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Societies in the World

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The little-known 1835 clash between the Maori and Moriori peoples was particularly interesting for Diamond because the Maori-Moriori peoples are both from common ancestors originating less than a millennium earlier. Diamond believed that if we could understand the reasons for the “disparate development of these two island societies, we might have a model for understanding the broader question of differing developments on the continents.” He saw the clash between the two civilizations as a small experiment to test how environments influence societies. Although the Maori and the Moriori had evolved from common ancestors, they both had evolved very differently. The Moriori lived on sparsely populated islands and hunter-gatherers and liked to practice a more peaceful approach to war by renouncing conflict. On the other hand, the Maori lived in New Zealand and were able to use different techniques in agriculture to increase their population. They developed locally dense populations that engaged in wars with the neighboring people. They would store the crop they could grow in surplus, feeding the soldiers and specialists and created various tools and weapons.

Diamond sees the widely varying island groups of Polynesia as providing a natural experiment in the impact of the physical environment on societal development. In Marks: 4 the comparison of advantages and disadvantages of the various Polynesian islands, what were the reasons why Hawaii achieved the greatest development prior to contact with European explorers? Answer: Population size is the product of population density, and what is important is not the area of an island but that of the political unit. The Hawaiian Archipelago had high population densities and large land areas meaning that very large labor forces were available to individual chiefs. Hawaii consisted of eight hierarchically linked lineages. Members of the lineages did not intermarry and the commoners were to procreate with each other before the highranking chiefs. The high-ranking officials were like that of Kings and controlled the island and the construction projects and food.

The Spanish capture of the Incan ruler Atahuallpa in the battle of Cajamarca was preceded by a meeting of a Spanish priest with Atahuallpa. Briefly describe how that Marks: 4 meeting unfolded and provided a pretext for the Spanish soldiers to attack the Incans.


Pizarro sent Friar Vicente de Valverde, a priest, to speak to Atahuallpa and require Atahuallpa to subject himself to the King of Spain in the name of God. The Friar told Atahuallpa that being their friend would be good for him and that what he preaches comes from God in the bible. Atahuallpa in an angry exchange, after the Friar trying to help him open the bible, struck the Friar and with that he called out the Spaniards to stop being civil and attack. Atahuallpa only wanted to see the book himself, and though he was confused by what it was and what it entailed when the Friar reached out to help him he got upset and struck him. It was that act by Atahuallpa that insinuated the attack by the Spanish.

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