Essay on columbian exchange

Submitted By drbrookejohnson
Words: 732
Pages: 3

Before the recording of history all land was believed to exist together as one land mass called the Pangaea. This land mass was separate into what was called the ‘New World, North and South America’, and the ‘Old World”, Eurasia and Africa. Even though he was not the first to set foot in the New World, Christopher Columbus established a lasting connection between European Kingdoms and the New World in the 11th century. After 1492, the time had come to re-establish the connection between the Old and New World, a term that has been coined the Columbian Exchange in 1972 by Alfred W. Crosby. During this time in history, many countries benefited while some population groups suffered. The Worlds were never the same after being reconnected and exchange of goods, livestock, and slaves happened. Whether the Columbian Exchange was positive or negative to the populations it affected can be decided by opinion, but one can agree that it was one of the more significant historically changing events in the past millennium. The Old World was introduced to crops such as maize and potatoes that significantly changed their way of life. Maize played a significant role in adding nutritious value to Diets in the Old world. A population boom resulted in China due to the crops ability to be cultivated in areas other hills and mountains where the population was forced to live due to limited food supply. Their once barren land could now be suitable for living due to the availability of this calorie dense crop. The Chinese are now the top producer of maize in the world and has an ever growing population stimulated by this exchange. Maize has become the primary food source in many countries such as Africa, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Europe. Another important crop to the Old World is the potato due to its content of starch and vitamins that prevent disease and provide nutrition. Coming from the Andes in South America, the potato became popular in Europe when wheat became too expensive and is now deemed an indispensible plant in the region. The potato was accepted without hesitation in the country of Ireland. This crop stimulated a growth in the Irish population allowing them to make the potato their primary food and way of life. Without these specific crops from the New World, the population and financial status of the above discussed countries may have been substantially different today.

While domesticated animals like horse and cattle where beneficial to the New World, the Columbian exchange also brought disease and epidemics. Disease associated with the Old World’s dense populations and animals such as chickens, rats, and mosquitoes affected the New World. Among these were the following: smallpox, measles, chickenpox, influenza, malaria, and yellow fever. These pathogens killed off at least 90% of the Native American Population. Smallpox, one of worst pathogens introduced to the New World, caused an epidemic in 1518 that