In "Guns, Germs, and Steel", why did Diamond begin chapter 2 with story of Maoris and Morioris?  

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jared Diamond starts chapter 2 with the story of the Maoris and the Morioris to illustrate the basis for his entire argument in the book, that biology had nothing to do with the dominance of one people over another.  The differences in these two groups stems from their environment or their geographic opportunities which leads to the development of each society.

"Both the Maori and the Moriori were Polynesians; the Moriori were descendants of a group of Maori who had colonized the Chatham Islands only a few centuries before. Biology was thus clearly not a factor in their separate fates."


The author uses these two peoples genetically compatible to illustrate his theory of how environment influences the ultimate development of a society.  The Maori came from a place that allowed them to create a stable society, as farmers, they were able to provide for the growing population, therefore, they moved past the basics of mere survival and developed into a society of conquers and warriors.

While the Moriori were hunter gatherers, and unable to sustain the growth of their population due to less availability of food, remained a small society devoted to the protection of their small group and therefore unable to focus their efforts or interests on anything except survival of their population.

By comparing these two groups of people, he illustrates the point that settled peoples, like the Maori, who were farmers and had a more sophisticated society with organization developed a different lifestyle than the Moriori who were hunter gatherers and instead of being warriors, were peaceful people who just wanted to protect themselves.

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Guns, Germs, and Steel

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