What Are The Causes Of The Columbian Exchange

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When Phillip II was appointed as King of Spain in 1556, the monarchy was in debt. Phillip assembled a system of treasure fleets that returned silver from Mexico and Peru, but these revenues were not sufficient. Phillip depended on exports from the colonies, including cochineal, the most valuable export after silver. Many European countries were envious of Spain’s success and engaged in espionage and piracy in order to gain a portion of the precious dyestuff. Spanish ships became targets for British navy and pirate ships. Obtaining the dyestuff would result in immense riches, but the “ability to steal cochineal from Spanish ships – and to make use of it in their own industries – was a point of immense patriotic pride” (118). Others attempted …show more content…
One example of globalization explored in the book is the Columbian Exchange. The Columbian Exchange was a period of exchanges of plants, animals, diseases and technology between the Old World and the Americas following Columbus’ arrival in the Caribbean in 1492. The red dyestuff, cochineal, was one of the most impactful products of this exchange that shaped society and economy in Europe. Although the red dyestuff would have immense success, it did not gain immediate recognition. The book attributes the delay in cochineal’s arrival in Europe to the ambitions of the conquistadors. When Spanish conquerors reached the Americas, they were at first more focused on European crops than growing cochineal or other New World agricultural products. Precious metals like gold and silver gained the attention of the conquistadors more than cochineal. Even items like honey and corn were more beneficial since they could be immediately eaten. The motives of the conquistadors were different from the colonists who arrived later. As more merchants reached the New World, they recognized the value of cochineal after experiencing its success in Europe unlike the

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