The Columbian Exchange was a major milestone in the diffusion of the New and Old World. In 1492, Columbus arrived in the Bahamas(2), where he first came in contact with Native Americans. There, both exchanged their cultures such as crops, animals, metals, and germs, hence the name, Colombian Exchange. This has brought about both positive and negative effects. While some negative impacts are exemplified by the near-genocide of Amerindians, the demerits are outweighed by the benefits of this historical exchange, including the international diversity of ethnicity, and increased global population.
As an outcome of the Columbian exchange, the Americas were enhanced with more diverse people. Prior to the exchange, indigenous Americans primarily inhabited the New World Continent, but the diffusion of people introduced multi-ethnicity. For example, Lima, the capital of Peru, had Spaniard inhabitants, Spaniards, Negroes, Indians, Mestizo, and more by 1748. (Doc 3) These diversities lead to the foundation of modern world. Today many developed nations, such as the United States, are characterized by its culturally and ethnically pluralist feature. Scholars depict the US as one of history’s first universal nation. (Doc 6)
Human rights began to be recognized as a result of the exchange. In the new continent as early as 1542, Spanish laws were issued to prohibit the enslavement of Indians for any reasons. (Doc 1) This exemplifies the exchange brought an opportunity for equity to be considered important.
On the other hand, the intercontinental exchange and diffusion positively impacted the growth of the overall world population. According to a diagram on Doc 8, both sides gained new agricultural products and animals. The Old World received crops such as corn, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, and cocoa, while the New World obtained wheat, sugar, rice, and coffee beans. The Americas also acquired livestock including horses, cows, and pigs. After a period of... [continues]
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