Columbian Exchange Between America and Europe and China

Topics: Christopher Columbus, Colonialism, Population history of American indigenous peoples Pages: 2 (639 words) Published: April 7, 2013
Question: What is the significance provided by the historical documents written about the Columbian exchange between America and Europe and America and China? Refer to the given historical documents.

When Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, a new global contact was established that forever altered the civilisations of the world and more so the formation of civilisation of America. Evidently, the exchange was more beneficial for Europe and the world while America suffered through the decline of population as well as being conquered and colonised. The historical documents support this unevenly beneficial relationship by conveying the negative (though with little positive) effects the Spanish occupation had on America while at the same time stating America’s great contribution to the world civilisation. The Spanish occupation in America was responsible for the dramatic decline in the population with smallpox and measles wiping out the indigenous population almost to the vanishing point by 1540 (Stearns et al. 2012). The first document written by the native informants described in details the enormous and deadly effects of smallpox and that the natives were not prepared for this plague. There was a sense of chaos and hopelessness during the time of sickness amongst the people as “there was no one to take care of another; there was no one to attend to another” (Stearns et al. 2012). On the positive side of the exchange, America’s landscape was changed for the better due to the introduction of animals such as horses, sheep and pigs and plants such as grapes, wheat, barley, and oats. In his selections of reports, Antonio Vazquez de Espinoza, a Carmelite friar, depicts not only the very detailed count of animals and plants in each tribe but also the order and systematic societies which were created as a result of these introductions brought to by the Spanish settlers. Of course, the system contributed greatly to the civilisation of America and helped...
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