History 140 Big History

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History 140 Big History

  1. 1. Big History:<br />How seemingly small phenomena have large scale effects on humanity as we know it.<br />By<br />Eric James<br />
  2. 2. Mankind has seen massive variation on its desire for an application of knowledge.<br />Thousands of years to begin writing knowledge down rather than passing it through song and stories.<br />Many more years to make the transition from pictures to books and eventually the super computers of today.<br />What we know determines how we live our lives.<br />Institutions are created to preserve and maintain certain ways of life.<br />Institutions are largely at odds with the innovative thinkers of their day.<br />Ancient philosophers were constantly questioning the way things worked, and how things could be improved.<br />Resulted in geometry, philosophy, astronomy, history, etc.<br />Today’s culture scoffs at many practices and technologies that were considered to be innovative a mere thirty years ago.<br />Timeless ideal of innovation.<br />Though Burke’s video depicts a great deal of archaic equipment, the theme shines through.<br />A society’s desire to improve upon old methods and develop new ideas becomes a keynote to its success<br />Even today many isolated societies and “third world” countries are “living in the past.”<br />Knowledge is Power<br />
  3. 3. <ul><li>Dr. Spencer Wells
  4. 4. Geneticist who spent ten years in a lab developing a theory that all races descended from one man living in Africa
  5. 5. This man lived approximately 60,000 years ago and can account for about 90% of our current population.
  6. 6. Many of this man’s descendants traveled north into Eurasia during the Ice Age.
  7. 7. A small faction crossed into Alaska through the frozen sea, during a small window in time where this passage was possible.
  8. 8. Group then traveled south Into the Americas
  9. 9. Rich resources of the Americas treated them well.</li></ul>The Journey of Man<br />
  10. 10. David Keys<br />Author/historian has theory that at around 535 A.D. the earth underwent a major catastrophe.<br />Catastrophe resulted in major changed to weather, water supply, food resources, and reduced sunlight on a global level.<br />Trees can be utilized to gauge living conditions back thousands of years through analysis of tree rings.<br />Tree evidence suggests that a major climatic event occurred during the middle of the 16th century.<br />John of Athesis (Syrian Bishop)<br />Described a period of 18 months where there were only four hours of diluted sunlight per day.<br />Accounts from all over Eurasia indicate a similar phenomenon.<br />Darkened Sun, Cold, Famine, and Yellow Dust in the air.<br />Climatologists<br />Hypothesize that only a volcano, comet, or asteroid could have caused such an event.<br />Asteroid would have to be at least 4 kilometers wide to create such an impact.<br />Comet would have to be at least 6 kilometers wide to create the impact.<br />No evidence suggest a large enough crater or giant wave consistent with such an event.<br />Catastrophe<br />
  11. 11. Climatologists<br />Use of ice caps produce similar results to tree rings.<br />Suggest massive volcanic activity in mid 6th century A.D. affecting both north and south pole.<br />Eruption would have to take place near the Equator to have such an affect.<br />Historical accounts<br />Chinese recorded massive noise from southwest in February of 535 A.D.<br />Java Island account indicates a similar event.<br />Charcoal Evidence coincides with the timeline and location of the historical accounts.<br />World Powers<br />Rome<br />Recovered from Hun and Gothic invasions.<br />Recaptured much of its former territory, wealth, and glory.<br />540s A.D. Rome was hammered with plague<br />Strongly related to changes in climate brought on by the Catastrophe of 535 A.D.<br />Plague likely came to Rome through trade with Africa due to huge Ivory trade.<br />Millions died to plague, over 10,000 per day. Severely weakened Roman economy, army, and populace.<br />Catastrophe (Continued)<br />
  12. 12. World Powers<br />Avars<br />Large barbarian tribe dominating the area of Mongolia.<br />Considered the most advanced horsemen in the world.<br />Severely weakened by cold and drought<br />Crushed by the Turks in 550s A.D.<br />Refugees headed westward and dominated the peoples they came in contact with along the way.<br />Avars regained their power and went on to blackmail and harass the Roman Empire.<br />Native Americans<br />Ravaged by drought near 535 A.D.<br />Celtic Roman Natives<br />Stricken with plague allowing the Anglo-Saxons to dominate and establish Britain.<br />Islam<br />Change in power largely resulted in rise of Islam due to Mohammed and his family’s influence on newcomers as they came to Mecca for trade.<br />Future Impact (Literally?)<br />Yellowstone, WY, US is largely considered the grandfather of all potential volcanoes.<br />Another massive volcano in California.<br />Catastrophe (Continued)<br />
  13. 13. Pre Columbus world was full of activity beyond Europe.<br />Regions were widespread and lived in isolation.<br />Norse reached Western Hemisphere long before Spaniards<br />Leif Ericsson led voyage founding Vinland (Newfoundland).<br />Initially got along with Natives (Skraelings) but conflicts developed and combined with little ice age to discourage Norse colonization.<br />World was understood to be round.<br />Most educated individuals believed that the earth was a globe.<br />Idea started with Greek philosophy and was widely accepted and tested.<br />Europe in the 1400s<br />Consisted of a great deal of small states merging periodically into larger units.<br />Spain Freed itself from Italian financial backing through sea exploration.<br />Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castille started to form what is now Spain, also sponsored Columbus.<br />Gained a great deal of gold and silver from the Americas.<br />Evicted Jewish populace.<br />Staple food was wheat, required large amounts of land, Europeans developed aggression while fighting over low yield wheat crops.<br />World and Trade 1400s<br />
  14. 14. Russia<br />Ivan III loosened the grip of the Mongolian “Golden Horde.”<br />Moscow was declared the third Rome as it was successor of orthodox Christendom from Byzantine Empire.<br />Sweden, Denmark, Norway<br />Unified as Kolmar Union by StenSture I.<br />Poland, Lithuania<br />Expanded to maximum borders by Lasimir IV.<br />Hungary<br />Fought approach of Ottoman Turks.<br />Ottoman Empire<br />Appeared to be next superpower with huge territory from North Africa to Persia and Serbia.<br />In 1453 Sultan Batezid II established Istanbul at what was Constantinople to end the Byzantine Empire.<br />Muslim territories extended to southeast Asia, China, and the Philippines.<br />Lost Granada to Ferdinant and Isabel.<br />World and Trade (Cont.)<br />
  15. 15. Africa<br />North Africa in Turk hands with the occasional clash from Egypt.<br />Kongo and region south of it ruled by John I (Christian)<br />Renounced Christianity when its anti-polygamy resulted in a loss of power.<br />Southeast Asia<br />India invaded by Muslims for short time.<br />Invaded again by Mughals.<br />One of the first civilizations to institute religious tolerance.<br />Vietnam expanded southward and taught China that it would not be stopped.<br />China<br />Could have greatly expanded during this period.<br />Confucian scholar class did not seek conquest, but a harmony within.<br />Saw voyages as a waste of money and men only to amass wealth, which they disdained.<br />China did not have a valid sea threat at this time.<br />Rice crops resulted in large populace concentration with little competition for food and a great deal of loyalty to or dependence upon the government for direction and labor.<br />World and Trade (Cont.)<br />
  16. 16. Japan<br />Remained independent of China but power struggles between Shoguns resulted in a weakened, miserable stage of development.<br />Aztecs<br />Expanding into Mesoamerica.<br />Capital city of Tenochtitlan was rivaled only by Venice as an aquatic city.<br />No interest in a Maritime Navy.<br />Mayans<br />On the decline during this period.<br />Mayapan had only about 12,000 people and was one of thirteen Mayan tribes due to disunity.<br />Same disunity that made the Mayans quite difficult to conquer in measurable area for the Spanish.<br />Potum were seacoast Mayan with heavy aquatic trade as far as Peru<br />Traded with and were friendly to Columbus.<br />Inca<br />Invaded and controlled Ecuador to Chile.<br />2,500 coastal miles of empire with over 7,000 miles of roads inland.<br />Made a voyage to Gallapagos Islands but it was fruitless.<br />World and Trade (Cont.)<br />
  17. 17. Guns, Germs, and Steel<br />Successes of peoples has to do with the resources available to them.<br />Easier resource gathering leads to larger more effective armies<br />A society lacking an advantage will either acquire it from a neighboring society or be replaced by a stronger society.<br />Continental diffusion of wild animals and plants directly affects social successes.<br />Rates of diffusion and migration of peoples are linked with those of animals and plants.<br />Diffusion between continents result in lack of or increased trade, aggression, or influences.<br />Continental area and population size directly affect the methods in which society must operate to accommodate itself<br />Power has shifted to the West.<br />Huge amount of powerful empires began in the Fertile Crescent. (Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and Hittites).<br />Destroyed itself by using resources faster than they could replenish (Ecologically fragile due to little rainfall).<br />China’s sea expeditions and power potential was halted by its politics while Europe’s disunity resulted in a window of opportunity for Columbus and his voyage.<br />Had to ask several European rulers before finally being granted a chance by Ferdinand and Isabella.<br />Europe is largely divided by natural barriers of water or mountains leading to a stronger sense of independence.<br />China’s coastline is largely smooth with relatively passable mountain ranges.<br />Europe has no real unifying rivers for trade or communication while China has two of the world’s largest.<br />Europe’s barriers were large enough to prevent unification but not large enough to prevent the passing of ideas and technological advances.<br />In closing it can be said that the seemingly smallest event or sequence of events can have drastic, global implications. What seems to be an advantage one minute quickly becomes a fatal disadvantage, while what seemed disadvantageous has become the epitome of situational advantage.<br />

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