Christopher Columbus, Corn and Potatoes: How the New World Fed the Old

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How the New World Fed the Old

Christopher Columbus’ discoveries were widely known and highly influential, but more so, the things he brought back to his homeland would pave the way for future development. Food is and will always be one of the most essential elements for the survival of humanity. It is not surprising that the Old World (Europe) primarily developed the way it did because of the influence of food mostly derived from the New World. Alfred W. Crosby discusses this in his article, “The Potato Connection – How the New World Fed the Old”. Varieties of foreign diseases, currency, spices and various crops made their mark in European history. International trading has contributed to both positive and negative effects. During
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It is able to feed livestock, make huts and sheds, and even be used as smoking pipes. Potatoes were first discovered by the Europeans in the West Indies. The potato is able to thrive in harsh weather conditions which would aid Europeans during times of famine. With the exception of the root, most of the plant is rich in nutrients. It provides protein and Vitamin C, which was crucial for the Old World as their diets lacked this very necessity. The Old World also considered the potato as an aphrodisiac, using it to reveal one’s affection. During the Irish famine, it was proven that a family of five could survive on potatoes alone with very little other supplements. The only disadvantage of solely relying on potatoes is that it spoiled pretty quickly. Families became dependent on the budding of the next harvest. This would eventually change with the invention of refrigeration. In times of warfare, food was needed the most to supplement the land’s soldiers. The potato was well protected as it grew underground. The opposing soldiers who ravaged towns, trampling most all crops and carting off grain stored in barns, unknowingly left the potatoes untouched. This would in turn be able to cheaply feed and nourish families and soldiers fighting for their homeland. With the cultivation of maize and potatoes, the Old World was able to use it as cash crops for trading. Growing these crops in abundance would help the country expand economically. Without such

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