Guns, Germs, and Steel

Topics: Culture, Polynesia, Europe Pages: 2 (545 words) Published: June 12, 2006
Jared Diamond's novel, Guns, Germs, and Steel is a speculation about how and why the Europeans ended up being the main power in earlier times and conquered so much of the world. Diamond wonders how the Europeans could have so much power and advanced technology while the rest of the world was still hunting and gathering. Although Diamond is not the first to speculate on this complicated subject, his answer is revolutionary. People have attributed Europe's overwhelming success in the areas of economics and politics to things such as racial features, and biological differences. Diamond, however, suggests that the "superiority" of Europeans was simply due to their environment. He attributes their success to a lucky chance and ecological differences of the continents.

First, Diamond gives a brief summary and update of the pre-history of the world, dating back to 11,000 B.C.E. This helped in seeing exactly how diverse some cultures were in their development. Diamond uses Polynesia as a small scale example of what happened in the world. He lives their for quite some time and studies the people and their cultures in great detail. He used this because the Polynesians all came from the same cultural and ethnic background, so if his thesis proved to be true, it would also prove the others wrong. He believed that the diversity of the world in politics and economics had nothing to do with race, but rather with environmental differences. A long time ago, the Polynesian people were split into completely different environments, ranging from rocky, volcanic areas, to arid grasslands depending on the island. As Diamond predicted, some islands, even now, were inhabited by hunter-gatherer societies, while others were developed into civilized states and empires.

When looking for means of contact between these societies, Diamond found none except when Pizarro and Atahuallpa met and fought in 1532 A.D. Despite the overwhelming size of the Incan...
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