October 8, 2014
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants and culture, human population, and disease between the Old World and New World. It was one of the most important events in mankind concerning agriculture and ecology. Christopher Columbus made his first voyage in 1492 trying to go to Asia, which was not where he landed. Yet he launched the contact between the New world and the Old World. This than created the name “Columbian Exchange.” The Columbian Exchange greatly affected almost every society on the earth; Old World meets New World, population change, and the Columbian Exchange itself.
The New World and the Old World had a wide variety of demographic changes due to the Columbian Exchange. In the span of 400 years the population grew and fell tremendously for both the Old and New Worlds. (Doc 1) In 1580, 139,000 Spaniards left the Old world to go to the New World. 3,000 of them were prisoners and 68,000 were slaves. (Doc 4) As the Spaniards came to the New World the Indians that were already there, population decreased dramatically because Columbus and his people were killing them of and keeping them as slaves. (Doc 10) Most of them came to the New World because Columbus had brought many new resources and opportunities including horses, cows, sheep, wheat, barely, sugar cane, potatoes, maize, and a lot more. The potato had the most impact on population. Before the potato European peasants ate less per day than hunting and gathering societies in Africa. (Doc 9) When the potato traveled back to the Old World the Irish started to use the potato more than anything and it made a major impact on their population. In the 17th century Ireland’s population went from 1.5 million to more than 6 million in only 2 centuries. (Doc 9) Document seven shows that in 1670, Ireland’s population was 1.0 million and sky rocketed to an 8.0 million in 1830. Yet in the mid-19th century the Irish Potato Famine killed about 1 million people making the population decrease to about 4.0 million. In result of this the Old World’s population decreased and the New Worlds increased due to the new discoveries in the New World that brought many people from all over the Old World.
The Columbian Exchange brought a lot of change to the New and Old World which helped and didn’t help both New and Old Worlds. As Columbus “discovered America” agricultural exchanges between the two regions led to exchange of other items. Within decades of Columbus’ voyages, the trans-Atlantic slave trade had begun and hundreds of thousands of Native Americans dies of diseases brought to American by Europeans and Africans. Most of the slaves came from the Bight of Benin in Africa, as shown in document two. All of the slaves that went to the New World came from the Old World. 9.1 percent went to Spanish American, 21 percent went to British West Indies, .5 went to the Danish West Indies, 5 percent went to North America, 27 percent went to French West Indies, 9.4 percent went to the Dutch West Indies, and 32.2 percent went to Brazil.(doc 8) With all the slaves coming from different places came disease. In 1519 the plague broke out in Guatemalan Maya Cakchiquels. The plague was a very deadly disease that caused the population in many areas to decrease. In 1521 the plague began to spread and no one had control over the