It makes sense in context

No wait it doesn't

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I asked seven anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians if they would rather have been a typical Indian or a typical European in 1491. None was delighted by the question, because it required judging the past by the standards of today—a fallacy disparaged as “presentism” by social scientists. But every one chose to be an Indian. Some early colonists gave the same answer. Horrifying the leaders of Jamestown and Plymouth, scores of English ran off to live with the Indians. My ancestor shared their desire, which is what led to the trumped-up murder charges against him—or that’s what my grandfather told me, anyway.

As for the Indians, evidence suggests that they often viewed Europeans with disdain. The Hurons, a chagrined missionary reported, thought the French possessed “little intelligence in comparison to themselves.” Europeans, Indians said, were physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain dirty. (Spaniards, who seldom if ever bathed, were amazed by the Aztec desire for personal cleanliness.) A Jesuit reported that the “Savages” were disgusted by handkerchiefs: “They say, we place what is unclean in a fine white piece of linen, and put it away in our pockets as something very precious, while they throw it upon the ground.” The Micmac scoffed at the notion of French superiority. If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants leaving?

Like people everywhere, Indians survived by cleverly exploiting their environment. Europeans tended to manage land by breaking it into fragments for farmers and herders. Indians often worked on such a grand scale that the scope of their ambition can be hard to grasp. They created small plots, as Europeans did (about 1.5 million acres of terraces still exist in the Peruvian Andes), but they also reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes. A principal tool was fire, used to keep down underbrush and create the open, grassy conditions favorable for game. Rather than domesticating animals for meat, Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison. The first white settlers in Ohio found forests as open as English parks—they could drive carriages through the woods. Along the Hudson River the annual fall burning lit up the banks for miles on end; so flashy was the show that the Dutch in New Amsterdam boated upriver to goggle at the blaze like children at fireworks. In North America, Indian torches had their biggest impact on the Midwestern prairie, much or most of which was created and maintained by fire. Millennia of exuberant burning shaped the plains into vast buffalo farms. When Indian societies disintegrated, forest invaded savannah in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Texas Hill Country. Is it possible that the Indians changed the Americas more than the invading Europeans did? “The answer is probably yes for most regions for the next 250 years or so” after Columbus, William Denevan wrote, “and for some regions right up to the present time.”

Quoted from the essay "1941" written by Charles C. Mann, about the major impact that Native Americans had on the Americas (ecologically and culturally) before white people invaded, bringing their diseases and shoving Christianity down the Indians’ throats and murdering them and banning their cultures.

Check out the whole piece (which is rather long). (P.S thanks to @cazalis for sending me this great link)

another excerpt:

Human history, in Crosby’s interpretation, is marked by two world-altering centers of invention: the Middle East and central Mexico, where Indian groups independently created nearly all of the Neolithic innovations, writing included. The Neolithic Revolution began in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. In the next few millennia humankind invented the wheel, the metal tool, and agriculture. The Sumerians eventually put these inventions together, added writing, and became the world’s first civilization. Afterward Sumeria’s heirs in Europe and Asia frantically copied one another’s happiest discoveries; innovations ricocheted from one corner of Eurasia to another, stimulating technological progress. Native Americans, who had crossed to Alaska before Sumeria, missed out on the bounty. “They had to do everything on their own,” Crosby says. Remarkably, they succeeded.

When Columbus appeared in the Caribbean, the descendants of the world’s two Neolithic civilizations collided, with overwhelming consequences for both. American Neolithic development occurred later than that of the Middle East, possibly because the Indians needed more time to build up the requisite population density. Without beasts of burden they could not capitalize on the wheel (for individual workers on uneven terrain skids are nearly as effective as carts for hauling), and they never developed steel. But in agriculture they handily outstripped the children of Sumeria. Every tomato in Italy, every potato in Ireland, and every hot pepper in Thailand came from this hemisphere. Worldwide, more than half the crops grown today were initially developed in the Americas.

Maize, as corn is called in the rest of the world, was a triumph with global implications. Indians developed an extraordinary number of maize varieties for different growing conditions, which meant that the crop could and did spread throughout the planet. Central and Southern Europeans became particularly dependent on it; maize was the staple of Serbia, Romania, and Moldavia by the nineteenth century. Indian crops dramatically reduced hunger, Crosby says, which led to an Old World population boom.

Along with peanuts and manioc, maize came to Africa and transformed agriculture there, too. “The probability is that the population of Africa was greatly increased because of maize and other American Indian crops,” Crosby says. “Those extra people helped make the slave trade possible.” Maize conquered Africa at the time when introduced diseases were leveling Indian societies. The Spanish, the Portuguese, and the British were alarmed by the death rate among Indians, because they wanted to exploit them as workers. Faced with a labor shortage, the Europeans turned their eyes to Africa. The continent’s quarrelsome societies helped slave traders to siphon off millions of people. The maize-fed population boom, Crosby believes, let the awful trade continue without pumping the well dry.

Back home in the Americas, Indian agriculture long sustained some of the world’s largest cities. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán dazzled Hernán Cortés in 1519; it was bigger than Paris, Europe’s greatest metropolis. The Spaniards gawped like hayseeds at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, and markets bright with goods from hundreds of miles away. They had never before seen a city with botanical gardens, for the excellent reason that none existed in Europe. The same novelty attended the force of a thousand men that kept the crowded streets immaculate. (Streets that weren’t ankle-deep in sewage! The conquistadors had never heard of such a thing.) Central America was not the only locus of prosperity. Thousands of miles north, John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, visited Massachusetts in 1614, before it was emptied by disease, and declared that the land was “so planted with Gardens and Corne fields, and so well inhabited with a goodly, strong and well proportioned people … [that] I would rather live here than any where.”

and another excerpt:

In as yet unpublished research the archaeologists Eduardo Neves, of the University of São Paulo; Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida; and their colleagues examined terra preta in the upper Xingu, a huge southern tributary of the Amazon. Not all Xingu cultures left behind this living earth, they discovered. But the ones that did generated it rapidly—suggesting to Woods that terra preta was created deliberately. In a process reminiscent of dropping microorganism-rich starter into plain dough to create sourdough bread, Amazonian peoples, he believes, inoculated bad soil with a transforming bacterial charge. Not every group of Indians there did this, but quite a few did, and over an extended period of time.

When Woods told me this, I was so amazed that I almost dropped the phone. I ceased to be articulate for a moment and said things like “wow” and “gosh.” Woods chuckled at my reaction, probably because he understood what was passing through my mind. Faced with an ecological problem, I was thinking, the Indians fixed it. They were in the process of terraforming the Amazon when Columbus showed up and ruined everything.

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Filed under history civilization native americans

32,023 notes

the-real-seebs:

theangryblackwoman:


caramelblackness:

visionarywateringhole:

thaxted:

nerdfaceangst:

theafrocentricasian:

World’s languages traced back to single African mother tongue: scientists.
New Zealand researchers have traced every human language — from English to Mandarin — back to an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.
Scientists say they have traced the world’s 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single “mother tongue,” an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.
New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures.
The research, by Quentin Atkinson from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, also found that speech evolved far earlier than previously thought. And the findings implied, though did not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of controversy among linguists, according to the New York Times.
Before Atkinson came up with the evidence for a single African origin of language, some scientists had argued that language evolved independently in different parts of the world.
Atkinson found that the first populations migrating from Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them. “It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Atkinson said, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Atkinson traced the number distinct sounds, or phonemes — consonants, vowels and tones — in 504 world languages, finding compelling evidence that they can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors, according to the Daily Mail.
Atkinson also hypothesized that languages with the most sounds would be the oldest, while those spoken by smaller breakaway groups would utilize fewer sounds as variation and complexity diminished.
The study found that some of the click-using languages of Africa have more than 100 phonemes, or sounds, whereas Hawaiian, toward the far end of the human migration route out of Africa, has only 13, the Times reported. English has about 45 phonemes.
The phoneme pattern mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity as humans spread across the globe from sub-Saharan Africa around 70,000 years ago.
Source: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/110415/language-science-linguistics-mother-tongue-english-chinese-mandarin-africa

This gives me LIFE from people who insist all languages (ALL no matter what) derive from latin bases.

Reblogging this for three reasons:
1) It’s awesome and worth knowing
2) It makes sense when you think about, you know, the whole history of human development (from a NOT white supremacist perspective at least)
3) To add that if anyone ever tries to say that all languages are derived from Latin [insert choked sound of disbelief and anger] you can inform their ignorant (probably racist) asses of this: Latin, as far as languages go, is an INFANT. It’s part of a subset of Indo-European languages and MOTHERFUCKER EVEN ENGLISH ISN’T ONE OF ITS DERIVATIVES. (French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese are, as well as lots of their related languages and dialects, that’s it.) Latin isn’t even remotely old enough to be a mother language. It’s like saying alpacas were the original dinosaurs or some bullshit.

HUH! You dont FUCKING SAY?
WILL YOU LOOK THE FUCK AT THAT! 

Not surprising, but this is cool information!

Loveeeeee


First off, I have never ever heard of anyone suggesting that “all languages are derived from Latin” if they had ever even looked at a linguist.

Second, this is a 2011 result, and not universally accepted. More discussion on language log, and again on language log suggests that the methodology is unconvincing.

But seriously, who the fuck claims that “all” languages derive from Latin? That’s just stupid. I am pretty sure that there’s nothing at all to suggest Chinese being derived from Latin.

the-real-seebs:

theangryblackwoman:

caramelblackness:

visionarywateringhole:

thaxted:

nerdfaceangst:

theafrocentricasian:

World’s languages traced back to single African mother tongue: scientists.

New Zealand researchers have traced every human language — from English to Mandarin — back to an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.

Scientists say they have traced the world’s 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single “mother tongue,” an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago.

New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures.

The research, by Quentin Atkinson from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, also found that speech evolved far earlier than previously thought. And the findings implied, though did not prove, that modern language originated only once, an issue of controversy among linguists, according to the New York Times.

Before Atkinson came up with the evidence for a single African origin of language, some scientists had argued that language evolved independently in different parts of the world.

Atkinson found that the first populations migrating from Africa laid the groundwork for all the world’s cultures by taking their single language with them. “It was the catalyst that spurred the human expansion that we all are a product of,” Atkinson said, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Atkinson traced the number distinct sounds, or phonemes — consonants, vowels and tones — in 504 world languages, finding compelling evidence that they can be traced back to a long-forgotten dialect spoken by our Stone Age ancestors, according to the Daily Mail.

Atkinson also hypothesized that languages with the most sounds would be the oldest, while those spoken by smaller breakaway groups would utilize fewer sounds as variation and complexity diminished.

The study found that some of the click-using languages of Africa have more than 100 phonemes, or sounds, whereas Hawaiian, toward the far end of the human migration route out of Africa, has only 13, the Times reported. English has about 45 phonemes.

The phoneme pattern mirrors the pattern of human genetic diversity as humans spread across the globe from sub-Saharan Africa around 70,000 years ago.

Source: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/110415/language-science-linguistics-mother-tongue-english-chinese-mandarin-africa

This gives me LIFE from people who insist all languages (ALL no matter what) derive from latin bases.

Reblogging this for three reasons:

1) It’s awesome and worth knowing

2) It makes sense when you think about, you know, the whole history of human development (from a NOT white supremacist perspective at least)

3) To add that if anyone ever tries to say that all languages are derived from Latin [insert choked sound of disbelief and anger] you can inform their ignorant (probably racist) asses of this: Latin, as far as languages go, is an INFANT. It’s part of a subset of Indo-European languages and MOTHERFUCKER EVEN ENGLISH ISN’T ONE OF ITS DERIVATIVES. (French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese are, as well as lots of their related languages and dialects, that’s it.) Latin isn’t even remotely old enough to be a mother language. It’s like saying alpacas were the original dinosaurs or some bullshit.

HUH! You dont FUCKING SAY?

WILL YOU LOOK THE FUCK AT THAT! 

Not surprising, but this is cool information!

Loveeeeee

First off, I have never ever heard of anyone suggesting that “all languages are derived from Latin” if they had ever even looked at a linguist.

Second, this is a 2011 result, and not universally accepted. More discussion on language log, and again on language log suggests that the methodology is unconvincing.

But seriously, who the fuck claims that “all” languages derive from Latin? That’s just stupid. I am pretty sure that there’s nothing at all to suggest Chinese being derived from Latin.

Filed under language i think these people just have ignorant friends

0 notes

I realized today I’m on a path leading inescapably to my death. But then again so is everyone else.

Filed under death