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Guns, Germs and Steel

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Guns, Germs and Steel

Prologue

The author Jared Diamond discusses the racial theories that underlie the historical events that shaped the world. Yali asked about the author’s work, his ancestry and how the Europeans colonized New Guinea. The politician needed to know what events had taken place to make New Guinea part of the European colony.

Yali would have asked the author about the history of New Guinea instead of directly challenging Mr. Diamond to tell him about the past events. Most people would object to discussing the question on colonialism because it involves racial and economic topics that pit two societies against each other. When asked about the colonialism issue by a political figure such as Yali, most people would give very concrete answers. The European colonialists brought about their own form of administration that was oppressive and unfair to the citizens of New Guinea. Diamond sees the European colonialism as an opportunity by the European community to exploit the rest of the continents for financial gain.

Chapter 1

The Great Leap Forward refers to the period when human history began to shape itself, estimated to be around 50,000 years ago. The first signs of the Great Leap could be sited in East Africa where stone tools and jewellery, which were later cited in the Near East in Europe, were discovered. After these discoveries, the findings in most archaeological sites became more interesting. When human beings colonized the islands, Australia and New Guinea, various changes occurred on the territories. First, the disappearance of all the indigenous plant and animal species such as the marsupial leopard, the giant kangaroos and flightless ostrich like birds. If one were to predict the most prosperous continent, it would be Europe. This is because they were the most aggressive and competitive of the lot.

Chapter 2

The natural experiment of history refers to the comparative studies that have been drawn from economics, history, political science and archeology. The natural experiment analyzes different societies where the experimenter is not sure of what they are doing. The purpose of the natural experiment was to determine whether these factors were responsible for the economic and social changes within Europe.

Chapter 3

The encounter between Pizarro and Atahualpa was far from cordial as the two parties fought for the control of the larger Europe. Pizarro captured Atahualpa in order to request a large ransom from the New World. After gaining the ransom, Pizarro changed his mind and instead executed Atahualpa. Pizarro had learnt of the plan by Atahualpa to ambush him and made a counter-ambush.

Chapter 4

Proximate factors refer to factors that are close to the situation being discussed. In this case, the capture of Atahualpa by Pizarro illustrated the ability of Europe to colonize the New World. Atahualpa was not aware of the physical, technical and financial preparedness of the Spaniards and could therefore, not conquer them.

Chapter 5

The production of food on a large scale that started in the last 11,000 years resulted in the increased health, nutrition and life expectancy that increased the population of human beings. When people started developing new ways of keeping livestock and growing plants, they adopted a more sedentary lifestyle and focused on building bigger families.

Chapter 6

Europe and Asia had the earliest signs of food production. In parts of Eastern Europe, Vietnam and China, populations started growing founder crops such as rice, maize (corn) and wheat. The latest regions to adopt agricultural practices are in Africa and parts of South America. Diamond makes a misconception in assuming that food production originated in Europe only. He also assumed that the nomads and sedentary food producers were sharply divided.

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