The European explorers who came to the Americas were much more advanced than the Native Americans living there. To the Europeans back in the day, they most likely assumed they'd be more advanced than anyone they found because if they weren't, the other guys would have visited Europe already. But what would happen if when the Europeans arrived the Native American civilizations were more advanced than the European ones? What kind of consequences would this have?

I imagine it would be similar to the outcome of discovering an extraterrestrial civilization, but I'm not sure. Does anyone with a little more knowledge on the general subject of exploration have anything to add? Does anyone know of any real-world examples of a civilization discovering someone more advanced than them?

Note: I'm not asking what specifically would have happened if the Europeans discovered that the Native American's were more advanced. It's just an example of the kind of thing I'm wondering about


closed as too broad by trichoplax, bowlturner, DonyorM, Monica Cellio, Tim B Oct 10 '14 at 2:04

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    $\begingroup$ I think answers will vary depending on whether each of the two groups is aggressive/cooperative, wary/trusting, insular/inviting. Just knowing that one group is more advanced doesn't tell you much about how they will interact. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Oct 9 '14 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ The difference in advancement and the direction of advancement also make a big difference. If a small group of explorers armed to the teeth with medieval weapons stumbles upon a city with advanced electronics and medicine but no weapons or defences, being more advanced may not be enough to give them an advantage. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Oct 9 '14 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ This has the makings of a very interesting question, but it needs more detail before it is ready for answers. $\endgroup$ – trichoplax Oct 9 '14 at 23:21
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    $\begingroup$ There is a book called "The Redemption of Christopher Columbus" that discusses a lot of ideas along these lines. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 10 '14 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ @TimB - interestingly, the main thesis of the book is that, had Columbus not sailed to New World, Mesoamericans (Toltecs?) would have consolidated and basically managed to invade Europe successfully. $\endgroup$ – user4239 Oct 10 '14 at 1:34

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