Monday, May 14, 2007

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Picture credit and excellent timeline at Amazon

In March 2002, the Atlantic Monthly published and article by Charles C. Mann called "1491." This interesting article surveyed different theories about the peopling of the Western Hemisphere and the cultures that developed prior to the European discovery of America. This article is also available here.

In 2005, Mann published his book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.

I read both the 2002 article and the 2005 book when it was published and thought both were very interesting.

The article begins:

The Atlantic Monthly March 2002
Before it became the New World, the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thought—an altogether more salubrious place to live at the time than, say, Europe. New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact

by Charles C. Mann

The plane took off in weather that was surprisingly cool for north-central Bolivia and flew east, toward the Brazilian border. In a few minutes the roads and houses disappeared, and the only evidence of human settlement was the cattle scattered over the savannah like jimmies on ice cream. Then they, too, disappeared. By that time the archaeologists had their cameras out and were clicking away in delight...[See the full text here or here.]


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