America Before Columbus

Topics: Christopher Columbus, Domestication, United States Pages: 2 (672 words) Published: May 23, 2010
America Before Columbus

In the age just before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, there was abundant life, lifestyles, and necessities that sustained that. In the 1500s, Europe was as tense as ever. Kings and popes raise armies to fight against one another. The population capacity of Europe at this time was around one hundred million people. At this point, Isabella, the Queen of Spain, is the most powerful woman in Europe as well. Livestock and agriculture grown in Europe became important as the Columbian Exchange slowly overtook the Americas. Water and wind were harnessed for power on farms, and domesticated animals were a crucial element of farm life also. Pigs and sheep were the main source of meat and leather. Mules pulled carts, cows gave milk and cheese. Around the same amount of people that lived in Europe also did in the Americas—100,000,000. The first explorers thought that giant mounds of earth were glaciers, but were really enormous ancient cities. People in those cities were mostly farmers. Mans’ first feat of genetic engineering was corn; it was vital, and also unknown to the rest of the world. Corn was key to flourishing cultures in Americas, and used to be a tiny grass stalk before it was bred into the lush cobs we know now. However, the Incas lived in the Andes, where corn did not grow, but they were a rich, successful, and powerful empire anyhow. They were famed for gold and potatoes, which they preserved by mashing. They also carved step-like terraces into the sides of the steep slopes they built their cities on to stop soil from eroding and collapsing underneath them. They had only domesticated the llama, and it was for solely food and clothing. The natives in general set fire to the grasslands themselves because it made them lush and green; it attracted herbivores, and made hunting much easier for the natives. Back in Europe, only nobles were allowed to hunt, and if a peasant was caught, he was punished for poaching....
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