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Imagine if instead of Leif Ericson or Christopher Columbus finding humans, they had found (insert your favorite non-hominid humanoid here) with a similar technological development to the humans they did find. Would there be any real difference in the end result (in terms of colonization and genocide)?

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closed as too broad by Bellerophon, Mołot, user25818, sphennings, Azuaron Aug 1 '17 at 16:51

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    $\begingroup$ Harry Turtledove wrote a book with this exact premise: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Different_Flesh $\endgroup$ – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 1 '17 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ As far as I know, most Native American deaths (like 90%) occurred as a result of disease, and so assuming the new natives are equally susceptible to infection they would likely also suffer from plagues and pandemics as well. Any social interactions to occur later would probably be similar to what happened in the real world, but that's entering into some very speculative territory. $\endgroup$ – MozerShmozer Aug 1 '17 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MozerShmozer I understand cross species diseases are not common, and rarely are as infectious in the second host. $\endgroup$ – user25818 Aug 1 '17 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ Intriguing premise, but can you be a bit more specific? Are we talking about a bipedal, symmetrical, upright lizard or a very close to but not quite human ape. It's important because if they are similar enough to Europeans things might swing one way, or if they are extremely alien things might go another. similar to native american tech may look different depending on the physiology of the alternate species as well, which will also impact invader reactions $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 1 '17 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ I noticed you are a little new to the Worldbuilding site, so Welcome. You will want to edit your question to show this and slow down the close votes. $\endgroup$ – Paul TIKI Aug 1 '17 at 16:46
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It wholly depends upon the culture and genetics of the non-hominids found in the new world. A significant population of Native Americans was wiped out due to the introduction of diseases for which they had no immunity. A non-hominid species probably would not be susceptible to such diseases.

A large portion was also enslaved, especially by the Conquistadores. This would probably be greater in a non-hominide population as they would be seen as highly intelligent animals (I'm assuming with opposable thumbs to have a similar technology level) and would make very useful slaves. Many of the often gruesome acts at the hands of the Conquistadores were intended as terrorization to ensure subjugation and cooperation of the enslaved peoples, not simply to kill them. You would also need to consider the mentality that many had of "kill the men, take the women" which would not occur with a non-hominid species.

Also, their culture would play a large part in the results. Many of the Native Americans had warring cultures and the introduction of advanced weaponry led to more devastating conflicts between tribes. Several tribes allied themselves with the invaders for a variety of reasons which led to them getting drawn into the battles and political struggles of the invaders leading to more death through conflict. During the American Revolution, if tribes had allied themselves with the colonists instead of the British and secured treaties for their service, they may have been able to secure land for themselves in the East. But it's hard to know who's going to win ahead of time.

So yes, the outcome might be different with a non-hominid species.

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The same only more so; the societies that discovered the new world were self-righteous, religiously entitled, xenophobes, the cultures they found were wiped out as fast and as thoroughly as they could manage it and the individuals who survived were converted to fit with their conqueror's cultural moires or they were killed. The surviving examples of native American, in the continental sense, cultural practices exist because the people practicing those rituals were humans who bent to the will of the invaders. A non-human culture would not have been given that option by the Christian European powers to whom the human form is sacred and is destined for yada yada yada.... Non-humans would be blasphemous in their very essence, even another hominid species would have been put to the sword wholesale let alone a non-hominid humanoid.

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  • $\begingroup$ Except that (at least in the case of the North and parts of Central America) the primary cause of depopulation was disease, not genocide. For some reason, South America was much less affected. Most people of South and Central America have mixed European, African and indigenous ancestry. And there are countries in South America, such as Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, where the indigenous language Quechua is widely spoken and co-official. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 1 '17 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Fair point but I'm saying, obviously not too clearly, that the genocide angle will be the primary source of depopulation and that it won't ever stop. Everywhere that Europeans went there was at least a short period of cultural suppression even if the lasting effects have been light in some areas. $\endgroup$ – Ash Aug 1 '17 at 17:37

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