1491: new revelations of the Americas before Columbus
Mann shows how a new generation of researchers equipped with novel scientific techniques have come to previously unheard-of conclusions about the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans: In 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe. Certain cities--such as Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital--were greater in population than any European city. Tenochtitlán, unlike any capital in Europe at that time, had running water, beautiful botanical gardens, and immaculately clean streets. The earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids. Native Americans transformed their land so completely that Europeans arrived in a hemisphere already massively "landscaped" by human beings. Pre-Columbian Indians in Mexico developed corn by a breeding process that the journal Science recently described as "man's first, and perhaps the greatest, feat of genetic engineering."--From publisher description.
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Fascinating and informative, if a bit uneven.
Review: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before ColumbusUser Review - Colleen - Goodreads
A must for anyone interested in American anthropology. It emphasizes the control exerted over the environment by early Americans. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the changes in fauna, though it was too short. The appendices were all very interesting as well Read full review
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