<ul><li>Big History is a multi-disciplinary approach to studying history on a large scale, with a focus on man’s adaptations. </li></ul><ul><li>The field examines history from the beginning of time to the present day, seeking common themes and patterns. </li></ul>Big History <ul><li>Big History encourages an open mind while looking at history from a broad perspective. </li></ul>
The Day the Universe Changed <ul><li>Questions provide answers that bring more questions. </li></ul><ul><li>We challenge our understandings using methods such as scientific research. Answering questions this way will change how we do things. </li></ul><ul><li>What we know today has been determined by what we learned yesterday. What we know tomorrow will be determined by the questions we ask today. </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of Big History is reinforced by the directive James Burke gives us in the film The Way We Are: “Ask questions, and get answers,” adding that “when your knowledge changes, your universe changes.” </li></ul><ul><li>Having an open mind enables us to use something we know to discover something we don’t, by asking: How? Why? Where? When? Who? Or, what? </li></ul>
The Journey of M an <ul><li>Based on Y-chromosome mutations, called markers, that are passed on to male offspring and can be tracked through DNA samples collected from men around the world, geneticist Spencer Wells ventures out on an excursion to locate the point of origin of the father of all humans alive today: Adam. He then traces man’s migration. </li></ul><ul><li>Wells’ research concludes Adam, a modern human, lived in Africa 60,000 years ago, followed by waves of migration that led to modern human spreading around the entire globe. </li></ul><ul><li>His theories indicate the first wave followed the southern coastline of Asia, eventually colonizing Australia by 50,000 years ago. </li></ul><ul><li>According to Wells, the second wave left Africa approximately 45,000 years ago, settling in the Middle East, India and China. </li></ul><ul><li>5,000 years later, as the Ice Age eased up, they moved to Central Asia followed by another move to Europe 35,000 years ago. Cold temperatures kept them there. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Around 20,000 years ago a group moved from Central Asia to Siberia. Later, a small group crossed the Bering Straight reaching North America about 15,000 years ago, and eventually moved on to South America. </li></ul><ul><li>Through these migrations humans adapted to diverse environments, resulting in physical changes such as variations in height, length of limbs and fingers, stockiness of torsos, and pigmentation of skin. </li></ul><ul><li>While there are some conflicting theories between various disciplines of science, the paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, geneticists and historians are finding more common ground. </li></ul><ul><li>One thing there is a great deal of agreement on is that all humans on earth are descendants of an African. </li></ul><ul><li>If Adam were to host a family reunion, we would all be invited. </li></ul>The Journey of Man
Catastrophe! <ul><li>Evidence in tree ring growth reveals a significant event took place in the mid-6 th century that influenced the climate of the entire earth, slowing the growth of trees around the globe during 535 and 536 AD. </li></ul><ul><li>History in Rome indicates the sun had become dark for 18 months, engulfing the globe with a permanent winter during that time. </li></ul><ul><li>Journalist David Keys, with evidence compiled from scientists and historians, theorizes a massive volcano erupted in the Indonesia area resulting in volcanic ash suspended in the earth’s atmosphere, blocking the sun’s rays. </li></ul><ul><li>Keys believes the island of Java was split in two by the eruption, leaving what is known today as the volcano Krakatoa. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborating evidence of sulfur has been collected in ice core samples from Greenland and Antarctic area, as well as carbon dating above and below ash sediments in the volcano area. </li></ul>
Catastrophe! <ul><li>Worldwide frost, blurred seasons, drought, floods, red rain, yellow snow, and famine followed because of the reduced sunlight. </li></ul><ul><li>The idea that nature and climate change can alter history is winning support. </li></ul><ul><li>Climate change caused by the eruption has been linked to the spread of bubonic plague and subsequent downfall of the Roman empire in 542 AD. </li></ul><ul><li>Cooler temperatures enabled the disease causing bacteria to thrive in fleas and passing the bacteria on to rats, where it flourished in an increasing rat population. </li></ul><ul><li>The European and Mediterranean desire for luxurious ivory fueled the African Ivory trade which carried infested rats from Africa to Europe via trade ships. Their greed led to the death of millions as it spread through villages and farms. </li></ul><ul><li>Massive decline in population impacted the strength of the Roman military by killing members and recruits, and the loss of tax support from farming production. </li></ul><ul><li>The once mighty Avar horsemen were driven west when food sources diminished, reaching the Roman Empire with health restored and blackmailing the empire exchange for peace. </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of the Mongolian Avars further weakened the strength of the already compromised Roman Empire. </li></ul><ul><li>Catastrophe! illustrates how natural events influence the history of our world. </li></ul>
Guns, Germs and Steel <ul><li>Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology, questions why there are societies of “haves and “have-nots” throughout our world, enabling advanced civilizations to conquer those that are less-developed. </li></ul><ul><li>Diamond proposes geography as the major influence in a population’s ability, or inability, to make advancements as a society. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to produce food efficiently, both plant and animal, is dependent on factors such as climate and land types. </li></ul><ul><li>Areas with favorable conditions for plant and animal domestication were able to provide food surpluses, freeing a portion of the population to develop technologies, armies, and organized workforces. </li></ul><ul><li>An area known as the Fertile Crescent, at a very favorable latitude, was home to the best crops and animals in the world. Later, with similar geographical advantages, Eurasia developed and spread eastward toward India and westward toward North Africa and Europe, transforming human societies. </li></ul><ul><li>Upon reaching Egypt an explosion of civilization took place. This freed more people to become inventors, artists, soldiers, engineers, scribes, Pharaohs, workers, and such. The great pyramids are testimony to this. </li></ul>
Guns, Germs and Steel <ul><li>Diamond points out that inequality is a result , not a cause, of the differences between societies’ advancements around the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Continents with north/south orientations faced obstacles those with east/west orientation did not, such as diverse weather, limiting both plant and animal food sources, as well as mobility. </li></ul><ul><li>Spanish Explorers arrived in the New World in the 16 th century with advantages never before seen by the natives of the Americas: Production of healthy crops, domesticated animals (as food and muscle power), guns and swords (as a result of developing steel), written language, a more advanced society, and disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Disease decimated the native population of the New World. This proved another development they lacked: a resistance to diseases built through exposure to the germs of Old World’s domesticated animals. </li></ul><ul><li>By the end of the 19 th century, Europeans had ventured beyond the Americas and colonized Africa, Australia, and much of Asia. </li></ul><ul><li>The European Guns, Germs and Steel were reshaping the world. </li></ul>
The World and Trade <ul><li>By the Middle Ages, China, renown for their technologies and sophistication, had become the world’s richest and most powerful empire, fueled by spices and gold. </li></ul><ul><li>The Muslims controlled maritime trade and the gateway to China from Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired by Marco Polo’s earlier successes, Columbus set sail to find a new, safer route to China that would avoid dangers created by religious tensions between Christians and Muslims. Columbus’ westward route resulted in his unexpected landing on America. </li></ul><ul><li>Subsequent journeys brought people, animals, and plants from the Old World, to this New World, changing the economic foundations of the Americas. </li></ul><ul><li>Argentina was one of world’s richest economies by the end of the 19 th century. </li></ul><ul><li>The Indians and buffalo of the North American plains were replaced with cattle ranching and wheat fields. </li></ul><ul><li>The success of the U.S. heartland began attracting Europe’s poor and hungry by the millions. </li></ul>
The World and Trade <ul><li>Migrants left Europe bursting at its seams, and the lowly potato came with them. eventually saving millions of lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of Europe’s poor continued on to the newly opened west of the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>The Irish migrants, bitter about the British government’s lack of help during the potato famine, settled in the Boston area with a political philosophy that helped shape the modern Democratic Party. </li></ul><ul><li>Another group the came as a result of an imported crop was the African slave. </li></ul><ul><li>Sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean, operated by the British, French, Dutch, and Portuguese drove the slave labor to a peak importation rate of 13,000/year. </li></ul><ul><li>While the Americas benefit from many things brought from other lands, 60 percent of the foods eaten around the world is of American origin. All this is possible as a result of the trade initiated by Columbus. </li></ul><ul><li>Through trade, Columbus created one world, by bringing the Old World and the New World together. </li></ul>
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