Tje Subject of "Big History" Essay

Submitted By SamanthaBuscemi
Words: 853
Pages: 4

What I learned this Semester about Big History

Throughout my research, I can define “Big History” as studying history throughout large scales of time. It is focused on the non-human world and on major adaptations and alterations in the human experience. It is studied across the cosmos, earth, life and humanity. Big History is related to, but distinct from world history and can sometimes be called “universal history”. For example, the history of human life is only a small fraction of the history of the earth, and the history of Earth is only a small fraction of history of the universe. By combining different disciplines and many spans of time, we can conclude and paint a picture of why our history holds the stories it does. There are multitudes of disciplines that Big History can draw from. Just to name a few, biology, astronomy, geology, climatology, prehistory, archeology, anthropology, and economics are all apart of Big History. In the Wikipedia article about Big History, it is stated the big history arose from a desire to go beyond specialized and self-contained fields that emerged in the twentieth century and grasp History as a whole. The creators and contributors of big history look for common themes in these disciplines across multiple time scales in history. Every one of these disciplines has played a key and crucial role in the story of us and each are sought to help continue painting the “bigger picture”. Guns, Germs and Steel was by far my favorite resource for the reaserch on this paper. It holds entirely all the prime key examples of how Eurasia had its advantages, thus leading to its success and power over other civilizations. The first steps towards building a successful civilization were the steps taken away from a hunter-gatherer. Agriculture became a major foundation in history, it allows civilization to develop and sustain larger numbers of people. Although civilizations had as developed agriculture, it was what the Eurasians had at their disposal for domestication that helped them so greatly. Goats, sheep, and cattle provided meat, leather, glue and wool. It was because of these resources that trade had developed and opened the pathways for craftsmanship, which also fueled trade and economics. Eurasia also has the advantage of having almost a single climate throughout the continent. Europe, Asia and the Middle East were able to influence each other through interaction by trade. I will use Africa as my example of a disadvantaged society. Not to name its many cultures particularly disadvantaged, but to point out the reasons why it had not flourished with as much success as Eurasia had. The sub-Saharan Africans had mostly untamable animals. Thought African elephants could be tamed, they did not breed well in captivity. They also had benign animals such as pigs and chickens. Africa was also fragmented by having many climates throughout the continent so many cultures did not merge, as they did not have much in common with each other. Each way of life depended on its geographical placement because the plants and animals that were available to one society were not useful to another. On this large landmass, plants and animals could not survive the whole continent, thus dividing the societies even more. Geological history laid the foundation for this reason, which makes it a…