Alternate History: What If Natives Won?

Alton Carroll's picture
Type: 
Call for Publications
Date: 
August 15, 2018 to August 15, 2019
Location: 
Virginia, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Mexican History / Studies, Native American History / Studies

Seeking authors, especially American Indian ones, or specialists in indigenous history, Latin American history, all the subject areas listed in the announcement, and additional ones in certain subject areas as well, for a forthcoming collection of alternate history FICTION stories.

Again, this is NOT to be a collection of academic essays, though every story must be based on accurate history and plausible premises and outcomes. This collection of fiction stories explictly bars fantasy or sci fi elements. It also bars incredible coincidences, chance occurences, and twists ala O. Henry or M. Knight Shyamalan. Finally, there will be no alternate history scenarios based on, appealing to, or being apologists for prejudices, racism, colonialism and imperialism etc, the most obvious being "Confederates win the Civil War" or "Nazis win WWII." 

You can submit your fiction stories, well thought out, with full fledged characters, descriptive landscapes, and an intent to entertain as well as provoke thought. Or you can be a consultant or co worker with fiction writers, insuring accuracy and plausibility to their work. Or both. We also don't mind multiple submissions.

We hope to have the collection gathered within a year, but that's not definite yet. So you will have ample time to write. You may write on any of the scenarios below, or come up with one of your own: 

1. Others decide to colonize the Americas: a. China b. Muslim traders from Spain c. Vikings. Imagine how that colonization is different. More surviving Native people and nations, assimilation instead of genocide, a mix of Buddhism, Islam, or Viking paganism with Native societies.

2. Others succeed in the conquest of Europe. a. Muslim Caliphate seizes Constantinople in 717. b. Ogedei Khan avoids poisoning, continues Mongol conquest in 1241. Either one and the Americas are left alone for 200 more years. Thus Aztecs or Incas are even more powerful.

3. A leader focused on conversion commands the first Spanish expedition to the Americas. Columbus under this is just a frustrated would be conqueror, perhaps stays in the slave trade in Africans. Isabella decides to adopt earlier New Laws, outlawing the worst atrocities. Spaniards trade guns for gold rather than conquer. Instead of Latin America there's much more Native  America, except for Brazilian, English, and French colonies, each of them potentially limited by stronger Native resistance.

4.. Aztecs defeat Cortez and adopt Spanish technology from captured soldiers.This was actually several sci fi books already. Mack Reynold's The Other Time made it a time travel story. The Aztec Century imagines Aztecs and Imperial Japan fighting the British Empire in a world war. Any author using this premise needs to be sure not to duplicate those works.

5. Incas defeat Pizarro and adopt Spanish technology from captured soldiers. At some point Incas would be fighting Natives in Mexico allied to Spain. 

6. Oliver Cromwell lives longer, making the Puritan military dictatorship of England and its colonies very long lasting. When the US becomes independent, how will Natives do under a Puritan state? Basically along the lines of The Handmaid's Tale, but directed at crushing Native cultures and religions, especially independent women. 

7. American colonists opposing British rule lose. A most interesting idea is Iroquois defeating Washington or killing him. The would-be USA defeat leads to Natives west of the Proclamation Line being protected. The American colonies would treat Natives more like Canada.

8. The new United States accepts the Delaware Nation’s suggestion and grants American Indians their own 14th state in what's now Ohio. This may set a precedent, with later Native states of Arizona or North or South Dakota. There also may be states intended as refuge for Mexicans after the US-Mexico War, and states intended to be refuge for ex slaves after the Civil War. LIkely there will be an earlier civil rights movement and nonwhite presidents.

9. In 1791, William Bowles succeeds in convincing the British to set up and ally with the nation he proposes called Muscogee in what is now Florida and southern Alamaba, made up of Muscogees, Seminoles, runaway slaves, and ex Americans loyal to England. At some point they'd fight Jackson.

10. The Whigs win the vote in Congress against Jackson, halting forced removal of the Cherokee. Jackson tries to remove them anyway, gets impeached, and refuses to leave. The army is split, leading to civil war. Either he wins and there's a US military dictatorship, the first of many. Or he loses and the remaining Five Tribes stay in their homelands.

11. The Prince Regent of Portugal and his court are captured by Napoleon. Brazil has no later monarch to lead the independence effort and prevent its split into at least three nations, a mostly indigenous Amazon, a mostly Black northeast, and a mostly European immigrant south.

12. Anglo American invaders are defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto. The would-be Texas Republic is crushed, its ethnic cleansing of Natives and Mexicans prevented.

13. The British Empire annexes California and the would-be Republic of Texas in 1844. Mexico owed British banks. Britain offered to abolish their debts for California. This prevents California Indian Genocide.

14. Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels leads 9,000 German colonists into an alliance with 30,000 Comanches vs the would be Texas Republic  to establish a “new Germany” in TX in 1844. He also hopes to recruit Black slaves and Mexicans facing ethnic cleansing.

15. The US decides to annex all of Mexico and its population, at that time 3/4 the size of the US population, after the US-Mexican War. At that time in Mexico, most tribes were unassimilated. Only 1/3 spoke Spanish. Eventually you have close to a Native majority in the US as well as a large Latino mestizo population. Mexico was also very antislavery, leading to a much larger pool of recruits for the Union during the Civil War. A larger US might also annex Central America and Caribbean islands in the late 19th Century. The US would culturally be quite different, perhaps speaking a form of Spanglish that also includes many more words borrowed from Native languages.

16. The Navajo Code Talkers are never formed. How are WWII and the Cold War different? Marines likely lose at Iwo Jima. Japan takes longer to defeat. Soviets take all of Korea. There is no North and South Korea, just one Korea under Kim Il Sung and later his son and grandson.

17. Reagan dies from assassination in 1981. How does this affect Latin American Indians? Will there not be a genocide vs Mayas in Guatemala, or at least fewer deaths? Will there a less brutal civil war in El Salvador? Will there be no Contra terrorism in Nicaragua, and will Nicaragua's Sandinistas not then carry out their own violence vs Miskitos?

Al Carroll

Contact Info: 

Al Carroll

Language, Arts, and Social Sciences Division

Northern Virginia Community College

Sterling, VA

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