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Farmers would clear more forest, and the cycle would begin anew. In the past, he knew, landlords hadn’t understood that renting their unused upland property would have disastrous consequences. “So would everyone else’s trees, probably. Rather than paving roads, Indians used fire to make what the ecological historian Stephen J. Pyne has called “corridors of travel. Farmers had no idea where the creature had come from or how to stop it from eating their potato fields to the ground. Claim yours: Also: Because Brain Pickings is in its fourteenth year and because I write primarily about ideas of a timeless character, I have decided to plunge into my vast archive every Wednesday and choose from the thousands of essays one worth resurfacing and resavoring. Driven by an unusually wet summer, it turned gardens all around me into slime. If you find any joy and solace in this labor of love, please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good lunch. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created explores what happened when the New World and Old World came into contact from an ecological, biological, and economic perspective. Eurasian bacteria, viruses, and parasites sweep through the Americas, killing huge numbers of people—and unraveling the millennia-old network of human intervention. Slavery was part of the furniture of everyday life; in both Europe and Africa, depriving others of their liberty wasn’t morally problematic, though it was bad to enslave the wrong person. You can beam some bit-love my way: 197usDS6AsL9wDKxtGM6xaWjmR5ejgqem7. A similar famine in the United States today would kill almost forty million people. 1493: An Uncommon History of How Columbus Changed the World, Singularity: Marie Howe’s Ode to Stephen Hawking, Our Cosmic Belonging, and the Meaning of Home, in a Stunning Animated Short Film, The Cosmic Miracle of Trees: Astronaut Leland Melvin Reads Pablo Neruda’s Love Letter to Earth’s Forests, How Kepler Invented Science Fiction and Defended His Mother in a Witchcraft Trial While Revolutionizing Our Understanding of the Universe, 13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings, Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert, Rebecca Solnit’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Books Solace, Empower, and Transform Us, Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives, In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on Living Through Turbulent Times, A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca on the Antidote to Anxiety, The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Again maroons led Europeans in a silent march through the forest, arriving at the ambush site on April 1. Instead the floods continued until the dynasty fell, an event the floods had helped to bring about. Hunger was a familiar presence in the Europe of the Little Ice Age, where cold weather killed crops even as Spanish silver drove up prices. If they killed the beasts, gun-waving colonists demanded payment. In a violent stasis, guerrilla warfare between plantations and runaways continued for almost two hundred years. The encomienda can be thought of as an attempt to answer the objections to slavery raised by Adam Smith. According to J. R. McNeill, the Georgetown historian of mosquito-borne disease, the British army lost roughly 10 percent of its troops every month between June and November of 1794. Roughly speaking, the boundary between these two types of society was Chesapeake Bay, not far from what would become the boundary between slave and non-slave states in the United States. To propel growth, the roots suck up water from three to six feet below the surface. Until the nineteenth century, worms like these were viewed as agricultural pests. American silver may have pushed the Ming over the edge; American crops certainly helped kick out the underpinnings of the tottering Qing dynasty. Suriname’s planters begged for help. Something about Ireland was uniquely vulnerable—but what? Fenced fields kept animals in; fenced woodlots kept poachers out. The Pacific, where the major introductions were American food crops, which both helped sustain a population boom and led indirectly to massive environmental problems. Captives would be taken by the king or given for sale to middlemen, who would take them to customers in North Africa or Europe. In the late 1970s the nation began its economic reforms. https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/08/24/1493-charles-mann/ The company had built a new road to facilitate harvest. Pigs turned out to like tuckahoe—a lot. They were happy to learn when Indians showed them how to fish by scattering poison in a tributary or make protective “boots” by melting latex over their feet or squeeze the bitter compounds out of manioc with long, tubular baskets. One of these was tuckahoe, the tuber Indians relied upon when their maize harvests failed. The effects of this transformation were so striking that any general history of Europe without an entry in its index for S. tuberosum should be ignored. Many Africans had lived in tropical environments before being shipped across the ocean. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically.As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. But was the certainty of incurring discontent worth the gamble of an American colony? The effort collapsed in November 1803, having lost 50,000 of its 65,000 troops. A big increase in scale insects would have led to a big increase in fire ants. Indians woke up to find free-range cows and horses romping through their fields, trampling the harvest.

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