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Andrew Dookhie The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange was one of the most important events in history. After millions of years of total separation, the cultures of the west and east hemisphere differ greatly. Each side had its time to develop many different and unique plants and animals. The Columbian Exchange was the mixing of these two cultures, from both the “New World” and the “Old World”. Although these two cultures mixed, the “Old World” got the better end of the exchange by far. The Eastern Native Americans not only ended up almost being completely exterminated due to disease, but then they shared their techniques and practices with some Europeans.

Europeans brought domesticated animals to the Americas, such as horses, but along with this came a long list of diseases. European diseases wiped out most of the Native American population. The most deadly killer was smallpox, the most infectious disease at that time in the Americas. Europeans vandalized the Natives fertile soil and planted weed seeds in it. Anyone who tried to protest faced the possibility of being killed. In contrast, Native American impact on the “Old World” was generally beneficial. Native American crops such as maize and white potatoes were shipped to the west and allowed for population growth in China and Ireland. John Josselyn, a naturalist who visited New England twice in his life left a list behind of all the types of plants he saw the English adopt from the Native Americans. The list included couch grass, dandelion, shepherds purse, groundsel, sow thistle, and chickweeds. Native Americans provided beneficial knowledge and tips, but the Europeans only paid them back with disease and suffering.

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