AP Europe History/Period 1
5 October 2013
Population and Economy During the Columbian Exchange
The interchange between the Old World and the New World is called the Columbian exchange also known as the Grand Exchange. The population along with the economy during the Columbian exchange were both, more or less, effected by plants, animals, and diseases. The Columbian exchange occurred from the early fifteenth century to the seventeenth century following the discovery of the Americas in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. The Columbian exchange is a period known for being a time of discovery and growth.
Diseases during the Columbian exchange were fairly common and had major effects on the population which in turn led to an economic decline. When the Europeans sailed to the New World (the Americans), they brought many diseases with them and disease spread quite rapidly through the air and by touch especially affecting the natives who weren’t immune to the new diseases. Smallpox is a highly contagious disease spread through direct contact and was a disease that caused a decline in population during the Columbian exchange along with chickenpox, and a disease called Syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease which was spread by sailors who “by the nature of their profession are men without women and therefore men of many women.”(Alfred W. Crosby) Diseases lead to death and death led to more death due to malnutrition. Malnutrition and starvation came into the picture when there were no longer enough people to grow the crops to feed the people or the animals. The economic decrease eventually came into play also because there wasn’t a large amount of people to sell, purchase, or trade merchandise .
The greatest factor of both population changes along with economic change was due to plants during the Columbian exchange. The New World brought many new plants and crops that the Europeans had never seen before. The discovery of tomatoes, potatoes, cotton, and...
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