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Guns Germs And Steel History Essay

Need Writing Help? Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond Essay - After reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, the five main points are domestication of plants and animals, food production, government, innovation, and germs. Guns, Germs, And Steel Essays - Guns, Germs, and Steel The book Guns, Germs, and Steel is about how many different things attributed to the succession of societies versus the destruction of other societies. Guns Germs Steel Essays - Guns, Germs and Steel Jared Diamond, author of the Pulitzer Prize Winning, National Best Selling book Guns, Germs and Steel, summarizes his book by saying the following: "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.


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Search Term:. Initially, each tribe came from common backgrounds, yet developed in different regions of the world. The Moriori lived harsher, hunter gatherer type lives, while the Maori were able to expand and flourish in New Zealand. The difference in environment allowed each tribe, who were vastly similar, to develop at a different paces and allowed for the Maori to eventually destroy the Moriori.

This example also showed how population is affected by environment. Where the environment allowed for agriculture and domestication of plants and animals, populations were higher because the ability to provide for more members of a society was present. Larger populations also allowed for more complex societies to develop.

The Maori and Moriori are a great example that substantiates Diamonds claims, because each shared common knowledge and ancestry, but one was disadvantaged due to environment and failed to develop. As far as the development of weaponry, Jared Diamond claims that because of certain cultures and the environments in which they flourished, it was easier able to develop guns, germs and steel. When populations lived in close quarters with high volumes of people, infectious diseases were easily spread.

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Diamond also brings up a point about how different countries developed food production. Certain areas were ecologically better suited to develop agriculture. By domesticating plants and animals in particular, societies were able to create militaries that utilized horses and could conquer other nations. Diamond argues that the availability of domesticated plants and animals is a direct contributor to how quickly a civilization will develop.

The next example Diamond uses to further his argument that environment is a contributor in civilization development is the example of the Fertile Crescent.


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  • The Fertile Crescent is an area where domestication of plants was high due to mild, wet winters and long, hot summers. Also, the plants that grew here cross pollinated and took care of themselves. The people of this area utilized these advantages to the fullest and became well known for being hunter gatherers. Other areas where plant domestication may not have been so easy had natives that eventually gave up the hunter gatherer lifestyle and chose a different way of life. These people's behaviors were directly influenced by their environment in this case.

    Another example is that of the development of writing in certain parts of the globe. Diamond states that writing first emerged in places where food production was located, due to the need to keep track of livestock. Areas where food production was high were more likely to have developed a writing system.

    Societies that developed writing were able to advance quicker than societies that didn't, and it gave a significant advantage because those with writing abilities could gain knowledge of other civilizations and record it. Further on in the book, particularly in Chapter 17, Diamond examines and compares the development of Austronesians to the people of New Guinea. Again reiterating the importance of environment, Diamond states that the Austronesians and the New Guineans came from a common set of ancestors yet developed differently in different regions.

    They each made use of the best things they could find in their environment. Also, Diamond shows how each culture adapted to their environment and how these adaptations either helped or hurt them in the long run. The advantages that each of the cultures had more or less out weighed each other, and when the Austronesians attempted to invade New Guinea, they found they had little to no advantage and instead decided to co exist. One major difference in the way that Diamond presents the world's history is that he centers so whole heartedly on environment, ecology and location as a dominant factor that he tends to forget about other contributors to societal development.

    Traditions seems to give a more broad, all encompassing tale of world history. Instead of focusing primarily on one factor, it instead incorporates different factors and summarizes how they all tie in together. Different world leaders, world powers, wars, technological development, and agricultural development are all touched upon in Traditions and explored to the fullest, whereas they are briefly mentioned if at all in Diamond's Guns.

    This is also Diamond's major flaw. The combination of fieldwork and broad research across other fields leads to an innovative theory that spans scientific disciplines to discover the roots of inequality throughout the course of human history. Geographical factors such as the climate, geological features, marine resources, area, terrain fragmentation, and isolation affect the types of farming practiced in a society, which affects the levels of inequality between civilizations.

    His theory is that continents lying on an east west axis allow better transfers of crops and animals. He suggests that continents lying on north-south axes cannot transfer techniques for farming and the domestication of animals throughout the continent. He asserts that localities distributed east and west of each other share exactly the same day length and seasonal variations. Diamond also notes that they tend to share similar diseases, temperature ranges, amount of rainfall, and types of vegetation.

    The continent of Eurasia sits on an east west axis 10, miles long. Diamond contends that there are no major barriers to prevent the spread of crops. He suggests that this creates a natural advantage for technology, domesticated animals, and domesticated crops. For example, after the invention of the wheel in China, the new technology rapidly spread throughout Eurasia. Likewise, alphabetical writing was invented in the Fertile Crescent and promptly expanded across all of Eurasia.

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    Finally, crop technology and knowledge diffused throughout Eurasia at an average rate of 3. In comparison, the continent of South America is placed on a north-south longitude line, spanning 9, miles to the south and north, but only 3, miles at its widest on the east west latitude lines. This natural disadvantage hindered the spread of technology, crops, and animals. The Great Plains created an ecological barrier in the north, while the Andes Mountains proved almost insurmountable in the south.

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    For example, the wheel was also invented in Mesoamerica, but its invention never reached the Andes just miles away. The Mayans invented a system of alphabetic writing, but it did not reach the Andean peoples living only 2, miles away. Likewise, the domesticated llama traveled from Peru to Mexico at a rate of only 0. Diamond relates geographical barriers to the patriotic song, America the Beautiful. Animals have many different uses, and ancient civilizations used every aspect of their bodies for food and tools.

    Diamond suggests that societies possessing animals feed more people, and therefore he points to animals as the second variable affecting inequalities in the world today. Animals furnish milk, provide meat, and act as fertilizers. Societies possessing animals also have a higher population growth. Hunter-gatherer societies are constantly looking for food and never have a stable source of food, so their birth intervals are longer. Sedentary societies have stable food sources and are able to have shorter birth intervals and produce more children.

    Sedentary societies can feed more people, can take care of young children without trekking across long distances looking for food, and have stable sources of nutrition. Animals have direct advantages as well. They provide natural fibers for textiles, their hides produce leather, and their bones shape into tools.

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    Animals also served as a major source of transportation.