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The Columbian Exchange

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Erin Dennis

on 17 October 2014

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Transcript of The Columbian Exchange

What is it?
The Columbian Exchange refers to a period of cultural and biological exchanges between the New and Old Worlds. Exchanges of plants, animals, diseases and technology transformed European and Native American ways of life. Beginning after Columbus' discovery in 1492 the exchange lasted throughout the years of expansion and discovery. The Columbian Exchange impacted the social and cultural makeup of both sides of the Atlantic.
The Columbian Exchange influenced technological advances in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Europe was an economic and technological power compared to the Native Americans they encountered in the New World. Yet, they still benefited from the exchange of ideas and cultures. Native Americans were impacted profoundly by the technological transition. When Europeans crossed the Atlantic and colonized the New World they sparked a flow of changes in Native American culture.
The most notable of these changes were:
- A Written Alphabet
- New Farming Capabilities
- New Firearm and Weapon Capabilities
- Architectural Ingenuity

The plants involved in the Columbian Exchange changed both the economy and the culture of the New and Old Worlds. There was an abundance of new plants discovered in the Americas (including beans, squash, chili peppers, sunflowers, chenopods, peanuts, tomatoes, sweet potato, avocado, and pineapple ), but the two most important were the potato and maize. In addition to discovering New World plants, many plants were brought from the Old World to become hugely successful in the Americas. Among these plant, the most prevalent was sugarcane.
The Columbian Exchange is often times praised for the positive things that it brought about such as the exchange of new animals, foods, and plants between the Old World and the New World. However, not all of the aspects of the Columbian Exchange were positive. It is also important to realize that the Columbian Exchange can also be credited for the transmission of diseases which had adverse effects on both the Old and New World alike. Europeans and Native Americans suffered immensely from disease that were foreign to them.

Common Old World Diseases included:
Yellow fever
Chicken Pox

Common New World Diseases included:
The passage from the Old Word to the New World in the Columbian Exchange was made by animals as well as humans. Both the non-domesticated and the domesticated animals made an impact on the New World. For example some of these impacts were the transformation of the grasslands and revolutionizing of labor. Overgrazing by enormous herds of sheep was the reasons for the transformation of the grasslands and the availability of horses, donkeys, and ox were responsible for the new power force for the land.
The Columbian Exchange
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