Columbian Exchange Essay

Submitted By neverland97
Words: 1590
Pages: 7

The Start of America Many have heard the saying “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. The majority of schools teach that Christopher Columbus was the first to discover America, but they never discuss the pre-Columbian times. These were the days in the American continents before Columbus had arrived, where the Native Americans lived and explorers from Spain settled in South America. The European and Spanish settlers had differences and similarities such as their reasons for being in America, how their settlements ran, and their interactions with Native Americans and one another. Before the Europeans arrived in North America, the land had been settled by Native Americans. The debate on where Native Americans came from remains the same, unsure and not certain, but many archeologist believe “ that the first immigrants into the Americans came, reaching North America about 12,000 years ago by means of a "land bridge" between Asia and North America.” (C. Smith). It is said that 10 to 20 million Natives were living in America before the Europeans had settled. Not all tribes were the same. They spoke over 1,000 languages and each tribe had a different leader. The way they lived all depended on where they lived. For example, “In the eastern forests, Indians slashed and burned to clear the way for cornfields, fertilized by the ashes and to create meadows for grazing deer and elk” (Lord). While Indians closer to the coast would fish for food. The tribes closer to the coast had plenty of wood, which was used to build large houses and canoes. Natives in the southwest are known for their hunting and gathering. Overall life before any new settlers had arrived in America had been different for all Native Americas, but was never the same after the Spanish had arrived. Explorers from Spain were the first to arrive in the New World. The Spanish had conquered and settled in South America, the Caribbean, and the American Southwest. The Spanish new world was run by the conquistadors, who were there to make the land into a military settlement. Jesuits, were missionaries who converted the Native Americans to the Catholic faith. Other Spanish, known as adventures, would come to the new world in hopes of finding gold and becoming rich. The largest tribe the Spanish came into contact with were the Pueblo. The Spanish married and enslaved the natives. Those enslaved had some independence while others were worked to death. After some time the Pueblo tribe revolted against the Spanish. The Spanish had hurt the Native Americans in many ways, such as, the spread of disease, killing of natives, and the taking of slaves. Along with the changes brought to America, the Spanish brought new ideas back with them to Europe, known as the Columbian Exchange.
This referred to “the exchange of diseases, ideas, food crops, and populations between the New World and the Old World”(Although many had died more began to live due to new discoveries in food preservation and the eating of new foods that held more nutrients, which helped the Europeans to grow and live longer. The Spanish also established the casta, class system, based on race. Those originally from Spain, Peninsulares, were the highest on the class pyramid. Spanish born in the new world, Creoles, came second and then the Mestizos, who were part Spanish and part Native American. Last on the pyramid were the indigenous or Native Americans. In the late 1800’s the Spanish lost most of their land to the rising power of Colonists. The English colonies were the first signs of settlement in the New World. Many came to make money and start a new life. Joint-stock companies were private businesses settling in the new world to make a profit. Money was invested into companies going to the new world in hopes they would find gold and silver. Charters were also gave permission for someone to settle in the new world in exchange for a portion of what they find. The first attempt of starting a colony was made by