There's another possibility: a slight (but not catastrophic) brake on population might have accelerated some technological development instead of slowing it down. For example:

  • The collapse of the Mayan kingdoms is at least partly due to overpopulation. Waves of Papatlaca deaths would have slowed down this overpopulation and possibly allowed the Mayan kingdoms to last for another couple of centuries.

This overpopulation only affected Classic Maya in the center of the Yucatan Penninsula. The Postclassic Maya, ruled from Chichen Itza lasted as long as the Aztecs but were also weakened by a Toltec migration there in OTL. The Mayan kingdoms would be much, much stronger with Paplatica and no Toltecs. --Henneth 23:15, 6 Jul 2005 (UTC)

"with Paplatica and no Toltecs" is there a reson a land with papatlaca could not also have Toltecs (or *Toltecs)? --AirshipArmada 02:13, 7 Jul 2005 (UTC)
  • Periodic labor shortages due to plague might have caused the Mayans and Toltecs to come up with creative ways to conserve labor. In Europe, a number of labor-saving inventions (like the water-driven grist mill, the farm horse and the horse collar) became significantly more widespread after Black Plague depopulations. One could imagine that a plague-caused labor shortage might have caused the Maya to stop treating the wheel as a toy.
  • Large plague depopulations can also cause social upheaval, which can either advance or retard technological and social progress. While the black plague did destroy some Eastern european centers of learning, for example, it also led to trade guilds and a banking industry by increasing the value of skilled tradesmen and encouraging them to travel.


These are all good points. I'll consider each, in turn.
  • The Maya may have lasted longer, but then again maybe not. I timed the first exposure to papatlaca to be around the same time as the last mention of Mayan kings and a time when the Maya civilization is already under stress. My intent is to have the Maya fall pretty much on schedule. I'm not sure, ultimately, how important that is: the main thing is that when the Spanish arrive there needs to be a major Aztec-like civilization in place and for the Mayan civilization to be long-gone. If my POD prevents this then I guess should come up with a new POD.
I can buy that. Noted in your POD; if Papatlaca arose around the beginning of the 10th century CE, it would have finished off the Maya instead of boosting them, as you hypothesize. So it's plausible. --TheFuzzy 16:27, 7 Jul 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't have enough understanding on the mesoamerican's outlook on technology to speculate intelligently on how they might use technology to compensate for effects of papatlaca. But I never let ignorance stop me before ; )
If the Maya (or Aztoltecs) get the wheel early then they would also probably develop better roads, better communication, and the empires could be larger. The wheel is very tempting; I'll have to think on it some more. . .
Yes, it is. The real question is how useful the wheel is in the absence of beasts of burden. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of other historical examples to compare this with. The historical aztecs seem to have reserved most of their technological innovation for astronomy and agriculture. So if machinery was invented, it would be almost certainly for agricultural usage, which would go hand-in-glove with periodic shortages of labor. An interesting idea: what sort of plow could one develop without iron or oxen? --Josh
I think the waterwheel, however, is a pretty big jump and is unlikely. The Aztecs didn't have beasts of burden, that I'm aware of, but the Inca's did have llamas. I don't know - is there a horse collar for llamas?
  • In Europe the Black Death increased the value of skilled labor greatly but didn't do nearly as much for the peasants. So if the same thing happens to the Aztecs/Maya/Inca who benefits? -- priests, scribes, stonemasons . . . who else? Does the emperor become proportionately less powerful? My impression is that the emperor was far from all-powerful in OTL. --AirshipArmada 03:15, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Another Effect on the Aztoltecs: ancient Mesoamerica was in almost constant warfare. In theory, Papatlaca could have decreased this by lessening population pressures. This, in turn, might have allowed more effort to be devoted to culture and technology. Counter-argument: in Europe, the Hundred Years War carried on quite bloodily despite one of the worst bouts of black plague to strike France. Men made masterless by the plague are thought to have swelled the ranks of the mercenaries and bandits. --Josh

Aztec History

Whoever wrought this clearly has no idea what Aztec history is. First of all they did no build their capital for "Fun and Conveneince". Eastward Expansion 15:59, June 24, 2010 (UTC)

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