In Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, what is the region known as the Fertile Crescent and what advantages led it to be the earliest site of human food production, as well as the reasons why...

In Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, what is the region known as the Fertile Crescent and what advantages led it to be the earliest site of human food production, as well as the reasons why it later lost its comparative advantages? How does the evolution of Assyria illustrate these arguments?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Named because of its shape and former qualities, the Fertile Crescent is located in what was once Mesopotamia, it was a rich, fertile land that extended to the ancient countries of Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, and Phonecia. The Nile Valley is also included in this region, and  while the land was capable of much production of foods, it required irrigation that the Nile afforded. This region saw the beginning of the control of crops as people began to plant grains from seeds that were larger than others and were more profitable to them such as barley and wheat. This process, which is known as domestication, led to the end of some migration to find food sources; consequently, communities began to form.

As the birthplace of agriculture, the Fertile Crescent, it was the place where the Neolithic Revolution began. That is, the Fertile Cresent was where the transformation of nomads from Stone Age became settled populations who constructed settlements and towns. Author Jared Diamond proffers,

One way to explain the complexity and unpredictability of historical systems, despite their ultimate determinacy, is to note that long chains of causation may separate final effects from ultimate causes lying outside the domain of that field....” 

It is there that the Sumerians scratched wedge-shaped symbols into clay tablets and created the world's first script. Further, with the evolution of Assyria trade opened among nations and language became widespread. With these advances, governments developed with kings to rule, and conflicts with Babylon ensued. Consequently, redistribution began as well as conflicts with the growth of food production as more settlements came, creating a pressure for people to organize. As the larger population formed societies, larger communities conquered the smaller ones.

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