Guns, Germs, And Steel In America

I recently read The New York Times bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and found it a good read. Diamond points out that the reason that the 100 or so conquistadors defeated thousands of imperial guards at Cuzco, and not 100 Inca defeating thousands of imperial guards at Cajamarca, was simply because of guns, germs, and steel. Diamond does provide a somewhat new and interesting perspective but most of the facts I have read before and are available in any anthropology course book. I will let others review and critique Diamond’s point of view, here I am just going to quote a few known facts available in his book:

Sound evidence for the existence of human differences in intelligence that parallel human differences in technology is lacking. In fact, as I shall explain in a moment, moder ‘Stone Age’ peoples are on the average probably more intelligent, not less intelligent, than industrialized peoples.
— page 19

The sole Native American societies to develop writing arose in Mexico south of the Tropic of Cancer; the oldest New World pottery comes from near the equator in tropical South America; and the New World society generally considered the most advanced in art, astronomy, and other respects was the Classic Maya society of the tropical Yucatan and Guatemala in the first millennium A.D.
— page 22

However, it is uncertain when, between about 14,000 and 35,000 years ago, the Americas were first colonized. The oldest unquestioned human remains in the Americas are at sites in Alaska dated around 12,000 B.C., followed by a profusion of sties in the United States south of the Canadian border and in Mexico in the centuries just before 11,000 B.C.
— page 45

Through the Americas, diseases introduced with Europeans spread from tribe to tribe far in advance of the Europeans themselves, killing an estimated 95 percent of the pre-Columbian Native American population.
— page 78

One of the earliest cultivated plants in many parts of the Americas was grown for nonfood purposes: the bottle gourd, used as a container.
— page 90

For instance, 95 percent of the cotton grown in the world today belongs to cotton species Gossypium hirsutum, which was domesticated in prehistoric times in Mesoamerica.
— page 180

Within a short time, the Cherokees achieved almost 100 percent literacy in the syllabary, bought a printing press, had Sequoyah’s signs cast as type, and began printing books and newspapers.
— Page 229

Even in the countries with the largest surviving Native American populations, such as Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala, a glance at photographs of political and business leaders shows that they are disproportionately Europeans, while several Caribbean nations have black African leaders and Guyana has had Asian Indian leaders.
— Page 375

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