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Yali's Question: Why do white men have so much cargo, and New Guineans so little? by Mind Map: Yali
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Yali's Question: Why do white men have so much cargo, and New Guineans so little?



Wheat and barley in the Middle East

Able to sustain much larger populations

Led to the development of large civilizations

Food surplus allows for specialists, Specialists able to develop technology, Steel, Guns

Stalks of cereal grains can be used to feed livestock


Steady source of meat

Draft animals eased farming, Most powerful machines before the Industrial Revolution, Made for more productive farming

Living in close proximity with animals allows epidemic viruses native to those animals to evolve strains infectious to humans, Smallpox, Europeans resistant to these diseases, but spread them to other people who succumbed easily, Germs

Animal husbandry 9000 years old

Waste can be used to fertilize crops


Eurasia's East-West distribution allows for the easy spread of crops and livestock, Areas with similar latitude often have similar climates and identical day lengths, Where crops and people are easily spread, so are ideas and technology

Most desirable crops native to Eurasia, High in protein, Easily cultivated

Almost all large domesticable livestock native to Eurasia, Pigs, Goats, Sheep, Arabian Camels, Bactrian Camels, Horses, Many military uses, Calves, Donkeys, Water Buffalo, Reindeer, Yaks, Bali Cattle, Only llamas native elsewhere

Wheat, barley and most important livestock native to one particular area of the Middle East: the Fertile Crescent

Humanity in Pre-History


Some New Guineans have the same lifestyle

Small, nomadic groups

Mostly relied on gathering plants, supplimented by hunting animals

Would go wherever the food was

Not easy to sustain a population

First known village around 11,500 years old

First granary

Permanent settlement

Dwellings treated like homes

Unable to be sustained by hunting and gathering

Civilization grew up in the Middle East; the Fertile Crescent

Later forced to move into Europe due to environmental factors

Ironically not well-suited to intensive agriculture

The Spanish Conquest of the Inca Empire

November 1532

Pizarro and his men capture Atahuallpa and massacre his troops

Atahuallpa learns Spanish in captivity

Is promised his freedom in return for gold and silver

20 tons of gold and silver given to Pizarro

Killed when no longer useful


Men on horseback terrifying, Thought to be gods, Llamas never ridden, Spanish horseriding particularly unnerving

Higher ground - clear tactical advantage

Technological Superiority

Swords, Very difficult to perfect, Specialized labor required, Steel made from iron and carbon, Many variations, Pizarro's men had rapiers - useful for horseback combat

Guns, Not very accurate, Absolutely terrifying, Sound like thunder cracking, Again evocative of godhood

Tactical mistakes by Atahuallpa

No weapons


The written word

Allowed for the transmission of knowledge beyond storytelling

Pizarro had likely read works about Cortez' conquest of the Mayan people

Atahuallpa had never seen a book, Disregard of the Bible a grievous insult to the Spanish

Incas never developed own writing system, Mayans had invented writing, North-South axis of the Americas not conducive to spread of people, ideas


A single man infected with smallpox caused an epidemic in S. America

Evolved from a virus in livestock

Close proximity to livestock both created the virus and gave Europeans some resistance to it


Never colonized quite like North and South America and Australia

Southern tip of Africa - same latitude as Europe

Crops and livestock imported with ease

Dutch voortrekkers pushed North after conquering Khoisan people with ease

Zulu kingdom sneak attacks voortrekkers

The Battle of Blood River

Guns used to maximum effect

3500 Zulus killed with just 3 injured voortrekkers

Revenge for sneak attack

After crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, livestock and crops start dying

European crops not suited to tropical climate

Only 2 seasons

Tropical Africa much harder to colonize

Superior tech used to subjugate eventually


Infected the colonists who lived in close proximity to mosquito breeding grounds

African tribes lived in small groups in high, dry areas to limit infection and spreading

Africa Today

Tropical Africa poorest region in the world

Average lifespan 35 years

Malaria number one killer of children, Lost productivity, Many Africans live in crowded cities, Believed to be main cause of African poverty, Concentrated effort needed to eliminate malaria