Mass deaths of Native Americans caused the Little Ice Age? Fact check!
Scientists at the University College of London have released a study that states that the mass extermination of indigenous Americans, after the arrival of European colonists, was a major cause of the Little Ice Age “during the 1600s and 1700s” in Europe. According to the research report, “their scientists found a sudden, massive decrease in carbon dioxide in the ice of Antarctica around 1610. They then interpolated that data with historical archives and climatic data to conclude that the deaths of at least 56 million indigenous peoples in the Americas were a major cause of the chilling of the earth’s climate.”
Here is the CNN summary of the research report: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/01/world/european-colonization-climate-change-trnd/index.html
The legion of “interpretative” news sites on the web have already begun to make their own politicized spins of this sensational report. The most prevalent is that reforesting the world will end the steady rise in the earth’s average temperature. In response, FOX television news and Republican talking heads are already labeling the research as yet another librul plot to distribute fake news . . . everyone knows that global warming is a myth created by Marxists. Here we go again into another round of bipolar mania. Let’s look at the facts, however . . . which are neither exactly what the University College of London nor Fox News said they were.
First, lets make it perfectly clear. The mass die off in Yucatan occurred after the fourth Columbus Expedition in 1500 and was spread immediately to coastal regions of Southeastern North America by traders. The mass die off in Peru occurred concurrent with the Spanish invasion of Peru by Pizaro in 1526 and by 1550 had erased the advanced civilization in the Amazon Basin. During the period between 1521 and 1585, about 90% of the indigenous population of Mexico died. The majority of Aztecs died while Hernando de Soto was invading their land in 1521 and 1522. So, unlike what the University of College of London Report says, most of the decline in indigenous American population in Mesoamerica and South America occurred several decades before the year 1610!
When did the Little Ice Age occur?
We will replicate what the anonymous Wikipedia author said about the subject. It is an objective article without political bias.
“The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period. Although it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939. It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries, but some experts prefer an alternative time span from about 1300 to about 1850. Climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of the period, which varied according to local conditions.”
“The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, all separated by intervals of slight warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report considered the timing and areas affected by the Little Ice Age suggested largely-independent regional climate changes rather than a globally-synchronous increased glaciation. At most, there was modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during the period.”
“Several causes have been proposed: cyclical lows in solar radiation, heightened volcanic activity, changes in the ocean circulation, variations in Earth’s orbit and axial tilt (orbital forcing), inherent variability in global climate, and decreases in the human population (for example from the Black Death and the colonization of the Americas).”
Note that NASA has determined that the coldest intervals were NOT immediately following a massive die off of indigenous Americans nor did they coincide in 1610 with the sudden drop of carbon dioxide content in Antarctic ice. What they did correspond to was intense volcanic activity in the Americas, Iceland and Indonesia. In January 1985 following violent volcanic eruptions in the Philippine Islands, Indonesia and Iceland, western North Carolina had the coldest temperatures on record. On January 15, the thermometer dropped to -25• F. at our farm in the Reems Creek Valley, while nearby Mt. Mitchell was -43• F. The following year, we went from February 4 to June 19 without any measurable precipitation . . . thus we “migrated” to the Shenandoah Valley in 1987 to produce commercial goat cheese. The Perfect Storm of March 1993 in eastern North America followed violent eruptions in the Philippines, Central America, Iceland and South America.
What was happening in the Americas?
The most important statement made in the Wikipedia article is that scientists now realize that the Little Ice Age and catastrophic droughts occurred at different times and different places. In 539 AD, an asteroid or comet impact off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida caused the abandonment of most Swift Creek towns in Georgia, all Hopewell Culture sites in Ohio and a 50 year long Dark Age in Maya culture. Around 1200 AD, a massive storm wiped out the major towns on rivers in Georgia. Afterwards, the ruins of Etula (Etowah) and Itzasi (Lamar Village on the Ocmulgee River) were located on newly created Islands. The Itza Capital was moved to the Nacoochee Valley, where the village of Sautee is now located. Simultaneously, the Anasazi Culture in the American Southwest was being destroyed by droughts. Megafloods also caused the abandonment of Cahokia by 1350 AD.
The Little Ice Age struck Southeastern North America BEFORE extensive colonization occurred. The agricultural towns on the French Broad River (present day Asheville, NC) were abandoned around 1500 AD due the growing season becoming too short for corn. In December 1567, the snow was already so deep in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains that Juan Pardo’s expedition was forced to turn around and return to the coast of South Carolina. Around 1585, the winters had already become so cold and the summers so drought-prone that many of the ancestors of the Creeks moved southward from the higher elevations of the Appalachians and resettled on the south slopes of the Blue Ridge and Piedmont to re-establish their farmlands. One of the probable reasons that the Roanoke Colony was abandoned was that region’s most severe drought on record.
The Creek name for the mountains in North Georgia and northeastern Alabama is “the Snowy Mountains.” in 1776, botanist William Bartram stated that when the snow melted in North Georgia each spring, it would cause the rivers in South Georgia swell beyond their banks. The Okefenokee Swamp would triple in size and cover most of Southeast Georgia. Until the 1820s, some of the heaviest snow packs in the East occurred in Alabama’s and Georgia’s mountains, because cold air from the Arctic met moist air from the Gulf of Mexico along the edge of the mountains. This is why very few, if any, real Cherokees settled in the mountains, after they were given most of north-central and northwest Georgia in 1795.
So, you have to be careful what you read as facts in the news media these days. Academic institutions are publicity hungry and text message generation reporters rarely fact-check their stories from the “experts” such as I have done today. Did the depopulation of the Amazon Basin affect the earth’s climate? Possibly, but both the scientists at University College and the writer of the CNN article failed to mention that the earth’s climate warmed as both the Amazon Basin and interior of the United States became increasingly forested. The Lower Southeast is more forested today than anytime since the late 1700s, yet our climate is getting warmer! The earth’s climate seems to be far more affected by air pollution from volcanoes, internal combustion engines and coal-burning power plants, plus wobbling of the sun than anything else.
How history is contrived
My latest video series on Teotihuacan is certainly not a glossy Hollywood production, but is technically more polished than previous efforts. I urge you to watch it so you will better understand how much we think is history is really a mixture of propaganda with facts that somehow made it through a minefield of pits and traps. That you know anything of the amazing discoveries made by Dr. Arthur Kelly during the late 1960s is because I wanted to meet some Liberal Arts coeds at Georgia State University, not any great intellectual goal on my part. Kelly was non-personed by several of his professional peers, who then concealed his discoveries. My primary motivation for going to Mexico was to get out of the Southeast for awhile and see the world. You will learn that I would have never gone there without Kelly’s endorsement. You would have never known what I discovered in Mexico, had not an exceptionally kind Mexican family nursed me back to health and then essentially adopted me as a son. Otherwise, I would have either died of food poisoning or used up all my fellowship funds with hospital bills. Becoming immersed in Mexican culture and the arms of a Mexican senorita, I came to know Mexico far better than a book or a two week vacation could ever teach you.
With the acquisition of movie-making software next week, made possible by a recent donation, you will start seeing real movies on POOF and our YouTube Channel. Not only am I learning how to use a consumer-quality video camera, but have recently discovered that the Nikon digital camera that I bought just before moving here last spring is capable of making short super-HD movies equal in quality to that of a $20,000 professional quality video camera! The best is yet to come!
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
- Teotihuacan’s suburbs at ground level - February 14, 2019
- Professor say the darndest things! . . . Parte Trois - February 12, 2019
- Traveling back in time along the Unicoi Trail - February 12, 2019
- Protection and documentation of Native American heritage sites - February 11, 2019
- Snapshot: Creek cousin in the audience - February 7, 2019