Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of by Brian Fagan

By Brian Fagan

In 1999, few humans had suggestion to envision the consequences of weather on civilization. Now, due partially to the groundbreaking paintings of archaeologist Brian Fagan, weather swap is a relevant factor. Revised and up-to-date ten years after its first booklet, Floods, Famines and Emperors is still the definitive account of ways the world’s best-known weather occasion had an indelible impression on heritage.

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The Peru Coastal Current, no more than one hundred to two hundred kilometers wide, runs close to shore and rarely exceeds a depth of two hundred meters. The south-flowing Peru Undercurrent moves the water beneath these two streams. Southeast trade winds prevail 38 F LO O D S , FA M I N E S , A N D E M PE RO R S over the coast, blowing parallel to the shore or offshore. The rotation of the earth causes the Coriolis Force, which deflects surface water to the left of the wind direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

By March of the following year, the viceroy of India reported that the farmlands of the Deccan plains in the South were fast becoming a wilderness of “dismal, sun-cracked, desertcharred earth . . sent flying in clouds of pungent dust. ” Vaughan Nash met scores of families migrating toward government-sponsored work camps, where they would carry out manual labor in exchange for basic rations. ” At one village in Gujerat, the fierce heat dried up the river so fast that hundreds of fish flapped in the shallows.

But they could not have avoided hearing stories of the horrors or seeing foreign laborers herded into crowded boats for a short voyage from which few returned. Across the water, hundreds of indentured laborers, convicts, army deserters, and coolies were worked to death, laboring twenty hours a day without respite under the eyes of ruthless supervisors and fierce dogs. They dug deep 27 28 F LO O D S , FA M I N E S , A N D E M PE RO R S trenches into the hardened guano with picks and shovels, earning a few pesos for each ton they extracted.

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