July 4, 2015
This is a beautifully-produced dueo scientific documentaries, with reenactments about how the domestication of foods and other natural resources shaped the history of humankind, world-wide, although this episode focuses mostly on Europe and the Americas. The first episode focuses on what each area had going for it and seeks to debunk long-held myths about the cultures involved. The second episode gets more into how the Europeans conquered the Americas with its animals and their diseases.
During the Middle Ages, the European nobility had for centuries enriched themselves from their trade routes to the East – but this money train came to an end, with the rise of the Ottoman Empire, centered in present-day Turkey.
This forced monarchs, like the most powerful in the late 15th century, Queen Isabella of Spain to commission explorers to seek out alternate routes to “The Indies.”
In 1492, when Columbus first landed on the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola (the modern-day Dominican Republic and Haiti), what was unknown to both him was that he’d landed on a group of islands located between two huge continents, now known has North America and South America.
These were teeming with huge civilizations, rivaling any others in the world, at that time, along with thousands of smaller Nations and Tribes. Recent estimates are that the population of the “New World” may have been over 100 million people, spanning from Alaska and Greenland, to the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego, in South America.