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GKE1TASK1WALKER Arguably one of the great societies from the past was the Andrean civilization or Inca. Before this population that totaled over 12,000,000 to the Spanish, the Incas were a self-sustained community. A significant geographical factor that contributed to the success of this empire was its location 11,000 feet up in the Andeas mountain range in South America ("Soomo," 2013). This location up in the mountains provided a great canvas to create a massive empire that provided and protected all their people. Some things that these mountains provided for these people were water from glaciers at higher elevations; this water ran downhill, the Incas built rock-cut channels that followed the streets to make this water available to all people, animals and crops ("Soomo," 2013). This mountain range might have created a challenge for some civilizations; however the Incas used it wisely. Sculpting the mountainside into terraces to grow crops like maize and potatoes, these crops did well at these elevations and temperatures. These mountains also provided a habitat for the llamas and alpaca that the Incas sheared for wool (Hughes, 2002, p. 116). All in all the Incas used these mountains well for survival and as a way to protect their people and empire. They used this resource daily, however the protected well for future generations to use.

The Potato is a diverse vegetable, there was a one point 235 different species (Smith, 2011, p. 12). This tuber was an adaptable crop even capable of growing in the mountains. The Inca farmers through trials found ways of storing potatoes, making them a staple food and preventing famine. During 1539 after Pizarros and the Spanish conquered the Incas, Jimenez de Quesada wrote about a “truffle” that has good taste and one he thought would be an acceptable gift the Indians and the Spanish (Smith, 2011, p. 18). The Spanish recognized the value of this plant, accepting it as tax payments and giving it as pay for wages.
The Spanish also saw that the potato could last on ships for long periods of time without spoiling. This factor caused the potato to be introduced to the Canary Islands, due to this being a stopping point from Spain to the Americas. These potatoes from the Canary Islands were then exported to Europe around the 1560’s (Smith, 2011, p. 25). After the potato made its way to Spain, it was sent to Italy. Were it was widely accepted. After its introduction to Italy, the potato was widely distributed throughout the remaining countries. By the 17th century the potato was considered a crop and was used widely for its versatility and value.

Many factors have contributed to the world’s expansion, especially in the United States. Two significant ones were the Gold Rush and Irish Potato Famine. Both of these times in history caused people to migrate from their homes in search of a better life.
The California Gold Rush which began in 1849 created an event that is one of the most famous in history. Gold caused a huge migration of over 300,000 people to California. Besides increasing the population of this state, the Gold Rush created other opportunities as well. Some created a new life by selling services and merchandise to miners and often did better financially then the miners. The environment of California suffered during this time. As towns sprung up, hillsides were stripped of trees, rivers were diverted in the search of gold and hydraulic mining buried once useable farm land in rocks and mud ("CA Historical Society," 2001, p. 13). This period of time created a population in California that was looking to make an impression and strike gold that still translates today. The Irish potato famine created a migration of people to the United States, not looking for riches but simply looking for a new place to start over and survive. The potato was a major crop in Ireland. During September 1845 a fungus carried by the fog swept the fields and turned the potato plants black and rotted the potato under the ground ("The History Place," 2000). The following years brought blight to the potatoes and created starvation and disease for the people of Ireland, as this was there major crop to feed its people. The government offered little help to the people in an attempt to make the Irish support themselves. These attempts went horribly wrong and many people died of hunger.
The first wave of immigrants was caused by landlords attempting to get rid of non-paying tenants. They were loaded on ships and sent to Canada, those that did not die during passage found no help from the Canadians. Many moved on to the United States looking for a new life and assistance.
1848 brought another year of destruction to Ireland and its potatoes. This caused a massive amount of Irish to board ships and head to America. Nearly 1 million would arrive to the US during this time ("The History Place," 2000).
By the 1850’s forty three percent of the United States was of Irish decent, but life was hard for these poor souls. It was the Civil war that helped these new immigrants get back on their feet by finding jobs, enlisting in the military and finally finding a new and better life.

References
Hughes, D. J. (2002). Environmental History of the World:Humankinds Changing Role in the Community of Life. Florence,Ky: Routledge.
Irish Potato Famine. (2000). Retrieved 10/10/13, from http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/
Smith, A. (2011). A Global History. London, GBR: Reaction Books.
The California Gold Rush. (2001). Retrieved 10/10/13 from http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/research/pdf/California_Gold_Rush.pdf
The Inca. (2013). Retrieved 10/10/13, from http://courses.soomopublishing.com/context/d09e4b84-8711-4f4f-8688-529d067fc8a2/tocs/51db14842e0b830002000001/chapters/51db14a42e0b8300020002c0/assignments/51dda15e5dbc82352e00017b

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