Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author: Jared Diamond
- Publish Date: March 7, 2017
- Language: English
- Genre: Human Geography
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 1.59 MB
- Pages: 528
- Price: Free
YALI’S QUESTION W E ALL KNOW THAT HISTORY HAS
PROCEEDED VERY DIFferently for peoples from different parts of the globe.
In the 13,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age, some parts of the world
developed literate industrial societies with metal tools, other parts devel- oped
only nonliterate farming societies, and still others retained societies of huntergatherers with stone tools. Those historical inequalities have cast long shadows
on the modern world, because the literate societies with metal tools have
conquered or exterminated the other societies. While those differences constitute
the most basic fact of world history, the rea- sons for them remain uncertain and
controversial. This puzzling question of their origins was posed to me 25 years
ago in a simple, personal form.
In July 1972 I was walking along a beach on the tropical island of New
Guinea, where as a biologist I study bird evolution. I had already heard about a
remarkable local politician named Yali, who was touring the dis- trict then. By
chance, Yali and I were walking in the same direction on that day, and he
overtook me. We walked together for an hour, talking during the whole time.
Yali radiated charisma and energy. His eyes flashed in a mesmerizing way.
He talked confidently about himself, but he also asked lots of probing questions
and listened intently. Our conversation began with a subject then on every New
Guinean’s mindthe rapid pace of political developments.
Papua New Guinea, as
Yali’s nation is now called, was at that time still administered by Australia as a
mandate of the United Nations, but inde- pendence was in the air. Yali explained
to me his role in getting local peo- ple to prepare for self-government.
After a while, Yali turned the conversation and began to quiz me. He had
never been outside New Guinea and had not been educated beyond high school,
but his curiosity was insatiable. First, he wanted to know about my work on New
Guinea birds (including how much I got paid for it). I explained to him how
different groups of birds had colonized New Guinea over the course of millions
of years. He then asked how the ances- tors of his own people had reached New
Guinea over the last tens of thou- sands of years, and how white Europeans had
colonized New Guinea within the last 200 years.
The conversation remained friendly, even though the tension between the
two societies that Yali and I represented was familiar to both of us. Two
centuries ago, all New Guineans were still “living in the Stone Age.” That is,
they still used stone tools similar to those superseded in Europe by metal tools
thousands of years ago, and they dwelt in villages not orga- nized under any
centralized political authority.
Whites had arrived, imposed centralized
government, and brought material goods whose value New Guineans instantly
recognized, ranging from steel axes, matches, and medicines to clothing, soft
drinks, and umbrellas. In New Guinea all these goods were referred to
collectively as “cargo.”
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