From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs. More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans. The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet. Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically. As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars. In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination. From the Hardcover edition.
1493 for Young People by Charles C. Mann tells the gripping story of globalization through travel, trade, colonization, and migration from its beginnings in the fifteenth century to the present. How did the lowly potato plant feed the poor across Europe and then cause the deaths of millions? How did the rubber plant enable industrialization? What is the connection between malaria, slavery, and the outcome of the American Revolution? How did the fabled silver mountain of sixteenth-century Bolivia fund economic development in the flood-prone plains of rural China and the wars of the Spanish Empire? Here is the story of how sometimes the greatest leaps also posed the greatest threats to human advancement. Mann's language is as plainspoken and clear as it is provocative, his research and erudition vast, his conclusions ones that will stimulate the critical thinking of young people. 1493 for Young People provides tools for wrestling with the most pressing issues of today, and will empower young people as they struggle with a changing world. From the Hardcover edition.
How Europe's Discovery of the Americas Revolutionized Trade, Ecology and Life on Earth
Author: Charles C. Mann
Publisher: Granta Books (UK)
This is an account of history's biggest ecological invasion, when Europe and the Americas collided for the first time in millennia. The book explores how many historians believe that this collision of ecosystems and cultures - the Columbian Exchange - was the most consequential event in human history since the Neolithic Revolution.
Italians became fascinated by the New World in the early modern period. While Atlantic World scholarship has traditionally tended to focus on the acts of conquest and the politics of colonialism, these essays consider the reception of ideas, images and goods from the Americas in the non-colonial state of Italy. Italians began to venerate images of the Peruvian Virgin of Copacabana, plant tomatoes, potatoes, and maize, and publish costume books showcasing the clothing of the kings and queens of Florida, revealing the powerful hold that the Americas had on the Italian imagination. By considering a variety of cases illuminating the presence of the Americas in Italy, this volume demonstrates how early modern Italian culture developed as much from multicultural contact - with Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and the Caribbean - as it did from the rediscovery of classical antiquity.
Die kulturwissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit Kulinarik vermag zur Erklärung kultureller Prozesse beizutragen. In Zentraleuropa, deren Gesellschaft durch Heterogenität und Differenz gekennzeichnet ist, durchbrechen Speisen staatliche, sprachliche und ethnische Trennlinien und erfahren durch unterschiedliche Zubereitung kontinuierlich Umdeutungen. Sie vereinen ganz unterschiedliche Menschen miteinander.
How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars
Author: Andrew Rader
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
From brilliant young polymath Andrew Rader—an MIT-credentialed scientist, popular podcast host, and SpaceX mission manager—an illuminating chronicle of exploration that spotlights humans’ insatiable desire to continually push into new and uncharted territory, from civilization’s earliest days to current planning for interstellar travel. For the first time in history, the human species has the technology to destroy itself. But having developed that power, humans are also able to leave Earth and voyage into the vastness of space. After millions of years of evolution, we’ve arrived at the point where we can settle other worlds and begin the process of becoming multi-planetary. How did we get here? What does the future hold for us? Divided into four accessible sections, Beyond the Known examines major periods of discovery and rediscovery, from Classical Times, when Phoenicians, Persians and Greeks ventured forth; to The Age of European Exploration, which saw colonies sprout on nearly continent; to The Era of Scientific Inquiry, when researchers developed brand new tools for mapping and traveling farther; to Our Spacefaring Future, which unveils plans currently underway for settling other planets and, eventually, traveling to the stars. A Mission Manager at SpaceX with a light, engaging voice, Andrew Rader is at the forefront of space exploration. As a gifted historian, Rader, who has won global acclaim for his stunning breadth of knowledge, is singularly positioned to reveal the story of human exploration that is also the story of scientific achievement. Told with an infectious zeal for traveling beyond the known, Beyond the Known illuminates how very human it is to emerge from the cave and walk toward an infinitely expanding horizon.
Taking a comprehensive, nuanced, and inclusive approach to Christopher Columbus, this illuminating biography with activities for young readers places him in the context of the explorations that came before, during, and after his lifetime. It portrays the “Admiral of the Ocean Seas” neither as hero nor heel, but as a flawed and complex man whose significance is undeniably monumental. Providing kids, parents, and teachers with a fuller picture of the seafaring life and the dangers and thrills of exploration, author Ronald Reis details all four of Columbus’s voyages to the New World, not just his first, and describes the year that Columbus spent stranded on the island of Jamaica without hope of rescue. A full chapter is devoted to painting a more complete and complex portrait of the indigenous peoples of the New World and another to the consequences of Columbus’s voyages—the exchange of diseases, ideas, crops, and populations between the New World and the Old. Engaging cross-curricular activities, such as taking nautical measurements, simulating a hurricane, making an ancient globe, and conducting silent trade, elucidate nautical concepts introduced and the times in which Columbus lived.
Two Groundbreaking Scientists and Their Conflicting Visions of the Future of Our Planet
Author: Charles C. Mann
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Two Groundbreaking Scientists and Their Conflicting Visions of the Future of Our Planet 'Does the earth’s finite carrying capacity mean economic growth has to stop? That momentous question is the subject of Charles Mann’s brilliant book.' Wall Street Journal In forty years, the population of the Earth will reach ten billion. Can our world support so many people? What kind of world will it be? In this unique, original and important book, Charles C. Mann illuminates the four great challenges we face – food, water, energy, climate change – through an exploration of the crucial work and wide-ranging influence of two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt. Vogt (the Prophet) was the intellectual forefather of the environmental movement, and believed that in our using more than the planet has to give, our prosperity will bring us to ruin. Borlaug’s research in the 1950s led to the development of modern high-yield crops that have saved millions from starvation. The Wizard of Mann’s title, he believed that science will continue to rise to the challenges we face. Mann tells the stories of these scientists and their crucial influence on today’s debates as his story ranges from Mexico to India, across continents and oceans and from the past and the present to the future. Brilliantly original in concept, wryly observant and deeply researched, The Wizard and the Prophet is essential reading for readers of Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens or Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, for anyone interested in how we got here and in the future of our species.
Up until very recently it was believed that in 1491, the year before Columbus landed, the Americas, one-third of the earth's surface, were a near-pristine wilderness inhabited by small, roaming bands of indigenous peoples. Then, the story went, they encountered European society, their world was turned upside down and they entered history. But recently unexpected discoveries have dramatically changed our understanding of Indian Life. Many scholars now argue that the Indians were much more numerous than previously believed, that they were in the Americas for far longer, and that they had far more ecological impact on the land. This knowledge has enormous implications for today's environmental disputes, yet little has filtered into textbooks, and even less into public awareness. Charles Mann brings together all of the latest research, and the results of his own travels throughout North and South America, to provide a new, fascinating and iconoclastic account of the Americas before Columbus.