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.
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.
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.
In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man's first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.
This book describes a natural unification of all humans and respect for all sentient life. The basis for unification is the recognition that all humans are equal members of the 200,000 year-old African (Source-Ken) family. With a consciousness change, World African can become the drivers of unification. World Africans are currently attached to the myth imposed by their enslavers and colonizers, the divisive Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). It requires self-hate, perhaps unconscious, to believe in a religion whose original Jewish interpretation of the Ham-Noah myth was that African people were cursed. The Abrahamic-Myths are built upon three principles: Law, Monotheism, and Specialness. Law and Monotheism are ancient African inventions. Specialness is a Jewish invention done while captive in Babylon. The transmutation proposed in this book is science-based: Africans were the first people and they even now have more genetic diversity than the rest of humanity. World Africans can believe that they are Preeminent in Nature. Science shows the African-hominin-ancestors co-created with Nature the human body including the vaunted brain. Courageously, World Africans can bring to consciousness the genetic-basis of their natural Specialness to overcome the 1,500 year legacy of slavery and stimulate equality, Equitocracy, for all people.
"Uncommonly good…makes a compelling case that…intellectual curiosity not only changed Europe, but launched modernity." —Cleveland Plain Dealer When Columbus first returned to Spain from the Caribbean, he dazzled King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella with exotic parrots, tropical flowers, and bits of gold. Inspired by the promise of riches, countless seafarers poured out of the Iberian Peninsula and wider Europe in search of spices, treasure, and land. Many returned with strange tales of the New World. Curiosity began to percolate through Europe as the New World’s people, animals, and plants ruptured prior assumptions about the biblical description of creation. The Church, long fearful of challenges to its authority, could no longer suppress the mantra “Dare to know!” Noblemen began collecting cabinets of curiosities; soon others went from collecting to examining natural objects with fresh eyes. Observation led to experiments; competing conclusions triggered debates. The foundations for the natural sciences were laid as questions became more multifaceted and answers became more complex. Carl Linneaus developed a classification system and sent students around the globe looking for specimens. Museums, botanical gardens, and philosophical societies turned their attention to nature. National governments undertook explorations of the Pacific. Eminent historian Joyce Appleby vividly recounts the explorers’ triumphs and mishaps, including Magellan’s violent death in the Philippines; the miserable trek of the "new Argonauts" across the Andes on their mission to determine the true shape of the earth; and how two brilliant scientists, Alexander Humboldt and Charles Darwin, traveled to the Americas for evidence to confirm their hypotheses about the earth and its inhabitants. Drawing on detailed eyewitness accounts, Appleby also tells of the turmoil created in the all societies touched by the explorations. This sweeping, global story imbues the Age of Discovery with fresh meaning, elegantly charting its stimulation of the natural sciences, which ultimately propelled Western Europe toward modernity.
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.
Encountering ETI weaves together scientific knowledge and spiritual faith in a cosmic context. It explores consequences of Contact between terrestrial intelligent life (TI) and extraterrestrial intelligent life (ETI). Humans will face cosmic displacement if there are other complex, technologically advanced intelligent beings in the universe; our economic structures and religious beliefs might need substantial revision. On Earth or in space, humans could encounter benevolent ETI (solicitous of our striving for maturity as a species) or malevolent ETI (seeking our land and goods to benefit themselves, claiming that their "superior civilization" gives them the right)--or meet both types of species. Earth Encounters of the Third Kind described by credible witnesses (including American Indian elders) suggest that both have arrived already: some shut down U.S. and U.S.S.R. ICBM missiles to promote peace; others mutilated cattle or abducted people, perhaps to acquire physiological data on biota for scientific study or for other, unknown purposes. Sci-fi movies such as Avatar and novels like The Martian Chronicles describe humans as malevolent ETI aliens: we do to others what we fear others will do to us. A shared and evolving spiritual materiality could enable humanity to overcome cosmic displacement, and guide TI and ETI in a common quest for meaning and wellbeing on cosmic common ground.