International School History - European Schools

 
S6 History Last update - 14 March 2017 Official European School History S6 Syllabus: English, French, German
Video - PBS Guns, Germs and Steel
First published in the United States in 1997, Guns, Germs and Steel was initially subtitled ‘The Fates of Human Societies.’ Within a few months, this subtitle had evolved into ‘A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years.’

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, the Rhone Poulenc Science Book Prize, along with three other international literary prizes, Guns, Germs and Steel has been translated into 25 languages and has sold millions of copies around the world.

"Serious, groundbreaking biological studies of human history only seem to come along once every generation or so. . . . Now [Guns, Germs and Steel] must be added to their select number. . . . No finer work of its kind has been published this year, or for many past."— Martin Sieff, Washington Times

"Guns, Germs and Steel lays a foundation for understanding human history, which makes it fascinating in its own right. Because it brilliantly describes how chance advantages can lead to early success in a highly competitive environment, it also offers useful lessons for the business world and for people interested in why technologies succeed."—Bill Gates

 

  Episode One : Out of Eden

Jared Diamond’s journey of discovery began on the island of Papua New Guinea. There, in 1974, a local named Yali asked Diamond a deceptively simple question: 

“Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” 

Diamond realized that Yali’s question penetrated the heart of a great mystery of human history -- the roots of global inequality. 

Why were Europeans the ones with all the cargo? Why had they taken over so much of the world, instead of the native people of New Guinea? How did Europeans end up with what Diamond terms the agents of conquest: guns, germs and steel? It was these agents of conquest that allowed 168 Spanish conquistadors to defeat an Imperial Inca army of 80,000 in 1532, and set a pattern of European conquest which would continue right up to the present day.

   
Episode Two : Conquest

On November 15th 1532, 168 Spanish conquistadors arrive in the holy city of Cajamarca, at the heart of the Inca Empire, in Peru.

They are exhausted, outnumbered and terrified – ahead of them are camped 80,000 Inca troops and the entourage of the Emperor himself.

Yet, within just 24 hours, more than 7,000 Inca warriors lie slaughtered; the Emperor languishes in chains; and the victorious Europeans begin a reign of colonial terror which will sweep through the entire American continent.


Why was the balance of power so unequal between the Old World, and the New?

Can Jared Diamond explain how America fell to guns, germs and steel?

   
Episode Three : Into the Tropics

So far, Jared Diamond has demonstrated how geography favoured one group of people – Europeans – endowing them with agents of conquest ahead of their rivals around the world. Guns, germs and steel allowed Europeans to colonize vast tracts of the globe – but what happened when this all-conquering package arrived in Africa, the birthplace of humanity?

Can Jared Diamond's theories explain how a continent so rich in natural resources, could have ended up the poorest continent on earth?

  Read the book Guns, Germs and Steel

 

 

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