BIG HISTORY Big History Daniela DruhoraDaniela Druhora
For western civilization, history boils down to the beginningsof how our thinking process is developed. We are all curiousbegins who pose questions not for entertainment purposes itis because we want change. Mainly for the purpose that wewant to improve our old way of life. In the documentary theway we are, James Burke points out all the fine technologyand the reason for our economical growth and expansion thatit is all based on how we are wired to be curious human beingswho ask questions. What is the sky made up of? Why is thegrass green? Asking these simple questions peoplescientifically tested their hypothesis and gained knowledgewhich in turn changed the way we looked at things. As Burkesays “you see what your knowledge tells you to see”. Welearned from examples such as Greece’s individualisticapproach to the way of life to the Egyptian’s geometry. Wegathered reason and logic and accepted them as a pattern ofthinking to probe more questions to bring about more changein our world. So the root of history, is the course of change allstemming from questions. For this reason the western worlddefends their freedom the right question, the right for change,the right of the individual.
In “Journey of Man” a young scientist travels to the place he believes is the decent of allhuman birth places, which is in Africa among the Bushmen tribe. His travels explore themigration of the human race. His time portal into each destination is the mutation of theDNA in men’s Y chromosomes. This documentary discusses the origins of all humanity andhow we came to be a diverse world. In his personal travels he is faced with variousobstacles in overcoming basic questions such as how did the Africans travel across theocean 50,000 years ago to Australia? He is faced also with tribes such as the Aboriginalswho claim that they were the first of people, and they do not believe his scientific findings.He travels above and beyond all over the world taking blood samples and looking for themutation in the Y chromosome in men to see how the nation spread, and he explains howclimate changes in different periods shaped lands differently and also caused differentbody types and colors of skin.
As he embarks on his journey, he unravels the familytree of the world based on his ten year DNA laboratoryresearch. At the tip of this tree we have the AfricanBushmen who traveled beyond obstacles to Australiaand formed the Aborigines, moved on to the Indians,central Asia, Chukchi, and then to the Navajo Indiantribes and on and on. The questions which puzzled himwas how the skin color and facial attributes had changedthroughout the course of time and how they traveledfrom place to place migrating when large masses ofwater stood in their way, or cold stormy seasons. He answers all these questions based on climatic seasons throughout the hundreds of years. That as they moved into the colder parts of the world people throughout the years skin pigmentation altered from the different sun exposure since more clothing was needed to keep warm they were not fully exposed to the sun. Land masses had changed throughout the course of the 50,000 years based on the movement of ocean plates. He weaves together science and history to show that all humanity is related.
The trees have spoken! And David Keys tells their story.Based on the tree rings, which Keyes explains the thinnerthey are it explains a troubling cold point in history. Basedon worldwide trees the tree rings dated around the 6thcentury speak of a great catastrophe that struckworldwide. Historical books also claim in history aroundthat time period times of suffering. Disease, famine,drought, and a darkened sky were all mentioned inmemoirs and even legendary sources like King Authorthat in the mid 6th century a catastrophe struck. DavidKeyes travels in search to discover scientific and historicaldata that could explain what major event took place thateffected the whole world at that time for years? Hediscovered that it could only have been three possibleoptions, either a comet, an asteroid, or volcano eruption.Based on the sulfuric acid found within the polar icecapsit was discovered that the Krakatoa Anak volcano haderupted around 535 AD, and because of historicalwritings of trauma existing in the same time frame it isvery likely this eruption cased a historical change uponthe worldwide society.
The effects of Krakatoa eruption caused the skyto darken for years. The sun was hidden foryears due to the sulfuric acid particles in the airwhich flowed in the upper hemisphere due tothe flux of the earth moving keeping the ashstill above the surface. This caused droughts,famine, the spread of the bubonic plague in theRoman Empire to spread worldwide. The ivorytrade spread the bubonic plague to other partsof the world. The Mongolian Avars which werepeople in their prime state of the time hadfallen due to their horse live stock diminishingbefore their very eyes. The horses where theirprimary sources of living and since horses havea more distinct digestive system they could notadjust to the famine as well as cattle.
During this ailing catastrophe of the sixth centaury anew religion was born that will forever impact ourhistory. The prophet Mohammed aided to feed manyof the Arab people. The cause of the eruption insome way edged on this end of times, apocalypticmovement and caused the birth of Islam in history.The Marib dam was broken and this effected Arabia’seconomic engineering thrust for their society. Naturaldisasters change history drastically. If today such adisaster would happen many would suffer greatlybecause our new technologies would be useless, andmany would not be acquainted to a simple way of lifein finding a food source.
Modern history has been shaped by conquest. Theconquistadors used guns, germs, and steel to leadtheir conquests, and it was the advantage they hadover the countries they would invade. militarypower, deadly microbes and technology.modern America would not be possible withoutfarming that spread from the fertile crescent.People who are smart, resourceful, and dynamiccan be found anywhere, even in theunderdeveloped counties of the world. Unlikemilitary power, deadly microbes and technology,no one has a monopoly on this.The development and growth of civilizations is notdetermined by lack of ingenuity, but by the rawresources available - geography. New Guineans didnot develop like Europeans because they did nothave sheep, cows, goats or horses.
The reason why Europeans conquered so much of the world is because of the geography,which determined the climate, crops and animals. The conquistadors are the most grimlysuccessful example of European conquest. They conquered the Inca empire, which spannedfor 2500 miles, using only 168 men, slaughtering over 7000 Inca citizens and one day andoverthrowing the Inca emperor without losing a single man.This was possibly because the Incas underestimated them, because of their strangeappearance and small number. the Incas were however unaware that the conquistadors hashighly advanced weapons, such as fire arms, steel swords and metal armor. Another weaponwhich made a difference in the war, is one that the Europeans didnt know they had -smallpox - disease which the native Americans had no immunity against. Because theconquistadors had a stronger immune system due to being around domestic animals andconsuming animal products, this would also cause the germ warfare to be one sided, thedisease that the Incas had did not affect them. Repeated outbreaks in Europe also causedEuropeans to be more resilient, a protection Incas never had.By the end of the 19th century European powers moved past the Americans, colonizingAfrica, Australia, and most of Asia. The European guns, germs and steel reshaped the world.
Christopher Columbus was an ambitious Italian merchant from Genoa who sailedfrom port to port in search of what is new. His discoveries created a world throughtrade that still are practiced today. He birthed the idea of transformation and changeby putting change in motion through trade. He was obsessed with discovering goldand spices, and was aided by the memoirs of Marco Polo in his travels, he was limitedin his travels, and in the success of finding gold and spices because the Muslimsdominated the Eastern trade. Constantinople was “the gateway of trade betweenEurope and Asia and the Turks breached its walls”. Columbus knew theMediterranean shores like no other man in his time, but being limited in his findingsdue to the Muslim dominating trade he ventured out into the unknown oceansbeyond what any man imagined and changed the course of history forever.
The cowboys, the rodeo, Irish in Boston, cattle, horses, chocolate, pigs, goat,wheat, tomatoes, the slavery plantation with the sugar canes are just a few of thethings that have shaped us today all from the risk of one man’s ambition to findgold and spices. Better then gold and spices Christopher Columbus revolutionizedthe world by the growth of crops. The Columbian Exchange made the America’swhat it is today. A diverse world influenced by trade and by the various people whocame and worked the land such as the Spanish. History was put into motion by onesingle man. One person risking it all based on curiosity, on question for a newquest. This changed the face of history forever as we can see today that the worldhas become a multi million international trading factory. With its ups and downs, itis part of who we are today.