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Why was the New World So Underdeveloped when Europeans arrived.docx

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Department
Economics
Course Code
ECON 3R03
Professor
Jack Leach

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th Why was the New World So Underdeveloped when Europeans arrived? Zahra Haidari March 4 2013 Eurasia has an east-west orientation – Climate is broadly similar across much of the landmass – crops domesticated in the Fertile Crescent spread rapidly to other areas – Would later spread to the “neo-Europes”: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United States, South Africa, Chile Eurasia – 19/20 were engaged in producing food China had faster development occurring Fortunate endowments- we see early developments of agriculture and civilization. Farming in the New World ● Corn was the leading crop of North America ● The ancestors of modern corn were much less productive in the wild – Less seed, and the seeds were enclosed in hard coverings – Had to be selectively cultivated for hundreds or thousands of years to attain high productivity Development of corn took place in central America It has a north south orientation therefore the climate would not allow the crop to be grown everywhere It took a long time to adopt crops because of geographical location, technology spread a lot slower ● North America has north-south orientation, with many natural barriers (mountains or deserts) that separate it into isolated regions – The transfer of crops was slow and difficult ● “Foundation” crops of eastern North America ● Squash, sunflower, sumpweed, goosefoot: all grown for their edible seeds ● Crops are domesticated around 2000 B.C. – Supplements only: people continued to be huntergatherers. Growing food was a hobby instead of a primary source of food. ● Mexican crops eventually arrive: corn in 200 A.D., beans in 1100 A.D. – Eastern North Americans begin to rely on farming after the arrival of these two crops – Large population develop along Missouri River ● Great climate, but originally nothing to work with ● Compare: the first cities were in existence in Mesopotamia (in the Fertile Crescent) by 3500 B.C. Complimentary proteins: corn and beans complete each other’s proteins Man power was extremely important in Europe North America was thousands of years behind Europe. Most plants weren’t even available in North America. The plants that were available required a lot of domestication. Food Supply: Animals ● successfully domesticated large mammals are almost exclusively of Eurasian origin ● Important for meat, milk products, fertilizer, leather, wool, transport, power Eurasia was fortunately endowed by animals that could easily be domesticated. The manoeuver of animals was used to fertilize crops- this was VITAL for progressing in agriculture. Large Domesticated Mammals of Global Importance (a) Most large mammals became extinct 13,000 years ago, possibly hunted to extinction (b) Humans hunted
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