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Big History - History 140


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Big History - History 140

  1. 1. BIG HISTORY By DJ Heston
  2. 2. Big History Big History is a field of study that examines history on a large scale across long time frames. The field of Big History examines history from the beginning of time to present day. Coffee is an example of Big History, originating in Ethiopia as early as the 9 th century. Coffee has been grown on five continents and is consumed worldwide today.
  3. 3. The Day The Universe Changed James Burke presents the idea “what you think the universe is depends on what you know” in the film The Way We Are. We have the right to question authority and remove it from power if we don’t like what it is telling us, which is why we change. If any good concept works well, we hang onto it. We institutionalize answers which suit us so they won’t change, even if we do.
  4. 4. The Journey of Man Spencer Wells, a geneticist, has traveled the globe collecting DNA samples from men tracking the Y- chromosome. Y-chromosomes are markers or inherited mutations which can be traced back to a common male, Adam, living in Africa around 60,000 years ago. Wells suggests that the San Bushmen of the Kalahari give us a glimpse of what Adam and his fellow humans might look like.
  5. 5. The Journey of Man Wells traced human migration from Africa through southern Asia to Australia approximately 50,000 years ago. His research found only 10% migrated to Australia while the other 90% migrated through Eurasia. He linked a single man’s DNA from Kazakhstan to Native Americans, Europeans, Asians, Russians, and even some Indians. Wells discovered the Chukchi people of northern Russia migrated over the Bering Strait during the last Ice Age 13,000 years ago and inhabited North America.
  6. 6.  Journalist and documentary producer David Keys investigates a major climatic change in the 6th century. He teams up with paleoecologist Michael Baillie to study tree ring grows which become extraordinarily narrow from 535 to 536AD. Keys deduces from sulfur deposits in samples of ice from the Artic and Antarctic that the event was caused by an enormous volcanic eruption. Narrowing his search to volcanoes along the equator, Keys discovers a writing in China of a large bang in February 535AD and uncovers the Krakatau volcano in Indonesia.
  7. 7.  Keys and other scholars believe the massive volcanic eruption lowered the Earth’s average temperature and affected civilizations worldwide. The bubonic plague thrived in fleas during the cooler temperatures which was passed to rats and eventually humans. Keys suggests the Roman Empire’s greed for ivory brought the bubonic plague on ships from Africa killing millions and weakening the capital of Constantinople. He proposes the creation of Islam due to the catastrophe by people migrating from Yemen north to Mecca where the prophet Muhammad was born to a well established family who provided to the community during the harsh conditions.
  8. 8.  Jared Diamond, professor of Geography and Physiology, sets out to answer the question as to why the world has become so unequal. Diamond met a man named Yali 30 years ago who posed the question “Why you white man have so much cargo, and we New Guineans have so little?” He suggests geology is the most important factor as to why some societies advance while others remain dormant. Evidence of a structure used for storing grain around 11,500 years ago was found in Jordan. Storing food allowed inhabitants to stay in one location and establish a society.
  9. 9.  Around 9000 years ago began the first evidence of animal domestication with 14 beasts of burden being able to assist humans with labor. Villages were able to grow bigger with farming becoming more efficient with the assistance of animals allowing specialists to help evolve new technology. Inhabitants in an area of favorable climate known as the Fertile Crescent in Western Asia began spreading their animals and crops along the same latitude creating a population explosion along the way. Diamond learned the answer to Yali’s question was geography, and New Guinea’s agriculture was never productive enough to allow specialists to help advance their society.
  10. 10. The World & Trade During the 14th century, China had become the most powerful empire in the world. The Chinese produced paper, gunpowder, and silk which was very attractive to Europeans. The Muslims controlled the major trade routes from Europe to the East and grew richer with Europe’s desire for spices and goods. Muslims were a triple threat to Christians; religiously, militarily, and economically. Marco Polo’s memoirs of China, who had visited 200 years before Columbus was born, inspired Columbus to explore an alternative route to the Orient.
  11. 11. The World & Trade Horse and cattle brought by the Spanish and Christopher Columbus helped to shape the destiny of America. Horses allowed Indians to hunt more efficiently and helped lead to the extermination of the buffalo. Potatoes discovered by Spanish soldiers in the Peruvian Andes led to Ireland becoming the first place in Europe to live on potatoes. Tobacco grown in the Virginia colonies helped the region survive and it’s sales in London was double that of Spain’s by the early 17th century. Trade from the Old World to the New World grew exponentially creating globalization.