• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Jared Diamond versus Charles Mann on the Sophistication of Metalwork in Native America

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Jared Diamond versus Charles Mann on the Sophistication of Metalwork in Native America Jared Diamond's theory in his book Guns, Germs and Steel states that the Europeans were able to conquer the Natives because of their favorable geography, a key factor that lent itself to the manufacturing of steel and which Charles Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, also discusses in detail. Both Diamond and Mann agree that the centuries of experience in making steel weaponry in Eurasia gave the Spanish conquistadors an advantage over the Natives in combat; however, Diamond claims that the Europeans had an upper hand because their metal work was more sophisticated, whereas the Natives were merely "stuck in the bronze age," (3) for which he discredits their advancements in metal technology. On the contrary, Mann contends that the Natives' metal work was more advanced than their European counterparts (3), and that the indigenous societies "may not have had steel for weapons, but [they] did highly sophisticated work with other metals" (3). Although Europeans had more experience in working with metal, and in developing different techniques in manufacturing metal that seemed more refined, Mann argues in 1491 that the Natives' techniques and use for metal was not nearly as primitive as what Diamond presumes in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel. ...read more.

Middle

There are many different qualities needed in a sword that the Europeans had to consider: "First of all, the metal had to be hard enough to take a sharp edge, and that requires steel that is iron infused with carbon, and the more carbon one puts into the iron, then the harder the metal will be. But if it is too hard, then it will be brittle, and that would not work because when someone would hit someone else with his sword, then the sword would break" (3). The Europeans also had to consider pliability as a factor, because an ability to bend and spring back into shape was important in combat (3). Diamond argued that it took centuries of experimentation for the Spanish to perfect the techniques needed to make the deadly rapier, and he concluded that the "budding metal mongers"(Diamond 97) had nowhere near the experience necessary to build these kind of weapons. In contrast to Diamond's ideas about the use of metal, Mann argues that the Natives were far ahead of the Europeans when it came to working with the metal; and given the right resources, the Natives could have easily beaten the Europeans in combat. ...read more.

Conclusion

In summary, Diamond and Mann agree that the weaponry in Eurasia allowed the conquistadors to conquer the Inca; however, they are strongly divided in identifying which culture is more advanced as far as metal working techniques, in addition to the culture's main influences and uses of metallurgy. Mann believes that the Natives' metalwork manifests a high degree of sophistication, and that the European efforts to come up with different techniques were not nearly as advanced. Diamond believes that the European techniques were more advanced, and he attributes this to the centuries of experience from the Fertile Crescent. Mann and Diamond both present convincing arguments, and it is difficult to determine who is more convincing, since both have valid points. The issue comes down to whether the Natives or the Europeans were more advanced in metalwork. Judging by both arguments, Mann's case is more convincing because he provides great support by directly comparing the ways that each culture manipulated metal, which showed that the Natives had more advanced and sophisticated techniques. Literature Cited (1) www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/show/transcript2.html (2) www.threemonkeysonline.com/threemon_article_ancient_americans_charles_ mann_interview.htm (3) www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2005/09/04/Native_ingenuity/?page=full (4) http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/show/episode2.html (5) 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by: Charles C. Mann (6) Germs, Guns, and Steel by: Jared Diamond ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Design and Technology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Design and Technology essays

  1. Nano technology - Screen technology is a fast changing technology area.

    difficult to position your explanation to articulate the significant amount of capital it would take to bring the product to market. Take this concept to the next level when talking about "platform technologies", where different application domains become into view.

  2. The proposed design project is to design, produce and evaluate an innovative recycled clock, ...

    Conclusion: - I am going to use the machine for cutting the plywood to shape. This will allow me a greater degree of accuracy. Test # 5 (i) Aim: - Test stapling of plywood to back supporting piece, hopefully it will be a success.

  1. Free essay

    Systems Case Study

    On Canary Wharf's computers, many applications can be run concurrently, each in a different window. The main elements and what Canary Wharf uses to protect are as follows: * Individual passwords * Team passwords * Firewalls * Encryption * No personal e-mails * Anti virus software How I will gather the information?

  2. Research in the uses of silicon

    Using this method, silicon carbide, SiC, can form. However, provided the amount of SiO2 is kept high, silicon carbide may be eliminated, as explained by this equation: 2 SiC + SiO2 � 3 Si + 2 CO In 2005, metallurgical grade silicon cost about $ 0.77 per pound ($1.70/kg)

  1. Economic impact of genetic engineering Genetic engineering (GE) is a recently developed technology that ...

    be offset as it has been in the United States by lowering labor costs. The costs of GE seeds are too high for farmers from developing countries to implement their usage. The costs of implementing this technology will not be offset by the benefits that farmers in the US have received.

  2. Genetic engineering (GE) is a recently developed technology that allows the alteration of the ...

    Clearly the fact that Roundup Ready soy, the most highly used commercial GMO product, has lower yields than traditional soy products we can dismiss the main argument given by the biotech industry that they are trying to help end world hunger.

  1. The Technological advancements of the Twentieth Century have hindered mankind's physical, moral and spiritual ...

    Surely then such an expedient invention could not have caused harm to humanity. However with such ingenuity comes inadequacy namely mans failure or recklessness to control machine. Or the impossibility of such invention to overcome the difficulties presented in every scenario. Pursuant to this road accidents have claimed human lives.

  2. The Differences and Assimilation of Chinese and American Diet

    Examples include fried chicken, French fries, burgers and fries, etc. Local families in America like to do baking, which is generally applied to breads, pastries, manicotti, lasagna and other sweet confections. There is a significant difference between Chinese and American cooking methods.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work