The Columbian Exchange

Topics: Christopher Columbus, Europe, New World Pages: 6 (2131 words) Published: March 23, 2012

During the late 14th century, Europeans had occupied themselves in a severe and demanding exploration of the unknown world that surrounded them. They were very curious as to what they could find. One of the biggest findings European sailors eventually discovered was a connection of the Old World (Europe) and the New World (the Americas). This was called “The Columbian Exchange.” The Columbian Exchange, between the Europeans and the Native Americans, was a significantly cultural and academic experience for both. It was a trade between the New and Old world which exchanged items such as animals, plants, cultural ideas, and nasty contagious diseases. The two worlds had been separated for hundreds of years and both developed their communities along entirely different paths. Their first encounter with each other was very exciting yet very fearful. Both civilizations had much to offer and to express with one another which were both positive and negative for both worlds. The Columbian Exchange made the world a better place. Although during this era there were many explorers who attempted to connect both worlds by sailing the seas, such as the Portuguese’s own Prince Henry the Navigator, one of the best known explorers was Christopher Columbus. He was the man that accomplished bringing the Old and the New Worlds together. On the night of October 11, 1492, on board the Santa Maria in the Atlantic Ocean, he saw a light in the far distance that was thought to be the costal islands of Eastern India but were later found to be the Bahamas. “The connection between the Old and New Worlds, which for more than ten millennia had been no more than a tenuous thing of Viking voyages, drifting fisherman, and shadowy contacts via Polynesia…” At first the Europeans thought they were just off the coast of Asia, but were soon to be in awe of the flora and fauna of the land they had encountered. “I saw neither sheep nor goats nor any other beast, but I have been here but a short time, half a day; yet if there were any I couldn’t have failed to see them. There were dogs that never barked. All the trees were as different from ours as day from night, and so the fruits, the herbage, the rocks, and all things.” This discovery led to many good things, which had a huge impact on both worlds. When the connection of the two worlds occurred, the Europeans were shocked to see the type of people that lived on the New World. Due to never encountering these Native Americans, Columbus and his explorers found the natives the most exotic people they ever had ever met. “The Indians hair was not kinky, but straight and course like horsehair; the whole forehead and head is very broad, more so than any other race that I have ever seen.” The Natives were very impressed with their first meeting with the Europeans. They were very interested in their clothing, colours, weapons, shapes, and thought they were some sort of “demigod”, and continued to feel their skin to make sure the Europeans were human like themselves. This odd encounter was the first of many that inspired both the Europeans and Americans to do business with each other. Later on they began to trade all of these items including weapons, animals, plants, foods, and many others. Columbus began the trade routes, which was the first to be established between Europe and the Americas. Without this encounter, both worlds would have never been what they are today. Both the Old and New worlds had much to offer for each other. They both learned a lot of different ways to do things, and different ways of life. They each took back many different things which improved the lives of many and had a positive impact on both sides of the world. This enabled both sides to start communicating and working with each other. While the Europeans began their exploration of the new Americas, they were exposed to new animals, plants and different types of foods. The new types...
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