Positive Effects of the Columbian Exchange
The Columbian exchange can be perceived as two different ways, one way is that is was overall a negative event for the New World. The other is that it was overall a positive event for the New World. The Columbian exchange was overall a positive event for the New World because it impacted the new world, the old world, and the Spanish conquest of the new world all in positive ways.
To begin, the Columbian exchange impacted the new world in positive ways. One of the most valuable and important ways that they brought and gave (traded) things with the native Americans for not only self-gain but also societal gain as well. They gave (traded) invasive species which included, pigs, chickens, cows, goats, sheep, horses, hawks, and any other type of livestock. They also brought oranges, pears, wheat, flour, wine, seeds, sugar, and other things from the Old World. The Native Americans brought and willingly gave according to Christopher Columbus, Tomatoes, seeds, carrots, beans, corn, manioc, and potatoes. They also brought parrots, cotton, spears, hawks’ bells, glass beads, and many other things. (Document 1, Christopher Columbus). Due to the interaction between the Native Americans and the Spaniards, this caused each to begin making each other’s plants and reproducing each other’s animals for the society as a whole. By the interaction happening when Christopher Columbus came this allowed the society of the New World to begin growing in people, and cultural diversity.
Secondly, the Old World was also impacted positively by the interaction of trading and giving when Christopher Columbus first came to the New World. The Spaniards started to bring back the items and resources they were given in order to start growing the crops and reproducing the livestock in the Old World. The Spaniards started to bring the crops to the Old World and after growing the crops they realized that all of the crops the Native Americans have given them (beans, corn, manioc, and potatoes) grew really well in the New World, this was because the soil was better for the new seeds from the New World. This caused people in the Old World to start wanting to travel to the New World.
By doing this it caused the Spanish Conquest of the New World and for the diseases to migrate away from the Old World to the New World, by the diseases moving away from the Old World and into the New World this caused more room for the people who decided to stay in the Old World, disease commonality decreased, and population growth. The population growth was caused by the increase in the food supply. The increase in food supply caused an increase in the reproductive rate because more food means more people survive and make it to the age of reproduction. The increase in reproduction was so rapid that immigration to the New World did not decline the population of the Old World. This can be seen through Ireland from 1754- 1845. The population of Ireland during that time increased rapidly from 3.2 million all the way up to 8.2 million people. The Old World was also impacted positively because of the widespread food, crops, and livestock.
Finally, the Columbian exchange also positively impacted the Spanish Conquest of the New World. This can be seen through the transfer of disease from the Old World to the New World, the transfer caused many powerful defenses/armies to die due to the fact that the New World had never experienced these types of diseases and they had never built an immunity to it, whereas the Old World had built an immunity to these diseases because they have suffered through them for centuries. Most Old World people had built up a natural immunity to some or even all diseases. These diseases are chickenpox, malaria, measles, pneumonia, scarlet fever, smallpox, and typhus. Due to the disease spreading to the New World thirty to ninety percent of all Native Americans died from those diseases. The diseases also affected the Aztecs of Mexico and the Inca of Peru. The Spanish could have been wiped out completely because their empire was outnumbered but for the positive convenience of the disease spread, it killed off and weakened most of the New World empires trying to beat the Spanish. After the conquest however, the population started to increase even more many of the Native American women had children from the New World. The Spanish also brought religion to the New World. They brought Catholicism because they were Catholic. They showed them how to also “do” Holy Communion in the New World.
In conclusion, the examples above clearly show how the Columbian exchange completely change the way the New World worked for good. People of both worlds found that the world was actually much larger than imagined ever before. The Columbian Exchange permanently transformed the world and no other event has also had such a widespread and effect on humankind and life that the Columbian Exchange. The Columbian exchange was perceived as two different ways, one way was that it was overall a negative event for the New World. The other is that it was overall a positive event for the New World. The Columbian exchange WAS in fact overall a positive event for the New World because it impacted the new world, the old world, and the Spanish conquest of the new world all in positive ways.
- European Voyages of Discovery 1500-1800 Worksheet.
- The Columbian Exchange notes (classwork).
- DBQ FOCUS: Columbian Exchange packet.