Maztican seafarers

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Maztican seafarers

Post by Big Mac » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:11 am

There is an article called Researchers Explore the Seafaring Culture of the Maya that contains some information that might add some detail to a Maztican campaign set near the coasts.

It is about a major port-city called Vista Alegre, that giant Mayan canoes used to dock at. Here is a description of the canoes from the article:
Researchers Explore the Seafaring Culture of the Maya wrote:During the current expedition, the team especially hopes to uncover remains of Maya trading canoes, which Christopher Columbus’ son Ferdinand described in 1502 as fashioned from a single tree trunk and with a structure “not unlike those of Venetian gondolas.” These vessels could carry crews of 25 paddlers along with additional passengers and were piled high with cargo.
I went looking for pictures of these canoes, and found an article called The Mesoamerican connection: the Putun Maya, master seafarers and merchants, which shows a canoe with a hut in the middle and what looks like the mast from a Viking longship to me. That speaks about slave-trading and goods trading and implies that the Putin Maya were a very important part of trading culture.

I also found another short article about Mayan seafarers that mentioned trade routes and trade goods.

I also found a thesis called Maritime Trade and Seafaring of the Precolumbian Maya by Rahilla Corinne Abbas Shatto, that has some interesting stuff in it.

I don't recall seeing anything about Matican seafarers, but I figure there should be some on both the East and West coasts of the Maztican area. And, if they have port-facilities for their own boats, perhaps the Eastern ports might get visited (or taken over) by Amnians and perhaps the Western ports might get visited by ships from the Kara-Tur area.

EDIT: Dead links replaced by Wayback Machine links.
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Re: Maztican seafarers

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:20 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:11 am
I don't recall seeing anything about Matican seafarers, but I figure there should be some on both the East and West coasts of the Maztican area. And, if they have port-facilities for their own boats, perhaps the Eastern ports might get visited (or taken over) by Amnians and perhaps the Western ports might get visited by ships from the Kara-Tur area.
I found a couple more articles about Mayan seafarers:

The Hidden World of the Maritime Maya seems to suggest that Mayans didn't start off as seafarers:
Dominique Rissolo, Ph.D. at San Diego Natural History Museum wrote:Who were these ancient Maya seafarers? It is believed that long-distance coastal trade was initially dominated by the so-called Putun Maya of the Gulf lowlands. Archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson once referred to these shrewd and intrepid merchants as “the Phoenicians of the New World.” Throughout the Terminal and Post-Classic Maya periods, precious goods and commodities – including jade, pottery, cotton, obsidian, cacao, and salt – made their way along a coastline stretching from modern Veracruz to Honduras. The vessel of choice was the dugout canoe. These were not humble watercraft, but massive affairs. On Columbus’ fourth voyage, in 1502, his son describes a canoe measuring eight feet wide and 50 feet long, propelled by 25 paddlers and carrying both passengers and cargo.

Interestingly, the ancient Maya were not drawn to the sea in quite the same way that other Pre-Columbian peoples were. Their civilization was fueled by agriculture, and the more productive lands were found well inland. These areas also offered better protection from frequent hurricanes that would ravage the coast. Hence, the massive Maya centers of renown are located not along what we perceive as idyllic stretches of beach, but rather deep in the interior. It was not until certain social and economic push and pull factors emerged that Maya peoples turned their attention to the sea.
Forgotten Voyagers: The Ancient Mexican Merchants Who Took to the Seas has a couple of pictures of what the 50 foot long canoes might have looked like, along with speculation that the "Chontal Maya" or Putun seafarers were actually foreign to the Maya area.
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Re: Maztican seafarers

Post by BlackBat242 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:49 am

So Polynesians reached the west coast of what is now Guatemala and created an insular caste within Mayan society with their specialized knowledge & skills? ;)
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Re: Maztican seafarers

Post by Sturm » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:06 am

In 1311, Mali Emperor Abu Bakr II abdicated his throne in order to explore "the limits of the ocean", he ordered two thousand boats to be equipped for him and for his men, and one thousand more for water and victuals, and departed with his men on the ocean trip, never to return nor to give a sign of life (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakr_II).
The purpose of Columbus's third voyage was to test both the claims of King John II of Portugal that "canoes had been found which set out from the coast of Guinea [West Africa] and sailed to the west with merchandise" as well as the claims of the native inhabitants of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola that "from the south and the southeast had come black people whose spears were made of a metal called guanín.

There may have been contact with other people but it is also perfectly plausible the Mayans developed sea trade by themselves...
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