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Human history in different geographies from our.

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    Posted: 28 Apr 2014 at 05:58
Imagine humans evolving on an earth like we know it, only with other geographical "settings".
That would most likely lead to completely different historical development in most scenarios. In particular in those were continents are at some distance from each other, separated by oceans. If so, humans almost inevitable would have taken a lot more time to develop many cultural and technological ways we take for granted. Or, if You like, we would not have been past the "palaeolitic stage" for very long time. THat because of mutual isolation, befiore any sufficient seafaring, that came lately. At least that is my guess.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2014 at 06:49
Yes, it would be a lot different.

But don't forget, many of the innovations we take for granted have been invented or "discovered" in the past three generations.

Take for example, electricity, motor vehicles, telecommunications, air travel.

But I think, under your scenario, those things will still have occurred, but perhaps in different locations. Picture a Dane inventing.....no, no, on second thoughts a Polynesian being the inventor of motor cars or some other modern convenience.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2014 at 08:20
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Yes, it would be a lot different.

But don't forget, many of the innovations we take for granted have been invented or "discovered" in the past three generations.

Take for example, electricity, motor vehicles, telecommunications, air travel.

But I think, under your scenario, those things will still have occurred, but perhaps in different locations. Picture a Dane inventing.....no, no, on second thoughts a Polynesian being the inventor of motor cars or some other modern convenience.
Those inventions of the last three generations were dependent upon earlier developments.
Many of those could be delayed so many millenia, if not for intensive contacts between different parts of the planet. Because of distances and scale (relatively small islands) polynesians would have difficulties combining their innovations. And then first and foremost there would have been no polynesians without some kinds of seafaring technologies and knowledge, and that was a relative late development in human existence on earth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2014 at 09:41
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Yes, it would be a lot different.

But don't forget, many of the innovations we take for granted have been invented or "discovered" in the past three generations.

Take for example, electricity, motor vehicles, telecommunications, air travel.

But I think, under your scenario, those things will still have occurred, but perhaps in different locations. Picture a Dane inventing.....no, no, on second thoughts a Polynesian being the inventor of motor cars or some other modern convenience.
Those inventions of the last three generations were dependent upon earlier developments.
Many of those could be delayed so many millenia, if not for intensive contacts between different parts of the planet. Because of distances and scale (relatively small islands) polynesians would have difficulties combining their innovations. And then first and foremost there would have been no polynesians without some kinds of seafaring technologies and knowledge, and that was a relative late development in human existence on earth.

Sorry Fantasus, the reference to Polynesians was a joke....I was having a go at Danes.

Yes of course all more recent developments were dependant, at least to a great extent, on the developments made earlier-a natural progression in some cases.

One example is the medical field. Had technology not developed the way it did, particularly in the 20th Century, the medical breaks through could not have been made.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2014 at 03:31
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Imagine humans evolving on an earth like we know it, only with other geographical "settings".
That would most likely lead to completely different historical development in most scenarios. In particular in those were continents are at some distance from each other, separated by oceans. If so, humans almost inevitable would have taken a lot more time to develop many cultural and technological ways we take for granted. Or, if You like, we would not have been past the "palaeolitic stage" for very long time. THat because of mutual isolation, befiore any sufficient seafaring, that came lately. At least that is my guess.


Absolutely. The reason Eurasia as a whole took a lead with respect to the rest of the world was that the inventions spread and resonated from one extreme to the other. For instance, every people from Spain to Japan used the same type of wheels!!! They also had catapults, crossbows, and many shared inventions. That's amazing, isn't?

More isolated civilizations tended to get cough in evolutionary traps. For instance, no matter Mesoamericans knew the wheel nobody invented a cart!! And no matter Mantenos of Ecuador had the sail, they used it on rafts!! That shows the advantage that the "trail of silk" had for Eurasia.




Edited by pinguin - 29 Apr 2014 at 03:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2014 at 05:14
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Imagine humans evolving on an earth like we know it, only with other geographical "settings".
That would most likely lead to completely different historical development in most scenarios. In particular in those were continents are at some distance from each other, separated by oceans. If so, humans almost inevitable would have taken a lot more time to develop many cultural and technological ways we take for granted. Or, if You like, we would not have been past the "palaeolitic stage" for very long time. THat because of mutual isolation, befiore any sufficient seafaring, that came lately. At least that is my guess.


Absolutely. The reason Eurasia as a whole took a lead with respect to the rest of the world was that the inventions spread and resonated from one extreme to the other. For instance, every people from Spain to Japan used the same type of wheels!!! They also had catapults, crossbows, and many shared inventions. That's amazing, isn't?

More isolated civilizations tended to get cough in evolutionary traps. For instance, no matter Mesoamericans knew the wheel nobody invented a cart!! And no matter Mantenos of Ecuador had the sail, they used it on rafts!! That shows the advantage that the "trail of silk" had for Eurasia.


Most, if not all of these inventions were spread through trade links (the Silk Road and the Spice Routes) or through warfare.

The wheel was invented in the Pontic Steppe area. Its building and use spread west and south, so it was in use, eventually, throughout Asia and Europe.

Catapults were invented by the ancient Greeks.

Like guns, many weapons, when captured from enemies, were copied and put into use by the victors.

As for the Mesoamericans, did they know about wheels and sails prior to white domination?

I haven't seen any evidence of that.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2014 at 11:40
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

 



As for the Mesoamericans, did they know about wheels and sails prior to white domination?

I haven't seen any evidence of that.




It depends much upon exactly how You define "white domination" of Messopotamia, but anyway I suspect it is among the first regions to know about both wheels and sails, long before much of Europe. Like the ancient egyptians knew about sails and writing many thousands years ago. Long before the natives of say Britain or Scandinavia did know about such tings.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2014 at 14:52
Try "White arrival" then.

And we were talking about Mesoamerica, not mesopotamia.

Mesoamerica is a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to BelizeGuatemalaElSalvadorHondurasNicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.[1][2] It is one of six areas in the world where ancient civilization arose independently, and the second in the Americas after Norte Chico (Caral-Supe) in present-day northern coastal Peru.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Apr 2014 at 20:25
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Try "White arrival" then.

And we were talking about Mesoamerica, not mesopotamia.

Mesoamerica is a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to BelizeGuatemalaElSalvadorHondurasNicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.[1][2] It is one of six areas in the world where ancient civilization arose independently, and the second in the Americas after Norte Chico (Caral-Supe) in present-day northern coastal Peru.

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It seems I read it wrong then.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2014 at 02:23
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Try "White arrival" then.

And we were talking about Mesoamerica, not mesopotamia.

Mesoamerica is a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to BelizeGuatemalaElSalvadorHondurasNicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.[1][2] It is one of six areas in the world where ancient civilization arose independently, and the second in the Americas after Norte Chico (Caral-Supe) in present-day northern coastal Peru.

from Wiki.

It seems I read it wrong then.

That seems to be the case. But still you've posed an interesting question. If the world had been arranged differently, I still think that probably the same progress in the sciences, for example, would have been made.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2014 at 04:19
Mesoamericans developed the wheel, only as an intelectual concept (think on the Mayan calendar, for instance) and in toys. The Manteno people of Ecuador (Inca's neighbours) invented the sail. Some pictures you may enjoy.

Mesoamerican wheeled toys.



Manteno rafts. There is a Spanish chronicle about the encounter of a galleon with a raft, as depicted here. Thor Heyerdahl used a manteno raft: the famous Kon Tiki.


 





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 05:29
Having heard of them it is good to see the wheeled toys.  Of course, since Equator is in the Andes, I have to wonder if the reason why nobody thought of carts was too much vertical.  I imagine Nepal and Bhutan is also that way, and perhaps Tibet, perhaps Afghanistan.  A cart also would not be very handy in much of the Amazon in the pre-Columbian period.

If you have an interest in geography and culture, you might look at Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, or check out his shows on youtube.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 10:50
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

Having heard of them it is good to see the wheeled toys.  Of course, since Equator is in the Andes, I have to wonder if the reason why nobody thought of carts was too much vertical.  I imagine Nepal and Bhutan is also that way, and perhaps Tibet, perhaps Afghanistan.  A cart also would not be very handy in much of the Amazon in the pre-Columbian period.

If you have an interest in geography and culture, you might look at Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, or check out his shows on youtube.

A good example.
I for my part think there is any reason to see geographical differences as not only one but the major important factor that have influenced and made different cultures what they are. It is not so that the "modern World" could as easily have spread from anywhere, like, say the arctic regions. Probably the conditions where not favourable during the iceages either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Feb 2015 at 03:49
I look at geography as one angle from which one can look at the world, especially development.  Or to look at it another way, habitat destruction is probably the number one cause of extinction.  
man makes his own environment for better or worse, often for worse for other animals.  The lessons of geography are very good for looking at where we started out (well, maybe not that early), not necessarily where we are ending up.  Of course, Jared Diamond also wrote a book called "Collapse" and so that is a possiblity too.
To me, geography is one possible tool in the toolbox for understanding how to approach history.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Feb 2015 at 06:57
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I look at geography as one angle from which one can look at the world, especially development.  Or to look at it another way, habitat destruction is probably the number one cause of extinction.  
man makes his own environment for better or worse, often for worse for other animals.  The lessons of geography are very good for looking at where we started out (well, maybe not that early), not necessarily where we are ending up.  Of course, Jared Diamond also wrote a book called "Collapse" and so that is a possiblity too.
To me, geography is one possible tool in the toolbox for understanding how to approach history.
Reasons to see geography - or if some prefer it "natural environment" as a primary factor are:
1:Humans always live in some geographical "setting".
2:It was present from the "beginning" of human existence and before.
3:Everything else, all other elements of human existence, that is all artifacts and Tool, came in "secondary", as humans worked on "nature".
4:The same could be said about "culture", and "society".
5:About discussing were we "started" vs. discussing were we may "end up": The one is inside the domain of history - or at least of related fields. as for the discussion of the future that is strictly speaking outside the fields of historical disciplines and perhaps outside any truly 2academic" discipline as the future are notoriously difficult to predict with any good credibility.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Feb 2015 at 16:21
I think of the metaphor of having a fulcrum and lever and prying at something.  Depending on what one is trying to pry, different size fulcrums and different size levers can be useful.

You live in Denmark, Denmark has a very interesting geography as does Europe in general.  You are very knowledgeable about geography just from living there.  If you lived in Kansas though, where everything is flat and grassland (although now farmed).  Your innate understanding of geography would probably be "deficient" and geography would not be, to use another metaphor, _as_ useful measure for understanding the world around you,  In Colorado, we call Kansas the "land of ahhs" because when driving through Kansas, you come to the Colorado border, and let out a sigh of relief, ahhh.  In the Journal of Irreproducible Results, a mock scientific journal, someone once did a mathematical study showing that kansas is "flatter than a pancake."

Or to put it another way, in Colorado, what we call rivers either fast and narrow with whitewater, or slow and about hip deep.  These rivers become bigger along the way. But, I'm not really familiar with them along the way.  Therefore, I really don't have a good "innate" understanding of how waterways shape civilizations.  And so while I can look at writers of geographically oriented histories and enjoy them, I probably wouldn't be very useful at that approach myself.  So you may be right, geography may be the most useful way to look at history, but not everyone can fully utilize that tool.  I'm just saying that there is more than one tool in the historical toolbox, and some are good for some things, whereas other tools are good for other things.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2015 at 19:56
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

I think of the metaphor of having a fulcrum and lever and prying at something.  Depending on what one is trying to pry, different size fulcrums and different size levers can be useful.
Yes. The relevance of different tools depends upon what questions we seek to answer. In some limited parts of history geography may be less relevznt. In general I would expect it to be more important the more we look at history "at large" and not only at details, but at cultures or populations over time.
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


You live in Denmark, Denmark has a very interesting geography as does Europe in general.  You are very knowledgeable about geography just from living there.
Well, every people including danes have different levels of knowledge of geography.
I think a lot of geographical factors had much more direct effects upon the lives of practically everybody in the not so distant past.
Peronally I have a Danish, and partially norwegian background and the differences between those countries are very great - some woukld say extreme.
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

 If you lived in Kansas though, where everything is flat and grassland (although now farmed).  Your innate understanding of geography would probably be "deficient" and geography would not be, to use another metaphor, _as_ useful measure for understanding the world around you,  In Colorado, we call Kansas the "land of ahhs" because when driving through Kansas, you come to the Colorado border, and let out a sigh of relief, ahhh.  In the Journal of Irreproducible Results, a mock scientific journal, someone once did a mathematical study showing that kansas is "flatter than a pancake."

Or to put it another way, in Colorado, what we call rivers either fast and narrow with whitewater, or slow and about hip deep.  These rivers become bigger along the way. But, I'm not really familiar with them along the way.  Therefore, I really don't have a good "innate" understanding of how waterways shape civilizations.  And so while I can look at writers of geographically oriented histories and enjoy them, I probably wouldn't be very useful at that approach myself.  So you may be right, geography may be the most useful way to look at history, but not everyone can fully utilize that tool.  I'm just saying that there is more than one tool in the historical toolbox, and some are good for some things, whereas other tools are good for other things.

As an example of a historian that I think underestimate the importance of geography in relation to "his topic" I may mentiion Niall Fergusson and his treatment of "the West and the rest". Essentially he see it as a question of what is called "killer aps" (a bit "pop" history?)- democracy, science, competition, capitalism, law, medicine, Work ethic, christianity. As the "West" gives geographical associations the very question of what historically can be seen as "West" (or European) can not reasonably be separated from geography in my opinion(though I doubt other issues, genetical in particular, to be so important).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Mar 2015 at 06:45
I believe that where people live gives a tacit understanding of geography, and the more complex their local geography is (physical, social. political), the better that understanding is.  Soldiers from rural America had an especially hard time in an urban environment like Bagdad.  They often have poor instincts in assessing what is a threat and what is not.  Seeing a scene in a TV show of children playing on a street, I can think that, "well, I could see that in Denver."  But getting to New York, one can see people in the street, turn around and see more, and more, and more.  The kids playing in the street in Denver are exceptions, in New York, its the rule.  I like the car commercials where the car glides through traffic effortlessly, because that is precisely what doesn't happen in N.Y. or L.A. traffic.
Before settlers came, the Indians would not came out along the Platte "River" because the smoke would not go anywhere.  Due to geography, Denver (and L.A.) has an air inversion problem where smog tends not to blow away.  Mexico City also has an air inversion problem, and like Denver, Mexico City is a mile high in altitude.  Therefore, it is useful to compare the air pollution between Denver and Mexico City, because they're similar, but one has pollution control efforts, and the other doesn't.
So just from where you live, you might have a better sense of the role of geography in your life, part of the way we know things is through difference, and I imagine that you are aware of the complexity of geography both in an abstract sense, but also in a more personal sense that informs that more cerebral sense.
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