AHC: Make Old World and New World uncontacted by each other until the invention of human controlled flight.

What would it take for Old World (Europe, Asia, and Africa) and New World (North and South America) to (mostly) remain uncontacted until the invention of human-controlled flight? Either heavier-than-air, internal combustion engine airplane, or lighter-than-air balloons or airships are okay answers for this challenge.

Obviously cross=straits contact by Arctic natives which was probably never absent for long can still happen, but civilitational temperate latitudes, population centers, information and knowledge networks are basically out of contact with each other unknowledgeable of each other until flight tech. Any exceptions are one-way travel or one generation, one-lifetime dead-ends (Vinland).
 
People use this too much but it would be likely ASB to delay common knowledge of the Americas until the 19th-20th century. Frankly whatever it would take to delay the expansion of old world peoples that much would likely not allow flight technology to ever be developed.
 
We might be able to accomplish the letter of the challenge if not the spirit.
Leonardo da Vinci was alive during the 1492 Columbian Expedition and was well known with being obsessed with flight. Have him invent or discover lighter than air balloons that humans can steer and control. You can even delay contact for a few decades if you need more time.
This type of flight has nothing to do with the establishment of intercontinental contact, but I think it does technically fulfill the letter of the requirements.
As for the invention of flight leading to contact, I agree with the others here, that is extremely unlikely.
 
People use this too much but it would be likely ASB to delay common knowledge of the Americas until the 19th-20th century. Frankly whatever it would take to delay the expansion of old world peoples that much would likely not allow flight technology to ever be developed.

I don't use term ASB lightly but for this challenge it is suitable term. It is just impossible keep Americas unfound until 19th century. With really good luck it is possible delay European founding New World until early 17th century but not futher. Basque fishers already knew existence of unknown continent already before days of Columbus. It was just too inevitable.
 
It would be very difficult but I can see a path.

Assuming the 1492 hurricane season had at least one fish storm, you need Columbus to take a different route or embark at a different time so he crosses its path and is lost at sea.

The next explorer who tries meets the same fate. Maybe a third. By that point Europeans conclude that you can't sail west to reach Asia because the trip is too long (or the return voyage is impossible).

Then you have to speed up some form of air travel.
 
Same answer I gave in the other thread: extreme winds or extreme ocean currents bringing you more or less where you started at
 

Lusitania

Donor
We might be able to accomplish the letter of the challenge if not the spirit.
Leonardo da Vinci was alive during the 1492 Columbian Expedition and was well known with being obsessed with flight. Have him invent or discover lighter than air balloons that humans can steer and control. You can even delay contact for a few decades if you need more time.
This type of flight has nothing to do with the establishment of intercontinental contact, but I think it does technically fulfill the letter of the requirements.
As for the invention of flight leading to contact, I agree with the others here, that is extremely unlikely.
Impossible. Portuguese reached Brazil in 1500 while sailing to India.
 

Lusitania

Donor
It would be very difficult but I can see a path.

Assuming the 1492 hurricane season had at least one fish storm, you need Columbus to take a different route or embark at a different time so he crosses its path and is lost at sea.

The next explorer who tries meets the same fate. Maybe a third. By that point Europeans conclude that you can't sail west to reach Asia because the trip is too long (or the return voyage is impossible).

Then you have to speed up some form of air travel.
Sorry this does not seem even possible.
 
Lighter than air, or gliding, might be possible. Internal combustion engine, though, is highly, highly, highly (times a whole bunch) unlikely.

Now, if you combine a glider with gunpowder rockets, you can achieve powered flight. You can even skip the glider, though I doubt there'll be too many repeat performances.

Considering the technologies of the time, this has a strong whiff of ASB to it, but technically not ASB. The closer to anything resembling modern flight, the closer to ASB you get, but technically, even modern flight is not ASB. As with discovery of the New World via satellite, it's as close to ASB as one can get without being ASB.
 
This TL discusses in-deep the possibility of some kind of applied flight in the Middle Ages, which would achieve the thread's request albeit in the opposite way intended
 
Hot hair balloons are 18th century-level tech. The only problem is this. Is it possible to get to the 18th century equivelant level of development without new world crops to boost it?
 
Hot hair balloons are 18th century-level tech. The only problem is this. Is it possible to get to the 18th century equivelant level of development without new world crops to boost it?
That (18th century overall tech levels) is probably not impossible. But I could imagine a hot air balloon trip across an unknown ocean being extremely chancy and unlikely to successfully work as a two-way voyage without a lot of further development and sophistication into airship development and infrastructure.
 
If the christian world "wins" the crusades, the maritime silk road stays open for European powers and most of the exploration and trade would be focused that direction. There is no reason to finance crazy people who can't calculate the radius of the earth correctly and America stays undiscovered. At least for a while.

However, once steam ships appear the direct europe-asia route actually becomes theoretically possible and people will try it out. Delaying the discovery of America until powered flight shows up is pretty much ASB territory. Hot air baloons would exist, but they are kind of useless for everything exept being a novelty.
 
I don't use term ASB lightly but for this challenge it is suitable term. It is just impossible keep Americas unfound until 19th century. With really good luck it is possible delay European founding New World until early 17th century but not futher. Basque fishers already knew existence of unknown continent already before days of Columbus. It was just too inevitable.
There's no real evidence of Basque fisherman discovering the new world, that's just become received wisdom around here for some reason.

I think if you keep the Iberian kingdoms united (tricky but doable)and slow down or halt the reconquista say by winning at las navas de tolosa, you could really put a spanner in the works. England and France would always be more concerned with each other than the great blue ocean and Ireland was never in a position to do much of anything navally. And nobody else besides maybe Norway had the logistical wherewithal to just wander out into the Atlantic

TL-Dr: Unite Iberia, keep them fighting the Muslims and you could delay things indefinitely
 
Last edited:
There's no real evidence of Basque fisherman discovering the new world, that's just become received wisdom around here for some reason.

I think if you keep the Iberian kingdoms united (tricky but doable)and slow down or halt the reconquista say by winning at las navas de tolosa, you could really put a spanner in the works. England and France would always be more concerned with each other than the great blue ocean and Ireland was never in a position to do much of anything navally. And nobody else besides maybe Norway had the logistical wherewithal to just wander out into the Atlantic

TL-Dr: Unite Iberia, keep them fighting the Muslims and you could delay things indefinitely

Not really. Even if you keep things Iberia differently or allow Byzantine continue being great power, you would still end find Americas probably during 16th century. Someone's ship would still be blown from its route or someone just decides check other ways to Asia. And it is just totally impossible keep Americas to be unfound until invention of planes or even until invention of steam ships.

In history wasn't many inevitable things but founding of such continent was one of such.
 
Not really. Even if you keep things Iberia differently or allow Byzantine continue being great power, you would still end find Americas probably during 16th century. Someone's ship would still be blown from its route or someone just decides check other ways to Asia. And it is just totally impossible keep Americas to be unfound until invention of planes or even until invention of steam ships.

In history wasn't many inevitable things but founding of such continent was one of such.
No, I'm sorry, but history doesn't happen just because. There's a reason the new world remain undiscovered for as long as it did. Lots of ships were blown off course before Columbus rolled the dice and no one just felt like sailing across the world because there might be a way to Asia, any more than someone would just shoot off a rocket in a random direction in the hopes that there might be a wormhole to Alpha Centauri.

People knew how big the world was and no one in their right mind would have just wandered what they thought was across the Atlantic and the Pacific AND the breadth of the Americas for shits and giggles had the Portuguese not laid the groundwork for a couple of centuries beforehand. Which they were only able to do because of a reduced Muslim threat and a powerful Castilian Kingdom surrounding them but not absorbing them. It was a very unique set of circumstances. And again it still took two centuries even in said circumstances
 
Last edited:
If the christian world "wins" the crusades, the maritime silk road stays open for European powers and most of the exploration and trade would be focused that direction. There is no reason to finance crazy people who can't calculate the radius of the earth correctly and America stays undiscovered. At least for a while.
Even if that is the case, someone could still decide to bypass the eastern route anyway, if only to secure maximum profit for themselves.
 
Even if that is the case, someone could still decide to bypass the eastern route anyway, if only to secure maximum profit for themselves.

Exactly. European nations would have lot of rivalry and they would want go directly to sources of valuable spices and other things. Why buy things form other nations when you can get yourself? So it is just logical that sooner or latter someone discovers New World either accidentally blowing from route or trying search route going westward.
 
Top