Ap Us History Chapter 1 Mini-Essay

Topics: Christopher Columbus, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Mexico Pages: 1 (317 words) Published: September 29, 2010
According to the text I believe the Americas were both discovered and conquered. The Bering Isthmus allowed nomadic Asian hunters to immigrate throughout the Americas for about 250 centuries. They discovered this land and made tribes that later became the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, Pueblo Natives and many more. Christopher Columbus accidently came upon an island in the Bahamas which brought the New World to light for the Europeans. As a result, the Europeans started sailing to this New World and because they heard gold could be found there they started conquering native lands in order to get it. For example, Hernan Cortes was so distracted by the amount of gold that he could get; he conquered the Aztecs who were at first friendly to them.

The motives for the Europeans were simple: maintain as much land as they could and get all the goods like gold and corn. The Europeans wanted to spread their culture, so the Spaniards developed the encomienda system which meant the owners of slaves had to promise to Christianize their slaves in order to get more. This collision of worlds impacted Europe, the Americas, and Africa extremely. The people in Africa were being sold into slavery and shipped off to the New World for forced labor. The Americas gained goods like wheat, sugar, rice, coffee, horses, cows, and pigs. However, the Europeans were giving them diseases like small pox, measles, bubonic plague, influenza, typhus, diphtheria, and scarlet fever. The diseases spread so quickly that in no time at all about 90% of the native population had perished. Europe also gained some goods like gold, silver, corn, potatoes, pineapples, tomatoes, tobacco, beans, vanilla, and chocolate. In addition as a sort of revenge some native slaves began putting infected diseased blood in their owners’ bread; this developed the spread of syphilis. This whole exchange of goods and diseases is known as the Columbian exchange.
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