Thursday, July 18, 2013

How Australia Become White while New Guinea still Black ? (Part 1)

Personally, I thank to Prof. Jared Diamond who has written a spectacular book where its content is answering all of my question so far. A book by the title of "Guns, Germs, & Steel" shows us the history of various nation tribe, which is following different grooves because of there's difference in environment of those nation tribes, not because of biological difference. Every part of this book will show us the journey of mankind start from 13.000 years ago until now. And the interesting part of this book is about "how Australia become white while New Guinea still black" that is located in part IV, Chapter 15, Yali's people (The history of Australia and New Guinea). Let's discuss about the chapter 15. 

Mostly, common people will call "backwardness" as the characteristic of Native Australians. Australia is the only one continent where in the modern age, all of indigenous people still live without special characteristic like a civilization-without agriculture, grazing, metal, bow and arrow, permanent building, permanent village, a script, local wisdom, or state. The Native Australians is nomadic hunter and gatherers or semi-nomadic, which is organized in herd, live in the haven or temporary hut, and  they still rely in bone tools. 

During the last 13.000 years, the culture alteration was slightly accumulated in Australia than in any other continents. The view which dominate in Europe people about Native Australians like the words of the early french explorers, where they wrote "They (Native Australians) are the most pathetic people in the world, and its human is the most similar to wild animal".

However, in 40.000 years ago, the indigenous society of australia enjoyed the early advance, which larger than societies in europe and other continents. Native Australians developed several early stone tools that were known with the grinded edges, the earliest stone tools by the wooden handle, and the earliest water vehicles. Several oldest painting that were known from stone surface from Australia. Regardless from the early advance, in the end, why the europeans conquered Australia, not the australians conquered europe?

The map of Southeast Asia until Australia and New Guinea
During the ice age of Pleistosen, when many ocean water trapped in the continental ice sheets and the height of sea surface was decreased, Arafura sea noawadays that separate New Guinea and Australia was a dry low land. When the continental ice sheets melt approximately between 12.000 - 8000 years ago, the sea surface was increased. The human society in both land masses where in the past their land were united, but now in the modern age, both human societies became very different each other. Different with Native Australians, most of New Guineans was farmer and swineherd. They lived in permanent village with permanent buildings and organized politically become tribe, not herd. All of New Guineans had arrow and bow, and also they used pottery. They also had boat that was more skilled at the sea, many numerous tools used also more various than in Australia. As a consequence, New Guineans live in population density which more higher than Australia although New Guinea is only 1/10 of Australia.

Compared with Native Australians, New Guineans was more advanced in culture. Before the europeans started to colonize New Guinea in the end of 19th century, all of New Guineans were illiteracy, rely on stone tools, and in politically was not organized become state. When they (Australia white people) asked to explain about the culture backwardness of Aboriginal society, most of them have simple answer : The deficiency that is had by the aboriginal society itself. In terms of the face structure and skin colour, Aboriginal people are clearly different with the europeans, causing several writers in the end of 19th century  subsume them as the lost chain eye between human and primate.

Additional surprising if you don't know that Australia has the richest iron and aluminum  in the world, also has many copper, tin, and zinc. Based on the facts, why Native Australians ignore the metal equipment and still lived in stone age? It seems like perfectly controlled experiment in the evolution of continental society. Because of that, the explanation for the difference between the human society of Native Australians and the society of europe-australia definately located in the difference of people that become a member.

Why Australia never developed metal equipments, script, and complex society politically? The main reason is Aboriginal people still became hunters-gatherers, while those developments were appear in another places, only in the societies of food manufacturers where its population is big and also specialized in economy. Beside of that, the dry climate in Australia , infertile, and can't be determined its climate causing the limited population of hunters-gatherers until several hundred thousand people. Compared with tens of millions of people in China or the ancient Mesoamerica, its mean Australia has more slightly people that have potention to become inventor, more slightly  society to try with creation adoption.

Queensland Tropical Rainforest
Several hundred thousand people also not organized to become societies that interacted closely. Australia precisely consist of ocean desert with the lowest and very sparse population that is separating several ecological islands, which more productive.

Even in the east side of Australia, the exchange between societies was limited by the distance of 3000 km from tropical rainforest of Queensland in northeast until the medium temperate rainforest of Victoria in southeast, the same length geographical and ecological distance with the distance from Los Angeles to Alaska. A number of the setback of regional or continental technology, which appear in Australia maybe rooted from the isolation and the number of residents in population centers is few relatively.

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