The Columbian Exchange A slideshow by Jamie Fonden
Columbus accidentally discovered theAmericas seeking promises of China’s gold.He imagined that the closer he got to theequator, the closer he would be to China’sriches. A storm interrupted his mad dashand he spurred northward, coming acrossthe Americas and bringing with him changethat would affect not only the natives butmost of the world.
Livestock taken to the new world by theSpanish and Columbus changed the lives ofthe natives in the Americas.Horses in North America that broke awayfrom their Spanish captives flourished inthe plains. The wild horses provided aneffective means for Native Americans tohunt buffalo. When the cow becamedesirable for its meat rather than its hideboth the Native Americans and buffalowere displaced and slaughtered in thethousands to retain land for meatprofiteering.
In the Andes, locals had limited supply of food able to be grown in harsh climates and high elevations. One of the root vegetables able to be grown was the potato. The Spanish may have brought livestock and advanced weaponry, but the potato was one of the gifts the new world gave to the old.The potato became the staple crop of Europeanlaborers during the Industrial Revolution. It wasnot only easy to cultivate but a great quantitycould be grown from a small plot of land. One ofthe areas the potato became most widely usedwas Ireland.
From the bounty of the potato thepoor Irish were able to have largerand larger families. They workedplots of lands largely owned byabsentee landlords who occupiedthe only usable land in the region. When potato crops were infected with a disease known as potato blight, Ireland lost a third of its population between 1845 and 1852. During this period, many Irish fled to North America, namely New York and Boston. They became 60% of Boston’s population and continue to influence politics in the area.
Sugar cane was another crop that spurnedthe migration of peoples from onecontinent to another except in the case ofsugar cane, the move was involuntary.Columbus introduced the plantation style The British, French and Spanish allslavery to the Americas forcing Africans grew sugar cane in the new worldfrom their homes and into the new world. producing it via slaves. It is indicated that in Europe around 6,000 were used while in the Americas 13,000 slaves were utilized in sugar cane production. After slavery, descendents of Africans that remained continue to practice the cultural traditions of their ancestors.
Columbus introduced not only new livestockand produce to the new world but alsoinfluenced the migration of new peoples to itslands, The Americas gave back not just thepotato but corn, chili peppers, tobacco,peanuts, cocoa, tomatoes and many otherspecies of bean to name a few. Globalizationbegan with Columbus and continues today asthe influence of western culture has began topervade even the most rural of foreign lands.Columbus’s travels both benefitted anddoomed the future of modern civilization.
Works Cited•Abbott, Patrick. "Prelude to the Irish Famine: The Potato." Ireland Story.Wesley Johnston. Web. 07 Nov. 2011.<http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/famine/potato.html>.•"Great Famine (Ireland)." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 07Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Ireland)>.•The Columbian Exchange: The Age Of Discovery. AMG and Baseline, 2010. DVD