theory, and the result is about as flawed as you would expect from that reversal of normal historical analysis. (Mind you, his book blew my mind as much as anyone's when I first read it...)

Or, if you're just asking for rpg books: I don't think White Wolf has anything set in Texas at all. It might be interesting to do 'banes as they lived in Texas before Pentex, and how the arrival of an organizing structure changes them' though. Especially if you take into account the difference in timing between the colonization of the east coast, central america, and texas, there could be repercussions in the spirit world long before your players see human impact. (ex: California didn't have major colonial impact until the 1800s, which is kind of crazy to think about.)

u/nikkos350 · 5 pointsr/history

PRobably the Cahokia Mounds in IL. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out the book "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus."

u/archaeofieldtech · 5 pointsr/AskHistorians

1491 by Charles Mann is a good read, and it gives some great population stats for the Americas.

I would also recommend searching out some peer-reviewed articles using Google Scholar and search terms like "Cahokia prehistoric population" or something. I don't have specific articles off the top of my head.

u/harlows_monkeys · 4 pointsr/science

Your picture of Pre-European Native American Life is not as bad as that Pocahontas DVD, but it is still way off. For a good look at what it was actually like in the New World pre-European, see the book 1491 by Charles Mann. This has been generally well recommended on /r/AskHistorians and /r/askscience.

For example, they made extensive use of fire to convert dense forests to less dense forests, open woodlands, or grasslands which lead to huge population increases in the kind of herbivores they liked to hunt, and made it much easier to hunt them. They did not just passively live at the mercy of Nature.

u/ninja_zombie · 4 pointsr/Economics

>Also, you seem to buy into the the impoverished savage theory, which can be remedied by even a cursory overview of the journals of the Spanish who landed in Haiti -- it was the wealthiest place on Earth, and there was no capitalism there.

You seem to be buying into the racist theory that native americans were a bunch of "naked savages" (1). In fact, they had highly complex societies, trade, and many areas (New England in particular) had personal and economic freedom unrivaled in Europe.


>By at least 2,500 years ago, trade networks brought copper from the Great Lakes region, mica from the Appalachian Mountains, shells from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and obsidian from the Rockies into the Tennessee region. During the Mississippian period, traders may have come from as far away as the Aztec cities of Mexico.

I also can't recommend the book 1491 highly enough.

(1) The modern PC type will describe Native Americans as peaceful natives living in perfect balance with nature. It's no less racist, but at least sounds prettier.

u/pipocaQuemada · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians

> Armchair generals can argue over and over about what the English 'should have done', but the fact remains that the decline in archery training led to the downfall of the longbow.

To be honest, half the reason for my asking this question was because I've been reading 1491, rather than trying to be an armchair general for the English. The book mentioned that guns weren't all that much better than bows (in terms of accuracy, etc.), so I was wondering how long that would have been true for.

u/Vermillionbird · 4 pointsr/TrueReddit

Comparing invasive species to GMO crops is a false equivalence. Also, your entire post rests on an outdated and bullshit view of the natural world as existing in this pristine state upon which modern man has recklessly trampled. I highly recommend reading the book 1491, which does a good job unraveling the thesis that 'nature=pristine, man's interference=bad'.

Also, we aren't talking about zebra mussels or rabbits in Australia, we're talking about domesticated crop species that are the result of thousands of years of breeding and cultivation, and generally don't thrive in the wild without human intervention. I'm not talking GMO, I'm talking your 'heirloom' varieties. Inserting a gene which codes for a vitamin A synthesis is nothing like releasing birds because we think they'd be pretty. The rice plant already grows in the Philippines. The fundamental biological method by which the plant grows and reproduces has not changed. If we accept farming as part of the natural tableau of the area, then we're changing nothing in the status quo, aside from providing more rounded nutrition to the population

u/Shovelbum26 · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians

Especially considering the major population centers were, depending on the time period, mostly in Central America and the North American Mid-west. All of those cultures were definitely sedentary.

For good information on this I'd check out Mann's flawed but interesting 1491. I (and many archaeologists) feel he overestimates the size of pre-Columbian populations, but it's as exhaustive a look at demographics in the Americas just before contact as you will find, and it's very approachable for the layperson.

The upshot is, per capita, by European Contact, absolutely most Native Americans lived in sedentary, agriculture based state or chiefdom level societies. Maybe by geographic area nomadic hunter-gatherers might win out, but certainly not by population.

u/PhilR8 · 4 pointsr/books

Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Both cover some of the same concepts as GG&S, but in a much more rigorous fashion. Both are better reads with a less self-congratulatory tone and much more interesting information. GG&S is a kids book compared to these works, which is fine because GG&S is a great introduction to these sorts of concepts. Now you can get down to reading the good stuff.

u/mrkurtz · 4 pointsr/science

i guess it depends on the extent of the collapse.

i'm reading 1491, and estimates are that 90% of the native populations of the americas was wiped out very early on. and due to this, they lost everyone who knew their science, history, math, language, etc. which led to the perception that they were a backwards people, as some people continue to try to use their written language, but they no longer understood what the language meant...

that sort of catastrophic loss could mean no "recovery", though given enough time, i think people will continue to progress.

i mean, i'm a smart guy, but i couldn't run over to the nuclear (or any other) power station and make sure operations continue in a safe and efficient manner.

i couldn't continue food processing or production on a massive scale.

i couldn't perform the most basic types of surgery.

i think the guarantee is that you're fucked in the short term.

and there's at least good odds that you're fucked in the long term.

u/x6hld2 · 3 pointsr/MapPorn

You may be interested in

Population of the Mississippi valley was quite high, farming was ubiquitous amongst East Coast tribes. Land bore signs of alteration due to agriculture.

Most of them did die during the Contact Plagues though.

u/Me-Here-Now · 3 pointsr/exmormon

If you are interested, you might like to read the book "1491". It is an actual history of north and south America. The author spend decades researching everything he could about the pre-Columbian Americas. Very interesting book, but it makes no mention of the book of mormon, or anything that lines up with the book of mormon.

u/Spiketwo89 · 3 pointsr/Mexicana

Yea I haven't really ever seen any documentary about the Mexica or other mesoamerican groups that wasn't built around the older conquest myths like Cortez was mistaken for a god or the spaniards single handily beat them, but that doesn't mean that those old ideas aren't changing. There's a few pbs ones I've seen about the Aztecs and new discoveries of the teotihucan culture. Watching a documentary is easy but if you can reading is your best bet. Conquest by Hugh Thomas is an extremely detailed and well researched account of the rise and fall of the Aztecs, buried Mirror by Carlos Fuentes is an examination of the rise of a unified Spanish nation state and the parrels with the cultures of the new world and shows that the two groups had more in common than one would think. 1491 by Charles C. Mann has some stuff on the Aztecs, but looks at different new world cultures and shows that overall they were more sophisticated than generally thought of

u/stayshhhh · 3 pointsr/BlackPeopleTwitter

I'm talking about the Inkans, based on this well received book.
Check it out, it's good.

u/talkingwires · 3 pointsr/books

1491 was a great read that examined the technology and cultural developments of the Native Americans before the arrival of Europeans. One of its main conceits is to tear down the myth that they were simple people in touch with nature, when they actually actively worked to alter the landscape to fit their needs. It was one of the first history books I found so engrossing that I couldn't put down.

Collapse has a wider scope; it examines dozens of societies that have existed throughout history that for one reason or another "collapsed". It shows how combinations a society's choices and external forces caused the failure of Viking settlements in Greenland, the extinction of the people of Easter Island, to the failure of modern countries, like Rwanda. Each chapter is about seventy or eighty pages and fairly self-contained, so you can pick it up and jump in where ever you like.

u/sirbirdface · 3 pointsr/PoliticalHumor
u/krustyarmor · 3 pointsr/NativeAmericans

1491 by Charles C. Mann

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiesson

Custer Died For Your Sins by Vine Deloria Jr.

Those are the three that I always answer this question with.

u/siberian · 3 pointsr/IAmA

And before that the indigenous population was highly managing the forests. The lie of The Pristine Myth is so interesting to study.

> When John Smith visited Massachusetts in 1614, he wrote that the land was "so planted with Gardens and Corne fields, and so well inhabited with a goodly, strong and well proportioned people ... [that] I would rather live here than any where." But by the time the colonists reached Plymouth in the Mayflower six years later, they found one deserted village after another—the Indians had been felled by European diseases to which they had little resistance.

u/the-mormonbatman · 3 pointsr/latterdaysaints

>So where are they or their civilizations today?

Lehite successor states were ground to pieces by a combination of disease epidemic, climate change, and European aggression like the rest of America's endemic nations.

If you haven't read them, I highly recommend 1491 and 1493.

>Where were they when they were at their peak?

That's a great question that is not answered by modern revelation. John Clark thinks Joseph Smith believed that Book of Mormon events occurred around the Yucatan peninsula. I agree with him but I'm happy to cede ground if future evidences don't support that.

> Based on DNA and archaeology, it's a tough case, no?

Not really. This is an article you may (or may not) enjoy:

I found that its cautions were very prescient.

u/cavehobbit · 3 pointsr/worldpolitics

Good point. That was an apocalypse.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

u/Edward_the_Penitent · 3 pointsr/travel

> Peru. I want to learn more about the history of that place, and visit machu pichu. Very interested.

I've read and recommend:

u/phunky_monk · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

In 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Charles C. Mann Discusses a portion of your question.

> Was that statistically inevitable for a plague to be introduced?

Basically, yes. Most of 1491 is Mann tracing the history of and translating the results of years of academic research. He also explains various schools of thoughts on various issues. I don't have the book with me here at school, so excuse my foggy memory and paraphrasing.

First off, the number one killer of Indigenous peoples of the Americas was Small Pox. There were other diseased introduced, like the flu and the plague, but small pox was the most devastating.
Initial accounts of the new world by the spanish describe bustling civilizations. Only a few years later, entire civilizations had collapsed. Mann covers this in great detail.

Okay, back to statistical inevitability. Basically, not only did the indians have no immunity to diseases that europeans had been building resistance to for generations, but there is a school of academic research that believes indigenous peoples were more susceptible to diseases because of something called "haplogroups." . I don't fully understand the science behind it, but basically there are scholars who argue that the natives, because of their genetics, were more susceptible to these diseases. Mann describes the entire process which led to the experiments which support this belief.

Anyways, I hope this helps. I highly highly recommend 1491 if you are interested in the history of Native Americans. It is easily my favorite book I have read in my college career thus far.

u/BlazmoIntoWowee · 2 pointsr/books

[1491] ( by Charles Mann. Talks about how amazing the Americas were pre-Columbus.

u/mlkthrowaway · 2 pointsr/latterdaysaints

american archeology is a funny thing.

i think anyone interested in this topic should read the book 1491

u/ReturnOfThePing · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

The enormous populations of Bison and Passenger Pigeons recorded was not a normal state, it was a temporary spike due to the sudden disappearance of the Native American populations who previously kept these species in check.

Source: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

u/iwontrememberanyway · 2 pointsr/HistoryAnecdotes

From Wikipedia:

"The population figure for indigenous peoples in the Americas before the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus has proven difficult to establish. Scholars rely on archaeological data and written records from settlers from the Old World. Most scholars writing at the end of the 19th century estimated that the pre-Columbian population was as low as 10 million; by the end of the 20th century most scholars gravitated to a middle estimate of around 50 million, with some historians arguing for an estimate of 100 million or more. Contact with the New World led to the European colonization of the Americas, in which millions of immigrants from the Old World eventually settled in the New World."

This book gives a good discussion, leaning more towards the higher figure for pre-Colombian populations:

u/LarryLeadFootsHead · 2 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

1491 is a pretty solid book that talks a great deal about how things were before a lot of the conventional European settling went on in the Americas/pre Columbian Exchange.

Basically it'll exemplify why a lot of that "the New World was this empty place with nothing going on" way of thinking is a load of horse shit considering how there was pretty intricate stuff in play.

u/-absolutego- · 2 pointsr/SeattleWA

The vast majority of those deaths were due to diseases Native Americans had zero exposure to because the Old World had all the useful domesticated animals. Do you really think 150 conquistadors would've been able to conquer the Incan Empire if it hadn't been for repeated waves of terrible plagues visited on the populace? I'm not downplaying how violent Europeans were towards the people they conquered but compared to pre-contact populations they essentially were conquering a de-populated Americas.

You should read this book, it gives a real in-depth examination of just how developed and established many pre-contact Native societies were before everyone kept getting smallpox and measles and mumps and everything else Europeans brought with them because they grew up running around in pig shit.

u/urboro · 2 pointsr/history

This is really good:

It changes your perspective on any history of Native Americans interacting with Europeans. Native Americans were essentially in a post-apocalyptic society.

u/Ponderay · 2 pointsr/badeconomics

Not a paper but 1491 was a good read.

u/Wurm42 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. What entertainment genres do you like? Are there any subjects you want to learn more about?

Here's a few good books I've read recently:

  • 1491; about cultures in the Americas before Columbus arrived. There was a lot more going on than you'd think.

  • The Tipping Point: about looking at big trends and processes and finding the place where you can make a difference.

  • Storm Front: Book 1 of the Dresden Files: One of my favorite fiction series. Urban fantasy about a wizard who works as a private detective in Chicago. Phillip Marlowe/film noir sort of attitude with a lot of insight and humor.
u/Wilawah · 2 pointsr/askscience

The book 1491 discusses the devastation of native Americans by disease.

When the Pilgrams landed in MA, they easily found this great spot for a village. Why? Because most of the natives were dead. It is not clear if this epidemic occurred pre or post Columbus

u/MaryOutside · 2 pointsr/books

Upvote for The Lost City of Z!! Loved loved it.

Charles Mann's 1491 is wonderful.

It depends on what you're interested in, really.

u/AmesCG · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

On a related topic, how reliable is the popular Charles Mann book, 1491? It speaks to this issue, but I'm not sure how it's regarded.

u/thecrackshotcrackpot · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

Interesting thanks.

I seem to remember Charles Mann writing about this in his pop science book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Highly recommended if you haven't checked it out yet.

u/Rusty-Shackleford · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/scumfucc · 2 pointsr/worldnews

You should read 1491. You'll drop the romanticism of a mystic native culture quickly.

u/badtooth · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

1491 is fantastic. I learned a lot reading this book. Not the easiest read, but it is far from a text book.

u/jtbc · 2 pointsr/canada

How about this one, then:

Excellent book full of actual history.

I am not peddling an opinion. I have studied some of this history formally, and some of it because I enjoy reading about history. I am telling you what actual historians believe to be true.

u/darthjenni · 1 pointr/JoshuaTree

I forgot to mention the most depressing book of all time 1491. It does not talk about 29 Palms specifically. But it does talk about what life was like in America before European contact.

The tribes in 29 Palms and Palm Springs were mostly left to themselves until after the Civil War, when the railroad moved in, then the desert gold rush happened, and after WWI GI's who had been blasted with mustard gas moved in to help heal their lungs.

u/0ldgrumpy1 · 1 pointr/CasualConversation

Have you read ?
The bits in it about the amazon totally blew me away.

u/meatball0223 · 1 pointr/asoiaf

Somewhat related .... I'm actually reading a book right now

in the book, it actually explains that the native americans' weapons were superior to that of the europeans, and muskets back then were essentially "Noise Makers." it as very easy for the South americans to pick off people with bows.

In addition, the native americans were much taller, muscular and athletic than the europeans, who the indians described as short stout and smelly, most of them never having bathed in their lives. In contrast, the indians lived much healthier and cleanlier lives than the conquistadors.

u/SomeGuy58439 · 1 pointr/FeMRADebates

Over the last few years books like 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus seem to have made a pretty decent case for something not far from that.

u/turtlehead_pokingout · 1 pointr/books

Based on those interests, he might like 1491 or maybe Guns, Germs and Steel, I mean, not to be quick to judge, but my stereotypical image of someone that likes gardening and southern shit would probably be turned off by YA fantasy/action fare and would probably be willing to tackle a harder book that is more close to his interests. AskHistorians has a monster book list but I'm not really familiar with which of those listed are accessible.

u/Gnascher · 1 pointr/pics

Most of what I mentioned above comes from the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann.

Of course not everybody was happy ... but when you speak of populations you can only speak of the bulk of the population. Certainly there were ne'er do wells, skeptics, rebels, criminals, chronic down-and-outers, murderers, thieves, con-men, etc... Clearly there was a class system, and clearly some people were "more equal" than others. But the archaeological evidence largely supports a well ordered, content and well-provided-for civilization.

> Regardless, my point was that those masonry projects, however complex or mind boggling were the products of humans, math, simple machines and time.

I don't think anybody would argue any different. The biggest thing you need to produce these great works in ancient times was lots of manpower ... I was just pointing out how the Incas managed to have access to so many willing hands.

u/NYCubsFan · 1 pointr/offbeat

A couple of books you may find interesting:

The second is quite a bit more academic than the first. The first having been written by a retired British Naval officer and the second by a researcher/academic writer.

u/Skookum_J · 1 pointr/history

For maps, it’s a little tricky.
Most of the folks living in the Americas were tribal people; they didn’t exactly have countries or defined borders. Closest you’re probably going to get is a distribution of language families.
North America
South America
Within these Language Families there were sometimes multiple tribes & bands
Here’s a link to a listing of many of the tribes, broken up by area. Don’t know how complete it is for all areas, but the listings cover a lot of the tribes.
There are quick summaries for each of the tribes & links to more info.

As far as info on large civilizations, technology & Cultures, A good general overview is 1491 by Charles C. Mann. He does a pretty good job of coving several areas, & how the locals organized their societies & impacted the land they lived on. It’s a really broad overview, covering all of the Americas. To get more details, you’re going to have to focus in on a specific region or people.

u/booyatrive · 1 pointr/funny

Technological differences had little to nothing to do with the downfall of Meso-American societies. The biggest factor was the introduction of new disease that Native Americans had zero immunity to. People like to site the Plague and say it was so bad. Europe lost 25% of it's population tops, which no doubt will fuck your shit up. However, Native American populations dropped 25-50% on average and up to 90-100% of some groups. Small pox, measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, typhus, influenza, whooping cough, tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, chicken pox, and venereal diseases are just a few of the introduced illnesses. [Read this] (
It pisses me off that people have absolutely no fucking idea how much of our modern world wouldn't be here if it was for the technologies developed by Native Americans. Not to mention most of the vegetables that are the staple crops around the world. Imagine Italian food without the tomato, Indian food with no chilies, Ireland with no potato.
And to answer the OP and NDT, the Mayans had fled their cities a good 200-300 years before the Spanish ever showed up. They must have had a clue those disease ridden fuckers were coming.

[Indian Givers] (, 1491

u/AbbyJaby · 1 pointr/worldnews

This book, I can't think of where without it in front of me atm :(

There are some really interesting things about the Amazon in it, I highly recommend it.

u/justgoawayplease · 1 pointr/worldbuilding

You can pull a lot of info from 1491 especially the sections about South America, where the cultures were isolated for millenia before contact with Europeans. I keep going back to this book, would definitely recommend.

u/Dee_Buttersnaps · 1 pointr/politics

1491 is a good place to start.

u/Mcoov · 1 pointr/AskReddit


To read what American life was like during the pre-Colombian era is utterly amazing.

u/Pdub77 · 1 pointr/history

Gonna hijack this comment to recommend a book on this very subject: 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

u/TorDrowae · 1 pointr/funny

And this is why everyone should read 1491.

u/throw162534 · 1 pointr/asktrp

Undaunted Courage is one of my favorites. It's about the journey of Lewis and Clarke, but it also explores Lewis' interactions with Thomas Jefferson and provides examples of how life was back in their day. There's some crazy shit that happened on that expedition that your high school history class wouldn't dare to cover.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus is another good one. It's about the New World before Europeans had touched it. It also goes into the conquest and some would say destruction of the old way of life. It's written in a novel format so it's a very easy read.

I was an english major and to be honest, Ernest Hemingway was very difficult for me to get into. The Prince is short but you need to be in the right mindset. Meditations is very useful but it can be repetitive. If I were you I would focus on books that have a sense of adventure to them, then mix philosophy into that.

u/germanywx · 1 pointr/videos

It happened before he arrived. The N. American indigenous population was around 100 million before the epidemic that killed them all. There were major highway systems that stretched from Canada to S. America, and they lived relatively modern lives. Not exactly Roman Empire lives, but still not exactly what is portrayed. The idea of Native American civilization being small, independent, always warring tribes comes from what Europeans saw after whatever it was killed them off (I can't quite remember what exactly it was that killed them). A city of a few hundred natives being decimated to just 10-20 people, fighting for leftover resources from a neighboring town that was left in similar ruins...

This all happened very shortly before Europeans made their mark. Columbus does get a bad rap, but people forget he was either lost or stuck on a sandbar for much of his time in the New World. While he sat on the sandbar, wondering if he would ever make it home, many other people came to the Continental N. America to do their own damage. Columbus gets all of the flack because he was first.

But the Natives were all but gone by then anyway. Check out the book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus. Also, check out this thumbnail history of Columbus's travels to the Americas: Columbus in the Americas. That book is written by a Native American. You'd expect it to be incredibly critical of Columbus, but he paints him differently: as a sad failure who couldn't really do anything right. You almost feel sorry for the guy. You know that cousin who is always fucking up majorly and can't get his shit together to save his life? That's Columbus.

u/politicalconspiracie · 1 pointr/pics
u/WalkingTurtleMan · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

The trend is that crops that could not grow in certain latitudes due to colder climates can now tolerate the slightly warmer temperatures. A good example of this is french grapes that traditionally could not grow in England can now do so.

So we can reasonably expect any plant that used to only grow in, say, Southern California or Texas to now tolerate Oregon and Iowa. In the future, this may move even further north.

I should also mention that the same effect is occurring in the southern hemisphere, so weather patterns typical in the northern parts of Argentina are shifting south toward the higher latitudes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the recent IPCC report stated that we have already experienced 1 full degree of warming since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Somewhere between 2030 and 2050 we will gain another half degree of warming. There's a chance that we might be able to hold it there if we go 100% carbon neutral by 2050, but otherwise the world will continue to warm to 2C by 2100.

My point is that the "5*C world" will not happen in our lifetimes. That's not to say we shouldn't care about the future, but rather we can't make a reasonable prediction about what the world will be 500 years from now.

Coming back to your question, where will agriculture be possible with 2 degree of warming? I believe that agriculture will continue to be possible in most places, as long as we do not exhaust the soil of nutrients or ruin it with poor irrigation practices. The crops we plant might change though - corn uses a tremendous amount of nutrients despite only producing a couple of cobs. A more calorie/nutrient dense crop might be beans, rice, etc. but that's depends on politics and economics more than anything else. There's a reason why Iowa is known for it's endless fields of corn instead of wheat or lettuce.

Likewise, modern Americans eats an enormous amount of meat without really paying for the environmental cost of it. I'm not advocating for veganism, but having a hulking chunk of steak every night isn't sustainable across billions of people.

I recommend you read a couple of books about sustainable agriculture - it's a fascinating subject and it may answer a lot of your questions. Some of my favorites include:

u/arbordoy · 1 pointr/StLouis

Always worth plugging that the book 1491 by Charles Mann is a really good anthropological study of the pre-columbia Americas.

u/BeaverDreams · 1 pointr/pics

Check out the book "1491" -

It's easy to forget that until the recent discovery of the Americas by the taught colonial history of today, we had no records or knowledge of the whole of human history carrying out simultaneously on the other side of the world.

Book is surprisingly engagingly written considering what most would call a stuffy subject. It basically proports that the Americas were tremendously evolved/advanced, and that western history as we know it has no understanding of how much human history lived and died on the other half of the globe.

It covers trade, culture, science, history, and ecological engineering of the Americas before Colombus.

The part about MASSIVE percentages of the amazon rainforest being completely eco-engineered into steppe-drainage environments blows my mind.

u/carn2fex · 1 pointr/pics
u/billhang · 1 pointr/philadelphia

I'm sure they're somewhat fanciful - but I think the basic depictions of the Lenape villages and how they looked, the mix of hunting and farming etc, is about right.

But just did a wiki and here's a fascinating note: "By 1682, when William Penn arrived to his American commonwealth, the Lenape had been so reduced by disease, famine, and war that the sub-clan mothers had reluctantly resolved to consolidate their families into the main clan family. This is why William Penn and all those after him believed that the Lenape clans had always only had three divisions ('Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf) when, in fact, they had over thirty on the eve of European contact."

It's the same story across the country - by the time Euros first saw most native societies, they'd been dramatically changed by European diseases and tools of war. This is a great book on that subject.

u/fathan · 1 pointr/askscience

If you don't mind my asking, what is the view of 1491? Or Why the West Rules--For Now?

u/detestrian · 1 pointr/POLITIC

This might be semantics, but it does say 'American' soil - that would include both NA, SA and the bits in the middle. I won't touch on the other points... But I would recommend 1491 by Charles C. Mann for a great book on pre-European contact Americas.

u/Marcos_El_Malo · 1 pointr/science

Have you read 1491 and 1493?

A lot of good stuff on the latest archaelogical findings and theories. There is new evidence that Amazonian Indians weren't all hunter gatherers, that they actual practiced a tree based agriculture and left behind mounds and other physical evidence of some kind of civilization.

Charles Mann, the author, is just summing up and/or popularizing current trends in archaelogical thought, but I learned some stunning things that went against what is taught in the schools.

u/adam_dorr · 1 pointr/politics

You make excellent points. In-group boundaries can indeed align with cultural experience, and we cannot discount the importance of past experiences - especially for groups that have been the victims of persecution, for example.

However, I think it is a testament to the larger project of human civilization that we can transcend our own personal experiences and use a more abstract form of compassion and empathy to inform policy, law, planning, and our collective efforts to structure and govern society. For example, even in the aftermath of the Holocaust following World War II, the international Jewish community made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the humanist project worldwide. If ever there were a time when an in-group might have justification to demonize out-groups as "the enemy" that was it. And yet a broader, more abstract compassion arose as a guiding ideal. So I don't agree that hardship and persecution necessarily lends itself to a cynical view of "foolish empathy" as you phrased it.

Having said that, there is undoubtedly a tension among values like self-preservation and magnanimity, and I would never suggest that simply expanding one's sphere of empathy and the broadening of how an individual defines his or her self-interest flatly negates the reality of these types of tension. But these finer details are not an area for speculation or conjecture. Instead, this is a place where science can get to work trying to reveal what is actually going on. Jonathan Heidt has done some interesting cross-cultural research on political orientation, and so I would start by looking at his work.

As for the question of how cultures change with shifting economic, environmental, and geopolitical circumstances, there is a large and growing scientific literature that is trying to us give some answers. The disciplines where I have seen the most work along these lines are cultural anthropology and geography. There are some wonderful popular books on these topics, and I would recommend Charles C. Mann's 1491 and 1493 in particular.

u/ShotFromGuns · 1 pointr/wisconsin

Roffle ancaps.

Yes, the view of pre-Columbus American Indians as a monolithic group who tread lightly on the land is bullshit. That doesn't mean that your particular myth is not also incorrect, racist, and self-serving.

Go read 1491 by Charles Mann.

This will be my last reply in this chain, as I have better things to do if you choose not to educate yourself.

u/gamegyro56 · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

I don't know why you think the fertile crescent is important. If it's because of the start of agriculture, then the Americans cradles are in Mesoamerica, the Andes, and the Eastern Woodlands. Also, agriculture was developed in three more "Old World" regions other than the Fertile Crescent: Western Africa, China, and New Guinea.

If you think its important because of writing, then the American cradle would be in Mesoamerica. However, knowing about the record systems of Ojibwe birchbarks, Mi'kmaq hieroglyphs, Haudenosaunee wampum, Lakota Winter Counts, and Andean/Incan Quipu is also important.

The most important regions are the Yucatan peninsula and the Mexican Valley, the Andean mountains, the Southwest US (e.g. Pueblo Bonito of the Hitsatsinom), and the Eastern Woodlands (e.g. Cahokia of the Mississippians).

You can go to /r/AskHistorians for more, or you can read the book 1491 (and an Amazon link).

u/testudoaubreii · 0 pointsr/latterdaysaints

Good stuff, if highly speculative. I suggest anyone interested in this sort of thing also read 1491 about life in the Americas before Columbus. Very insightful.

u/AlisonHugh · -1 pointsr/latterdaysaints

if you are interested in pre-columbian archeology, and you haven't read it already, i cannot recommend this book enough:

u/zepman33 · -8 pointsr/IAmA

yeah, i've probably read more anti-mormon literature than most anti-mormons (or exmormon atheists or whatever term doesn't offend you.) and it's late, and i should go to bed - and we shouldn't go the rounds. you've got your own religion now, and you're sticking to it. ;-)

but instead of rehashing all the apologetics, let me suggest one of my favorite books is 1491. what we think we know about ancient america is pretty shallow. there is a lot more to be discovered and theories are always changing.

oh, and while i can explain the existence of green eggs and ham - you obviously you can't explain the existence of the book of mormon. 500 pages in 75 days, no punctuation, no corrections, from a farm boy - and chiasmus? yeah, that's a tough nut for you guys to crack. g'night.