AP World History Summer Reading Assignment Guns, Germs, and Steel Chapter 1: Up to the Starting Line Q: What was the Great Leap Forward? Describe the life of a Cro-Magnon person. What impact did the arrival of humans have on big animals? Provide an example. Which continent had a head start in 11,000 BCE (Before Common Era)? A: the great leap forward was when human history first began to take off and the humans at that time began to become more like us modern humans today. The humans that were most similar to modern humans were called Cro-Magnon. Cro-Magnons were hunter-gatherers and they exceeded in that area.
They produced diverse tools with distinct shapes that are easily identified with modern tools. The Cro-Magnons were very advanced compared to early humans and this showed in their tools and the fact that they not only made tools of stone, but also bone. Around the arrival of humans it was said to be that many large animals became extinct and many believe humans were to blame. Weather it was because humans directly killed the large animals for food, or if they did it indirectly through their actions to the surrounding environment, that is still being debated.
There are many examples of large animals becoming extinct that can be given, such as the common one the wooly mammoth. Now, the Cro-Magnons were like most modern humans and were very advanced compared to other humans on other continents, but is it because they are from the continent of Africa? The author states that in 11,000 BCE Africa was the one continent that had a head start because it is the continent where humans began to first develop. Chapter 3: Collision at Cajamarca Q: Write a paragraph explaining your views on the event of November 16, 1532.
What strikes you the most? Why was Pizarro so successful? A: On the event of November 16, 1532 conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his army of only 168 men more than attacked the Inca town of Cajamarca, populating about 80,000 people. They slaughtered them. In this chapter it tells of how undefeated Pizarro and his army are. My views on Pizarro is he is a smart man considering his strategies used in battle. The author tells how Pizarro had only a dozen guns and how he used them more in a psychological way than physically to kill.
What strikes me the most is how Pizarro and his men killed 80,000 Indians when there was only 168 of them and not one of his men were harmed. It says how they would fire the guns and it would scare and panic the Indians and that close to all Indians were killed by swords and daggers. I find this strategy really wise and I think it is a part of why Pizarro was so successful in conquering and defeating others. Chapter 4: Farmer Power Q: Write a paragraph explaining the chart. Do you agree with the authors conclusions? What advantages are gained by being the first to domesticate animals?
A: The chart in this chapter is explaining the factors that allow some people to overcome others. For example, the factor of having domesticated animals and plants allowed epidemics and diseases. However, at the same time domestic animals and plants provided sustainable food. I agree with the author’s conclusion and the chart because it is true that something good and beneficial may also cause harm. On the note of having domesticated animals and plants, to many it gave them an advantage. It allowed, like I said before, sustainable food.
That food source enabled many to be fed and it led to tows being built. With that food supply, it also led to army being built to protect that food supply and town. As for the domesticated animals they helped for food as well and for example, animals such as horses would help give an advantage to soldiers in war. Domesticated animals and plants acted as a strong base that allowed further growth and development. Chapter 8: Apples or Indians Q: Why was the Fertile Crescent predisposed to have such a potent head star in so many areas of development: writing, cities, and empires?
What reason does the author give for cannibalism in New Guinea? A: The Fertile Crescent had a head star in many areas of development. The reason being, it’s many advantages. The Fertile Crescent had advantages such as, good climate, natural crops that grow there, and its wide range of altitude. The Fertile Crescent having these advantages allowed people to settle there. Just like domesticated plants and animals acted as a base for people, the Fertile Crescent did the same. Using it as a base people then began building up owns to cities to eventually empires and having the ability to write. However, the people of New Guinea were not as luck. They were no good at hunting and gathering and were not very lucky in finding fertile ground to farm. According to author, James Diamond, due to protein starvation the people of New Guinea turned to cannibalism. Chapter 9: Zebras, Unhappy Marriages, and the Anna Karenina Principal Q: Identify and define the Ancient Fourteen. What is domestication? Which animals most helped Eurasians?
A: The Ancient Fourteen is a list of “big” animals that were domesticated before the 20th century. 9 of the 14 are not common animals and are only found in certain parts of the world. They are referred to as the Minor 9 and those animals are the Arabian camel, the Bactrian camel, llama/alpaca, donkey, reindeer, water buffalo, yak, banteng, and gaur. The 5 left over animals from the list are the most important and common of the ancient 14. Those 5 animals are cows, sheep, goats, horses, and pigs.
All of these animals were domesticated and that means they were tamed to accentuate traits that are beneficial to humans. Domesticated animals diverged from their wild ancestors and are different in ways such as size, appearance, and behavior. Eurasia’s large ecological diversity and land mass helped them to be able to domesticate animals. Those domesticated animals helped them out a lot like horse, pigs, water buffalo, yak, gaur, banteg, and auroch. Chapter 10: Spacious Skies and Tilted Axis Q: Why did people who lived on an east-west become the world’s conquerors?
What was it about the Americas and Africa that put these two continents at a developmental disadvantage? A: As talked about in previous chapters the Fertile Crescent is just as it is called, fertile. Due to the Fertile Crescent being fertile, it allowed crops to grow in a surplus and therefore, the people there were able to develop much quicker than others. The Fertile Crescent is located on an east-west axis and lands along the east-west axis tend to have the same day length and seasonal variations. They also have in common, similar diseases, temperature, rainfall, and habitat.
With that said, the crops from the Fertile Crescent expanded along the east-west axis allowing what happened to the Fertile Crescent to of happen to the rest of the east-west axis and it is also what allowed the east-west axis to become the world’s conquerors. The east-west axis is very consistent and it differs from the north-south axis. Unlike the east-west axis, the north-south axis does not share similar things such as seasonal changes and day length. That makes it harder for a crop that has already developed, for example, to the north, to be moved to the south or vice versa.
This factor right here gave the Americas and Africa, two continents on the north south axis, a developmental disadvantage. Chapter 16: How China Became Chinese Q: Why was China able to dominate East Asia? A: It first began with language. In China, they are 8 “big” or main languages spoken. As the Chinese began to spread to South China and throughout Asia they became vigorous in converting other ethnic groups’ languages and forced then to abandon their native tongue. Basically, the Chinese thought their language was superior and others were inferior.
Then, China began to influence others with their production of food. China had a head start on food production compared to others and was first to domesticate a lot of things over there, such as pigs. Another popular item that was produced by the Chinese that spread was rice. A main factor that allowed China to dominate East Asia along with food and language was their writing system. That was a big step that allowed them to advance. It was a single well-attested writing system and it was perfect enough to replace any other systems being use in China at the time.
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