Columbian Exchange Response Essay

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Progress Can Be Painful

About 520 years ago, Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal: “They give what they possess in exchange for anything that may be given to them. I here saw some of the ship's boys bartering broken bits of glass and crockery for darts. This was just the beginning of the Old World changing the New World. Christopher Columbus’ voyage transformed the world because making contact with the New World initiated a set of profound changes for the future. The legacy of his voyage became known as the Columbian Exchange. His connection to the New World resulted in the exchange of people, plants, animals, ideas, technology, and diseases. For example, in the article The Worldwide Impact Of The Columbian Exchange, Alfred W. Crosby explains that before the Columbian Exchange the New World didn’t have horses, pigs, cattle, sheep, or goats, only llamas, alpacas, dogs, a few fowl, and guinea pigs. When the Old World introduced pigs, people realized that pigs multiplied quickly so they were a great source of food. Before cattle, the Native Americans had to use llamas, alpacas and themselves to haul things. They could only carry up to 100 pounds so they couldn’t get as much done. Cattle changed everything. Suddenly, they could get a lot more work done. Cattle could carry lots of weight; they could pull heavy plows and provide strength when needed. Horses had a similar effect. Before horses, Native Americans had to walk everywhere, even when hunting. Horses helped them travel long distances and become more efficient hunters. With horses, they were able to hunt even buffalo. These new animals made travel, farming, and hunting a lot easier and more efficient.

Unfortunately not every exchange was so positive. Disease was something else the New and Old Worlds shared but it had a devastating effect. According to the article The Columbian Exchange: A History Of Disease, Food, And Ideas by Nathan Nunn and Nancy Qian, the Old World shared many...
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