Essay on The term Colombian Exchange

Submitted By psilent_knight
Words: 1175
Pages: 5

The term Colombian Exchange 1 was coined by author of the book Alfred W Crosby (American Historian at the University Of Texas At Austin) in 1972 via his published work and has widely been used by many in the literary field. The Colombian Exchange 1 is regarded as the spread or transfer of animals, culture, plants, human species and interaction, primitive technology, ideas, not to exclude the slave trade and ultimately new communicable disease between the North/South American continents and the European hemispheres in the late 15th century to the latter part of the 16th century due to part of the colonization efforts and exploration of Christopher Columbus. It was once stated, “With great risk comes great reward.” (Thomas Jefferson) The European colonist would capitalize upon that meaningful statement as the Native and indigenous populations would be on the latter end of that particular deal as history has outlined it.
Born Christopher Columbus between October 1450-1451; the Italian explorer and colonizer completed voyages across the Atlantic on behalf of the Catholic church of Spain. His greatest and most memorable was the initiation of his efforts in establishing the settlements of the New World along with the Spanish colonies along with new trade routes. By many accounts and opinions, it was said that he happened upon the Americas by accident traveling towards another destination on route to find trade with promising countries. Within the travels of Columbus we are reveled by the overwhelming abundance of exchange between the vast cultures he came into contact with; consequently, the good that occurred was trumped by the knowing or unbeknownst traveler of disease. Unfortunately, the sadden tales of slavery of various natives in their land adds to the fallacy of which this was deemed a beneficial exploration. In “The Columbian Exchange1,” Alford W. Crosby speaks upon Columbus’s remarks he wrote,
“The distinctiveness of the human inhabitants of these islands struck Columbus, as well. He found the Indians unlike even black Africans, the most exotic people he had ever met with before. The Indians’ hair was “not kinky, but straight and course like horsehair; the whole forehead and head is very broad, more so than any other race that I have ever seen” (4)

By all accounts each one of the many native races encountered by the explorations of Columbus took them by surprise, dealing a devastating blow to that countries health as well as their population. The deciding factor would be looked at the foreign diseases that the Europeans would bring, not only from the Old World but from trades with neighboring countries where the people there would have a better chance of defending themselves against the normal occurring aliments due to genetics or the ability to build a slight resistance comparable to a mongoose whom after enough injections of a snakes venom through its bites would begin to produce antibodies to combat it for the next encounter. In the human race, you come across a disease or virus then the body would begin to do the same just not in such a proficient manner as that particular animal can. Africa would prove difficult to make such a significant dent in the population decrease, with respects to slavery, due to having malaria 2 prevalent in the area yet the Old World would devise quinine as a vaccination in a sense against the disease. This dark nature of slavery is even account for by Jeffery M. Pilcher3 in “The Oxford Handbook of Food History” as he writes
The history of the Columbian Exchange is also entangled with that of slavery. The introduction of both African crops into the Americas and new-world foods into West Africa was driven largely by the transatlantic slave trade, which inadvertently “Africanized” new-world diets at the same time as it brought new foods to West Africa… (352)

As it would turn out, the Europeans would be handed a similar fate when it came to the movement within the Atlantic