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Columbian Exchange Essay

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The Columbian exchange resulted in many important discoveries of the New World which very quickly change the focus of European powers. There were many advantages along with disadvantages that took place in the environment and the intellectual and religious views on both sides of the exchange.

The European and native civilizations were obviously from two completely different worlds. The Europeans came from an advanced society with advancement in technology and anthropocecentric, or man centered, religious views. The natives lived in an anthromorphic (view that nature has human-like qualities) based society. One of which the daily goal is to please nature. When these two religious views clashed, there were many outcomes. Part of the Europeans goal was to convert the natives to the Christian religion, which on occasion, they successfully did. But the Europeans also believed that God gave them the right to conquer non-Christian people. Some European groups went from village to village and wiped out every native they could in a very violent fashion. Bartolome de Las Casas, a Spanish priest, a revealed in his writings of the horrors that the Spanish were inflicting on the natives.

Centuries of geographic isolation between America and Europe resulted in a fast collection of new plants and crops unseen by the Europeans. Many of these strange new plants were cultivated by Indians. Europeans learned how to grow the crops and eventually sold them as cash crops. A few of these crops included; sugarcane, cacao beans, oranges, potatoes, bananas, rice, and wine grapes. These and many other crops were exported back to Europe and introduced a new level of nourishment to people's diets. This over production in healthy foods resulted in a dense population increase. Europeans also brought an abundance of domesticated animals such as pigs, cattle, horses, and sheep. As a result the natives gained better food, clothing, and energy resources. On the downside, some of the natives' croplands were ruined.

The exchange of crops and animals undoubtedly lead to a change in both the old and new worlds, but the most drastic and influential exchange of the Columbian Exchange was that of disease. Because the natives were isolated from Old World sicknesses, they had not built immunity to them and when introduced to the illnesses they became very sick. Almost ninety percent of the native population died due to Old World diseases, the leading killer of the natives was the deadly smallpox. Due to insufficient beds and shelters, the natives could hardly treat smallpox. An infected native would lie on their hard mats as the pox broke and oozed. Their skin would stick to the mats, and upon rolling over, the skin would separate from their bodies. Shortly after, they would die due to loss of blood or exposure the harsh weather conditions. The Europeans contracted diseases from the new world as well, however the effect was nowhere near as drastic as

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