Essay on A Short History of the World J. M. Roberts

Essay on A Short History of the World J. M. Roberts

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In A Short History of the World J. M. Roberts argues, “The Coming of Agriculture changed life so much and so deeply that nothing since would have been possible without it” (Roberts 1993, 22). Prior to the emergence of agriculture, and "for most of human history, people lived in relatively small groups, gathering, fishing, and hunting what they needed from their immediate environments" (Goucher and Walton 2013, 36). Because of the unpredictable nature of this way of life, hunting, gathering and fishing could not sustain large groups of people for extended periods of time. Seasonal influences, animal migrations or even human pressures on the environment often forced people to move their settlements to areas that could sustain their survival. On a larger scale, migrations were typically precipitated by factors including: changes in climate such as recession of glacial ice, population increases that exhausted or stressed natural resources, sudden ecological changes caused by floods and volcanoes and the emergence of technologies such as communication, use of tools and metals, and the advent of agriculture.
Over time, as humans' relationships to their environment changed, their subsistence strategies had to change. Climatic changes that produced droughts in once fertile and productive areas made it impossible for hunting and gathering people to maintain their mobile way of life. Being forced to stay close to any source of water they could find, they began planting fields of wheat and barley around them (Guns, Germs and Steel, 2005). Increased production of grain required the development of storage technologies which would then permit people to store their grains for long periods of time. Production and storage of grains allowed peop...


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... revolution are felt even today as most of civilization is concerned with innovation, commerce and politics and can leave matters of basic sustenance to the select part of society that ensures it is always available for our consumption. Success, to most, is no longer defined by survival, but by surplus.


Bibliography


Goucher, Candice, and Linda Walton. World History: Journeys from Past to Present. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Guns, Germs and Steel. Directed by Tim Lambert. National Geographic Television and Film. 2005.

*Roberts, J. M. A Short History of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Sundermann, Elizabeth. Agriculture and Urban Revolutions. Class lecture, University of Washington, Tacoma, WA, April 16, 2014.



*I cited this source only because I incorporated the quote from the prompt, not because I referenced the source.

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