By James M. Blaut

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Extra resources for 1492: The Debate on Colonialism, Eurocentrism, and History (Young Readers)

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The immigrants did not possess agriculture. The earliest migrations preceded the agricultural revolution in the Eastern Hemisphere; in addition, the source area for the migrations, northeastern Siberia, is generally too cold for agriculture, even for present-day agriculture, and we would not expect to find that these cultures were experimenting with incipient agriculture 20,000 years or so ago although some low-latitude cultures were doing so. Migrants to America were paleolithic hunters, gatherers, fishers, and shellfishers.

36 1492 Mter Fourteen Ninety-Two Europe in Fourteen Ninety-Two In 1492, European society was rather sluggishly movingoutoffeudalism and toward capitalism. Nothing in the landscape would suggest that a revolutionary transformation was imminent, or even suggest that the social and economic changes taking place were very rapid. The growth of the English woolen trade in the 15th century was not (as it is often depicted) a sign of revolutionary economic change: it was complemented by a decline in competing woolen industries elsewhere in Europe (Miskimin, 1969).

He also posits a teleological tendency of Europeans to march northwestward, clearing marvelously fertile land as they proceed, eventually reaching the sea and, with peculiar venturesomeness, expanding across the world. Like Weber and White, he gives a major role in this march to Western Christianity, claiming that it gave WestEuropeans historical advantages over peoples with other religions. Hall prefers to emphasize Europeans' uniquely progressive polities along with Europeans' uniquely rational demographic behaviour ('the relative continence of the European family': Hall, 1985: 131).

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