Big History<br />Putting Together the Puzzle<br />By Jessica Jefferson<br />
The Day the Universe Changed <br />James Burke presented big history as seen through the eyes of mankind, offering an explanation for why we are the way we are. <br />Biologically driven curiosity instills a constant desire to pursue knowledge.<br />The pursuit of knowledge creates continuous <br />progression in societies. Leading to technological <br />advances.<br />An environment of constant change emerges. <br />Western society is engineered around this. <br />
Throughout history, mankind has always believed the same thing; what their knowledge tells them to believe.<br />James Burke’s World<br /><ul><li>Our world is defined by our knowledge of it.
If our way of life is threatened, and who we are is threatened; our entire world will be at jeopardy.
Our knowledge is sacred and must be passed down.
Our constant pursuit of knowledge has not only created our world, but it has also provided a constant threat to life as we know it. </li></li></ul><li>The Journey of Man<br />Geneticist Spencer Wells shows how our individual lives are all a part of “Big History.” <br /><ul><li>Genetics are mapped; similarities are found.
All related through common ancestor only 50,000 years ago.
Man was highly successful in spite of extreme odds.
The San people of Botswana spread from Africa, to Australia, then Asia, and finally to America.
If it had taken only a year for Apes to become mankind, then mankind comparably only took a day to take over the world. </li></li></ul><li>Catastrophe<br />David Keys highlights and hunts down how a short period of environmental change can cause a wide range of changes that impacted the course of history. <br />The Evidence:<br /><ul><li>Written reports of darkness, dust cover, and cold from all over the world.
Tree ring growth that matches written record to climate change during the years of 536-542.
Ice core samples show chemical evidence of ash in the atmosphere. </li></li></ul><li>Catastrophe<br />The Culprit:<br />Krakatoa<br />The Effects:<br /><ul><li>Plague of Justinian
Fall of Teotihuacan</li></li></ul><li>Guns, Germs, and Steel<br />Jared Diamond provides a new explanation to why Eurasian civilizations came to dominate the world.<br />Geography and Climatology.<br />Not Genetic Superiority.<br />
Guns, Germs, and Steel<br />Other areas had:<br /><ul><li>Perishable crops like bananas.
Few large animals for food or transport; only llamas.
North to South orientation that made no cohesive climate for transfer of crops.</li></ul>Eurasia had:<br />Suitable plants, animals, and textile resources.<br />Immunity to sicknesses.<br />East to west orientation making farming climate similar through out, and transport of animals easy.<br />Mountains and rivers that provided natural defensible boarders. <br />
The World and Trade<br />Interactions between peoples over time helped shape our global economy. <br /><ul><li>Prior to the voyages of Columbus the majority of people knew only Ecumene (Europe, Asia, and Africa), but other lands were predicted.
The voyage of Columbus, although the Norse had previously sailed from Scandinavia to Iceland, initiated European colonization and exploration of the Americas.
Expansion and development brought on world trade. From the New World came potatoes, corn, and sugar. From the old, wheat and cattle.
China’s isolation most likely allowed America to take on a more prominent role in the advancing global economy. </li></li></ul><li>Big History<br />Our history is not isolated to one event, discipline, or era. It is a result of interactions between different forces. Biology, geology, climatology, and economics combine to create a dynamic system of which we are a current result. <br />From the vantage point of big history, we can better understand who we are, how our world affects us, and how we became what we see today. <br />