Guns Germs And Steel episode 1: Jared Diamond’s journey of discovery began on the island of Papua New Guinea. There, in 1974, a local named Yali asked Diamond a deceptively simple question: Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo, but we black people had little cargo of our own??
Why were Europeans the ones with all the cargo? Why had they taken over so much of the world, instead of the native people of New Guinea? How did Europeans end up with what Diamond terms the agents of conquest: guns, germs and steel? It was these agents of conquest that allowed 168 Spanish conquistadors to defeat an Imperial Inca army of 80,000 in 1532, and set a pattern of European conquest which would continue right up to the present day.
Diamond knew that the answer had little to do with ingenuity or individual skill. From his own experience in the jungles of New Guinea, he had observed that native hunter-gatherers were just as intelligent as people of European descent — and far more resourceful. Their lives were tough, and it seemed a terrible paradox of history that these extraordinary people should be the conquered, and not the conquerors.
At the end of the last Ice Age, around thirteen thousand years ago, people on all continents followed a so-called Stone Age way of life ? they survived by hunting and gathering the available wild animals and
plants. When resources were plentiful, this was a productive way of life. Around eleven and a half thousand years ago, the world’s climate suddenly changed. In an aftershock of the Ice Age, temperatures plummeted and global rainfall reduced.
The impact of this catastrophe was felt most keenly in an area known as the Fertile Crescent, in the modern Middle East. Here, hunter-gathers had thrived on some of the most useful and plentiful flora and fauna in the world. They had even developed semi-permanent settlements to exploit the resources around them.
Diamond realized that YaliÂ´s question penetrated the heart of a great mystery of human history — the roots of global inequality. To examine the reasons for European success, Jared realized he had to peel back the layers of history and begin his search at a time of equality a time when all the peoples of the world lived in exactly the same way.
Guns Germs And Steel episode 1
Based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.
Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality. As he peeled back the layers of history to uncover fundamental, environmental factors shaping the destiny of humanity, Diamond found both his theories and his own endurance tested. The three one-hour programs were filmed across four continents on High Definition digital video, and combinied ambitious dramatic reconstruction with moving documentary footage and computer animation.
They also include contributions from Diamond himself and a wealth of international historians, archeologists and scientists. Guns, Germs, and Steel is a thrilling ride through the elemental forces which have shaped our world and which continue to shape our future.