Post by Rich Rostrom Post by Old Toby
The specific "Japanese settle America" TL I'm considering has them
doing it in the early 1600's. They are thus roughly contemporary
with the English, French, and Dutch settlements and have a population
growth dynamic as strong as the English, while showing stronger
tendencies toward land improvements and assimilating natives (but
also a stronger tendency to wage aggressive war against them).
The problem for Japan is that the part of America
they have access to is the northwest, which is
not good for much except fur-trading till one
gets to Puget Sound, and is very rugged and
difficult. (To this day, the coast from Anchorage
to Vancouver is almost entirely vacant and cut off
from the interior.)
The Russian operations in Alaska were _extremely_
thin, not really a settler colony at all.
circa 1500: some Japanese mariners from Hokkaido
discover the fur-trading possibilities of Kamchatka
and Siberia. The furs are marketed in China, which
IIRC was the main importer of furs from NW America
in the late 1700s.
1550: there are Japanese trading posts and ports
in Sakhalin, the Kuriles, Kamchatka, and at OTL
Magadan (northern coast of the Okhotsk Sea).
1570: Japanese mariners discover the seal rookeries
of the Pribilof islands - a jackpot that inspires
1600: Japanese mariners follow the Aleutian chain
to Alaska, and establish new trading posts as far
1620: the new Tokugawa Shogun considers banning
foreign commerce as in OTL, but the revenue from
the fur trade is too juicy. Voyagers to Alaska
discover the Subarctic Current, which sweeps from
the Kuriles to British Columbia, and the California
Current which runs south to Mexico. (The Alaska
Current runs from BC to Alaska.)
1640: Russian explorers from Irkutsk and Yakutsk
clash with Japanese traders in Siberia. The Russians
a long way from home. After some pulling and hauling,
the area is divided, with the Japanese having the
coasts and everything east of the Lena valley. (The
Amur Valley is held by the Chinese Empire.) The first
Japanese traders reach the Vancouver-Seattle area and
set up trading posts.
1650: Noting the good climate and relative accessibility
of the Vancouver-Seattle area, some Japanese bring horses,
pigs, and cattle. Being Hokkaidans, they plant wheat.
Outbreaks of smallpox and measles crash the native
population over the next 50 years. Also, some pigs go feral,
and disrupt the ecology, causing further hardship.
1675: The Vancouver-Seattle "colony" has about 2,000
residents. Explorers have found the Columbia, and
put trading posts up to the mouth of the Snake River.
Others have gone up the Fraser River.
1700: The total "settled" population of Japanese
America is about 5,000; there are another 5,000
or so migrant traders and trappers, including their
native mates and mixblood offspring. There are
trading posts as far inland as the crest of the
Rockies. Exploring ships have cruised down the
coast as far as San Francisco Bay.
Here we start encountering possible Euro reactions.
OTL, New Spain spread slowly to the NW: the mission
stations were only at the Arizona border in 1700.
No effort was made to settle California till 1769,
in reaction to Russian activity.
It's possible that Spain would be moved to act
earlier by Japanese expansion. Both sides
would want the Bay; neither would have much
strength to seize it. Either side would dominate
if strongly backed from the homeland. It's beyond
me to say whether either homeland would be moved
to do so. alt-Japan would be very different. Spain
might be moved to send an expedition against
heathen intruders (if they are heathens). There
would probably be earlier contacts and clashes
between Japanese and Spanish mariners all
across the Pacific.
But assuming that Spain does not strike at
1750: Settled population now about 50,000.
Trading range covers everything west of the
Continental Divide and north of the Great
Basin, extending down to Great Salt Lake.
Pack traders and trappers range into Alberta,
and are bumping up against Hudson Bay Company
traders. Others are roaming out into the upper
Missouri Valley. Rumors of the Japanese filter
all the way to New Orleans. Assume the Japanese
reach SF Bay first. The Spanish react by
occupying the LA area and planting coastal
posts up to Monterey.
1760-1800: Clashes between Japanese and Spanish
escalate. A Spanish fleet raids the SF Bay
area, ravaging but not destroying the Japanese
settlement. The Japanese settlers destroy the
Monterey outpost. The offended Shogun sends a
fleet to seize Guam. The conflict is settled
by the return of Guam, agreement that Japanese
will stay out of southern California, and the
Monterey area and San Joaquin Valley will be
an empty buffer zone. New Japan increases to
about 250,000 people. The Shogun appoints a
1800-1850: Japanese migration increases as
Japanese ships improve. Settlements fill the
Sacramento Valley. Gold is discovered in 1824.
Population booms to about 1M people.
That's as far as I can take it.
Post by Old Toby
America and Mexico remain mostly as per OTL, except in so far as
the Japanese settlement has rippled out through North America.
Japanese trade has given the natives hefty amounts of iron and
horses, and possibly some firearms.
Not to any great degree, IMHO, until
much later. Horses maybe; they make
more horses. Does anyone know when the
various tribes acquired horses?
Post by Old Toby
Buddhist missionaries have
also made their presence felt
Unlikely, IMHO. Buddhist AFAIK have
no record of preaching to savages,
and the motley fur traders who are
the Japanese population are even
Post by Old Toby
There is also a sort of sub-rosa trade between the Japanese
and French Voyageurs, via native intermediaries.
Nope. They have nothing to trade
each other; they compete with each
other for Indian peltries. The voyageurs
didn't venture up to the Rockies till
after 1800, AFAIK.
 I've read that the explosion of feral pigs
in Oregon in the 1840s, from stock brought by
the earliest settlers, caused eco-disruption
that wiped out most of the Indians in the area.
| He had a shorter, more scraggly, and even less |
| flattering beard than Yassir Arafat, and Escalante |
| never conceived that such a thing was possible. |
| -- William Goldman, _Heat_ |
continental U.S. There were probably other sources for horses but the
main group came from Northern New Mexico. Comanches provided broken
horses as trade goods to the other Plains Indians.
The Appaloosa horse was bred up by the Nez Perce in the 18th century.
bend. Make the Nez Perce the breakers of horses and the traders to the
the Indians and gone further up the coast.
lived very well for their environment. Cedar plank houses, cedar
Northern California. I have seen old (silent 1920s ?) movies of what