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The Columbian Exchange

Essay by PringlesIsGood  •  February 16, 2017  •  Essay  •  1,126 Words (5 Pages)  •  420 Views

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The Columbian Exchange

Throughout history, global trade gradually became popular, different cultures exchanged goods and slowly made improvements in lifestyles. The Columbian Exchange is one of the most impressive global trades; the trade consisted of animals, plants and diseases. The Old World brought in foreign concepts to the New World, and vice versa. Through this a trade relationship was established. Invasive species were unintentionally brought in; however, due to the domestication of animals, signs of economic growth began to show in the New World. Sadly, due to the lack of immunity for European diseases, Native American population faced a major drop. With the intent of trade relations, the Columbian Exchange impacted the New World with environmental changes, economical changes and population changes.

Through the Columbian Exchange, invasive species spread, damaging the environment and pushing other animals to near extinction. Before the Columbian Exchange, the New World was packed with various vegetation and wildlife. When Columbus first came to the New World, he logged that the trees were unlike theirs as night from day, as are the fruits, the herbs, and the stones. He also logged that trees were “odoriferous,” the scenery was described to be so beautiful that his eyes could never tire of gazing upon such loveliness, nor his ears of listening to the songs of birds. The lands were cultivated, and that a very wide and large river passed through the center of the valley, and could irrigate all the fields. All the trees were green and full of fruit and the plants tall and covered with flowers. (Document 1) The document played its role perfectly, it described that the Americas had better soil than Europe, therefore, was able to grow multiple produce that Europe could not. So naturally, Europeans would be curious to these foreign produce and establish a trade relation. However, weeds were brought in from Europe along with other main goods. French, Dutch and English farmers brought them North America their worst enemies: weeds. Weeds exhaust the land and hinder the crops. Weeds are diverse, at the time, 20 different kinds of weed were recorded, and these include couch grass, dandelion, nettles, mallows, knot grass, shepherd’s purse, snow thistle and etc. Plantain of all weeds was aggressive and would destroy the irrigation fields. It was described to be the “English-Man’s Foot.” (Document 3) This document was able to explain the effects of weed on the Americas. Interestingly, weeds were not the only thing that destroyed the environment. Invasive species such as rodents and different animals were imported; these animals damaged the fields and were predators to the wild life in the Americas. The once beautiful vegetation and wildlife of the Americas were blemished by weeds and invasive species.

Although the environment was somewhat damaged, the New World experienced a growth in economy thanks to the introduction of domesticated animals. The map on Document 4 illustrates the trade activity along with the goods exchanged. It serves its purpose of showing the main idea of what each country had to offer. The map illustrates that the Americas offered produces such as maize. Document 2 confirms that maize is one of the main dishes along with chili peppers. Although food was very impactful to the population boom in Europe, in exchange, the introduction of domesticate animals assisted in the gradual rise of a new economy. The drawing of Hernando Cortes’s ship arriving in harbor



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