Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Gulf

The Gulf is one of the smaller sections of Medieval America, but is certainly amongst the most unique. So unique, that it appears that it doesn't even have that many historical precedents (In the way that say, Northeast=Italy, California or New Mexico=Egypt) It's its own society, born out of a vast, but medieval civilization in the subtropics. It's hard to tell how many live on the Gulf Coast or in the Deep South according to this map, but I would say the region is between four and six million in residents. For the purpose of this article, "The Gulf" includes the Caribbean sea, but not Texas, which while on the Gulf coast (and Houston is a very important port) its culture is very dissimilar from Louisiana, Florida and the Islands. I'll talk about it when I get to The Plains.

South/Central America is a foreign, scary place where the beasts are ferocious and the stars are strange. But it's also the source of many goods we take for granted, like cocoa, coffee and rubber. In short, it's to North America what the Orient was to Medieval Europe. And that's where the Gulf Nations make their mark--as a gateway to exotic goods. (In fact the Gulf Coast is the location of a sugar belt) The main religion in these parts is Voodoo. I found that a little strange, how it could have exploded, but in religion articles I explain how it seems to work very well with the a more woman-friendly society. However, this probably puts it at odd with the rest of the American East.

As mentioned, the government here is, for the most part, secretarial. This means civil and bureaucratic work is done by women. Men's roles in society seem to be a little more distant. The idea of a structured woman's society while the men are distant, coming home to reproduce and assert rule reminds me very much of lions. Which makes me wonder if women have some martial prowess of their own. After all, if the men are away, it would make sense for the other half to be able to defend themselves. I'm thinking something not quite as intensive as naval and cavalry training, but something that could resemble martial art called Capoeira. Dancing is important in Southern society, so maybe it would be a good way to combine ritual practices with practical self-defense.

White only mentions one country here; Louisiana. Louisiana as a country seems to have retreated southward, (Most of inland Louisiana is part of a nation called Red River) and moved eastward. Some of Mississippi's and Alabama's coasts have been absorbed Much of the population is palpably African-descended. New Orleans is described as the most important trade city in the region, and the major funnel from South America to North America. The ethnicity and religion of the region tells me that if any language dominates the country, it is Creole. I don't know if it's leaned towards English, or even more strongly clung to its French routes for ceremonail reasons. It should probably be mentioned that White wrote these articles before Hurricane Katrina, which took a heavy toll on the population of New Orleans. Who knows how that would have affected what he wrote, but possibly not much. Remember, there's no reason for Deseret to be that populated, but it thrives on being a gateways. This is no longer the age of skyscrapers and interstates. If Louisiana's going to be flooded, they'll just use boats. Maybe a canal city, similar to Venice, except more easily-reconstructed building like seen in Southeast Asia? I wouldn't be surprised to see New Orleans as strange atmosphere of transport boats and open-air markets.

Also worth mentioning is the status Florida. In the present day, Florida is the fourth most populous state in the union, and two of the twenty most populated metropolitan areas in the country. Also, it's much closer to the island nations of Cuba and Haiti/Dominican Republic. Yet White seems to have reduced it to a footnote, with no major cities (Except a Non-Dom district capital in Tallahassee) And the population map leaves it practically blank around the peninsula. There seems to be little mention of it in Warfare as well. It seems a large reason for this is the poor drainage of the soil. As a result, people had a hard time building farms, and where there are no farms, populations drift away.

It also has me thinking about zoos in the United States. An interesting question to ask would be; What happened to the animals? Some would likely be killed for meat, hide, or just being a nuisance or a threat. Some might not be equipped to deal with the habitat. Some did fine, but there obviously weren't enough of them to form colonies. However, in Florida, which is the closest place on continental America to qualify as a jungle, animals that escaped from circuses and zoos managed to make their way to the Everglades and thrived, untouched by man. Elephants, hippos, rhinos and tigers joined pythons and their like in staking out a claim in the Florida swamps. Once these populations exploded, they started invading human settlements. Without cars and lights to care them, or guns to shoot them down, nature easily won this round in the corner of the world, and humans dispersed to less dangerous places like the Florida panhandle.

No comments:

Post a Comment