Cultural Effects Of The Columbian Exchange

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The Columbian Exchange was an encounter between the Native Americans and the Europeans that drastically changed both cultures. Both peoples exchanged items such as cattle, plants, and even some cultural aspects. The effects of the Columbian Exchange reverberated through North America as foreign European ideas became more and more familiar. Crops played a large part in the Exchange. The Native Americans supplied the Europeans with tobacco, maize, beans, tomatoes, and potatoes. These newly discovered foods had a stunning impact on the Old World, and their presence permanently changed the European diet. Not only did these crops change the European diet, they impacted the entire world. About three fifths of crops in the world today began in the …show more content…
The Old and New Worlds traded parts of their cultures to the mutual benefit of each other. The New World gave the Europeans gold, silver, corn, potatoes, tobacco. Europe in turn provided wheat, sugar, rice, coffee, horses, cows, and pigs. Both cultures had important items that the other had never seen before. A Native American would have been shocked at the improvement of the quality of life after hunting with a horse or making a cake for the first time. The gold and silver in Peru and Mexico could make Spaniards and Britons alike rich men. The need for exchanging and buying was reciprocated and helpful to the Americas and Europe, so commerce was huge and successful. This boom in commerce also led to a difference of culture. Both cultures were impacted, primarily the Americas. Some basic items of the European culture aided the Native Americans, such as the exchange of horses and sugar. But the Europeans brought in other less attractive maladies to the Americas that dramatically impacted their culture: smallpox, measles, the black plague, malaria, typhus, and scarlet fever. The population of Hispaniola dwindled down from one million to two hundred in only fifty years. In the centuries to follow the arrival of the Europeans, about ninety percent of the population was killed by disease. The Natives did give the Europeans syphilis, but it was not nearly as deadly as the plethora of illnesses that clung to the boots of the unknowing Spanish and British men. Needless to say, both cultures were impacted negatively by the widespread plagues that killed millions of men and women. Although illness, sickness, and death eventually came as a result of the Columbian Exchange, the introduction of cattle, crops, and the increase in commerce had a positive effect on the both cultures. New items like sugar, coffee, corn, horses, and wheat were exchanged and both groups of people benefit from the exchange

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