CLONMEL -- One of my biggest delights is "360 degree education" through which I learn by what students write. I gave top marks to an essay by Denise Kelly in which she explains why Columbus got credited with the discovery of the New World, not the Vikings. Columbus landed 500 years after intrepid Viking explorers and proved he could spread the meme of the New World better than the Vikings.
Denise Kelly explains it best, drawing some material from essential reading materials written by Jared Diamond.
Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492 but Europeans had discovered the New World long before Columbus. No word of these discoveries were spread ecause of the lack of technology in spreading the word.
Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs and Steel uses the advancement in microbiology and new technologies to explore why Europeans had invaded other continents before the Americans, Africans and Australians had invaded Europe. In 1500 Eurasia was in its Iron Age, with regard to writing, domesticated animals and agriculture. At the same time, other continents were in the Stone Age.
Diamond believes that the major difference on the continent was due to domesticated animals, the creation of guns, and the orientation of the continents (whether they had a north/south axis or an east/west axis). All these factors explain why Eurasia invaded sub-Saharan Africa, Australia and America first.
Europe and Aisa were on an east-west axis, so any animals that proved domesticable in the east could be moved to the west or vice versa, because there was little difference in sunlight hours or climate. Animals had to meet serveral requirements to be domesticated. They had to be able to eat food which humans could provide, have a fast growth rate, and be tame enough to live behind fences.
Perhaps one of the messages to be drawn from this historical example is that messages spread when sustained by technology.
Jared Diamond -- Guns, Germs, and Steel ISBN 0099302780