1. Identify and describe four reasons for the rise of polity in agrarian societies?
To facilitate decision-making
To organize collective action
To effect military action
To resolve conflict and promote a civil society
To manage the economic surplus
2. According to Jared Diamond’s argument in “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, where did food production first occur and why did it occur there?
The earliest agrarian societies, what everyone calls “civilization” began in the Fertile Crescent because that place offered people a “package” of plants and animals that could be domesticated. People of the Fertile Crescent and others in Eurasia entered the modern world with more advanced subsistence technology, more advanced social technology (especially writing), and more epidemic diseases largely because of their biophysical environment.
Of the world’s thousands of wild grass species, 56 produce enough seed to be good candidates for domestication as cereals. The Fertile Crescent and nearby areas had 32 of these species growing wild. The Fertile Crescent was also blessed with a greater variety of edible wild legumes, which could be domesticated to provide protein.
Why the Fertile Crescent? It was the combination of climate (mild, wet winters and long hot, dry summers) and geographical variety (a wide range of attitudes and topographies) and the richness of the flora (32 of the 56 wild grasses) and fauna (4 of the 5 main domesticated large mammals—goat, sheep, cow, pig), (Diamond 136)
The East-West Axis (Diamond 181) shares the same latitude, same day length, and tend to share same diseases, temperature, rainfall, types of vegetation.
3. Identify and describe four main ways in which the European discovery of the new world changed the old world.
Increased the wealth of Europe by pouring in gold and silver from the new world; Europe also experienced a century of inflation
Created new markets for Europe
Increase economic activity in Europe
Changed the basis of inequality from land to money (a big benefit to the merchants and entrepreneurs and a big disadvantage to the landed aristocracy)
Shifted the center of Eurasian trade and commerce from the Middle East to Europe
Increased the money...