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Guns, Germs, And Steel

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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. The book starts out with the author, Jared Diamond, in New Guinea talking to a New Guinean politician named Yali. Yali asked Diamond "Why white men developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea where we black people had little cargo of our own?" Diamond was determined to seek an answer to Yali's question. Diamond surrounds his answer on how "History followed different courses for different people because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves" (Diamond 25).

Diamond first looks at the Maori and Moriori civilizations. The Moriori were an isolated civilization that lived on an island about 500 miles east of New Zealand. They were primitive hunter-gatherers, who always settled altercations peacefully. The Maori were from New Zealand's north island and were always engaged in combat which forced them to create more advanced weapons and also forced them to have strong leadership skills. Weather and geography also played a big role in the two totally different lifestyles. The Maori's tropical climate made it possible for them to produce their own food. The Moriori's lived in a much cooler climate which made it almost impossible for them to produce their own food which is why they had to resort to being hunter-gatherers and had no extra people to work on specialty jobs. The Maori also had a much bigger island to live on which means they were able to have more people live on the island. The big population difference along with advancement in weapons and technology greatly helped the Maori people conquer the Moriori people.

Diamond next looks at Francisco Pizarro's capture of an Incan monarch. The monarch, Atahuallpa, was at Cajamarca square after battles with other Indian tribes. Along with Atahuallpa was his 80,000 man army. Following Atahuallpa was Pizarro with 168 Spanish soldiers. While his men were greatly out numbered, Pizarro's troops had far more advanced weaponry and military technology in their cavalry and guns. Because of this advantage Pizarro was able to capture Atahuallpa while most of the monarch's soldiers, so spooked by the firing of the soldiers' guns, retreated back. The Spanish, who had domesticated the horse, and a variety of crops, were able to employ more people to research new technologies and weapons. The Incans, who did not have as many domesticated animals and had more people dedicated to farming, did not evolve as quickly as the Spanish. By looking at both societies you can see that the Spanish had the advantage over the Incans and that is why their superior technology allowed the greatly outnumbered Spanish to conquer the largest and most advanced civilization in the New World.

Food production played an important role in the evolution of different societies. Diamond states in his book that "food production was indirectly a prerequisite for the development of guns, germs, and steel" (Diamond 86). This statement means that because there was a surplus of food, societies were able to designate people to be able to develop more domesticated plants, animals, and more advanced technologies. Geography played a key role when it came to producing domesticated foods. The Fertile Crescent is the first geographic area in which food and plant domestication. While there are many parts of the world with the same Mediterranean features of the Fertile Crescent, the Fertile Crescent was the largest of its kind. The great land mass allowed for many different species to thrive there. The Fertile Crescent also experiences great climate changes each season, which forced these plants to adopt and evolve to better their chances of survival. The people of Eurasia also domesticated many large animals including the cow, pig, sheep, horse, and goat. They used the cow for meat and milk, horses for cultivation and for waging war, and the



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