Modern history

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.

Preface

INTRODUCTION - Holmberg’s Mistake

Chapter 1. A View from Above - IN THE BENI

HOLMBERG’S MISTAKE

“EMPTY OF MANKIND AND ITS WORKS”

THE OTHER NEOLITHIC REVOLUTIONS

A GUIDED TOUR

PART ONE - Numbers from Nowhere?

Chapter 2. Why Billington Survived - THE FRIENDLY INDIAN

COMING OF AGE IN THE DAWNLAND

TOURISM AND TREACHERY

THE PLACE OF THE SKULL

MACHINATIONS

Chapter 3. In the Land of Four Quarters - “LIKE A CLUB RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES”

TAWANTINSUYU

THE GILDED LITTER OF THE INKA

VIRGIN SOIL

AN ARITHMETICAL PROGRESSION

Chapter 4. Frequently Asked Questions - NOT ENOUGH FOR YANKEE STADIUM

THE GENETICS OF VULNERABILITY

“OUR EYES WERE APPALLED WITH TERROR”

FLOWERS AND SONG

ASSIGNING BLAME

ISN’T THIS ALL JUST REVISIONISM?

PART TWO - Very Old Bones

Chapter 5. Pleistocene Wars - POSSIBLY A VERY ODD HAPLOGROUP

LOST TRIBES

“BLIND LEADERS OF THE BLIND”

FOLSOM AND THE GRAYBEARDS

THE CLOVIS CONSENSUS

CONTINENTAL DIVIDE

COAST TO COAST

HUGGING THE SHORE

Chapter 6. Cotton (or Anchovies) and Maize (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part I) - BIG BUILDING

THE COTTON AGE

TINY COBS

THE STUPIDEST QUESTION IN THE WORLD

Chapter 7. Writing, Wheels, and Bucket Brigades (Tales of Two Civilizations, Part II) - “LIKE GRAPES THEY FALL OFF”

RUBBER PEOPLE

COUNTING AND WRITING

FROM 1-EARTHQUAKE TO 8-DEER

WHEELED INTERLUDE

A SLICE OF PERU

MAKING THE WAK’A

PART THREE - Landscape with Figures

Chapter 8. Made in America - ENTERING THE WATER

“GETTING ALONG WITH NATURE”

FIRE PLACE

TEN THOUSAND MOUNDS

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE AMERICAN BOTTOM

HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR

Chapter 9. Amazonia - WHAT ORELLANA SAW

GREEN PRISON

PAINTED ROCK CAVE

RAINDROP PHYSICS

GIFT FROM THE PAST

Chapter 10. The Artificial Wilderness - A THOUSAND KUDZUS EVERYWHERE

ONE OUT OF EVERY FOUR BIRDS

NOVEL SHORES

Coda

Chapter 11. The Great Law of Peace

Loaded Words

Talking Knots

The Syphilis Exception

Calendar Math

NOTES

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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