Columbian Exchange

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Columbian Exchange

Post  laraschembrisant on Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:22 pm

The "Columbian Exchange"—a phrase coined by historian Alfred Crosby—describes the interchange of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old World and the Americas following Columbus's arrival in the Caribbean in 1492. For reasons beyond human control, rooted deep in the divergent evolutionary histories of the continents, the Columbian Exchange massively benefited the people of Europe and its colonies while bringing catastrophe to Native Americans.
The Columbian Exchange: It's a relatively obscure concept. Most people have never even heard of it. Its definition—the transmission of non-native plants, animals, and diseases from Europe to the Americas, and vice versa, after 1492. And yet the Columbian Exchange just may be the single most important event in the modern history of the world. The Columbian Exchange explains why Indian nations collapsed and European colonies thrived after Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. The Columbian Exchange explains why European nations quickly became the wealthiest and most powerful in the world. Africans were sold into slavery on the far side of the ocean to toil in fields of tobacco, sugar, and cotton. The Columbian Exchange even explains why pasta marinara has tomato sauce. If you don't understand the Columbian Exchange, you cannot truly understand the forces that shape the world we live in today. You cannot understand why you speak the language you speak, why you live in the nation you live in, or even why you eat the food you eat. If you don't understand the Columbian Exchange, much of what you think you know about the history of the Americas may be wrong. Spanish soldiers did less to defeat the Incas and Aztecs than smallpox did. Divine Providence did less to bless the Puritan settlers of the Mayflower with good health and fortune than the Pilgrims' own immune systems did. In the Columbian Exchange, ecology became destiny. Powerful environmental forces, understood by no one alive at the time and by very few people even today, determined who would thrive and who would die. And that may be the most shocking truth revealed to those who take the time to understand the Columbian Exchange: we, as humans, cannot always control our own destinies. The most important historical actors in this story are not Christopher Columbus or Moctezuma or Hernán Cortés. They are the smallpox virus, the pig, the potato, and the kernel of corn.

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Re: Columbian Exchange

Post  laraschembrisant on Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:23 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbian_Exchange
http://public.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/hist106web/site19/
http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/american-indians/essays/columbian-exchange

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Re: Columbian Exchange

Post  martinka64_Kate on Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:56 pm

I find slave economic systems interesting but very crucial. Poor slaves didn't have any respect only because of their skin color and lack of money.
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Re: Columbian Exchange

Post  Fabianny Silverio on Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:17 pm

I agree with Kate and see this as racism. The Columbian Exchange effected greatly the health of the Indians and the death of more than half their population. Was it fair what the Europeans did? Would you say the Columbian Exchange was good or bad? scratch 

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