Geographic Luck

Topics: Agriculture, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, United States Pages: 3 (862 words) Published: October 27, 2010
Geographic Luck

Why is it that Europeans ended up conquering so much of the world? According to UCLA biologist Jared Diamond, some countries grew faster than others because of geographic luck. It sounds like a simple theory, but there is a lot more to it. The lucky countries, like Spain, were lucky enough to have natural resources, indigenous plants, and animals that could be domesticated. With all of this at their fingertips, they were able to stop hunting and gathering and start farming. Farming didn’t require as much people as hunting and gathering; so people who were not out farming started developing new technologies. These people, also known as specialists, created the path for guns and steel to be created. These two weapons combined help the Spanish Conquistadors to take over most of the Americas.

The way the continents were spread out helped some countries, but isolated others. Europe and Asia, or Eurasia, was spread out from east to west and it helped people spread crops, animals, ideas, and technologies because these areas were of the similar latitude. The Americas were spread out in a north to south direction and required harsh travel that no one really bothered doing. The Fertile Crescent was in the perfect location. The geographic luck brought wild crops and wild animals to this location. The humans that lived there used this to their advantage by altering the cycle of crops and domesticating animals for their needs. To change the cycle of crops, humans had to get the best seeds and plant them on their land. They used the domesticated animals for many things including their meat, milk, fur, and their power. An animal’s power can plow a field much faster and only requires about two people to help the animal. With fields producing more agricultural products, some people started leaving the fields behind, and started developing new skills. The earliest evidence for this is found at the Fertile Crescent. These people started building larger and...
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