Answers to Questions About the Book Guns, Germs and Steel

Topics: Domestication, Inca, Society Pages: 5 (1456 words) Published: December 4, 2012
Milo Fradianni Germs, Guns and Steel
WHAP Gavigan

Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Fates of Human Societies
Jared Diamond


Throughout the book; Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond answers a very controversial question; why is it that European people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but the natives of New Guinea had little cargo of their own? Societies prosper depending on the abundance of natural resources which are at their disposal. Therefore, It's not because Europeans were smarter that they prospered but as a result of their natural resources.

In Chapter 3, Jared Diamond uses an example of an ancient society to help us answer Yali’s question. They Spanish and the Incas have distinct differences in the way their societies prospered as well as their way of everyday life. The Incas had a much larger population than the Spanish, but lacked a few technological advancements that the spanish had developed. Pizarro, leader of Spain, was able to conquer the Incas because of these advancements, along with a large military force. The Inca military consisted of men with little to no armor and they used wooden bats. The weak Inca Military was no match for the Spanish guns and artillery.. The Spanish also carried diseases such as measles and smallpox which wiped out the Inca population due to their lack of medical knowledge and medicine. In the end, although the Incas had a larger population, the Spanish were able to defeat them with their knowledge of military and technology.

Part 2: In Part 2 of the book, Diamond explains the the change in the various ways to obtain food,such as domesticating animals and plants. Some areas of the world that were less advanced than others still used the hunter/gathering method of acquiring food. Other advanced societies used domestication of food and animals to make their land more fertile as well as gaining a higher rate of food production. Domesticating animals and plants had its positives including being able to choose which plants or animals you’d like to plant in your region, however, often times farmer societies experienced malnutrition from their unvaried diets. Hunter and gatherers didn’t have control of what food they ate because it was all nurtured from the environment they live in. Sometimes, the gatherers could even come across a poisonous plant and doom their nomadic village. Contributing factors such as the environment, climate, and geographical limitations aided in domestication of plants and animals.

In Chapter 11, Jared Diamond explains the relationship between domesticated animals and its connection to the evolution of germs. Animals are the cause of why humans have diseases. When humans started to domesticate animals, many germs evolved into more formidable diseases. Hunter gatherers were less likely to have diseases because they dealt with a small population of select animals. Farmers who domesticated animals had a bigger problem with managing diseases because there were so many animals; and with more animals comes a higher chance for infection. however to prevent this from happening the human body develops an immunity to these diseases. Humans without these antibodies are susceptible to getting sick which is why foreigners bringing strange diseases into the new world had such a profound effect on the native population.

In Chapter 12, Diamond discusses the evolution and spread of writing throughout the world. Writing was crucial to a society for it to prosper so that they could write down records of animals and agricultural growth in an area. Later on in a more advanced society, writing served to record stories and to write down and depict laws. Over time, civilizations such as Mesopotamia, America, China and Egypt, created simple writing systems which changed over time into more complex, growing languages. Writing was spread through trade and cultural diffusion and aided ancient civilizations by...
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