Chapter 18 Summary

An in-depth comparison of Eurasian and Native American societies in A.D. 1492, when Columbus sailed to the New World, shows why Eurasians were able to come close to replacing Native Americans on the American continents. The biggest difference was in large domestic animal species, which were so much more numerous in Eurasia. Plant domestication was less widespread in the Americas for a variety of reasons, as is discussed in earlier chapters. Even where agriculture was well-developed, the available plant species were less advantageous in the Americas. Corn, which is low in protein, was the main cereal crop. People had to plant their crops by hand rather than using animals to plow.

These differences in food production led...

(The entire section is 701 words.)