A Short History of the World is a non-fictional exploration of the world written by H. G. Wells, an English writer known as “The Father Of Science Fiction” with his. Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF A History of Byzantium (Blackwell History of the Ancient World) · Read more A Short History of the World · Read more. A Short History of the World. H. G. Wells. October 1W - 22, g. Studying history invariably means exposing yourself to the risk of not seeing the forest because.
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THE STORY of our world is a story that is still very imperfectly known. A couple of hundred years ago men possessed the history of little more than the last three. Download A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD free in PDF & EPUB format. Download H.G. Wells's A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD for. Contents, The world in space -- The world in time -- The beginnings of life -- The age of fishes -- The age of the coal swamps -- The age of.
Books, Audiobooks and Summaries. Years and years of progress has lead us to this point, where we are finally ready to seek more in-depth universal knowledge. We summarize the essential human discoveries, in order to produce a quality material easy to digest and understand. How did we end up in this world? Why have we evolved into this form? How was the universe created?
In January two independent members of the National Statistical Commission resigned in protest, over alleged suppression of economic data by the government. Pioneering history While declining data quality has been an issue for a while, concern over institutional independence is new.
In the decades following World War II, India had reason to be proud not only of the institutional independence of national statistical bodies but also — uniquely among developing countries — of a pioneering history of independent data collection and publication. But what exactly was that history? The birth of a new nation led to an explosion of national statistics, based on the need to plan the economy through Five Year Plans. While the British colonial government had made efforts to collect statistics on the subcontinent from the early 19th century, these were provincially organised and geared towards trade and administration.
On the eve of World War II, it had become apparent, both to the colonial government and the Indian National Congress, that any concerted postwar developmental effort would require fine-grained statistical information on the national economy. As a pioneer in the emerging field of large-scale sample surveys, he would also be the force behind creating the UN Sub-Commission on Statistical Sampling in , co-authoring the textbook on the subject in Launching sample surveys By the middle of the twentieth century, the Indian Statistical Institute was globally recognised as a leader in the field of sample surveys.
It would soon even begin training statisticians from other developing countries. The famed English statistician R. As the American statistician W. Edwards Deming recalled: Their complexity and scope seemed beyond the bounds of possibility. Twenty years later, the once sceptical Edwards Deming was now a convert: India was a frontrunner in this regard: Methods pioneered by the National Sample Survey have become the norm for household surveys across the globe.
For example, the Living Standard Measurement Study surveys conducted in several countries by the World Bank can trace their lineage back to the work of Indian statisticians associated with the Indian Statistical Institute and the National Sample Survey. An anomaly? This distinguished history, which India can claim with pride, makes the recent undermining of the credibility of our statistical output especially regrettable.
We can, however, ensure that when we look back on this several years from now, it represents an anomaly rather than a lasting, irreparable loss of institutional credibility. He is writing a book on economic planning and democratic state building in independent India. Nature let a few apes into the lab of evolution, switched on the lights, and left us there to mess about with an ever-growing supply of ingredients and processes.
The effect on us and the world has accumulated ever since. Let's list a few steps between the earliest times and this: What strikes one most forcefully is the acceleration, the runaway progression of change — or to put it another way, the collapsing of time. The Old Stone Age, or Palaeolithic era, lasted from the appearance of toolmaking hominids, nearly 3 million years ago, until the melting of the last ice age, about It spans more than It might take But I am getting ahead in the story.
Most people living in the Old Stone Age would not have noticed any cultural change at all. The human world that individuals entered at birth was the same as the one they left at death.
There was variation in events, of course — feasts, famines, local triumphs and disasters — but the patterns within each society must have seemed immutable. There was just one way to do things, one It is possible to imagine exceptions to what I have just said. The generation that saw the first use of fire, for instance, was perhaps aware that its world had changed. But we can't be sure how quickly even that Promethean discovery took hold.
Most likely, fire was used, when available from wildfires and volcanoes, for a long time before it was kept. And then it was kept for a very long time before anyone learnt it could be made.
Some may remember the film Questfor Fire, in which the lithe figure of Rae Dawn Chong scampers about in nothing but a thin layer of mud and ashes. The film was based on a novel published in 19 11 by the Belgian writer J. Throughout the hundreds of centuries when our ancestors tended a flame but could not make one, putting out their rivals' campfire in an Ice Age winter would have been a deed of mass murder.
The first taming of fire is hard to date. All we know is that people were using fire by at least half a million years ago, possibly twice that. Anthropologists are still debating when Homo erectus first appeared and when he Scholars are even more divided on how well erectus could think and speak.
Studies using non-verbal language computer symbols, sign language, etc. It is clear that different groups of the same species — for example, chimps in separate parts of Africa — have different habits and traditions, passed on to the young just as in human groups.
In short, apes have the beginnings of culture.
So do other intelligent creatures, such as whales, elephants, and certain birds, but no species except humankind has reached the point at which culture becomes the main driver of an evolutionary surge, outrunning environmental and physical constraints. The bloodlines of man and ape split about 5 million years ago, and as I mentioned, hominids making crude stone tools appeared some 2 million years later. It would therefore be foolish to underestimate the skills of Homo erectus, who, by the time he was toasting his callused feet at a campfire half a million years ago, was nine-tenths of the way along the road from an ancestral ape to us.
With the taming of fire came the first spike on the graph of human numbers. Fire kept caves warm and big predators away. Cooking and smoking greatly increased Burning of undergrowth extended grazing lands for game. It is now recognized that many supposedly wild landscapes inhabited down to historic times by hunter-gatherers — the North American prairies and the Australian outback, for instance — were shaped by deliberate fire-setting.
He has burned through the animal world and appropriated its vast stores of protein for his own. This is not to say the Upright Man was thick on the ground, even after he tamed fire.
This view seems to fit well with many of the fossil finds but less well with some interpretations of d n a. Another camp — the "Out of Africa" school — sees most evolutionary change taking place on that continent, then erupting over the rest of the world. This theory implies that each new wave of African man was a separate species, unable to breed with other descendants of the previous kind — which may be plausible if different types evolved without contact for long periods but is less likely over shorter spans of time.
A Neanderthal Gauguin, thawed out from a receding glacier today, might wake up and ask, "Who were we? Where did we come from? Where did we go?
Experts cannot even agree on his scientific name. In round figures, Neanderthals appear about , years ago and disappear about , years later.
Ever since they were first identified, Neanderthals have been the butt of what I call "palaeo-racism ," lampooned as cartoon cavemen, a subhuman, knuckle- Gauguin's Questions 19 dragging breed. Wells called them the "Grisly Folk" and made an unflattering guess at how they might have looked: The French, noting the skull's thickness, were inclined to think it had belonged to a German. The Germans said it was most likely from a Slav, a Cossack mercenary who had crawled into the cave and died.
Darwin published On the Origin of Species and Charles Lyell, visiting the gravels of the River Somme to become infamous, not sixty years later, as a human slaughterhouse , recognized chipped flints as weapons from the Ice Age.
Once the scientists of the day had acknowledged that the Neanderthaler wasn't a Cossack, they cast him in the newly minted role of the "missing link" — that elusive creature loping halfway across the evolutionary page The New Man became the right man at the right time, the one who, "in his glowering silence and mystery, would show But as more bones were unearthed and analysed, this view did not stand up.
Evidence also came to light that the "grisly folk" had not only cared for their sick but also buried their dead with religious rites — with flowers and ochre and animal horns — the first people on earth known to do so.
And last but not least, the Neanderthal brain turned out to be bigger than our own. Perhaps Homo neanderthalensis was really not so brutish after all. Perhaps he deserved to be promoted to a subspecies of modern man: Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. And if that were so, the two variants could, by definition, have interbred. Then as now, the Middle East was a crossroads. Dwelling sites in that turbulent region show occupation by both Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons beginning about , years ago.
We can't tell whether they ever lived there at exactly the same times, let alone whether they shared the Holy Land harmoniously. Gauguin's Questions 21 especially cold spells in the Ice Age and Cro-Magnons moving north from Africa whenever the climate warmed. What is most interesting is that the material culture of the two groups, as shown by their artefacts, was identical over a span of more than 50, years.
Nor do we know much about the Cro-Magnons' superficial appearance, though genetic studies suggest that most modern Europeans may be descended from them.
Both were roughly the same height, between five and six feet tall with the usual variation between sexes. But one was built for strength and the other for speed. The Neanderthal was heavy- set and brawny, like a professional weightlifter or wrestler. The Cro-Magnon was slighter and more gracile, a track athlete rather than a bodybuilder. It is hard to know how far these differences were innate, and how much they reflected habitat and lifestyle.
In , the anthropologist Carleton Coon drew an amusing reconstruction of a Neanderthal cleaned up, shaved, and dressed in a fedora, jacket, and tie. Such a man, Coon remarked, might pass unnoticed on the New York subway. Put side by side, the bony remains of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Woody Allen might exhibit a similar contrast. The skull, however, is another matter. The so-called classic Neanderthal which is a rather misleading term because it is self- fulfilling, based on the more pronounced examples had a long, low skull with strong brow ridges in front and a bony ledge across the nape of the neck, the Neanderthal "bun" or "chignon.
At first glance the design looks archaic, much the same architecture as that of Homo erectus. But — as noted — the Neanderthal brain was bigger on average than the Cro-Magnon. Coon's subway rider had a thick skull but not necessarily a thick head. What this adds up to, I think, is that the supposedly archaic characteristics of the Neanderthal were in fact an overlay of cold-climate adaptations on an essentially modern human frame.
The Neanderthal brain was sheltered by the massive brows and the low, yet roomy, vault. Air entering Neanderthal lungs was warmed by the broad nose, and the whole face had a better blood supply.
Thickset, brawny people do not lose body heat as quickly as slender people. Signs of similar adaptation in body shape, at least can be seen among modern Inuit, Andeans, and Himalayans — and this after only a few Gauguin's Questions 23 thousand years of living with intense cold, beside the , during which Europe's Neanderthals made their living on the front lines of the Ice Age.
Things seem to have gone well enough for them until Cro-Magnons began moving north and west from the Middle East, about 40, years ago. Until then, the cold had been the Neanderthals' great ally, always turning invaders back sooner or later, like the Russian winter. But this time the Cro-Magnons came to stay. The invasion seems to have coincided with climatic instability linked to sudden reversals of ocean currents that caused freezing and thawing of the North Atlantic in upsets as short as a decade.
And we know that they were not usually nomadic, occupying the same caves and valleys year-round. Humans in general have been called a "weed species," thriving in disrupted environments, but of these two groups, the Neanderthals were the more rooted. Climate change would have made life difficult for everyone, of course, but unstable conditions could have given the edge to the less physically specialized, weaker at close quarters but quicker on their feet. I remember seeing a cartoon when I was a schoolboy — I think it may have been in Punch — showing three or Can we go and throw rocks at the Cro-Magnons today?
At the end of that unimaginably long struggle, Europe and the whole world belonged to our kind, and the "classic" Neanderthal was gone forever. But what really happened?
Did the Neanderthal line die out, or was it to some degree assimilated? The 10,year struggle was so gradual that it may have been scarcely perceptible — a fitful, inconclusive war with land lost and won at the rate of a few miles in a lifetime.
Yet, like all wars, it sparked innovation. New tools and weapons appeared, new clothing and rituals, the beginnings of cave painting an art form that would reach its height during the last great fling of the Ice Age, after the classic Neanderthals had gone. We also know that cultural contact went both ways. Late Neanderthal sites in France show change and adaptation at a pace never seen before. It seems that the last Neanderthal bands held out in the mountains of Spain and Yugoslavia, driven like Apaches into rougher and rougher terrain.
If the warfare picture I have sketched has any truth to it, then we face unpalatable conclusions. This is what makes the Neanderthal debate so emotional: Gauguin's Questions 25 about ancient people but about ourselves. If it turns out that the Neanderthals disappeared because they were an evolutionary dead end, we can merely shrug and blame natural selection for their fate.
Or, worse, not the first — merely the first of which evidence survives. It may follow from this that we are descended from a million years of ruthless victories, genetically predisposed by the sins of our fathers to do likewise again and again. As the anthropologist Milford Wolpoff has written on this period: With wonderful assurance, Golding takes the reader inside the minds of an unnamed group of early humans.
Golding's folk are gentle, naive, chimp-like woodland dwellers. They eat no meat except the leavings of big predators; they are poor speakers, using telepathy as much as language; they have fire but few weapons, and have never suspected there is anyone else in the world except themselves.
Yet Golding's anachronisms don't matter: In the course of a few spring days, the forest dwellers are invaded for the first time by people like us, who with their boats, bonfires, arrows, raucous voices, wholesale tree-felling, and drunken orgies baffle and fascinate the "forest devils" even as they kill them one by one.
At the end, only a mewling baby remains, kept by a woman who has lost her own child to drain the milk from her breasts. The invaders then move on through the new land, their leader plotting further murders — murders now amongst themselves — as he sharpens a weapon, "a point against the darkness of the world.
Does any Neanderthal blood flow in modern humans? And if there was sex, were there children? A few modern people have telltale ridges on their heads. So until new findings come along to settle the matter, I choose to believe that Neanderthal blood still flows, however faint, in the Cro-Magnon tide. Gauguin's Questions 27 Despite the many details of our ancestry still to be worked out, the twentieth century has broadly answered the first two of Gauguin's questions.
There is no room for rational doubt that we are apes, and that, regardless of our exact route through time, we come ultimately from Africa. For a long time now, there has been no such thing as that Enlightenment wild goose which Gauguin sought, the Natural Man.
Like those arthritic Neanderthals who were cared for by their families, we cannot live without our cultures. We have met the maker of Hamlet's "piece of work" — and it is us. But as I suggested in the previous chapter, there is still a risk.
As cultures grow more elaborate, and technologies more powerful, they themselves may become ponderous specializations — vulnerable and, in extreme cases, deadly. The atomic bomb, a logical progression from the arrow and the bullet, became the first technology to threaten our whole species with extinction. It is what I call a "progress trap. What Are We? Where Are We Going? At a practical level, anthropology has answered the first two: Modern apes, which are also descended from the same original stock, are kin, not ancestors.
Our main difference from chimps and gorillas is that over the last 3 million years or so, we have been shaped less and less by nature, and more and more by culture. We have become experimental creatures of our own making. This experiment has never been tried before. And we, its unwitting authors, have never controlled it. We have The Great Experiment 3i reached a stage where we must bring the experiment under rational control, and guard against present and potential dangers.
It's entirely up to us. We have already caused so many extinctions that our dominion over the earth will appear in the fossil record like the impact of an asteroid. So far, we are only a small asteroid compared with the one that clobbered the dinosaurs. I suggested in the previous chapter that prehistory, like history, tells us that the nice folk didn't win, that we are at best the heirs of many ruthless victories and at worst the heirs of genocide.
We may well be descended from humans who repeatedly exterminated rival humans — culminating in the suspicious death of our Neanderthal cousins some 30, years ago.
Whatever the truth of that event, it marks the beginning of the Upper Palaeolithic period — the last and briefest of three divisions in the Old Stone Age, about one-hundredth of the whole. In this chapter I want to see what we can deduce from the first progress trap — the perfection of hunting, which ended the Old Stone Age — and how our escape from We then have to ask ourselves this urgent question: Could civilization itself be another and much greater trap? Geologically speaking, 3 million years is only a wink, one minute of earth's day.
But in human terms, the Old Stone Age is a deep abyss of time — more than But measured as subjective human experience — as a sum of individual lives — more people have lived a civilized life than any other. I should make it clear that I'm defining "civilization" and "culture" in a technical, anthropological way. Culture is everything: The Great Experiment 33 atom. Civilizations are a specific kind of culture: By B. From ancient times until today, civilized people have believed they behave better, and are better, than so-called savages.
But the moral values attached to civilization are specious: In their imperial heyday, the French had their "civilizing mission" and the British their "white man's burden" — the bearing of which was eased by automatic weapons.
As Hilaire Belloc wrote in At the gates of the Colosseum and the concentration camp, we have no choice but to abandon hope that civilization is, in itself, a guarantor of moral progress.
When Mahatma Gandhi came to England in the s for talks on Indian self-rule, a reporter asked him what he thought of Western civilization. Gandhi, who had just visited the London slum s, replied: I would rather live in a house than in a rock- shelter. I like great buildings and good books. I like knowing that I am an ape, that the world is round, that the sun is a star and the stars are suns — taken-for- granted knowledge that took thousands of years to wrest from "chaos and old night. It is also precarious: There is no going back without catastrophe.
Yet it ended so recently — only six times further back than the birth of Christ and the Roman Empire — The Great Experiment 35 that the big changes since we left the cave have all been cultural, not physical. A long-lived species like ours can't evolve significantly over so short an interval. This means that while culture and technology are cumulative, innate intelligence is not.
Johnson's joke that much may be made of a Scotsman if he be caught young, a late- Palaeolithic child snatched from a campfire and raised among us now would have an even chance at earning a degree in astrophysics or computer science.
This may explain quite a lot of what we see in the news. But nature stirs a pudding there In the individual, the sum of these is personality; in society, it is the collective personality called culture. In the long run, the pudding of culture has always grown in size. And there have been several yeasty times when it rose quite suddenly and spilled across the kitchen. The first of these was the taming of fire by Homo erec- tus, which tipped the balance of survival strongly in our favour.
New weapons were produced: Many of these things had already been done on a small scale by Neanderthals and earlier Cro-Magnons,14 so this spurt of art and technology cannot as some claim be evidence that we suddenly evolved into a new species with brand-new cognitive powers.
But it is evidence of a familiar cultural pattern: The hunters and gatherers were producing more than mere subsistence, giving themselves time to paint the walls, make beads and effigies, play music, indulge in religious rituals. For the first time, people were rich. To draw a rough analogy between two unconnected eras of very different length and complexity, there are certain The Great Experiment 37 resemblances between this end-time of the Old Stone Age and the past half millennium of Western "discovery" and conquest.
Since A. During the Upper Palaeolithic, one kind of human — the Cro-Magnon, or Homo sapiens15— multiplied and fanned out around the world, killing, displacing, or absorbing all other variants of man, then entering new worlds that had never felt a human foot.
By 15, years ago at the very latest — long before the ice withdraws — humankind is established on every continent except Antarctica. Soon after man shows up in new lands, the big game starts to go missing. Mammoths and woolly rhinos retreat north, then vanish from Europe and Asia. A giant wombat, other marsupials, and a tortoise as big as a Volkswagen disappear from Australia.
Camels, mammoth, giant bison, giant sloth, and the horse die out across the Americas. Not all experts agree that our ancestors were solely to blame. These are good objections, and it would be unwise to rule them out entirely.
Yet the evidence against our ancestors is, I think, overwhelming. But Upper Palaeolithic people were far better equipped and more numerous than their forerunners, and they killed on a much grander scale. Luckily for bison, cliffs are rare on the great plains.
But archaeological evidence does not support this view. Palaeolithic hunting was the mainstream livelihood, done in the richest environments on a seemingly boundless earth. Done, we have to infer from the profligate remains, with the stock-trader's optimism that there would always be another big killing just over the next hill.
In the last and best-documented mass extinctions — the loss of flightless birds and other animals from New Zealand and Madagascar — there is no room for doubt that people were to blame.
The perfection of hunting spelled the end of hunting as a way of life. Easy meat meant more babies. More babies meant more hunters. More hunters, sooner or later, meant less game. Most of the great human migrations across the world at this time must have been driven by want, as we bankrupted the land with our moveable feasts.
The archaeology of western Europe during the final millennia of the Palaeolithic shows the grand lifestyle of the Cro-Magnons falling away. Their cave painting falters Sculptures and carvings become rare. The flint blades grow smaller, and smaller. Don't kill off your host. As they drove species after species to extinction, they walked into the first progress trap.
But the rest of us found a new way to raise the stakes: The people of that short, sharp period known as the Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age, tried everything: The Great Experiment 4i with enormous implications.
So rich were some of these grasses, and so labour-intensive their exploitation, that settled villages appear in key areas before farming. They began to influence the outcome by tending and enlarging wild stands, sowing the most easily reaped and plumpest seeds. Like the accumulation of small changes that separated us from the other great apes, the Farming Revolution was an unconscious experiment, too gradual for its initiators to be aware of it, let alone to foresee where it would lead.
But compared with all earlier developments, it happened at breakneck speed. On every continent except Australia, farming experiments began soon after the regime of the ice released its grip. It is now clear that the Middle East was only one of at least four major regions of the world where agriculture developed independently at about the same time.
Over generations these animals grew tame enough, and dim- witted enough, not to mind the two-legged serial killer who followed them around. Hunting became herding, just as gathering grew into gardening. Sheep and goats were the first true domesticates in the Middle East, starting about B. Domestic camelids — early forms of the llama and alpaca, used for pack trains and wool, as well as for meat — appear in Peru during the sixth millennium B.
Donkeys and horses were tamed by about B. Craftier creatures such as dogs, pigs, and cats had long been willing to hang around human settlements in return for scraps, slops, and the mouse boom spurred by granaries. Dogs, which may have been tamed for hunting back in the Palaeolithic, are found with human groups throughout the world.
In cold weather, they were sometimes used as bedwarmers. In places such as Korea and Mexico, special breeds were kept for meat. The chicken began its sad march towards the maw of Colonel Sanders as a gorgeously feathered Asian jungle fowl, while Mexico domesticated the turkey. Along with the llama and alpaca, Peruvians kept muscovy ducks and the lowly but prolific guinea pig — which even made a cameo appearance on the menu of Christ's Last Supper in a colonial painting.
Peru alone had nearly forty major species. The more predictable the food supply, the bigger the population.
Unlike mobile foragers, sedentary people had little reason to limit the number of children, who were useful for field and household tasks. Farmers soon outnumbered hunter- gatherers — absorbing, killing, or driving them into the surrounding "wilderness. The change to full-time farming took The Great Experiment 45 millennia, and early results were not always promising, even in a core zone such as the Middle East.
Neolithic Jericho was tiny, a mere four acres35in B. As any rural Canadian knows, hunting continues among farmers wherever it's fun or worthwhile, and this was especially true in the Americas and parts of Asia where domestic animals were scarce. Nevertheless, the pace of growth accelerated. By about 5, years ago, the majority of human beings had made the transition from wild food to tame. In the magnitude of its consequences, no other invention rivals farming except, since , the invention of weapons that can kill us all.
The human career divides in two: The New Stone Age has much more in common with later ages than with the millions of years of stone toolery that went before it. The Farming Revolution produced an entirely new mode of subsistence, which remains the basis of the world economy to this day.
The crops of about a dozen ancient peoples feed the 6 billion on earth today. Despite more than two The Victorian archaeological scheme of classifying stages of human development by tool materials becomes unhelpful from the Neolithic onward. It may have some merit in Europe, where technology was often linked to social change, but is little help for understanding what happened in places where a lack of the things our techno- centric culture regards as basic — metal, ploughs, wheels, etc.
The Japanese didn't begin to work bronze until B. At that time they acquired European firearms, then abandoned them for years. But they began accidentally, a series of seductive steps down a path leading, for most people, to lives of monotony and toil. Farming achieved quantity at the expense of quality: People gave up a broad array of wild foods for a handful of starchy roots and grasses — wheat, barley, rice, potatoes, maize.
As we domesticated plants, the plants domesticated us. Without us, they die; and without them, so do we. There is no escape from agriculture except into mass starvation, and it has often led there anyway, with drought and blight. Most people, throughout most of time, have lived on the edge of hunger — and much of the world still does. The successful hunter did not sit down beside his kill and stuff himself on the spot; he shared the meat and thereby gained prestige. If a leader became overbearing, or a minority disliked a majority decision, people could leave.
The early towns and villages that sprang up in a dozen farming heartlands around the world after the last ice age seem to have continued these free-and-easy ways for a while. Gradually, however, differences in wealth and power became entrenched. Freedom and social opportunity declined as populations rose and boundaries hardened between groups. This pattern first appears in the Neolithic villages of the Middle East, and it has recurred all over the world.
The first farmers along the Danube, for , example, left only tools in their remains; later settlements are heavily fortified and strewn with weapons. Here, said the great Australian archaeologist Gordon Childe, "we