Big History• This field has an extremely broad field of study, spanning from the beginning of time to present day.• This area of study is different because it covers both the history of the non- human world and the changes that have forced the human race to adapt to the world as well, looking for common threads between different time scales and theories.• This area of study was considered to be developed during the Cold War era, and therefore is a fairly recent field.• A few publications about Big History are The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang until Today, and Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History.
The (Big) History of Coffee• “What Big History does is it could start with something as small as how did the coffee get into my cup, then it moves me around the globe, around time and space in multiple ways.” - Bob Bain• This video shows how everything in the world and history can be connected in some way, shape or form.• The chain of how coffee affected history is a prime example: Coffee beans were found in Ethiopia, then the Dutch East India Company smuggled them out of Ethiopia and planted them elsewhere. Then coffee became a large business, however it was biter so they needed sugar. This then helped the sugar trade prosper, which in turn played into the slave trade because slaves were used as labor in the sugar industry.
The Day the Universe Changed• “What you think the universe is, and how you react to that depends on what you and when that knowledge changes the universe changes”• The connection between everything is traceable, for example, a new style of painting discovered in 1420 we found a new style of painting, which helped changed navigation, and later led to the navigation of other planets.• “We are what we know” is a concept threaded throughout this video. The way we act in this world is based upon an unspoken agreement between us all in the way the world works, and the way we act. If someone came to Earth from another planet they would view this as a type of language between us all.• The mapping of the sky is such a complex process today, however, back in the 15th century grid lines, and Greek methods were used and developed through times. We as a race hold onto things that work for us and institutionalize it so that as we change the concept will not.
Continued… • Certain societies, unlike our own, do not constantly develop. The Buddhist society does not see a need for change, therefore, does not go out and look for change. Their ideals are set in concrete. The phrase they are what they know applies here, but since what they know doesn’t change, they don’t. • The public transportation system is another example of Big History. It changed the work forces because of the ease of travel, and has evolved consistently throughout the centuries. • In western civilization, if we are what we know, then what we are in the modern west is unsure of how long it will be until what we know is out of date. Our civilization proves that the only constant in life is change. • The world is a place where we ask questions, to find answers, that in turn cause us to ask even more questions.
The Journey of Man• A single drop of blood carries with it the journey of our species. Our ancestry is traced back to Africa, the birthplace of every human being.• Our blood line can be traced back to a small tribe that still exists, the San Bushmen, and Spencer Wells tries to discover why their tribe branched out to start an adventure that became our race.• 50,000 years ago is a magical number in reference to these people. There was such a small population in this time which makes it exceptionally hard for archeologists to study the human life of that time.• The first major migrations occurred around ocean shores in areas near the Indian Ocean, like the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. The next wave was a northern movement into Central and Interior Asia.
Continued…• The Chukchi people are believed to the first northeast travelers over the Bering Straight. These are believe to be the ancestors of Native Americans and then over time stretched out across both North and South America.
Catastophe!• Dating based on trees showed that during the mid-sixth century there was about a 10 year period starting from 536 showing that there was extremely cold temperatures, reduced sunlight which caused crop failure, etc.• This forced humans to mainly rely on animals to live which further affected the ecosystem balance of the world.• Written proof of this event further proves the existence of this event.• Scientific evidence is the question that many needed to truly believe that this catastrophe happened.• One theory is that an asteroid that was at least 4 km wide, or a comet at least 6 km wide to cause an event this large that affected Earth this largely. Others believe that there was a large scale showering of comets or asteroids.• Mythological reasoning linked to King Arthur also have been brought to the forefront to explain this period in time.
Continued…• Ice caps are also another form of research used to prove this event was caused by a volcano, showing that a spike in sulfur in the atmosphere could have caused this time in Earth’s history.• Volcanic eruption is believed to be the most likely reason for this even in history but the exact location is up for debate.
Guns, Germs & Steel• This is idea of farm-based societies long life and how they survived for so long.• The development of agricultural societies that led to today’s economy is easily traced and always related back to the theme of Guns, Germs, and Steel.• Guns made expansion of these societies was possible despite sometimes being outnumbered.• Germs definitely affected the expansion of our planet because diseases brought into different areas would wipe out populations without even having to use guns as much.• Steel was the concept of a centralized government that was an organization system for the military and brought about a sense of unity for the expansion going on across the world.
The World & Trade• The Age of Exploration was one that changed the world profoundly, it caused migration and a blending of distant cultures as well as let our world open itself up to new ideals.• With the discovery of Americas and the greater exploration of Asia by the Europeans, trade and expansion were on a cliff that nobody foresaw changing the world so much.• Without the expansion and exploration of Christopher Columbus, who knows what today’s world would be like.• New discoveries brought new races such as the Native Americans into the picture, new animals, crops, and substances into the world that hadn’t been discovered thus far by the Europeans.• Some of the substances that were introduced because of European voyages were new drugs, potatoes, nicotine, mocca, chocolate, and many other things.