Guns, Germs, and Steel – Jared Diamond
By: Kaitriona Phonhrath
Prologue: Yali’s Question:
1.) “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” pg. 14
2.) Diamond’s considerations:
Technological & Political differences of countries in AD 1500
Objections that could rise from the discussions
Previous answers such as blaming it on genetics or climate.
Part One: From Eden to Cajamarca
Chapter One: Up to the Starting Line:
3.) The “Great Leap Forward” was the human history that took off around 50,000 years ago. It first impacted East Africans and also in the Near East and in southeastern Europe, then, in southwestern Europe. This event most likely occurred due to human development and the need to build better improved shelter which is why they may came up with the invention of stone tools.
Chapter Two: A Natural Experiment of History:
4.) Diamond is trying to convey from the Moriori and Maori collision is how the different environments and climates will affect human societies. Both groups had diverged from a common origin less than a millennium earlier. The Moriori and Maori collision is a natural experiment that tests how environments affect human societies.
5.) The six environmental factors that were the differences among Polynesian societies were:
Island climate, geological type, marine resources, area, terrain fragmentation, and isolation. I believe that area plays the greatest role in differentiation because it can consist of gently rolling terrain presenting no obstacles to travel and communicate, like Easter and Tonga. The two islands are very isolated and the terrain makes it difficult for travelers.
Chapter Four: Farmer Power:
6.) The most dramatic moment in subsequent European-Native American relations was the first encounter between the Inca emperor Atahuallpa and the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. The collision factors that resulted in Pizarro seizing Atahuallpa, were the same ones that determined the outcome of many collisions between Native Americans and colonizers in the modern world.
7.) Atahuallpa came to Cajamarca after defeating the Inca’s in a civil war.
8.) Pizarro came to the Cajamarca by ships built to take him across the Atlantic Ocean. Atahuallpa didn’t conquer Spain because of lack of technology.
9.) Atahuallpa had very little information about the Spaniards, their military, and their intent. It never occurred to him that the Spaniards would attack without provocation. Atahuallpa would’ve been more suspicious, if only his society had experienced a broader range of human behavior. That gulf of experience encouraged Pizarro to set up his trap and Atahuallpa to walk into it.
Part Two: The Rise and Spread of Food Production
Chapter Four: Farmer Power:
10.) The resulting of food surpluses and the animal-based means of transporting those surpluses was a prerequisite to the development of technology.
11.) Domestication of livestock and farming changed societies by providing easier food transportation with big mammals by becoming the main means of land transport until the development of railroads. Not only were the large mammals used for transportation, but also interacted with domestic plants to increase food products by pulling plows. The resulting of food surpluses and animal transporting those surpluses were a prerequisite for the development of settled, political, socially and economically complex innovative societies. Hence, domestic plants and animals explain why empires, literacy, and steel weapons developed in Eurasia. The use of large mammals completes the list of links between food production and conquest. Chapter Five: History’s Haves and Have-nots
12.) All of the food production areas all have a moderate climate and are not too far from the coast line or some type of water source.
Chapter Six: To Farm or Not to Farm
13.) The five factors contributing to