1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Charles C. Mann

Language: English

Pages: 720

ISBN: 0307278247

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A deeply engaging new history of how European settlements in the post-Colombian Americas shaped the world, from the bestselling author of 1491. Presenting the latest research by biologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the post-Columbian network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In this history, Mann uncovers the germ of today's fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars. In 1493, Mann has again given readers an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.

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thirty years they had created prodigious groves of high-yielding clones. Weir purchased 2,046 grafted buds in December 1933. Like the Brazilians who failed to block Wickham, the Sumatrans who didn’t stop Weir were upset about it later. Five months after his departure, Asian rubber producers formed a second, stronger cartel—and explicitly prohibited the removal of “leaves, flowers, seeds, buds, twigs, branches, roots or any living portion of the rubber plant.” By then Weir had carried his precious

in the harbor; around them, he said, swarmed small vessels “past counting,” buying and selling. Ibn Battuta called the port “one of the biggest in the world—I’m wrong, it is the biggest.” The traveler was not simply exaggerating to make a good tale; Zaytun, with several hundred thousand people crammed into the littoral beneath the hills, was one of humankind’s richest, most populous cities. Little wonder that Polo’s account inspired people like Colón to dream of going there! After the Song

Bioscience 38:753–62. Nash, G. B. 1999. “The Hidden History of Mestizo America.” In M. Hode, ed., Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History. New York: New York University Press. Navagero, A. 1563. Il Viaggio Fatto in Spagna, et in Francia, dal Magnifico M. Andrea Navagiero, fu Oratore dell’Illustrissimo Senata Veneto, alla Cesarea Maesta di Carlo V. Venice: Domenico Farri. Needham, J., et al. 1954–. Science and Civilisation in China. 7 vols. New York: Cambridge University

Tsenacomoco when they arrived. Brave adventurers like Smith were integral to Jamestown, but the colony was primarily an economic venture. And for all the danger and conflict, its fate was decided less, in the end, by the clash of arms than by impersonal ecological forces—the Columbian Exchange—that nobody in Virginia was then equipped to understand. Like La Isabela, Jamestown was intended as a trading post, a midway point from which England could seize its share of the China trade. But whereas

becoming the poor man’s staple in Fujian.” Today China is the world’s biggest sweet potato grower, producing more than three-quarters of the global harvest; it is also the world’s second-biggest maize producer. Epitomizing China’s readiness to experiment was the Yuegang merchant Chen Zhenlong, who came across sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) during a visit to Manila in the early 1590s. Probably native to Central America, I. batatas had been encountered by Colón on his first voyage; Spaniards had

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