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Consequences of Columbus

Explain the changes and conflicts that occurred when the diverse worlds of Europe, Africa, and the Americas collided after 1492 When the diverse worlds of Europe, Africa, and the Americas collided after 1492, dramatic events would occur that would reshape the regions and the people in them. While there are many important events that occurred, mostly all of them can be organized into the category “Columbian Exchange”. The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases, and ideas between the Old World and the New World.

It is one of the most important events concerning culture in recorded history. Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the New World in 1492 is what sparked this revolution hence the name “Columbian” Exchange. The Columbian Exchange greatly affected almost every culture around the world. New diseases brought to the New World by the Europeans killed off many populations because the Indians had no immunity to diseases such as smallpox. Missionaries and the traders who ventured to America gave horrifying reports. In 1738 alone, smallpox destroyed half of the Cherokee tribe.

It is unproven but oft believed that Venereal syphilis originated in North America. Even added together though, the statistics of settler deaths to native deaths due to disease is miniscule. The Columbian Exchange was not all about populations changing. There were some major agricultural advancements. Maybe some really cool animals got transported, too. When the Europeans first came to the Americas, Old World crops such as barley, rice, wheat and turnips had not traveled across the Atlantic and the New World did not have corn, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

The Columbian Exchange of crops affected both the Old and New Worlds. Corn going to china was a big deal because if it hadn’t we wouldn’t have those few random pieces of corn in pork fried rice when we get Chinese food. White potatoes also went to Ireland and became their most important crop. When settlers came to the New World, they cultivated crops such as wheat and apples. Other crops include maize, white potatoes, sweet potatoes and various squashes.

All in all, the natives of the New World were not accustomed to the contrasts in culture of the settlers and vice versa. When the settlers landed, they brought with them everything that would adapt them to old life. Natives were not adapted to settler germs and therefore their populations plunged. Over time, Indians grew immune to settler diseases but the dominating numbers will never be back to where they were before. It is hard to believe one voyage could create such a huge change but after 1492, the world would never be the same.

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