Chapter Summary of Guns Germs and Steel

1. How humans came into existence was talked about along with the major advances in the world’s development. It is proven that humans did evolve from monkeys in Africa. There is some arguments around if there were pre-Clovis people or not, but James Diamond says evidence would’ve been found by now. 2. The Maori and Moriori are the descendants of the Polynesians. Because they had a larger and denser population, the Maori people were more technologically advanced with more complex societies and technology. Smaller populations only make things when there is an actual need.
3. There was a big population shift in North America when the Europeans colonized America and almost eliminated the Native American population. The Spanish conquistadors were Christians, who used God as their reasoning behind actions. So, when the Incan emperor and heir died of small pox, the Spanish used their communication skills to easily defeat the Incas. 4. The production of food is very important to a successful society, because food means more people. Domesticating animals also comes with its benefits such as: milk, meat, tools, labor, and transportation.
For example horses were used in warfare. 5. There was a discussion revolving around why well off areas didn’t do food production. The earliest places that did adopt food productions were: Iraq, Mexico, and the Andes. 6. Ancient farming often had many diseases associated with it along with malnourishment and younger deaths. Usually people would do a combination of hunter gathering and farming. Mainly the only people who would not survive are the ones who could not farm because of geographical reasons. 7. Wild plants became crops through genetic modifications.

For the purpose of reproduction, tasty plants had bitter seeds, so animals wouldn’t eat the seeds. 8. This chapter discussed why the Fertile Crescent thrived as well as it did. Three possible answers could be: the climate, self-pollination, and the ancestor crops. The beginning of the chapter also talks a lot about why some locations used agriculture and some did not. There were many theories to this question. 9. The definition of a domesticated animal is: an animal selectively bred in captivity and thereby modified from its wild ancestors, for use by humans who control the animal’s breeding and food supply.
Elephants and zebras are both capable of being domesticated, but no one has been successful at it yet. The most successfully domesticated animals have all come from Eurasia. 10. The axis and Earth’s rotation have an affect on the continent. Trade tends to move farther east and west, because they share the same day length, diseases, seasons, and climate. 11. Germs and infections had a huge affect on crops and animals. People develop immunity to certain diseases. Sometimes though infections can spread very slowly, which makes it act more effectively because no one discovers it.
12. The ability to write and its importance was discussed in this chapter. A societies comprehension is shown through its writing. A writing system has three basic parts: a sound, syllable, and word. The basic structures for many writing systems were based off The Sumerians and the Mesoamerican people. 13. Diamond says that there are a few parts for an invention to be used and wanted. It has to have an economic advantage and match the interest of society. It also must have social significance. 14. This chapter talks about the organization of a society.
There are many levels of organization. The levels are: a band, tribe, chiefdom, state, and kleptocrat. The chapter discusses what each one was and talks about the roles of each one along with its strengths and weaknesses. 15. Even though Australia had some of the best technology, it didn’t ever attack Europe. Australia was known to isolate itself along with New Guinea. New Guinea was geographically isolated and progressed slowly for a few reasons. For example: their crops didn’t have significant protein and there were no diseases to keep intruders out. 16.
China stayed very isolated and unified politically. Language was also discussed. Language changes and evolves into different languages, because when people invade the area they bring their own words and phrases that then become part of the local language. 17. A language that did not change was Polynesia’s. This has an unknown reason why. The Austronesians did have the largest population expansion in the last 6000 years. They attacked New Guinea and killed the majority of the New Guineans. 18. Eurasia did not successfully take over all the Native Americans.
The Eurasians were use to working with domesticated animals, but there were not many domesticated animals there. Even though they couldn’t really use the animals, with the use of guns, germs, and steel the Eurasians had a huge advantage over the Native Americans. 19. Africa is predominately black for the reason that the black people owned the largest area. The black farmers attacked the Pygmy homeland and took their language. They also did this to the Khoisans. Africa didn’t domesticate animals until much later.