What if Rome discovered America?

Lusitania

Donor
If the Roman Empire lasts till 1000 then I say yes the could not only reach but start colonizing it but if we are talking about iotl Roman Empire then it’s ASB.

they lacked the type of ships needed to sail to the new world and just as important knowledge of currents and sailing technology. Regardless of what people think there was no incentive to develop such technology when existing Roman galleys were sufficient for coastal commerce.

IOTl there was hundreds of years of sailing advances and economic pressure for the development of ocean going ships by the 15th century. There is no way that Rome with huge amounts of territories empty to do anything with new world.
 

Grey Wolf

Gone Fishin'
Roman traders went to India from Egypt - they followed the winds, and over-wintered somewhere in East Africa, taking a couple of years. The return IIRC was easier as the winds from India blew them back quicker.

There would need to be some sort of analogue of this in the West. Carthaginians potentially reached Gambia, or even West Africa in regular (ish) visits, so Rome could follow, but this is coastal trade, not out across the sea.

The problem with trans-Atlantic missions is that nobody knows there is anything within reach? They do know that the world is spherical, and that in theory you can get BACK by going round it, but they don't know what the hell is in all the blank areas of the (mind) map.
 

Lusitania

Donor
Roman traders went to India from Egypt - they followed the winds, and over-wintered somewhere in East Africa, taking a couple of years. The return IIRC was easier as the winds from India blew them back quicker.

There would need to be some sort of analogue of this in the West. Carthaginians potentially reached Gambia, or even West Africa in regular (ish) visits, so Rome could follow, but this is coastal trade, not out across the sea.

The problem with trans-Atlantic missions is that nobody knows there is anything within reach? They do know that the world is spherical, and that in theory you can get BACK by going round it, but they don't know what the hell is in all the blank areas of the (mind) map.
Yes ships could traverse Arabia to India by sailing with the winds they ail east when winds blew towards India and sailed west when the winds blew towards Arabia.

there was no such thing in the Atlantic. Winds blew southwards along African coast and there was no way to sail back to Europe till the Portuguese in the 15th century developed the caravel.
 

Paradoxer

Banned
What if Rome, for whatever reason, had some kind of expedition out west that led to them discovering the Americas? What might Roman America look like?

While this would happen way, way earlier than Columbus and sounds unlikely to happen, it's important to realize just how advanced the Romans were. Their technology was almost on par with the Colonial Era world a millennium later. Even if it's not the most likely scenario that Rome discovers America, it is a fun thing to consider. So what might this American extension of the Roman Empire be like, and how would it be governed? Think it would eventually become independent?

Let me know what you think.

(also, funny note: If Rome colonized the Americas, then it really would be a Latin America)
If Rome survives a few centuries longer perhaps. The west and east still split but become two Chinese dynasties parallel in Western world.

Western Romans still lose isles to Germanic Anglo Saxons, Danes, Celts, and later Norse who discovered place along northern sea routes(Iceland to Greenland to Americas). The Romans controlling Iberia and North Africa along with expanding imperial influence in sub-Saharan Africa leads to them discover the Caribbean and Brazil first. The Norse raids likely others from isles make Western Romans at least build up its defense and merchant navy for defense which leads to innovation and maybe them taking designs from Norse.

Likely more brutal slavery and conquest but less rigid(they can earn freedom more especially and even eventual citizenship). Non of Christian missionary narrative or racial narratives. If they took Aztec or over similar civilization they would wipe/purge priest due to human sacrifice like they did Druids. The Romans won’t have racial ideas that develop during colonial era. They still might enslave a shit ton of Africans and bring them to tropical areas to grow crops along with North African and mediterranean people who have bit of resistance or use to that weather/climate more so.

Northern European slaves might be sent more to colder and northern areas or even mountain mines in Appalachia. Also just distance and price thing. Take slaves to somewhat similar climate then their homeland so they adjust easier and shorter transport travel/expenses. They would enslave natives too but also Romanize many. So you still might have “Latin” America ironically but even more Latin and native flavor(syncretism with local religions).

The Romans would have way more allies and voluntary exchanges too. Generals seeking glory for empire/republic and themselves went “rogue” in Europe likely do even more so in Americas or maybe sub-Saharan Africa too eventually. The empire at home probably encourages it and give them viceroyalty/client(kingdom, republics, or variety of systems) if they can take it. So general and legion win over some natives and establish footholds and things developed from there.

Some random Roman gets conquistador luck with locals thinking he “divine” somehow or hating local dominant kingdom/empire to work with them
 

Grey Wolf

Gone Fishin'
Yes ships could traverse Arabia to India by sailing with the winds they ail east when winds blew towards India and sailed west when the winds blew towards Arabia.

there was no such thing in the Atlantic. Winds blew southwards along African coast and there was no way to sail back to Europe till the Portuguese in the 15th century developed the caravel.
If it is not possible to do it with winds at the time, then the Roman POD would have to be Northern expansion and a pre-Viking roundabout route via Iceland, Greenland, Baffin Island and Newfoundland.

Or could there have been a Southern route? If the Romans got more invested in maritime trade with West Africa, are there any trade winds that could be picked up to blow out across the Atlantic from down there?
 

Lusitania

Donor
If it is not possible to do it with winds at the time, then the Roman POD would have to be Northern expansion and a pre-Viking roundabout route via Iceland, Greenland, Baffin Island and Newfoundland.

Or could there have been a Southern route? If the Romans got more invested in maritime trade with West Africa, are there any trade winds that could be picked up to blow out across the Atlantic from down there?
Ok the problem with Western trade is that both winds and current along western African from Morocco to Gambia is one way all year round southbound. You need to develop ships with sails to sail into the wind to sail north. That is what the Portuguese did in the 15th century.
 

Grey Wolf

Gone Fishin'
Ok the problem with Western trade is that both winds and current along western African from Morocco to Gambia is one way all year round southbound. You need to develop ships with sails to sail into the wind to sail north. That is what the Portuguese did in the 15th century.
Ah, so you could have a combined approach?

Trans-Atlantic West across to the Americas, and then the Northerly route back, where galleys would come into their own?
 
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