Collapse Of Norse Greenland Essay

1719 words - 7 pages

The fourth point of Diamond’s framework is friendly neighbors. As previously discussed, in Diamond’s view the Norse Greenlanders did not have a very good relationship with their neighbors the Inuits, which decreased trade between them. Also, as the weather became colder, and the icebergs increased, it was more difficult to take trade ships in and out of Greenland, causing loss of support from their trade partners in Scandinavia. The Greenlanders also had missed their opportunity to trade with people from North America. Since Scandinavia was the only “home” trade partner, the loss of trade from here had a very large impact on the Viking people. The necessities that they needed, such as timber ...view middle of the document...

67). Also, another reason that their friendly neighbors relationships diminished is because of the Norse Greenlanders status and acceptable lifestyle. As they didn’t want to change their religion and beliefs, instead they pulled themselves away from outside cultures and religions. They may have been able to successfully follow Inuit styles and traditions on how to live, which may have helped create a friendly neighbor; instead, they chose to not be helped and helped them to not continue living in Greenland successfully.
Diamond’s last point revolves around the society’s response to environmental damage, and their faulty social values. A very important factor to any society’s ability to adapt and respond to change is their culture and values. How a society chooses to act and react based on their own values significantly affect how well they will survive. According to Diamond, The Greenland Norse “trash middensf” indicated a lack of marine animals such as fish and seal bones, both which were two abundant food sources during the collapse of the Vikings. As a result of this lack of utilizing resources, it appeared to Diamond that the Norse did not adapt to the hunting methods used by the Inuit that would have helped them survive by killing whales and seals as food and supply source. As they did not utilize these sources, they became malnourished and died from starvation. Diamond believes that the Greenlanders had already set themselves up to fail as they destroyed any possible relationships with the Inuit. As the Inuits followed more pagan practices, the Greenlanders became arrogant and thought that the skraelings (Inuits) couldn’t teach them anything of importance. As a cause of this, there was no intermarrying between the two people, and thus the Inuits knowledge of kayak building and hunting did not help the Greenlanders to survive. Also, the Norse farming practices that had previously been successful did not help them in Greenland. Instead, it caused destruction to the ability to survive in Greenland. Another adaptation that would have been helpful is to learn to live more off the land rather than their livestock, which they had a high preference for. As they did not wish to adapt, they did not change their ways when they began damaging their environment. They began to then increase their competition for dwindling resources. Another factor was that was theorized by Diamond was the social class system that was tied to the Christian church condemned them as there was few resources to support the import of items that helped represent their faith for the church. In Questioning Collapse McAnany and Yoffee seem to agree that the Norse Greenlanders “had some difficulty accepting a lifestyle that was not primarily based on traditional farming” (p. 68). They didn’t have difficulty switching their diets, however they did have a problem maintaining their status and acceptable lifestyle. However, in opposing from Diamond, McAnany and Yoffee believed that,...

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