The Columbian Exchange was the widespread transfer of plants, animals, people, culture, and technology between the Americas, West Africa and the Old World. This happened all after Christopher Columbus made his journey to the Americas in 1492. Referring to the Old World, they made many gains from this exchange in multiple different ways. The finding of new supplies that they used every day in their lives. New metal supplies was supposed to be one of the best known supplies they ever discovered. I have chosen this topic because it was a very important event in history, and I wanted to learn more about this topic. Not only did I know about it already, but there are many other things that I probably don’t know about the Columbian Exchange. The Columbian Exchange impacted the way the world works now. The Columbian Exchange impacted the social, and cultural makeup of both sides of the Atlantic. The Columbian Exchange explains why Indian Nations collapsed, and the European countries thrived after Columbus’ arrival in the New World. After this the New World and the Old World started to connect with each other trading for things that they needed. In order for them to survive they had to do this to build an economy for their people. With that being said there were many good and bad benefits to the Columbian Exchange.
As the Europeans furthered their expansion into the New World they had to make sure they were going to get the profitability they needed when doing these exchanges. This was called mercantilism, the theory that rejected free trade, but had the government regulation of the entire economy to get power and colonizing other countries. Mercantilism had a limited amount though coming from what they had to do. In order to gain power they had to mine materials from their own colonies.
Mercantilist did not believe in free trade, but they thought that the Nation should should control trade to gain wealth and power over everybody else to help make the Nation stronger and more powerful. In order to do this they had to hire men and women to do all the work. They had to work for a low amount of money and the labor was harsh. In the end though the colonies gained wealth, and power from making other people work for their success. This also meant that they could control who they wanted to trade with and who not to trade with. If one colony had one thing that the other colony wanted they would meet, and discuss the trade amounts. With the production of these materials uprising at such a fast pace many colonies with wealthier people started to make plantations for these materials to be found.
The two exchanges between the Americas and Europe are what we know as today the Columbian Exchange. Of all the things they traded with sugar was one of the main sources. According to them sugar was just as important to them as oil is today to us. During this time, colonies rushed to get sugar plantations up to see who controlled the production of sugar. Sugar was the main ingredient to almost all the food that was made, and also many other things the Americas used.
The Old World had sugar also, but due to their climate it was more difficult for it to grow there. After the new crop was introduced the crop thrived over the next century making it one of the main productions around the world. With this being said, the more plantations that they made, the more enslaved people they had to hire and work for them. Making this an easy way for money to be brought into their country. Later on the century, sugar was not the only important crop to be produced. Tobacco was introduced, the Native Americans have been growing this crop for centuries before Europe got there hands on it. Native Americans have been using this for medical and ritual practices believing that it would enhance wisdom into their bodies.
As we know today, tobacco is used to put your body in a divine state to make yourself feel better. This is also what the Native Americans did also. At first the the Spanish saw this as a negative affect, and a proof of savagery. Later on the Europeans brought this across the Atlantic to introduce it to the New World. Europeans found that tobacco could cure certain things like headaches, and skin irritations. The Europeans did not make this a global import until the 1590’s. As far as I read about it tobacco was the first world wide crop, which meant many started to grow it for the worldwide market. Many people wanted to get their hands on it because it was a great way to make money for a low price of maintenance. Especially when they were making the enslaved work in these plantations for a very low price. A price that if it was still in use today you could not survive off it.
The Columbian Exchange coming from the Old World to the New World introduced many things also. On Christopher Columbus’ next voyage he introduced the New World to animals like pigs, cows, chickens, and horses. Horses were a main source to the Native Americans because they could tame them and use them for transportation, and to make hunting a lot easier for them. It also made travel much more faster for them to get from place A to place B. Since the animals were introduced to the New World many things changed on how the New World worked. They had more things to eat, and new ways to get around. With this being said this did bring some negative effects on people. Since traveling from the Old World to the New World brought many new diseases such as chicken pox, measles, smallpox, and mumps. These new diseases destroyed some colonies wiping them completely out. Which meant they had no men to work anymore or anybody to do anything. One disease that went from the New World to the Old World was a disease named syphilis, an STD or sexual transmitted disease.
At the time of this happening there was no cure for it, making even more people dying from it.
The Columbian Exchange had its good and bad benefits. The evolution of all these things that happened had a major impact on how we do things today. With the trading with other countries is how we still operate as a country today. We have opened many ports for other countries to trade with us. Materials that we need come from other countries, and we give other countries materials that they need. Also on the second Monday of October we celebrate a day called Columbus Day, this is a legal holiday celebrating the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Although, this is a legal holiday in almost every state there are a few that do not celebrate this day. Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, and South Dakota do not recognize this as a holiday. Instead they replaced it with indigenous peoples day.
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