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Gun Germs Steels Papers

By nojtsistag Feb 17, 2015 1091 Words


Guns, Germs, and Steel
Instructor: Judith L. Tucker, M.S
Class: Crim 174

In this video, Guns, germs, and steel are a fascinating perspective taken by Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA, Jared Diamond. His purpose was to explain why Eurasian civilizations have had such immense success conquering people and land other than their own. Why Europeans were the ones to conquer the world? As Diamond states that questions asked based on guns, germs, and steel are the biggest, most fascinating questions of human history. Guns, germs, and steel are the biggest, most fascinating questions of human history. He has developed a theory about what has caused these huge discrepancies among different countries, and he says it boils down to geographic luck. When Yali, a New Guinean posed the question of why white men have so much cargo and New Guineans like him have so little, Diamond was thrown off balance on how to answer it. Cargo was regarded by many as the white man’s power. Western colonials believed power was determined by race. They felt they were superior to the native population and that it was natural for them to have so much cargo and the New Guineans so little. Diamond makes the argument that race is an absurd explanation, because he knew too many smart New Guineans that possessed skillful methods. They could survive in some of the most difficult environments on earth empty handed and still survive. Essentially, it had much to do with one’s geographic surroundings, and what that group was exposed to. Hunter gatherers traveled in small mobile groups. They made shelters where they could find animals to hunt or plants to gather. They lived in shelters for weeks or months at a time as long as they had food for themselves. Once the season changed and animals migrated, they moved on to the next valley looking for new sources of food. In parts of New Guinea, wild sago is an important food source. Women would strip the sago trees to get to the pulp in the center, which was then turned into dough and cooked. According to Diamond, livestock also plays a significant role in a civilization’s ability to become rich and powerful. The domestication of animals helps people to prosper and survive. It provided a dependable meat supply, milk which provided an ongoing source of protein. The animal’s hair and skin was used to make clothes for extra warmth as well. At the time that the Spanish conquistadors invaded the Inca Empire, they were armed with state of the art weaponry. Describe this weaponry. The production of steel was the most important for of weapons the conquistadors made. Steel was made in to swords that were strong, long, and sharp used for stabbing and slashing the enemy. One steel sword could kill dozens of people in a short amount of time. It took conquistadors centuries of trial and error to get the ideal sword. Also horses helped them move faster, seem bigger because they were very high on the horse, and in control. Along with steel swords, conquistadors were armed, and used gun powder. Diamond makes the argument that the Spanish had advanced to steel swords while the Incas were still making tools and weapons from bronze. The reason for this was because libraries contained books in which generals wrote their accounts on what they did to other generals, exposing their dirty tricks. Pissarro gained knowledge on what to do to the Incas. The Incas did not have writing advances and because of this, they only had local knowledge. They were unsophisticated and naïve compared to the Spaniards. The Spaniards enjoyed the benefits of technology and ideas that easily spread across Eurasia. The Spanish conquistadors’ battle tactics helped them defeat the Inca army because they performed surprise attacks on their rivals. They hid themselves from the Inca army and attacked while the Incas were completely unprepared. The Incas had never seen Spanish horses before and these horses allowed the Spaniards to make vicious attacks that the Incas were not expecting. Europeans were accidental conquerors in history because their geographic location in history made them the first people to acquire guns, germs, and steal. European powers had colonized Africa, Australia, and much of Asia. (Diamond, 2013) According to Diamond, there is one factor that allowed Europeans to develop the forces necessary to conquer vast portions of the world. He believed that germs were the most invisible and even more devastating agent of conquest, a great force in human history. Domesticated animals gave Europeans one advantage of which they were unaware of. They lived in close proximity to their livestock so they became infected with viruses and germs of those animals which evolved into diseases of humans. Europeans developed resistance to those diseases, through exposure over centuries. As they spread around the world, other peoples did not have the same resistance so they became victims of devastating outbreaks of infection. Millions died especially from smallpox. The Europeans were so successful in settling into South Africa because the invention of guns, which were foreign to the Cape natives. They were also successful because their adaptability. Two diseases that harassed European settlers in Africa were smallpox and malaria. African populations naturally obtained antibodies against malaria due to exposure with domesticated oxen. Immunity to malaria was available through vaccination and in some cases, location influenced immunity. Mosquitoes containing malaria lived in moist and humid areas so, Africans naturally settled in dryer and mountain high areas to obtain generally immunity through isolation. Fatal and devastating viruses like aids and malaria harm the population of Zambia. Malaria has been mainly affected children under the age of five, which again endangers possible survival. Malaria has been reducing the population of Zambia at least by 1% every year. This disease is common among babies and sometimes overbears seven babies per day depending on the season. Malaria had known as malaria is very scary in the sense that it is able to adapt like humans and become more fatal thus, more complex to preclude. Nations like Malaysia and Singapore , they have developed rich economies despite having many of the same geographical and health problems faced by African nation by understanding how geography and history affected them and changing their economies and way of life. (Diamond, 2013) Reference

Jared Diamond, (July 23, 2013). Guns germs and steel [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i885hopsw6E Jared Diamond, (July 23, 2013). Guns germs and steel [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ9espgY-Po

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