Why Europeans colonized America before Africa, in two maps and one story:

Map 1:
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean, has been part of the Eurasian cultures for thousands of years.

South of that, it didn't get conquered until the 19th century, while America got conquered 3 centuries earlier despite being farther. Why?
For centuries, there was the Sahara barrier. The distance to cross was just too big. Impossible by foot, and only possible by sea through the Red Sea in the East, on the path to India, because of inhabitable stops on both sides
I explain in this article why going beyond ports was really hard. Basically: no Suez canal, hard to build/transport fleets, far from home, few local stops... Trade possible, invasion hard

So this is why, for centuries, Subsaharan Africa was out of reach.

unchartedterritories.tomaspueyo.com/p/the-splinter…
But why was it out of reach once ships could sail all the way to America? Couldn't armies just sail past the Sahara?

They could. And then they'd die.
Because of this guy.
Map 2:
As Europe grew and its ships improved, they immediately started sailing down the western coast.

But people and cattle putting a foot in Africa dropped dead immediately when they caught Malaria
So for centuries, Europeans had no presence in Africa except for a few trading posts on the coast. This is from 1850
What changed?
Quinine.
Now Europeans survived in Africa.
What were failed invasions before could now start.
And this is the change from 1880 to 1914, just before WWI. This period is called the Scramble for Africa. Just about 30 years.
So these two maps explain why Europeans didn't colonize Africa until the end of the 19th century: the Sahara barrier and the Malaria barrier.

Obviously, malaria breeds where there's heavy rainfall, so the quick transition between Sahara and Malaria areas was crucial.
Here's another thread on why Africa is the way it is
And one on why the Caribbean is the way it is
And one on why China is the way it is

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More from @tomaspueyo

Oct 3
Anti-vaxxing might have killed 2.5 times more Republicans than Democrats
Before vaccines, excess mortality in Ohio and Florida was 22% higher for Republicans than Democrats, controlling for age.

After vaccines, that grew to 150%, or 2.5x more.
nber.org/system/files/w…
This is excess deaths: deaths on top of standard mortality, which can be attributed to COVID.

And that's controlling for age! Since Republicans tilt older, the effect is probably larger
Read 5 tweets
Sep 24
TIL: many countries that had a nuclear energy program also had a nuclear weapons program

There are famous ones with both: 🇷🇺🇺🇸🇨🇳🇫🇷🇬🇧🇵🇰🇮🇳
What I didn't know: 🇯🇵🇪🇸🇸🇪

1. Japan is a *de facto nuclear state*, 6m away from a nuclear weapon at any time
2. Spain had a nuclear weapons program while they were developing their nuclear energy programs, during Franco's dictatorship, which had Spain more isolated
3. Sweden also had its own program while it was pursuing its nuclear energy program
Read 6 tweets
Sep 22
Iranians are fed up with the imposition of the hijab and are protesting it in the streets
It happened after the morality police killed #Mahsa_Amini while she was in custody
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Sep 17
Many are seething because @elonmusk has 9 children with 3 women. They think it's typical billionaire abuse of power for sex. Unlikely. He might have other motivations:
1. Fertility crisis
2. Environment
3. Genetic legacy
4. Enjoyment
5. Not sex
Obviously, he doesn't think he can solve the fertility crisis by having babies. But what he can do is:
• Raise awareness
• Lead by example
• Encourage others


Read 14 tweets
Sep 10
AI will break capitalism, and the only acceptable solution will be universal basic income:
1. Capitalism works because it maximizes human productivity through a trick: you get what you give.

We work to make money to buy things.
We try hard to add value to society, which compensates us accordingly (eg salary).

+value➡️+money➡️+things
Notice that's not how communism works:
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"
That's why communism didn't succeed: things didn't get done because ppl didn't have an incentive to contribute.

supply of work ≠ demand of stuff
Read 16 tweets
Sep 5
Winter is coming with very expensive energy. Here are a few ways to save money, help the environment, and stick it to Putin 🧵
1. Lower your home's temperature
By far the biggest impact. The more difference there is in temperature between 2 places, the more heat loss.

Dropping the temperature difference, even by a few º makes a big difference. Just put more clothes on at home.
There are other ways to reduce home temperatures:

2. Reduce the temperature of your heat boiler (to ~55ºC). Most heat boilers are too hot. You're looking for the temp with the max efficiency.
Read 9 tweets

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