Expansion, Isolation, and Fragility
700-1200 CE

  1. New Frontiers and Challenges

    1. This period sees expanding development of urban society and human colonization

    2. New ecological zones developed

      1. Arid zones developed in Peruvian region

      2. Jungle zones developed in Mesoamerica and southeast Asia

      3. Expanding colonization of Artic and sub-Artic zones

      4. Expansive colonization of Pacific islands

    3. But these bring new challenges

      1. New ecological challenges and opportunities

      2. Many of these new zones are fairly isolated

  2. New Ecologies based on New Crops

    1. The Maize (Corn) Frontier

      1. Corn-based agriculture expands out of Mesoamerica

      2. Extends into the hunter-gather societies of North America

      3. Farming villages begin to coalesce into larger states along the major rivers (Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio)

    2. Development of new crops allow for Islamic expansion

      1. Spread of Arabic-Islamic power allows for exchange of crops across regions

      2. Expands growing seasons in many regions as new crops can be planted at different times of year

      3. But this also demands expansion of state power to develop irrigation

    3. Development of new rice techniques allows for expansion of Japan

      1. Growing population allows for expansion along northern frontier

      2. Also, nobles and monasteries alike sought to colonize new land to expand their power

    4. New farming techniques in Europe

      1. Western Europe exploits new lands in the 10th and 11th centuries

        1. aggressive deforestation to expand agricultural land

        2. swamps and bogs drained

      2. New techniques partially responsible

        1. windmills allowed for greater drainage

        2. watermills allowed for processing more grain, and also demanded more of it, fueling expansion

      3. Monastic orders cultivate previously marginal land

      4. Increasing population leads to higher levels of urbanization and long distance trade

  3. Problems of Ecological Fragility

    1. Mayan civilization

      1. lowland Maya see major expansion c. 200-800 CE in present day Central America and southern Mexico

        1. several major city-states in constant competition

        2. culture expands on features of earlier Olmecs

          1. shamanistic kings

          2. ritual bloodletting and human sacrifice

          3. religious world-view that centered on cycles of time

      2. Depended on ability to farm the jungle lowlands

        1.  terraced platforms (milpas) and extensive irrigation to drain swampland for agriculture

        2. depended on beans, corn, squash - the basic foodstuffs of Mesoamerica

      3. Lowlands abandoned c. 900 CE

        1. evidence of extensive deforestation

        2. apparent extensive warfare a sign of resource depletion

        3. urbanization moves north to the Yucatan while lowland cities collapse

    2. Chaco Canyon region

      1. By around 1000 CE, large settlements emerge in the Four Corners region

      2. Seem to have been focused on a large ceremonial center and community at Chaco Canyon

      3. As with Maya, depended on corn, beans, and squashes

      4. Arid region required extensive irrigation networks to survive

      5. Increasing aridity in the 1100s forces changes

        1. expansion into new areas in search of water

        2. ever larger irrigation projects

        3. by c. 1150 CE, corn no longer maintained due to limited water, and possibly deforestation

  4. Extreme and Isolated Environments

    1. Warm spell in the Arctic starts c. 1000 CE

      1. Allows Inuit to expand fishing grounds in the Artic Ocean to Greenland

      2. Allows Norse (Scandinavians) to also colonize Greenland c. 986 CE

        1. becomes prosperous from trade in fish and game

        2. introduces European livestock and grains to Greenland

        3. but will fails in the facing of cooling after 1250 CE and possible soil erosion

    2. Colonization of the Pacific

      1. Southern Pacific region near Indonesia colonized from c. 1000 BCE to c. 100 CE

      2. After 600 CE, a significant expansion to more remote islands

        1. made possible by double-hulled canoes and sophisticated navigation

        2. colonization and long-distance trade necessitated by limitations of island ecologies

        3. Hawaii by c. 800 CE, New Zealand by c. 1000 CE

      3. Extensive isolation can lead to extreme problems

        1. Easter Island population crashes after complete deforestation of island

        2. Maori in New Zealand wipe out most of the bird population, a primary food source

    3. Cahokia and the Upper Mississippi

      1. After c. 800 CE, a series of mound building communities develop along the Mississippi

      2. Seem to be obviously influenced by Mesoamerican cultures

      3. Largest community at Cahokia (present day East St. Louis) with about 10,000 people c. 1200 CE

      4. Cahokia seems to have been politically dominant in the region

      5. These communities falter c. 1300 CE

        1. reasons unknown - possibly victims of same global cooling that affected Greenland

        2. while their trade networks were extensive, may not have been sufficient to provide needed supplies in difficult years.