Conquest-part 2 Guns,Germs and Steel - Essay Example

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Basing on knowledge in geography, botany, zoology, microbiology, linguistics and other sciences, Diamond shows that uneven…
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Conquest-part 2 Guns,Germs and Steel
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Family … History April 22, Guns, Germs and Steel. Conquest. Jared Mason Diamond is an American ornithologist, physiologist and geographer who rewrote the history of mankind from the naturalistic point of view. Basing on knowledge in geography, botany, zoology, microbiology, linguistics and other sciences, Diamond shows that uneven development of different human societies in different parts of the world is not an accident and is not a result of racial superiority but a set of factors, conditioned by climate, presence of animals for domestication and many other important reasons.
In the video we see, for example, that the Spanish conquistadores, who colonized America, largely owe their success to the European diseases - aborigines had no immunity from them. The diseases, in turn, were caught from the European livestock. Thus, the history of the modern civilization and current balance of political forces are rooted deeply in the distant pre-literate age.
The movie explains why the Incas and Maya did not use the wheels, though they undoubtedly knew about them and why Fernando Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, with a bunch of mercenaries, managed to conquer these ancient empires and defeat the armies that were 500 times bigger. Western civilization was certainly more advanced technology-wise and it helped it to conquest the Indians in the most rude and violent manner. As a result of this conquest the civilization of the North American Indians was almost completely destroyed. We get to know that Europe dominated the world due to a unique combination of natural and economic factors that made it the most favorable for the development of civilization.
The author also places emphasis that European colonization is only a particular example of the processes occurring continuously throughout the history of mankind: for example, the peoples of Central Africa, who mastered agriculture and cattle breeding, moved aside their neighbors – Bushmen; modern inhabitants of Southeast Asia - the descendants of immigrants from South China and their less developed, at the time, predecessors were forced to move to the Pacific islands and Madagascar.
The author believes that the initial deficit of large-seeded grasses in the New World (corn only, with smaller protein content compared to wheat) and lack of animals suitable for domestication slowed the population growth extremely; the thing is not only in the deficit of meat and milk but in the absence of pack and draught animals that excluded plowing, transportation of goods and so on. This, in turn, slowed down the development of agricultural technologies. In addition, the three major inhabited areas of those urban civilizations were the Andes, Mesoamerica and the Mississippi Valley - isolated from each other by the impassable malarial jungles of the Isthmus of Panama and deserts of Northern Mexico. It almost stopped the technological exchange between the civilizations. At the same in two extremely favorable climate areas, which are now the global granaries – plain Argentina and the Pacific coast of the U.S., no civilizations arose, there was even no transition from foraging to agriculture as there were no own “candidates” for domestication or contacts with the neighboring farmers.
The sad result - Pizarro, with three hundred soldiers of fortune, destroys the great empire of the Incas as a house of cards, as behind him stands the state that is over-controlled by educated bureaucracy, the state that has metallurgical technologies and is good in navigation.
But the author allows himself to dream a little bit that everything could be vice versa… If, for some reason, the development of the Eurasian peoples abruptly stumbles, then, around 5500 AD, the colonial vessels of the Indians, armed with firearms, could reach the European lands. Well, a good plot for a sci-fi movie.
Guns, Germs and Steel. Dir. Tim Lambert, Richard Bradley. National Geographic and PBS, 2004. Read More
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