The Columbian Exchange
The Columbian exchange created an enormous interchange of various political ideas, cultures, foods, diseases, animals, and people between the old world and the new world, this give and take relationship caused many changes some positive and some negative between the two areas and help redistribute resources between the two hemispheres. There were many positive things that happened as a result of the Columbian exchange. Potatoes and corn became major food sources for Europeans allowing populations to increase and allowed more settlers an explorers to arrive. The introduction of pigs, cows, and horses gave new food sources and new animals for the Native Americans to use. Also many Native Americans taught the Europeans new farming, fishing, and hunting techniques as well as new plants to grow like maize, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and pumpkins just to name a few. Catholicism was also introduced to the Natives, and many tried to convert them to make one solid religion.
Though there were many positives between the exchanges there was also many negatives which mainly killed many Native Americans like disease, so Columbus’ voyages may have had greater consequences biologically than culturally. The diseases the Europeans brought with them killed up to ninety percent of the Native Americans in the new world. The Native Americans had never been exposed to these diseases so their bodies could not fight them. However the Europeans had lived with these diseases for thousands of year and were not as likely to die from them. So the European conquest of the Native Americans was made easy by the effect disease had on the Natives as a result the conquistadors who were sent by Spain conquered most of the natives in mezzo America like the Incas and the Aztecs fairly quickly.
Around the time of the European colonization of the new world the economic policy of mercantilism became very popular and at that time Great Britain had become the strongest presence in the new world. Mercantilism is the focus of draining other countries for its resources and exporting more than you import while gaining as much wealth that is possible by taking the assets from their colonies. So Great Britain believed the more money they had the more power they could achieve. Great Britain used the ideology of mercantilism on the colonies and they were used to export raw materials, such as wood, crops, and furs. Great Britain were able to make goods out of the raw materials that the colonies had exported, once Great Britain was done making the finished goods they would sell it back to the colonies and other countries. Many merchants from Europe gained charters which is a license to do business in the American colonies, this caused an enormous growth in population and merchants became very wealthy.
The effect mercantilism had on the natives was not good, because many of the remaining natives became slaves. However the Indians kept dying from the diseases that Europeans brought over, which they were not immune to, and they also would escape because they knew the land very well, so the Europeans needed a new labor group to gather the raw materials and harvest crops for them. The work force the British were looking for had to be cheap, because the merchants wanted to make as much as money as possible, this led to the growth of the African slave trade. The Europeans enslaved and moved millions of Africans to the Americas to plant and harvest sugarcane in the Caribbean. They were the best option for labor because many Africans had built up immunity to some European diseases, and there skin tone set them apart so they had little chance of a successful escape so they were unlikely to try. In the West Indies, Spanish settlers developed plantations and large estates to grow wheat, tobacco, and sugarcane. The enslaved Africans were marched to a European fort on the West African coast. Tied together they were traded, branded, and forced to board ships bound for the Americas. By the late 1500s, slave labor was a key part of the colonies economy.
However the slave trade in Africa did not begin in the sixteenth century, but by then the demand for labor in Americas led to a great increase. By the mid-1500s, the Spanish, Portuguese, and British were bringing thousands of enslaved people from Africa to the Americas. In conclusion The Columbian Exchange explains why European colonies thrived becoming the wealthiest and most powerful empire in the world. If it weren’t for the Columbian Exchange the world would be different. Native Americans would probably still exist and Europeans would probably never gain as much power as they did .The Columbian exchange created an enormous interchange of various political ideas, cultures, foods, diseases, animals, and people between the old world and the new world, this give and take relationship caused many changes some positive and some negative between the two areas and help redistribute resources between the two hemispheres.