Themes in US & World History
Task 1: Geography and the Development/Diffusion of Human Societies
Opening Statement: The Mesopotamian area was an early civilization near river sources that was central to the first developed societies. Because the land sits outside of the Tigris and Euphrates River, this geographical position allowed for richer soil ideal for agriculture. Rich soil supported crops such as barley, wheat, beans, olives and grapes (Hollar, S. (Ed.). (2011). The rivers also provided a clay-like substance that was used for reeds that were plastered with clay. As people adapted to these rivers by creating dams and irrigations, this in turn helped to develop the Mesopotamian civilization (Hollar, S. (Ed.). (2011).
Argument: The Mesopotamian area brought growth and development because it was so close to a natural water source. Embedded with this natural resource, the Mesopotamia area was richly saturated by two main rivers, the Euphrates River, which received most of its water form winter rains and snowfall, attributes to this channel (Hollar, S. (Ed.). (2011). and the Tigris River. Both rivers flow from the Northern area of the Mesopotamia. Today this area is known as modern Iraq, parts of Syria, Turkey and Iran (A Museum of Natrual Histroy).
This water source made the land fertile for agriculture and grazing for animals, which led to an increase in population. The water that supplied the people and animals of this society equates to sustenance of life. This would create a rich productive population that would eventually continue to increase and with the increase in population, the increase in demands created unique skills such as metalworking, pottery and trade. Yet, the most significant geographic and environmental factor in this area was the rivers (water) that were basic to people, animals and crops (Orin, 2010).
Evidence: The Assyrians and the Chaldeans were social, political, and economic people. They shaped the Mesopotamia by adding bits of their own culture which indicated movement and exchange. It was the water that provided the Mesopotamia the novelty to grow and expand. This is evidenced by the technology of irrigation, which was a key feature in the development of the society. (Keita, (2010). Mesopotamians had to learn to adapt to these rivers, however, and invent technology like irrigation and dams to help them control the flow of the water. (Soomo. (2013). Mesopotamia).
The proof that the society focused on the water was evident by the irrigation system they used. The two rivers run down into one large river source, which posed to be a sanction and a problem. This can also be seen with the Blue Nile and the White Nile alike, run together into one river becoming rapid and rough (Orlin, 2010). The irrigation process consisted of draining marshes, digging canals, dikes and ditches (Hollar, S. (Ed.). (2011).Part B
Diffusion of Pepper
Origin: Pepper was first documented, but not discovered, by Christopher Columbus as he made his way to Espanola around 1492. Pepper made its way from its origin in South America into the rest of the Americas and then out into the world as global trade exploded in the 15th and 16th centuries (Andrews, J. (1999).
Transmission: The diffusion of chili was due to movement in global trade between 1492-1542. It was originally thought that Christopher Columbus discovered pepper and brought it to America. However, further studies show that for more than fifty years before Christopher Columbus made his first voyage, Portugal had been sailing to West Africa where they had established trading posts. The Portuguese found that pepper grew in abundance in South America and was a staple in most of their cuisines (Andrews, (1999).
Replication: The social practice that caused the replication for pepper was not only used to enhance flavor but to cover the odor of spoiled foods which was common in the primitive time of agriculture and food handling (Andrews,…