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Gun, Germs and Steel, what is one important impact of domesticating animals on the...

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 13, 2011 at 7:10 AM via web

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Gun, Germs and Steel, what is one important impact of domesticating animals on the relationships between people in society regarding state formation?

What would be the best answer for this question from chapters 1-11?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 13, 2011 at 6:58 PM (Answer #1)

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I would turn to Chapter Eleven if I were you and look at the way in which proximity to large numbers of domestic animals meant that populations gained a resistence to diseases which therefore led them to carrying such diseases to the new countries that they "discovered" with an absolutely lethal impact. It is clear that this gave European societies a real "edge" in terms of their dominance over other societies, and not just in the New World of the Americas, as the following quote makes clear:

Eurasian germs played a key role in decimating native peoples in many other parts of the world, including Pacific islanders, Aboriginal Australians, and the Khoisan peoples... of southern Africa. Cumulative mortalities of these previously unexposed peoples from Eurasian germs ranged from 50 percent to 100 percent.

This clearly indicates that although domesitcating animals was of course important for many societies in terms of their development and the ability to farm more effectively and transport, by far the biggest (and most unknown) advantage was the diseases that such a close proximity to animals brought with it.

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