Nearly every major stone age culture outside of Europe fell to European colonialism, they were immunized against the diseases they brought with them as well as their advanced technology made it nigh impossible to defend against them. Even the great empires of the Inca and the Aztecs fell.

The biggest weapon of the Europeans was the hidden one, disease. The great plagues of history ravished the New World as well as all other foes. Even one plague can bring empires to their knees, never mind multiple simultaneous plagues, never mind small population sizes.

Somewhere in the age of colonial Europe, Atlantis was discovered in the Pacific (I know right, wild!). It is fairly large and full of pesky native empires. Of course they must be dealt with, so Europe is prepared to Aztec them and destroy their empires, but this one empire (let's call it Aborigia) refuses to sit down and take it.

How can a stone age empire (akin in this case to the Aztecs) possibly defend itself against the various Colonial powers of Europe in 1500?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you give/extend the description of Glarnoks capabilities? Is he a Great Warrior/Scientist/Diplomat/Sorcerer? Can he enhance his followers? Can he give them Immunity to "the Disease"? $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 7:19
  • $\begingroup$ Can you give/extend the description of the invading Empire? Do they allow Multitheism or do reeducate the people? Can they be reasoned with? Or are the going total war upon the Defenders? $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ @DennisChristian the invading empires are the empires of 1500 Europe, things like France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, England, etc. Forget their god, I'll reword the question to correctly convey my point $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Jan 3, 2017 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ Do the invaders want to eradicte or would they accept surrender/integration? $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 8:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How long you want them to survive? If they have big empire, they will be able to drive back Europeans for "some time", but if in your alternate history (universe?) will go into second colonization boom (Africa in our timeline), they probably stand no chance anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Elas
    Jan 3, 2017 at 9:20

3 Answers 3


Not exactly stone-age. But in our own history we have an example of a "modern" European army (with guns) being defeated in Africa.

Main Wikipedia article:

The Battle of Isandlwana (alternative spelling: Isandhlwana) on 22 January 1879 was the first major encounter in the Anglo–Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops and perhaps 400 civilians.[12] The Zulus were equipped mainly with the traditional assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields,[13] but also had a number of muskets and old rifles[14] though they were not formally trained in their use.[15] The British and colonial troops were armed with the state-of-the-art[16] Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle and two 7-pounder (3-inch, 76 mm) mountain guns deployed as field guns,[17][18] as well as a rocket battery. Despite a vast disadvantage in weapons technology,[19] the numerically superior Zulus ultimately overwhelmed the poorly led and badly deployed[20] British, killing over 1,300 troops, including all those out on the forward firing line. The Zulu army suffered around a thousand killed.[21]

The battle was a decisive victory for the Zulus and caused the defeat of the first British invasion of Zululand.[22] The British Army had suffered its worst defeat against an indigenous foe with vastly inferior military technology.[19] Isandlwana resulted in the British taking a much more aggressive approach in the Anglo–Zulu War, leading to a heavily reinforced second invasion[23] and the destruction of King Cetshwayo's hopes of a negotiated peace.[24]

It looks like superior numbers won the day. But as you can see, the superior infrastructure and military might would eventually win during subsequent invasions.

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the Great Emu War, where British soldiers were "defeated" by emu. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 14:57

One solution would be to have the opposite of the normal problem: a disease that the natives are immune to but the invaders are highly susceptible to. The invaders died by droves trying to conquer the local population.

Another possibility is at least some regions of highly rugged and inaccessible landscape that the natives could retreat to when under attack. They would know this area very well for some reason or another (mineral resources, religion, needing to go through it to travel, etc.). Their knowledge of this area and the close quarters imposed by the landscape would eliminate the advantage of the European firearms and horses and would allow the natives to essentially fight off a siege. Or they could live in such areas all the time to defend against attacks from other groups, like the cliff dwellings of the Anasazi.

Still another possibility would be for Atlantis to have a handfull (maybe 3-5) large kingdoms constantly at competition and war with each other. They would be adapted to the sort of political intrigue and subversion the Europeans used against the Inca and Aztec empires, and would likely be prepared to deal with siege warfare in their own territory.

Some combination of these factors would probably make for a good story.

  • $\begingroup$ I love these, but wouldn't the natives still be susceptible to old world disease's? $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Jan 3, 2017 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ @TinyTrEs-2b Not if you don't want them to be ;) You could claim that they have some mutations that coincidentally renders them immune, or that for some reason or another the European diseases are also present in Atlantis but not vice-versus. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ Let's remember that South America is host of their own plethora of deadly diseases. And that it was the already existing political intrigue that brought down the Aztecs. $\endgroup$
    – Faerindel
    Jan 3, 2017 at 8:05
  • $\begingroup$ @TheBlackCat "a disease that the natives are immune to but the invaders are highly susceptible to" -- this is basically the story of subsaharan Africa. It has been politically subjugated by European powers, but never colonized, because Europeans were dying left and right. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ @TinyTrEs-2b Limited travel could have already introduced Atlanteans to the old world diseases. $\endgroup$ Jan 3, 2017 at 19:31

Militarily speaking, Spanish didn't triumph gloriously in battle. Most of the war were made aztec against aztec, the Spanish often recruited locals to fight their neighbour. An empire unified would be less easy to defeat. Although, Cortez used their superstition has they thought he was a god.

In North America the people were divided by culture and distance.

Take an empire well bound that control a defendable area (like a big island) and suddenly it is more easy to trade than to kill. However a such people will not stay at stone age for long as they will develop technology quickly.


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