Guns, Germs, and Steel

– a student essay by Matthew Dodd

In this book Jared Diamond explains how people evolved at the rate that we did, and how different places in the world evolved at different times than one another. Most people wonder why Europe was the first continent that not only powered over the whole world but also had advance technology compared to most of the world. To most religious people they would assume that god created Europe that way. But Jared Diamond’s answer is so simple most people over looked it thinking it could not be the reason. What do people do when they have a lot of free time on their hands? They tend to create things and try to make life easier for themselves.

Back when most people where hunter and gatherers there was very little free time to be had because most of the village/tribe was spending all of their time trying to find food, in order to survive. The one thing that the Europeans had over the rest of the world is the geography of their location. The reason is not because the people are superior but because they where able to domesticate wheat. This also led to the domestication of sheep, goat and cows. This may seem like nothing to most people today because that is normal to today, but to the people of that time it meant a steady food source. Because of the steady food source life spans became longer and the people of Europe where able to support more people than was needed in order to produce food. This free time allowed people to invent, and create technology as we know it today.

At the same time across the world other people where not as fortunate enough to have found a crop like wheat that was easy to grow and reliable, so they kept on being hunter gatherers, out of no choice of their own. Other areas developed also for example, China and Japan. But Europe was the only region who went out and made colonies around the world.

Granted they did have to fight some people but for the most part their success was due to their superior technology, guns, and the fact that from being around animals for so long they had become immune to diseases, germs, that they had mostly forgot or did not think about. As Europeans went through new places they spread small pox to all of the people they conquered making the people of the new land even weaker and easier to conquer. The only continent that the Europeans had trouble with was Africa, because Africa was a host to a disease that the Europeans had never been introduced to before and that is Malaria. As the Europeans moved farther north into Africa they just could not seem to stay alive for very long because of Malaria. But why would the Europeans try to go out and conquer these knew places. Was it for power? Was it for more resources? Or was it and opportunity to make money by selling and trading new items? These are things not discussed in his book but I feel they are fascinating questions.

Jared Diamond took all known knowledge and pieced it together to come up with a completely original idea on how the world came to be what it is today. He did some thing that no one has ever done before when creating this book is that he thought out side the box, and by doing so he put his knowledge to work for himself in order to be able to create this book (and accompanying PBS documentary) that makes perfect sense to why people and the world are the way that we are today.

For More information on Jared Diamond and Guns, Germs, and Steel visit
http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/

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