Claire Jordan
No easy access to iron, and no horses or oxen. The people of South and Central America managed a lot, in some cases with the aid of llamas, and they built great cities, but the north didn’t even have llamas, just dogs. And without a beast of burden stronger than a human, hauling blocks of stone around is usually more trouble than its worth. As with evolution, each stage in the development of an urban civilisation has to be beneficial - people don’t put in generations of work to build something which will suddenly be useful in 1500 years.


They also didn’t have writing, aside from some very laborious systems in the south. This is not through any kind of failure. White people didn’t invent a fluent form of writing either, or Africans, or anybody except small groups in the Middle East and the Far East, who then taught everybody else with whom they had trade connections.

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Also, many of the nations lived spread out thinly in a landscape rich with resources, so they didn’t have the thousands of years of all-out warfare which forced the pace of development in much of the world. It’s noticeable that in areas where there *was* organised warfare, mainly in South and Central America, there were stone cities.


Nevertheless there were also cities in North America, built of wood and mud and hides and basketwork - things a human can carry without four-legged help - but they were perishable and only the mud ones left much in the way of ruins.


Also, it somewhat depends on what you mean by technology. The peoples of South American may not have had much in the way of machines but they had stone masonry at least as good as Europe’s, and mathematics and astronomy better than Europe’s. Native American societies in general seem to have had a genius for botany, and an extraordinarily high proportion of our modern crops were first domesticated in pre-Columbian America.