Before early humans developed agriculture, they relied on hunting and gathering for food.
The development of agriculture always preceded the development of early societies. When a people leave their nomadic lifestyle and turn to a sedentary life they must rely on agriculture. As agriculture develops, so does the society in a number of ways. Agriculture sparks the development of and speed of the evolution of germs, writing, technology, and government in early societies. Domestication and raising of livestock exposes humans to animal diseases and increases the spread of lethal germs and diseases.
Domestication of animals for certain traits can cause rare diseases to come into play. When raising livestock people interact with animals more than they would if they were hunting for food. The animals had to be cleaned, fed, and cooperated with on a daily basis. This interaction between humans and animals, allows germs to develop the ability to spread to a human host (Diamond 205). Most lethal disease in the world today come from some animal or another.
Some examples are leprosy, which comes from dogs; AIDS, which comes from a virus in wild African Monkeys; and syphilis, coming from sheep (Diamond 197).When people are sedentary and live in dense societies these diseases are then more easily spread. When people lived a nomadic life, if one person was ill, he or she would eventually have to be left behind or would even just die (Diamond 203). When people are sedentary they attempt to heal the sick person.
The person stays near the people and is not separated, the people of the society still interact with that person, and the disease spreads. Agriculture and livestock domestication were prominent in the old world but was not developed in the new world when Columbus discovered it.For this reason "the Indian population decline in the century or two following Columbus's arrival is estimated to have been as large as 95 percent" (Diamond 211). This decline being mostly attributed to the spread and deliberate use of lethal germs and diseases. But the only lethal disease that was sent to the old world that actually posed a problem was malaria, which came from mosquitos in the new world.
Knowing this, we can conclude that domestication and raising of livestock greatly impacted the development and increased the spread of lethal germs and diseases in early developing societies.Agriculture inspired the creation of new technology for easier work and also the creation of a writing system for more accurate record-keeping. Agriculture often provides the inspiration for new tools and technology. Tools such as those used to make the workload lighter or easier. This new technology allows for easier transportation, greater harvests, and more complex societies (Diamond 260).
This also allows societies to trade with other societies and develop their own societies. When trade becomes prominent, there is a need for accurate record-keeping.Memory does not always work so these developing societies created a form of writing. This form of writing allows for easier trade and the spread of ideas (Diamond 228).
Scribes kept records of everything, including technology. These records of technology cause the spread of it. Societies that traded with one another would trade food, technology, and the accidental spread of diseases. Therefore, when steel weaponry was invented in one area, or agriculture began in another, or smallpox in yet another, they would all three spread out from the sources faster than they would have before trade began.
Writing systems were invented in some parts of the new world such as Central America, but it was not as widespread as in the old world; this is why technology was not as widespread in the new world as in the old world (Diamond 261). The new world was cut off from the old world which is why steel weaponry was prominent throughout the old world but not in the new world. This is another reason why the native population of the new world was so easily diminished. Overall, agriculture provides the motivation for the creation of tools.The creation of tools makes harvests more rewarding. More rewarding harvests allows for trade of additional products.
Trade sparks the need for an accurate form of record-keeping. Record-keeping provides the need for a writing system to be created. Writing helps the spread of ideas and tools such as weaponry to other less developed societies. Agriculture and increased trade inspires the need for a stable government in developing societies (Diamond 283).
With increased trade and the need for record-keeping, there is a need for someone who keeps these records.This someone will organize trade and watch over all these people in the form of laws. These sedentary societies are becoming more complex and need someone to rule over them and their daily activities to keep the society in proper condition. In other words, they need the creation of a central government.
The government will watch over trade and affairs and make sure that all people have enough food, as well as provide protection. These people are those who work for the government doing jobs such as participating in the military, creating weapons, or keeping records for the government.These people would not have to farm for themselves but would be provided with food for doing their jobs. The people who provide the food would be provided with protection.
All is kept under control by this central government (Diamond 267). With a strong central government, the society will develop faster, become more complex, and create better technology. The society's focus can be on becoming more developed now that it has a strong leader making sure that all tasks are being completed and the economy is stable.Government was well developed in the old world, which provides another reason for the old world to have had better technology to conquer the native peoples of the new world. Thus we can see that agriculture and increased trade causes the development of government in early societies. Agriculture sparks the development of and speed of the evolution of a society as a whole.
Domestication causes the spread of viruses, and life based around agriculture increases the spread of such viruses. Increased reliance on agriculture inspires the development of tools to make the work load easier and lighter.With the easier work load, harvests became more rewarding, allowing for trade of abundant resources. This marks the need for record-keeping and essentially a form of writing. Increased trade and interaction with other societies inspires the creation of government. Therefore now we can see that agriculture is the beginning of the development of a society.
Therefore, as we see in history when the new world was discovered, agriculture was the key determinant for which society will conquer the other.Agriculture began in the Fertile Crescent, therefore the old world became advanced sooner and essentially faster than the New World. That is the best example and representation of how agriculture is one of the key factors in the development of a society. When early societies turned from hunting and gathering to agriculture it set in a long line of many other factors that led to the societies present in the world today.
That is why when the New world was discovered at its pre-agricultural state it was conquered by post-agricultural old world.