Populations migrated from Asia to the Americas when sea levels were lowered by 100 meters due to the expanding glaciers and ice sheets of the last ice age, and dry land linked Alaska to Siberia (Lamb 112). One group, the Incans, settled along the Andes. Since the only beast of burden, the llama, was too small to carry a man, they lived mostly sedentary lives. They also stratified their populations on the sides of the Andes to take advantage of the different capacities of the land (growing cotton at sea level, maize on the piedmont, and potatoes in the highlands). For people living in the Amazon basin, the climate induced them to be even less materialistic. Belongings left in a thatch-and-pole hut by semi-nomadic people would be destroyed through a combination of humidity and insects by the time the roamers returned to the settlement (Place 22). The Indians also developed a social structure in which each individual Indian would be responsible for possessing mentally all the necessary information for making a living in a tropical rainforest: hunting practices, habits of particular game animals, rituals, food manufacture, and crop varieties (Roosevelt 23).
After the arrival of the Europeans, indigenous peoples died from new diseases like smallpox, measles, and typhus in what was eventually called the “largest demographic collapse in history” (Webb). While the indigenous populations were struggling to survive, European colonizers were moving in with horses, dogs, cattle, chickens, and slav...
... middle of paper ...
...ssed 20 November 2004.
Place, Susan E., ed. Tropical Rainforests: Latin American Nature and Society in Transition. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1993.
Roosevelt, Anna. Amazonian Indians from Prehistory to the Present: Anthropological Perspectives. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1994.
“Rubber: War.” Pulse of the Planet. National Science Foundation. Program #2233, September 2000. http://www.pulseplanet.com/archive/Sep00/2233.html. Accessed 20 November 2004.
“Rubber: Boom.” Pulse of the Planet. National Science Foundation. Program #2232, September 2000. http://www.pulseplanet.com/archive/Sep00/2232.html. Accessed 20 November 2004.
Steffen, Alex. “Fome Zero.” WorldChanging: Another World is Here. 4 December 2003. http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/000168.html. Accessed 20 November 2004.
Webb, James. Lecture. Colby College. 7 March 2004.
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