The nation’s agriculture, based on rice, had long been concentrated in river valleys, especially those of the Yangzi and Huang He (Yellow) rivers. African diseases slew so many Europeans, Curtin discovered, that slave ships often lost proportionately more white crewmen than black slaves—this despite the horrendous conditions below decks, where slaves were chained in their own excrement. It seemed to be wet everywhere, no matter what the season. Then it planted them again in the exact same place—socialism would master nature, it insisted. And so on—catastrophe, like success, has many progenitors. The book portrays Drake’s sojourn in the isthmus—a time when he failed three times to seize large quantities of silver and lost half his men to disease and battle, including two of his brothers—as a rousing success. In consequence, they charged it ruinously high interest rates. Both systems gave owners the right to claim part or all of the products of that labor. If and when M. ulei arrives from Brazil, this will provide transportation. After China decided to grow rubber here, workers were awakened every day at 3:00 a.m. and sent to clear the forest. https://www.brainpickings.org/2011/08/24/1493-charles-mann/ Bags of clay dust are still sold in mountain markets to accompany them on the table. Except for the trade’s last few decades—and arguably not even then—Africans themselves controlled the supply of African slaves, selling them to Europeans in the numbers they chose at prices they negotiated as equals. Napoleon sent his army to seize Egypt. Parisians lost their urban hauteur and gawped like rubes at Goodyear’s rubber vanity table, complete with rubber-framed mirror; arranged on the top was a battalion of rubber combs and rubber-handled brushes. Haiti A French possession with about eight thousand plantations rich with sugar, coffee, and yellow fever, eighteenth-century Haiti was a true extractive state: forty thousand fabulously rich European colonists atop half a million seething African slaves. Marshlands and upland pastures were reclaimed. Napoleon, his hopes for a Caribbean empire in ruins, sold the United States all of France’s North American territories: the Louisiana Purchase. "When the Europeans came over, it was as if all the deaths over the millennium caused by these diseases were compressed into 150 years in the Americas. China’s tobacco addiction occurred in an entirely different context, and thus had an entirely different impact. Recall that almost four out of ten Irish ate no solid food except potatoes, and that the rest were heavily dependent on them. Driven by an unusually wet summer, it turned gardens all around me into slime. But the Indian slave trade was immensely profitable—and very short-lived. Between 1841 and 1911, the Qing faced more than thirteen major floods a year—a Katrina every month, as one historian put it to me. American plants arrived as the Qing were transforming China. The insect marched steadily north and east, expanding its range by fifty to a hundred miles a year, shocking potato growers at every step.
The empire lost two wars with Great Britain, forcing it to cede control of its borders. New money chases after the same old goods and services. Surface runoff rises by a factor of three—which in turn jacks up soil erosion by a remarkable factor of forty-five. Because this was occurring in the lower Yangzi, the shack people were wrecking a chunk of the nation’s agricultural heartland. Notes from Charles C. Mann's 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. In both cases the owners ended up profiting from the fruits of the land and labor, even if the route to those profits was different. Now smallholders could grow potatoes on the fallow land, controlling weeds by hoeing. To the generals’ way of thinking, filling the emptiness was a matter of national security. The effort collapsed in November 1803, having lost 50,000 of its 65,000 troops. Farmers would clear more forest, and the cycle would begin anew. Africans were not forced by Europeans to sell other Africans, so why did they do it? Podcasts: Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report ], The main theme is that natives and newcomers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia interacted in unexpected ways, creating biological bedlam. Many farmers did not realize for a long time that maize therefore left more of the soil uncovered and hence exposed to rain. Farmers ended up spending their tobacco profits on food expensively imported from other parts of China. Between the summer of 1863 and the summer of 1864, the official annual infection rate for intermittent fevers was 233 percent—the average soldier was felled two times or more. As with Spain, the taxes were not indexed for inflation. They clamored for more. Indians woke up to find free-range cows and horses romping through their fields, trampling the harvest. According to his figures, the average yearly harvest in eastern England from an acre of wheat, barley, and oats was between 1,300 and 1,500 pounds. If demand increased still further, private traders might seize captives without approval, angering the state. “Weapons of the weak,” political scientist James Scott called them in a classic study of the same name. The ensuing deforestation might ravage their own fields in the valleys, but the risks would be spread across an entire region, whereas the landowners’ profits were theirs alone. Literally eating their way through the soil, earthworms create networks of tunnels that let in water and air. But harvesting them for more than a season or two was next to impossible without shoveling in generous amounts of lime or ashes to reduce acidity, manure to boost organic matter, and fertilizer to increase nitrogen and phosphorus. A few weeks after Goodyear announced his intent to produce temperature-stable rubber he was thrown into debtor’s prison. Farmers had no idea where the creature had come from or how to stop it from eating their potato fields to the ground. Many Chinese men had spent their days as bachelors, because infanticide removed women from the population. It didn’t matter to slaves whether they were owned by Portuguese, Afro-Portuguese, or Africans; they escaped when they could. Falciparum, the most deadly variety of malaria, is also the most temperature sensitive. He borrowed $50,000 more to display an even more lavish rubber room at the second world’s fair, the Exposition Universelle in Paris. An independence movement sprang up in the 1950s, its primary goal to end the plantation system.
Farmers didn’t notice, though, because the pesticide industry kept coming up with new arsenic compounds that kept killing potato beetles. In worm-free woodlands, leaves pile up in drifts on the forest floor. Entire families died in their homes and were eaten by feral pets.
Many species die off.
As with Spain, the same amount of tax was worth less money when the price of silver dropped. Still the process continued—everyone believed the silver would keep pouring into Seville. 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. The Seminole strategy was twofold: First, they destroyed the plantations that supplied U.S. troops, capturing their slaves to bolster the native army. Moving high in the air, the river wants (so to speak) to overflow its banks, spilling into the North China Plain and creating a ruinous flood. It takes me hundreds of hours a month to research and compose, and thousands of dollars to sustain. The Ming dynasty had a revenue shortfall. * Some of the worst devastation was in the steep, crabbed hills of eastern central China, home of the shack people. Almost every bit of Xishuangbanna that can support rubber trees has been cleared and planted (top), a change that is profoundly altering the environment—the region’s morning mists are vanishing, along with its water supply. Cornwallis estimated that only 3,800 of his 7,700 men were fit to fight, although historians like to credit victory to American leaders because of their bravery and skill. He was impressed to see that the Irish remained exceptionally healthy despite eating little else: “The chairmen, porters, and coal-heavers in London, and those unfortunate women who live by prostitution—the strongest men and the most beautiful women perhaps in the British dominions—are said to be, the greater part of them, from the lowest rank of people in Ireland, who are generally fed with this root.” Today we know why: the potato can better sustain life than any other food when eaten as the sole item of diet. Socially speaking, malaria—along with another mosquito-borne disease, yellow fever—turned the Americas upside down. The little insects swarmed potato fields in such profusion, according to one widely repeated story, that they stopped nearby trains. The cash-strapped government—both the military dictatorship that seized power in 1980 and its civilian successor, which began in 1992—awarded mining and timber rights to foreign companies.
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