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India and various types of Indians

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Sadurian Mike
745348.  Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:20 am Reply with quote

Historians were buggers for assuming that early civillisations couldn't build proper buildings, simply because they didn't leave behind recognisable stone or fired-brick remains.

Incidentally, what is "800 BP" in old/real dating?

 
Moosh
745351.  Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:30 am Reply with quote

Sadurian Mike wrote:
Incidentally, what is "800 BP" in old/real dating?

800BP = 1150 AD

BP is "Before Present", but present is apparently 1950.

 
brunel
745352.  Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:41 am Reply with quote

Moosh wrote:
Sadurian Mike wrote:
Incidentally, what is "800 BP" in old/real dating?

800BP = 1150 AD

BP is "Before Present", but present is apparently 1950.

Why 1950? Is it related to the advent of carbon dating?

Still, thanks very much for the links Jenny, because it is a very elaborate and sophisticated development, and I think that it would make for a very interesting topic.

 
Moosh
745354.  Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:54 am Reply with quote

brunel wrote:
Moosh wrote:
Sadurian Mike wrote:
Incidentally, what is "800 BP" in old/real dating?

800BP = 1150 AD

BP is "Before Present", but present is apparently 1950.

Why 1950? Is it related to the advent of carbon dating?

Short answer: yes.

 
thedrew
745603.  Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:26 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
In 1250, its population was larger than that of London, England.


I think this bit is quite interesting. How is it that they didn't end up colonizing Europe?

 
Woodsman
745669.  Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:15 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
How is it that they didn't end up colonizing Europe?


Boats?

Considering that it would have been a bit easier to float, row, paddle, sail eastward, this omission is interesting. The northern hemisphere weather systems move from west to east. The gulf stream moves from southwest to northeast. But the technologies for building seafaring boats simply didn't advance as they did in, for instance, the nordic countries.

Of course, when the "North Americans" arrived in Europe they would have run into guns and germs and it would have been all for naught.

 
Jenny
745803.  Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:40 am Reply with quote

Another interesting Native American/American Indian thing was their extensive use of fire. A book by Charles C. Mann called 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus makes some interesting claims about that.

He writes about a Dutch lawyer called Adriaen van der Donck, who moved to the Hudson River Valley in 1641 and spent time with a tribe called the Haudenosaunee. He described how in the fall they set fire to the 'woods, plains and meadows' to 'thin out and clear the woods of all dead substances and grass, which grow better the ensuing spring.' He writes of how terrifying the fire was at first, but how he and other colonists began to enjoy the spectacle as their boats sailed down the Hudson and Mohawk rivers watching the forest on fire on both banks.

Thomas Morton, an early immigrant, wrote in 1637 of how in the North East Indians always carried a deerskin pouch full of flints, which they used to ignite torches for use in the hunt. Thomas Jefferson wrote of how Native Americans made big rings of flame, 'by firing the leaves fallen on the ground, which, gradually forcing animals to the center, they there slaughter them with arrows, darts, and other missiles.'

Lewis and Clark described how tribes in the Rocky Mountains entertained them during the evening by applying torches to sap-dripping fir trees, which then exploded like Roman candles.

Modern ethnologist Dale Lott wrote how such fires had the greatest impact in the mid-West, where the tribes burned the prairies so often that they established and maintained a giant grassland that was effectively a vast pastureland.

Early explorers such as the surveyor Peter Fidler in 1792, who was the first European to examine the plains of southern Alberta systematically, reported the great burnings, but observed that 'These fires burning off the old grass,' he observed, 'in the ensuing Spring & Summer makes excellent fine sweet feed for the Horses & Buffalo, &c.' Sadly, later travellers often missed the purpose of these fires, and how the Native Americans used them to shape the landscape for their convenience.

More recently, people have begun to realise that forests often need fire to be maintained successfully. However, as long as people keep building homes in the middle of them, as tends to happen, the odds of that technique being applied in the future seem limited.


Source: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
by Charles C. Mann, published by Vintage in 2005

 
Woodsman
747890.  Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:32 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Modern ethnologist Dale Lott wrote how such fires had the greatest impact in the mid-West, where the tribes burned the prairies so often that they established and maintained a giant grassland that was effectively a vast pastureland.

Early explorers such as the surveyor Peter Fidler in 1792, who was the first European to examine the plains of southern Alberta systematically, reported the great burnings,


These two references should not be linked relative to original pre-fire vegetation.

Much of the high plains stretching from Texas through Alberta probably only supported grassland due to lower overall rainfall. A very large Rocky Mountain rain shadow, combined with drying winds, extends well up into Alberta. The mountains to their west supported trees due to higher seasonal precipitation, found mostly in the form of snowpack.

The lower elevations along the Mississippi Basin (lower Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers), with higher and more evenly distributed rainfall, may have originally supported a forest. The forest was principally cleared over the relatively flat post-glacial loess soils, extending from Iowa in the west to Ohio in the east, while the forests of the hilly and mountainous Appalachian region remained.

 
Bondee
750316.  Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:16 pm Reply with quote

May I veer slightly off-topic and mention the "Indian summer"?

We were talking about them at work today. Our first thought was that it has something to do with the good weather that one would find on the Indian sub-continent, but a bit of Googling revealed that it's more likely to be related to native Americans.

From Wikipedia...
Quote:
The etymology of 'Indian summer'

The expression 'Indian summer' has been used for more than two centuries. The earliest known use was by French-American writer St. John de Crevecoeur in rural New York in 1778. There are several theories as to its etymology:

In The Americans: The Colonial Experience, Daniel J. Boorstin speculates that the term originated from raids on European colonies by Indian war parties; these raids usually ended in autumn, hence the extension to summer-like weather in the fall as an Indian summer. Two of the three other known uses of the term in the 18th century are from accounts kept by two army officers leading retaliation expeditions against Indians for raids on settlers in Ohio and Indiana in 1790, and Pennsylvania in 1794.

It may be so named because this was the traditional period during which early North American Indians harvested their crops of squash and corn.

In the same way that Indian giver was coined for people who take back presents they have bestowed, the phrase Indian summer may simply have been a way of saying "false summer". (However some traditions say "indian giver" refers to the practice of giving gifts at the end of pow wow to honor and support the receiver in living a good life. If the recipient fails to do so, the giver may take back the gift.)


Can anyone shed any more light on the subject and give us a definitive answer?

 
suze
750322.  Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:02 pm Reply with quote

That the "Indians" here are indigenous persons of America rather than persons from South Asia is universally accepted.

As noted above, the first citation is from as long ago as 1782 (not 1778) when a French settler in New York wrote:

"Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer." (St John, J Hector (1782). Letters from an American Farmer and Sketches of eighteenth-century America, Davies and Davis, London.)

This implies two things. First, that the term was already well known in the US, and second, that an Indian summer proper can only happen after the first frost.

Incidentally, only in the later part of the twentieth century did the usage become common in Britain. Before then, British people spoke of a "St Martin's Summer" - the Feast of St Martin falls on 11 November.

As for the precise origin of the phrase, we'll never know. The posted text hints at a couple of common theories, and there are others. Note also that summer actually does start and end a few weeks later in the temperate parts of North America than it does in Britain.

 
nitwit02
750349.  Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:31 pm Reply with quote

Most unusually, we have been getting around 20 C in the last week or two ....

 
Bondee
750840.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:37 am Reply with quote

Thanks suze.

 
Spud McLaren
750862.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:24 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
"Then a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer This implies two things. First, that the term was already well known in the US, and second, that an Indian summer proper can only happen after the first frost. "
(bold font mine)

Actually, suze, I read that it as referring to the severe frost rather than to the voluminous coat of snow. If that's right, the warm spell needn't be after the first frost.

 
Ion Zone
750880.  Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:18 pm Reply with quote

The American Indians survived the last iceage though skill, though I don't remember anything else (something about moving into the mountains).

 
Woodsman
754989.  Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:46 pm Reply with quote

In the region of northern New England we would wait for the first hard frost, then experience a slight warming, known as Indian Summer. This would defer the coming of light snow to late October.

Historically, the first hard frost would come earlier or later in September, generally linked to the full moon occurrence in the month. This year, a light frost did not occur until 6 October, and a hard frost until the middle of the month near the full moon. Last year, I last mowed the lawns in November.

Light snow would come by late October or mid November. Now it struggles to reach us by late November.

The taking of pumpkins and planting of bulbs has thus been delayed, and the Indians know that strange things are happening.

 

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