illustrated profile of a man spitting in the same direction that a pistol and three steel bars are pointing

Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Jared Diamond

Start Free Trial

In Guns, Germs, and Steel; referencing chapters 11-13. According to  Diamond: why did guns and steel originate in Eurasia?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
There are two main reasons for the fact that Eurasia was so far ahead of the rest of the world in technological innovation. Both reasons were related to geography. Eurasia’s size and its luck in terms of agriculture were what allowed it to achieve such innovations. The first cause of Eurasian dominance was the fact that Eurasia developed agriculture first. Eurasia had more domesticable species than other continents. It also had a concentration of such species in an area (the Fertile Crescent) which had good growing conditions. These factors allowed agriculture to develop there first. Agriculture allows for greater population concentrations and it allows for the creation of food surpluses. This makes it possible for more people to work in fields other than farming. Some of these people can develop new technologies. The second cause was Eurasia’s large size and relatively easy routes along with technology could diffuse. As technologies arose, they were spread to other parts of Eurasia. People could then build on those technologies and the resulting innovations, in turn, would spread. This virtuous cycle occurred again and again, resulting in a situation where technology could advance much more rapidly than it could in smaller places or places whose populations could not easily share technology. Thus, Eurasia’s size and its agricultural luck allowed it to develop “guns and steel” before any other continent did.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team