Thursday, January 21, 2010 1/21/10 - a tiny slice of land

In today's encore excerpt - 70% of the
world's population resides on just 7% of the
world's land:

"Today, there are just over 6 billion people
on earth. Six hundred years ago, in 1400,
humankind was just 6 percent of that, or
about 350 million, slightly more than the
current population of the United States. ...
The 350 million people living in 1400 were
not uniformly distributed across the face of
the earth, but rather clustered in a very few
pockets of much higher density. Indeed, of
the 60 million square miles of dry land on
earth, most people lived on just 4.25 million
square miles, or barely 7 percent of the dry
land. The reason, of course, is that that
land was the most suitable for agriculture,
the rest being covered by swamp, steppe,
desert, or ice.

"Moreover, those densely populated regions of
earth corresponded to just fifteen highly
developed civilizations, the most notable
being (from east to west) Japan, Korea,
China, Indonesia, Indonesia, Indochina, the
Islamic West Asia, Europe, Aztec, and Inca.
Astoundingly, nearly all of the 350 million
people alive in 1400 lived in a handful of
civilizations occupying a very small
proportion of the earth's surface. Even more
astoundingly, that still holds true today: 70
percent of the world's six billion people
live on those same 4.25 million square

Robert B. Marks, The Origins of the Modern
World, Rowman and Littlefield, Copyright
2007 by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers,
pp. 23-24.


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