Humans are an environmental niche, and organisms arise through mutation to populate it. Novel microbes can cause epidemics in which the death rate is very high.
The Ancient Greeks believed that natural events had natural causes. They invented the deductive proof, and laid the foundations of physics and astronomy.
In the Middle Ages, much of Europe was sparsely populated. People lived in small settlements separated by lawless wilderness, so they had to be self-reliant.
Feudalism ended when the factors that had supported it disappeared: small and isolated populations, limited markets, the dominance of the knight in warfare.
The first states showed signs of constitutional government, but the fifteenth-century military revolution caused some states to veer towards authoritarianism.
The rapid progress of European science was not inevitable. It was facilitated by Europe’s legal institutions, in particular, by the concept of jurisdiction.
Chinese scientists could not free themselves from the demands of the emperor, and Islamic scientists could not free themselves from the demands of Islam.
Eurasia was able to produce food surpluses more than a thousand years before the Americas. Food surpluses led to specialization, which led to rapid development.
The Scientific Revolution occurred when mathematical reasoning and experimentation were widely adopted.
At the time of the Glorious Revolution, an ideology that emphasized the value of labour pushed aside an ideology that justified the power of the landowners.