Guns Germs And Steel Anthropology

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Most historians consider many factors to piece together our planet’s past. When looking at the exploration of what was named “the New World,” they often point to the success of the conquistador’s missions and attribute it to their determination, skill, and weaponry. The film “Guns, Germs, and Steel” names the real reasons why the conquistadors were so successful on their missions. The empires of Central and South America did not have access to certain animals and had not advanced as far as the Europeans did in terms of weaponry. Additionally, they had never been exposed to the diseases that many animals carry. This caused millions of people to fall ill from smallpox, a disease that the Spanish had brought from the Old World. The Spanish were …show more content…

The narrator of the film called it “a highly original theory” that “what separates the winners from the losers is the land itself” (Lambert). In other words, he believed that the Spanish conquistadors, in this case, had a greater advantage over the Incas because, geographically, they had access to more resources. This theory coincides with Paul Vidal de la Blache’s theory of environmental possibilism. Cultures develop through both their actions and ideas, but their environments also place constraints on how they can develop (Fellmann, 2013). The film discusses how the Spanish had many advantages of the Incan empire. Most of these advantages were not simply because of culture and experiences, as other historians have …show more content…

The Spanish brought diseases with them to the Americas that the Incas had never been exposed to. As a result, millions fell ill due to smallpox. The reason the Incas were never exposed to certain diseases was because they had never been in close contact with farm animals. Diamond’s theory about latitudinal migration of crops and animals is exemplified in the Incas’ inexperience with the animals that the Spanish had access to. He explained that longitudinal migration is not as common or feasible as the migration moving east and west. However, this is how animals would have had to travel because, as Diamond put it, the Americas and Eurasia are essentially the same distance long, but in different directions (Lambert, 2005). Crops and animals easily migrated from East to West in Eurasia, but it is far more difficult to move from North to South because of differences in climate and day length as they would move across the longitude. Whereas across latitudes these aspects are the same. Europeans lived with all kinds of animals for centuries and built-up immunities to the diseases they carry. The Incas did not have anything like this that would infect the Spanish, so they were seriously disadvantaged in this aspect as

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