The Columbian Exchange

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The Columbian Exchange is the exchange of plants, animals, food, and diseases between Europe and the Americas. In 1492, when Christopher Columbus came to America, he saw plants and animals he had never seen before so he took them back with him to Europe. Columbus began the trade routes which had never been established between Europe and the Americas so his voyages initiated the interchange of plants between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, which doubled the food crop resources available to people on both sides of the Atlantic. When the Europeans explored the Americas, they were introduced to new plants, foods, and animals, as well as riches and land. Foods such as corn, white and sweet potatoes, beans, tomatoes, cacao, fruits, peppers, peanuts, sugar cane, and tobacco were many of the new foods enjoyed by Europeans. Some animals such as wild turkeys, llamas, and alpacas, were brought back to Europe. Native American Indians traded furs with the Europeans, which were luxury items throughout Europe. The discovery of lands rich in gold, silver, and other treasures prompted the conquistadors to launch expeditions to the Americas, while reports of newly discovered lands abundant in resources, lured many other Europeans to the Americas in search of a new and better life. The Native American Indians had no beasts of burden, no plows, no wagons, no means of transportation, and no way to move heavy objects other than by their own power. The Europeans brought over horses, oxen, donkeys, and camels. Horses became very valuable to the Native Americans. For the hunter-gatherers or nomads, the effect was beneficial because the horse enabled them to cover great distances, and hunters could locate and kill the bison more easily. Horses, oxen, donkeys, and camels became American Indians beasts of burden, instead of relying on their own manpower. Europeans also brought a number of domesticated animals to the New World, including cattle, pigs, sheep, and fowl, which...
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