Diamond's Geography Exam: Questions And Answers On The European Economy

Submitted By Ming-Ren
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Economics 4130
AU12 Midterm 2 Review

The exam will have 10, 10-point questions on it from the questions below.

1. The evolution of economic organization from hunter-gatherer to settled agriculture to more complex civilizations proceeded at vastly different paces in different parts of the world. A) Explain why the pace of development on the Eurasian landmass was so much more rapid than in Africa and the Americas. (I’ll ask for specifics on what she’s looking for here) B) Describe and explain Australian development before European settlement.
Diamond’s Geography Lesson; figure 1
A. The Role of Geography
Agriculture began in the Fertile Crescent and exploded into North Africa and Eastern Europe
All of the beasts of burden came from Fertile Crescent … none are central to Europe.
But this power allowed them to produce more food and expand their population
China ­– not expected to write all of the details on this part
Cradle of Civilization in the Yantze River Basin about 5000 BC, cultivation of millet, using slash and burn techniques, semi-nomadic.
By 4000 B.C., rice cultivation took over, using intensive irrigation systems, led to settlement.
Large extensive growth and the rise of governments and military.
Very creative period during the period of Warring States (475-225 B.C.)
Chinese advancements: paper, money (many cycles of inflation and monetary collapse before West discovered paper money), silk cloth, abacus, magnetic compass, iron tools and plows
North African and Egyptian history intertwined with Mediterranean Empires.
Hunter-gather populations persisted in most of sub-Saharan Africa.
The Bantu people in tropical West African were settled agriculturists.
The Bantu populations grew, and they spread out and drove out the Khoisan tribes. These tribes had not established agriculture, and domesticated animals had just filtered down slowly via Egypt.
Diffusion of agriculture was slow due to the North-South Axis.
Agriculture had not reached South Africa when it was colonized by Europeans.
Colonization kept in check by insect-born diseases.
The Americas
Primarily Hunter-Gathers in North and South America.
In the fertile soil of Central America, settled agriculture developed and urbanization followed.
The Mayan Populations were highly urbanized, developed writing and a calendar.
Highly developed cultures also in Mexican highlands.
Some limited agriculture in eastern Woodlands and Southwestern U.S. (Pueblos).
Metallurgy present where ore was easily extracted.
Diamond’s theory: “rate of human invention is faster, and cultural loss slower, in areas occupied by many competing societies with many individuals and in contact with societies elsewhere.”
B. Australia
Much longer persistence of hunter gatherer societies.
Native Australia had no farmers or herders, no writing, no metal tools and no governments other than tribes when visited by Europeans in the 17th Century.
By contrast New Guinea had bows and arrows, agriculture, pigs, chickens, and pottery via Indonesia.
Tasmania was even more primitive, no fire starting technology, no bone tools, no specialized stone tools, no sewing, nets, traps, or ropes, very poor watercraft and did not even fish!
Even smaller societies on even smaller island died out.

2. Explain how each of the following contributed to the Conquistador’s success in the New World: the invention of the printing press, domestication of animals, and their ancestors’ experience in the Crusades. (GG&S parts 7-12 on Youtube) – 2-3 sentences on each part

Horses are so important because they can be ridden
Spaniards had horses; Inca only had llamas 
Horses had been used by Spaniards for more than 4000 yrs by the time and had a very technical and advanced ability to control and ride their horses
Another large technology was the printing press
Pesaro had the advantage of Cortez’s experience and successful battle with the Aztecs.
He used Cortez’s model of attack, which was documented in a