What Caused The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange was an exchange of people, animals, crops, disease and culture between the New World, the Americas, and the Old World, consisting of Europe, Asia and Africa. Dubbed the Columbian Exchange after Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas in 1492, this exchange lasted until the mid 1700s. This exchange indisputably changed the course of history by connecting the New and Old World and blending their many cultures together. However, this blending of cultures inevitably lead to disputes between the Europeans and the Native Americans, who were inhabitants of the New World. Because of the tragedy the Native Americans faced, the Columbian Exchange was harmful to the New World, but benefitted the Old World enormously because …show more content…
First, the New World received an influx of new foods. For example, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, tobacco, beans, vanilla and most importantly, the potato, were brought to Europe. Many of these new crops could be farmed then sold, but more so than that, these crops increased the diversification of the European diet, which lead to substantial popular growth and a healthier society (Morillo). The potato however, had the most substantial impact on the Old World. The potato, a better source of nutrition than wheat, lead to population growth in southern China and northeastern Europe. The potato was convenient because it grew in cool and wet regions. Additionally, the potato grew underground, so the crop was rarely damaged by armies that passed over them (Morillo). Next, the Europeans were able to colonize the New World, which became a further source of economic development. In the colonies in the New World, most of the labor was done by slaves, increasing the economic benefit of the Old World nations. Additionally, the Americas contained many warm, tropical islands in the Caribbean, which were ideal for growing Old World crops such as sugarcane. This further increased economic opportunity for countries in the Old World. On the contrary, the Old World was negatively affected by the Columbian Exchange because Syphilis was brought back from the New World. Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, was one that had existed in Europe before, but was revived following the Columbian Exchange. However, the exact origin of Syphilis is disputed among historians, but is commonly thought to be a result of European men raping Native American women (Crosby). While there was one negative effect on the Old World from the Columbian Exchange, as a whole, the Old World benefit greatly, having their economic opportunities greatly

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