Tuesday, December 13, 2011

About the Atlas of Extinct Nations

     Greetings and welcome to the Atlas of Extinct Nations for North America. This blog is a casual resource for the examination and discussion of failed states, abandoned cities and towns, extinct and forgotten nations, as well as struggling and/or politically muzzled nations within the realm of modern North America. Also to be discussed on this blog will be the archaeological, anthropological, linguistic and overall scientific implications that are related to these subtopics, with special emphasis on the satellite remote sensing of archaeological sites in North America. If you love maps, then you've landed in a good place. Welcome =)

Cahokia, a pre-historic Native American city. Click to Embiggen.
Why do this? Well, because it is interesting! It is different and perhaps a little fresh. The past has created every one of us and all of our present circumstances. To explore this past is to explore ourselves. And, frankly typing, not a lot of us (North Americans) have a solid handle on what is going on here on this continent, and thus have a bit of a loose grip on ourselves. Perhaps we are little too confined by the lines we've drawn on the map. Perhaps we are not confined enough? This blog is here to partially educate us all on these matters and hopefully open our minds a little to our present circumstances, politically, linguistically, and culturally. 

It is difficult to imagine sometimes how the world ended up being they way it is, but perhaps more difficult to grasp just how close the world was to being very different. For example, the United States is a nation that is regarded to possess 50 states, give or take an overseas territory or quasi-dependent Native American Nation. However, would it interest you to know that there has been a series of proposals for US states that never came to be?  Indeed, there is a whole series of proposed states that might have been, buried in our past (as well as states being proposed right now). Might it also interest you to learn that several times in US history, individual states have suggested splitting into smaller states for various reasons? Or did you know that 27 US states derive their names from Native American languages? Or that the largest city in North American history was Cahokia until the rise of Philadelphia in 1800? Or that the oldest existing town in US territory is Taos Pueblo and is probably 1000 years old? It is often surprising to learn just how the cultural, historical, and physical landscape of North America is really shaped. There are many interesting details concerning past life in North America that can inform us here in the present on how things came to exist in their current forms. Many of these details are not covered in textbooks and sometimes almost forgotten by the general public.

Republic of West Florida. Click to Embiggen. 
As an example of how the past can possibly illuminate our present understanding, consider the Republic of West Florida. This was a fledgling, but independent nation right here in North America for a total of 90 days, yet it barely graces our history textbooks. Imagine how different our maps would be if a tiny nation blocked Alabama and Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico? Or consider another nation, the Republic of the Rio Grande, which served as a buffer nation between the United States and Mexico during the 19th century. This brief nation had its own capital building, which now serves as a museum on the US side of the Mexican border. How might today's immigration issues be varied by the presence of a 3rd nation in the region? These are but two  examples of the tumultuous human landscape that has existed here in North America and how the maps we know to be our own could have been very different. This blog intends to explore these examples and more. 

     This website functions primarily through a main blog, with the additional pages serving as alphabetic listings of the subtopics of this blog. There will be occasional guest posts, reviews of key scientific literature (when it is appropriate), as well as lots of photos and maps. For any questions, clarifications, grievances, requests for corrections, or general comments, please feel free to drop a line. Thank you and welcome =)
Downtown Moundville, a Mississippian-era city located in central Alabama. Photo taken by author. Click to Embiggen. 
Former capital building for the Republic of the Rio Grande, which is now a museum. Stolen shamelessly from the Internet. Click to Embiggen. 

No comments:

Post a Comment