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The Columbian Exchange Essay

1217 words - 5 pages

The Colombian Exchange was an extensive exchange between the eastern and western hemispheres as knows as the Old World and New World. The Colombian exchange greatly affects almost every society. It prompted both voluntary and forced migration of millions of human beings. There are both positive and negative effects that you can see from the Colombian Exchange. The Colombian Exchange explorers created contact between Europe and the Americas. The interaction with Native Americans began the exchange of animals, plants, disease, and weapons. The most significant effects that the Colombian Exchange had on the Old World and New World were its changes in agriculture, disease, culture, and its effects on ecology.
The immediate cause of the European voyages of discovery was the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. While Egypt and Italian city-state of Venice was left with a monopoly on ottoman trade for spices and eastern goods it allowed Portugal and Spain to break the grip by finding an Atlantic route. Portugal took the lead in the Atlantic exploration because of the reconquest from the Muslims, good finances, and their long standing seafaring traditions. In dealing with agriculture, The Portuguese discovered Brazil on accident, but they concentrated on the Far East and used Brazil as a ground for criminals. Pernambuco, the first area to be settled, became the world’s largest sugar producer by 1550. Pernambuco was a land of plantations and Indian slaves. While the market for sugar grew so did the need for slaves. Therefore the African Slave start became greatly into effect. Around 1511 Africans began working as slaves in the Americas. In 1492, Columbus embarked on his voyage from Spain to the Americas. The European demand shifted the balance of power. The exchange of plants and animals transformed Europe, Africa, Asian and America. In the new world, Europeans encountered indigenous plant foods cultivated by Native Americas. These plants were potatoes, beans, corn, tobacco, and cocoa. The potato is especially important because it’s known for one of the main foods for Ireland. The European’s influenced oats and barley etc. Domesticated animals as pigs, chickens, sheep, and ox were also brought to the Americas. Horses were also brought to the new world which was a new tool for hunting and used for military.
There is also a huge spread of diseases brought between the new world and old world. The old world brought over cholera, influenza, malaria, measles, and smallpox. The Europeans considered illness as a consequence of sin. The Indians whom were non-Christian were often considered sinners because they constantly getting sick. Those who were ill often were punished. The Native Americans had no natural resistance to the diseases and the population declined over centuries. The Inca Empire decreased by millions in 1600s. This caused for Europeans to look to Africa and began importing African slaves to the Americas. Once the...

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