From the obsession with silk to the fall of Constantinople, the discovery of the Americas to the launch of the Industrial Revolution, our desire for luxury has shaped our history and evolution.
About 10,000 years ago we discover farming. But when crops fail, early farming communities face a new threat. War. It's the birth of the arms race.
Modern transport and communications have resulted in a world that is wealthier, healthier, more mobile and better informed. But new trade routes have proven to be double-edged swords, allowing for revolutionary ideas and terrifying pandemics.
Over millions of years, mankind has evolved from a puny, vulnerable creature to become a dominant force on the planet. Occasionally the planet bites back--with terrifying consequences that have shaped our evolution.
Man uses plants to feed, heal and clothe himself, to build his world and even to alter how he feels. The use of plants like corn, tobacco and cotton played a central role in our evolution and led to everything from War to Prohibition.
Tools and machines have allowed us to overcome our physical limitations, and become the most successful species on Earth. But tools are also transforming what it means to be human.
5,000 years ago, man first threw rocks into a campfire and stumbled upon a discovery that changed the world: Metal. Copper, bronze and tin empowered the ancient world and allowed empires to expand, armed with sharp, hard-wearing weapons.
Armed with fire, early man experimented with heating minerals to make stronger tools, allowing us to fight wars and build civilizations. But burning wood destroys our landscape, so Mankind exploited a new energy: oil.
15,000 years ago man and wolf formed a partnership that would shape the future of Mankind. With the help of man's new best friend, we domesticate more animals, sowing the first seeds of farming and civilization.
The ability to share complicated ideas allowed early man to hunt, farm and build communities. And the creation of the 22-letter alphabet and the printing press allowed Mankind to further expand, leading to increased ideas and revolution.
Mankind is a building species. Inspired by the divine, humans built the Great Pyramid and Stonehenge. But new challenges create new sciences, so when the Romans mixed volcanic ash with water, they created a new super-material: Concrete.