Friday, December 30, 2005


Politics of a single supercontinent?

How would the world be different today, geopolitically speaking, if the ancient land masses had never drifted apart and, therefore, today's world consisted of a single supercontinent? How would biological life be affected?

Not to be too pessimistic, only I feel that a persistant pangaea would have led to easier conditions for warfare, geopolitically speaking. There would be no substantial geological barriers because continents haven't been smashing into each other to create vast mountain ranges, for example.

Furthermore seafaring might be limited to coastal or near coastal exploration and exploitation because any expedition toward any one of the cardinal horizons would probably have led to failure, at minimum, by way of the ship needing to return for lack of supplies.

On a lighter, yet cynical, note development of aircraft might have come sooner because of the inability of navies to efficiently ply global trade routes or wage war.

Biologically speaking, I would imagine the continent would be much like Australia: habitable coastlines with rugged to hostile interiors giving rise to highly specialized species.

Human habitation would be densest on the coasts, obviously. That is if coastal cities could survive the frequent mega-hurricaines and near constant storms that would be spawned by a 2/3rds by volume water mass unobstructed by any substantial land mass.

Happy New Year!
we would not have as much diversity...plagues would have run rampant...there would be more wars, not less because humans need natural barriers (atleast in the distant past). we would not all get along because we were of one land. it just wouldn't happen. sigh.
If there was a single world continent, the populations of peoples would be much more homogenized than it is today, as would be the diversity, or lack thereof, of plants and animals. The sociopolitical problems would probably be much like they are in Africa and South America now, and as they were in Europe and Asia until very recently in history. There would be a great deal of civil war and unrest, the impetus being the same as always, resources and power. Racial issues would turn into class issues, with the higher classes holding the most territory, resources, and therefore, power.
Too many sister mama's and brother daddy's.
First of all, good answer, bigbodylittlebrain.

I guess some differences would include some animal species would not have evolved the same way. Some isoalted areas contain (at least before they were "discovered") species that had limited or no natural enemies. Also, more room to roam would have encouraged diversity as the genetic line adapted to new conditions.

As far as humans are concerned, port cities would not have the same strategic value. Since everywhere is accessible by land, why sail? Instead of being a good place to launch ships for trade and warfare, the location would be a logistical hindrance and of little more value than a place to dock the fishing boats. There wouldn't have been a Trojan war, a D-Day, and the Spanish Armada would have been the Spanish Convoy on wheels.

Would the evloution of human societies been different? Some, not much. We'd have to do without Polynesieans, Hawaiians, etc, but land distance alone is enough to isolate cultures. Many different cultures would still have evolved and fought bloody wars over which end of the egg to open first. America's foreign policy would certainly be different. With the Atantic and Pacific oceans protecting us, we can hurl all the taunts we want at the French without fear of reprisal.

Disease wouldn't have the same limitations. This might have changed everything.

Railroads would have lad more impact and perhaps delayed the invention of air travel.

The more I type, the more occurs to me, so I'll just stop. Great question.
there would be a collosal lingham of strange flesh centered upon the landmass into which all of the terrestrial fauna of the planet had inextricably unified- radiating out from this an undifferentiated but grossly variagated epiderm covers the remainder of the supercontinent....the sea surrounding this monstrosity would the otherly undulating mass of yoni be absorbing and nurturing denizens aquaria
The sheer size of the land mass would guarantee social differentiation between people in different physical areas. This is just one contributor to diversity in social and political viewpoints; unmarried professionals in a city tend to be liberal, while married people with children living in suburban/exurban/boomburban areas only 100 miles from said city tend to be conservative.
Well if you subscribe to the Biblical Creationist theory when it comes to Pangaea then things would definately be interesting (Creationism teaches that Pangaea did exist and was broken up by the Flood in a far more rapid period then Evolutionary theory teaches). If that is the case then does that mean the Fall from Grace never happened, or just that the Flood didn't happen?

As to the Evolutionary theory that would also be very interesting, and our culture would be so much different without the isolation of cultures that has happened, as well as the animals that would exist.
I've always thought that if we were one continent we probably wouldn't have other countries. There may have been in the distant past (borders being drawn on mountain ranges and rivers). But the simplicity of one entity taking over them all would have caused a single ruling government ot arrise.

Also the major population would be situated along coastlines, because water would potentialy be scarce inland (because of the way rivers and streams flow it would have emptied into the ocean long ago).
After reading polygonwrangler & tater tot, I don't have much to add- well said.

I did have a trivial thought, however. With the extent of the continent probably known, how much longer would they have thought the world was flat?
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