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Word Count: 522
Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond has a clear focus seeking and convincingly providing the answer to the question why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents In other words why did Columbus discover America and Pizarro conquer the Incas rather than the Inca discovering and conquering Europe Why did Europe colonize Africa instead of vice versa And he isnt satisfied with simply considering the immediate causes -- Guns Germs and Steel -- but rather pushes back in time 13000 years trying to determine why it was that Europe and not the Incas that had the guns germs and steel His approach is scientific with a bend towards Darwinian biological explanations He is not interested in the technicalities of historical accident but rather the broad sweep of history And his inquiry into this one question leads to one fascinating insight after another Geography in particular islands like Madagascar and New Guinea plays a very important role in Guns Germs and Steel as well Their geographic position provided many substantial affects such as useful geographic position wealth and important satellite colonies The extensive East-West orientation of the Eurasian landmass as opposed to the North-South orientation of Africa and the America proves to be the crucial determining factor in the fate of man By the time he has laid out all the evidence and his conclusions which before would never have occurred to you seem patently obvious That demographic shift of the last 500 years from Europe to the Americas has its ultimate roots in developments between 11000 BC and AD 1 p 375 In short Europes colonization of Africa had nothing to do with differences between European and African peoples themselves as white racists assume Rather it was due to accidents of geography and biogeography -- in particular to the continents different areas axes and suites of wild plant and animal species That is the different historical trajectories
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