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The Clovis People, Managed a Boom

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Over the next ten thousand years these natives, such as the Clovis People, managed a boom, with their population increasing exponentially. This growth was uncontested anywhere else in the world. During this time, they spread from the Canadian Arctic, through the entire contiguous United States, and into the Pampas of Argentina, as evident from the wide range of arrowheads found through the Americas. It is widely believed this population explosion occurred at the cost of the “Giant America Mammals”. These mammals had evolved totally devoid of human interaction, and therefore had no perception of the Human threat. These gargantuan like the American Lion were therefore killed without much of a fight. Geologists have even pinpointed that around the same time the Clovis people would move south, these mammals would rapidly disappear. In addition, this population growth was also seen in the post-Colombian landing, where its estimated some two-hundred million natives were killed by the disease. In essence, at the time, the Old World and New World had the same population, yet the New World managed this growth in a far shorter time period, something which amazes archeologists studying the Clovis people.

Yet the question stills remain, why didn’t American cultures come to dominate those of the Old World. The author states simply that the lack of technological access and trade prohibited this greatly. Europe is an open continent, with oceans surrounding it, allowing Europeans to develop maritime capabilities and reach Asia both by land and sea. However, South American cultures were unable to do such. The most advanced societies, the Aztecs, and the Incas were separated. The Incas were never able to develop a navy due to the mountainous terrain they lived in. Likewise, they were unable to break past the jungles of Brazil and into Central America. In turn, the Aztecs were unable to do the same and reach the Incas. Much like Africa, the terrain was more of a deciding factor rather than resources.

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The major scientific concept the author repeatedly refers back to is archeological evidence. The author repeatedly made parallel points with the focus of their example and the fossil record. One such example, as I talked about above, was the extinction of the giant American mammals in tandem to the ‘colonizing’ of the Americas by the Clovis People. I found this parallel to be extremely useful to my understandings of the chapter. The author also always tried to point out counter-arguments to his theory and further explained why he decided to go with what he believed was right, such as the crossing of the Bering Strait and the use of boats. He also sparingly used his own experiences which I found very eye-opening, He briefly mentioned words he overheard a drunk Native American yell to surrounding whites, where he ‘damned’ the ship they came on. While it seems minor, I thought this was useful to show how detrimental, and influential, European conquest was. In addition, the author also uses geographical evidence to support his points, such as the reason why Africa proved far poorer at developing conquering societies than one would expect. The author repeatedly points to the implications of trade and maritime culture on societies, factors which heavily rely on the terrain.


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