The Columbian Exchange is the process of products animals and diseases interchange between the Old and New World. Along with the positive side of this process like emerging of new crops, useful and interesting animals and plants there were some negative features like death causing diseases that started killing the whole tribes and villages of people.
Negative Features of the Columbian Exchange
It is interesting, that sailors and soldiers decided to make the exchange of specific products that are considered to be necessary nowadays although there were no such crops and animals on these continents initially. The history of some products starts at the same time as the great travel of European conquerors invaded the new continents. From the very first European expedition vessels, investigating the Atlantic to the New World new pathogens arrived that had a major influence on the transformation of society of the Atlantics. European invasion, which brought in a new disease, reduced the settlement of the American people more than the cruelty of the conquerors.
One of the most striking facts of the American history is that the inhabitants of the American continent had been isolated for thousands of years, not only from the Eurasian land mass, but also from many of the local people because of epidemic diseases, familiar to Europeans. For example such diseases like smallpox, chickenpox, and mumps, measles – all of which were brought by European sailors, soldiers, and traders and have become deadly for residents of the American continent. Columbus’ second voyage brought the epidemic in the Caribbean Sea.
A smallpox epidemic ravaged Tenochtitlan in 1519. In such striking way the great impact on ancient cultures took place and caused inevitable changes in both continents’ history.
Along with the products and goods exchange there were huge numbers of slave traded people that were drought to the American continent. This process also influenced the wide spread of diseases all over the country. Most of the Americans had no strong immune power to fight the diseases that were brought by Europeans.
But besides pathogens on their ships Europeans brought their plants and animals. Pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses were brought to America. At the same time all local crops that previously did not require protection from large animals were destroyed. America, instead, offered new cereals and fruit for the rest of the world. Corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, peanuts, and beans were American crops that have transformed the diet of many people all over the planet.
The most surprising fact about the Columbian Exchange is that although American settlement declined sharply after the first contact with Europeans, the spread of American grain, ultimately, led to the increase of population in the world. Corn and other historically American crops became an inseparable part of European cuisine and vice a versa. This is one of the enlightening and the most interesting fact about the Columbian Exchange is that food can influence the growth of population. The historians state that the most influential crops in this question were potatoes and corn. However, some of the insects and animals that were also unintentionally exchanged during the process became dangerous for these crops in both continents.
The impression of the Columbian Exchange is not ordinary. On the one hand it caused a lot of good for both European and American nation by new foods, crops and goods. Useful and interesting animal exchange was as well positive and productively influential. At the same time there are a lot of striking facts like the disease exchange that caused a lot of death for both the New and the Old World. Contemporary life is impossible to imagine without the crops and animals that emerged during the great exchange. However, life could have been calmer and less stressful without such diseases like chickenpox and syphilis. That is why it is impossible to say that the Columbian Exchange caused a lot of good or an unchangeable harm to both continents because the result contains both variants at the same time and in equal proportions.