World History Report - Factors that Caused Differences Amongst Societies

Essay by ummuCollege, Undergraduate December 2009

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Jared Diamond summarizes the factors of differing societies in history in the following sentence, "History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves." 1 Those that benefitted from their environments developed the agriculture to increase population, political organization and eventually to the development of guns, germs, steel and a writing culture which enabled them to conquer the others. These were the key factors that played a vital role throughout the course of history in shaping the fates of societies.

Diamond further explains how the Maori society grew to become more advanced while the Moriori lacked in these factors, though from the same origin, due to environmental factors. Eventually, this led the Maori society to conquer the Moriori people. Diamond explained that those differences in environmental variables between their settlements were"…island climate, geological type, marine resources, area, terrain fragmentation and isolation."

amongst other cultural and social factors. 2Also, he mentions in his book that a vital prerequisite factor to the development of guns, germs and steel was food production and animal domestication. Hence, geographical variations of whether or when the people of different continents became farmers and herders explains to a large degree their fates. The availability of more consumable calories from agriculture meant a larger population. This is why empires, steel weapons and literacy developed first in Eurasia and later on other continents. 3Additionally, Diamond further explains an example of how the advantage of political organization, maritime technology, guns, various other steel military weapons, and domesticated horses helped the Spaniards in their conquests of Cajamarca and their expansion to other regions. 4 Though much small in number than the Indians, these factors contributed to their success in overtaking them.

Also, the Spaniards, through domesticating animals became immune...