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Unit One Reaction Post: The Columbian Exchange

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Technology        Disease        Animals        Plants

The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange refers to a period of cultural and biological exchanges between the New and Old Worlds.  Exchanges of plants, animals, diseases and technology transformed European and Native American ways of life. Beginning after Columbus’ discovery in 1492 the exchange lasted throughout the years of expansion and discovery.  The Columbian Exchange impacted the social and cultural makeup of both sides of the Atlantic. Advancements in agricultural production, evolution of warfare, increased mortality rates and education are a few examples of the effect of the Columbian Exchange on both Europeans and Native Americans. 

Technology        Disease        Animals        Plants       

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39 Comments

  1. Gabe Beroza says:

    The Colombian revolution brought upon many things to the whole world. It brought a new future we live in today and destroyed so much history that had already happened. They brought many deadly diseases such as Smallpox, Measles, Malaria, Yellow fever, Influenza, and Chicken Pox. These diseases wiped out many of the natives. The diseases were not only from people some were from the animals brought over with the people. With everything terrible that happened the Europeans also brought over some things that benefited the natives. Europeans brought better knives which replaces the jagged obsidian rock the natives used. The Europeans brought horses which allowed for easier hunting and they brought guns which also helped hunting. The Europeans brought back a few of things as well most noticeably. They brought back potatoes which became essentials for countries such as Ireland. The exchange changed the world as everyone knew it.

  2. Will Thompson says:

    The columbian exchange took place after Columbus’ discovery of the new world in 1492. The Europeans introduced a written alphabet, new farming capabilities, new weapon capabilities, and architectural ingenuity. This was extremely helpful for the natives who had lots of horses due to their migration to the west. They could now hunt in packs on horses and use these European firearms to take down larger animals, meaning more food. This was also beneficial for the Europeans who knew the natives needed these weapons and thus could get much more bang for their buck with every trade. It amazes me how big of a factor religion played, in the article it states that Europeans believed that Christians were above the “barbaric” natives. This is especially interesting because if they converted to Christianity, there was a much better chance of peace and prosperity between Europeans and natives. Disease also played a big part in everyday life, Europeans and natives were easily infected by the others disease due to the fact that they had never been predisposed. This caused massive amounts of deaths that for the most part could not be contained. Plants were also very important for both Europeans and natives, with these new crops they could store them for longer I.e corn, potatoes , and then there was sugar cane which was a cash crop. The Europeans were also able to bring their architecture and other technology over such as the wheel. This made farming and building significantly easier. I found this interesting because if you visit historical towns today, you can still see the European influence on the architure.

  3. kayleighcreammer says:

    After reading these four articles about different topics involved with the Columbian Exchange, I was shocked by the effect of two topics mainly. First, the effect that disease had on both sides of the Columbian Exchange: Old World and the New World. Second, I was surprised by the effect that foreign animals had.
    In regards to the Columbian Exchange, many usually speak about all of the positive things gained through importing and exporting goods from the New World to the Old World, vise versa. However, few speak of the negative effects of the exchange, like disease. So when the Europeans brought diseases like smallpox to the New World, the Natives suffered a great lost. Having never been exposed to these germs, the Natives were extremely prone to extract a disease. Upon reading the article, I was surprised most that Natives would often become infected without even coming into direct contact with a European because most diseases were communicable by air and touch.
    Now onto a less more depressing subject: animals. For starters, both domesticated and non-domesticated animals had a great effect on the lives of Natives in the New World. When Christopher Columbus returned to the New World in 1493 on his second voyage, he brought along with him chickens, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, dogs, and cats. All of these animals had an effect on the lifestyles of the Natives. Individually they brought a job to accomplish themselves, but all together these new animals provided a new labor form, a new food source, and a new form of transportation.
    The effects of what seems like such simple things today like animals and diseases surprised me most after reading these articles.

  4. Richard Bolton says:

    At this period of time in the world the different worlds were separate and unaware of each others existence. They were also unaware of the consequences that would affect all of them when they were to come into contact with each other. While the Colombian Exchange produced many good things it also produced things that were equally horrible. For one slavery. The Indians were content with their lives until these mysterious people with pale skin and things they had never seen before came out of the blue and killing their people and forcing them to work for them. the Indians were confused and scared as their people died by the score from unknown diseases. These diseases included smallpox, measles, influenza, yellow fever, and chicken pox. There were however many things exchanged that proved beneficial to many people of the world.

  5. Joe Cermin says:

    Although the europeans brought a number of nasty things to the new world, the Native Americans also had a small benefit upon the european arrival. The Columbian Exchange was the trade of crops and diseases and technologies between many countries after the voyage was made by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Before the europeans came over to the new world the native americans would walk and migrate with moving herds of animals, hunt, and go to war on foot. However, when the europeans came over with horses, everything changed. Some horses would become wild and run away from the european groups and native americans would tame the wild horses and then would use them to get around much more efficient and quicker than on foot. Europeans also brought new advanced weapons over with them and once native americans got ahold of these weapons, they would/could become a serious threat. More negative things hit the native americans than positive things, though. Disease was the main reason a lot of the native americans tribes would just vanish because disease weakened the tribe to the point they could not defend themselves. We see this happen everywhere in history when colonization first takes place. For example, when Hernan Cortes arrived in the Mexico area he brought horses and most importantly, diseases. This was a big part in his successful annexation of the Aztec empire. There was no hope for anyone who got sick as they would shortly die after. Over the centuries that have passed, most people in this world are now immune to some diseases that would have been the main source of death back in the early colonization days.

  6. Emily says:

    Having learned about the Columbian Exchange in previous history classes, I thought that I knew all that there was to know about what happened during this time after 1492. I was aware that there was a drastic change in life after these events and that if it was not for this then we would not be where we are today, however, one thing that I never knew was that a written alphabet (similar to one we used today) was introduced through this. The Europeans had been using this written alphabet for years and taught the Indians how to both write and read it. Which is something that often times is not taught to us, but it is so important because without the Columbian Exchange, it is highly unlikely that we would be reading and writing the day we do today, and we would likely not even be speaking what we call English because this language was also brought through the Europeans. Without the Columbian Exchange we would also would likely not be anywhere near as technologically advanced as we currently are since the Europeans brought things such as guns, and knives, which improved hunting and the plow which helped improve farming for the Native Americans. The overall purpose of this document is to educate the reader on the Columbian Exchange and the impact it had on Native American Civilization.

  7. Aundre says:

    The Columbian Exchange brought a lot to the new world. Some civilizations were very intelligent, but the amount of technology and resources brought through the exchange was a great boost for the new world. The Native Americans didn’t have a formal written language, the Europeans introduced the alphabet to them. They mostly did this because they were trying to convert them to Christianity. New farming technology like the plow was introduced, making farming more efficient. There was a lot of negatives with the exchange as well. Such as diseases like, smallpox, measles, malaria, yellow fever, the flu, and chickenpox. All these diseases wiped out the Native American population. With the exchange came a surplus of animals, such as pigs, horses, dogs, chickens, sheeps, and goats. They used these animals for transportation, labor, and for food. The Native Americans learned how to tame horses and use them for transportation. The trading of plants was very successful. The most highly sought after crop was sugarcane. Columbus introduced sugarcane to the Americas on his second voyage. The Exchange as a whole was very beneficial for the new world.

  8. morgan kou says:

    Columbian exchange is a famous exchange, it an exchange between old world to new world. Europeans goes to america and bring a lot of things. They teach native america read and write, Because europeans wants to communities with native america. Religion was so important, Europeans wants to spread christianity, so they try to convince america to believe christianity. Europeans also take some new technology to america. These new technology help america a lot, they help america on hunt and agriculture. They bring guns, guns help america to hunt. before the guns, they use some arrow to hunt, after the guns arrive, they can use it to hunt some large animals. Europeans also bring animal to america, like pigs and horses, The first horse arrive in america in 1493. Europeans also brought brought plants, like potatoes, sugarcane. They bring the goods thing, but also bring the bad thing, the disease. Disease is a horrible things during the exchange. Europeans brought a lot of disease to native america, such as : smallpox, measles, malaria. The disease spread quickly and many people died. This exchange change america a lot. Anyhow, this exchange is an important and big exchange during that time.

  9. Sana Mir says:

    Studying about how the old world started raising into this new england is something new that i had not heard of before. As its simplicity you can get confused easily, There are lots of questions everyone can think of, for instance what was going through europeans heads when they chose to develop their language in another place. Were they considering to grow their community and culture and expand it? Probably yes.
    This is probably what happens during all centuries all around the world. However, if i lived at that time i would not think of expanding my culture in a place that is way further. The fact that they started a new life in a land that big next to indians made two cultures to combine and actually learn new stuff from one another but as we know it had some bad influences like diseases. Which some were normal to europeans and some to indians but their bodies were not resistant because they had not faced some of the diseases till then. So because of this many people died and the population decreased rapidly which was the worst thing that could happen at that time since there were small amout of people living at that time. On the other hand there would enough space for the new generation which that is good thing.
    During that time thanks to europeans technology grew and they started to teach languages, although it was not their native language but it counted for something and it was a start.
    It was somehow funny for me that there were no animals there naturally and people had to bring animals such as horses, pigs and other kinds with themselves.
    Briefly, europeans are the reason for america to grow economies and if it wasn’t because of their hard work america wouldn’t even start shaping up.

  10. Quyen says:

    The Columbian exchange, which was actually a worldwide exchange impacted the Native Americans greatly. Technology played a huge role on the impact from europeans to the native american. They introduced a written alphabet, new farming capabilities, new firearm and weapon capabilities, and architectural ingenuity. The alphabet taught the Natives how to write and made communication easier. Although they did force them to learn the alphabet in order to convert them to christianity. The introduction of the plow helped the natives toward agriculture rather than hunting and gathering which was much more convenient. Europeans instituted guns and knives which changed the hunting and fishing game for the native americans. The technology brought to America advanced the Natives and their living style. The diseases spread back and forth in between the Native Americans and Europeans declined the population. Both of them seemed to be unaware of the diseases that were being carried because they obviously did not mean to have mass deaths. The exchange of animals benefitted the native americans by giving them food and transportation. But the drawback were the diseases brought by the animals. With the useful soil, many varieties of plants were beneficial by helping the economy and population growth. In a way, the crops put together the new land and put a mutual aid to both the colonies and the natives. The Columbian exchange had benefits and disadvantages towards everyone but without the introduction of most of the exchanges, America would not have been successful.

    • dridds says:

      don’t describe what you read. React to it and make interesting connections to history, literature, culture, your experiences, and today’s news.

      Where is the second blog?

  11. NIck Leto says:

    The Colombian Exchange in my opinion is one of the biggest events in world history ever take place. There were hundreds of different goods beings shipped round the world and got most of the continents involved in it. It also was the cause for advancements in technology and new ideas to come about to make money. The Europeans played the biggest role in it all by having settlements, plantations, and craftsmen in the new world unlike any other continent. Animals played a part in the Colombian Exchange too by being sold for livestock, working on farms, and introducing diseases to the natives and being domesticated by them like the horse and pig. The exchange of crops was the biggest aspect in change for the new and old world, because there were many new crops being discovered in the new world. Most importantly sugar cane made on plantations for rum and to put into many other drinks and foods along with other cash crops like maize and the potato.The Colombian Exchange is notorious for disease transfer and wiping out most of the native American population. The native Americans began working on plantations and farms but they very quickly fell ill and died from European diseases. Then the exchange included slaves from Africa which was better for the industries because they have traded with Europe before and have immunity to most of their diseases.

  12. rachel says:

    The Columbian exchange from the old world to the new world started around 1492 when columbus went on his first journey the the new world. Although on this first journey not all that much was exchanged. Most of what the Europeans brought on this first voyage was disese from the old world, the biggest one being smallpox. Which was one disease that was hard to cure due to the misreading of what the disease is. But the Europeans were able to take back goods from the new world like food, animals, and diseases. Most technology was brought from the old world to the new world, items like the plow were brought with them when coming on their second voyage. Along with domesticated animals to make the job of using the plow easier and quicker. Also with the second voyage they brought and took with them many natural resources like plants, the major crops the europeans were able to take back were corn and beans, but along with the potatoes were a major crop they took back since they could grow in almost any circumstances. They became the staple crop of the poor since they were cheap to get, quick to grow, and were easy to put in place of wheat in many cases. The trade of guns from the new word to the old world were a very major technological upgrade for the Indians because it made it much easier for them to hunt, they could then hunt herds of animals much faster and were able to kill more quicker.

  13. Jane Tullis says:

    In 1492, Columbus arrived in America and started the Columbian Exchange. After reading the articles, I learned that everything during the period of the Columbian Exchange had a major effect on the world then and continues to affect our world today. The Exchange from the Old World to the New World was made by animals in addition to animals. These animals impacted the grasslands and transformation of labor. They also brought in new food sources. The downside to bringing animals into the New World was that they carried diseases. The Europeans and Native Americans suffered extremely bad from diseases that were foreign to them. Some common diseases include: smallpox, influenza, polio, and syphilis. It is also crazy to think that our language might not be English right now if the Colombian Exchange did not occur. Lastly, plants became a huge success in America. With the exchange of plants, people were able to eat more calories, which increased the population. The three most important crops back then were sugarcane, maize, and potato. The food led to agriculture and technology advancements such as the wheel. I found all this very interesting because everything that was exchanged during the Columbian period, led us to where we are today. The purpose of this document is to inform the people learning about the Columbian Exchange and the impact it had on Native American Civilization.

  14. JuliaMartins says:

    The columbian exchange many times is thought of just as a glorious time period, and I was one of those people. Since last year I started to change my perception of it, and today I could increase even more my knowledge about it. It all started with the first contact between colonists and natives, two completely opposite groups, but that would give so much to each other (not just in a good way). The columbian exchange in my point of view was the beginning of the process of globalization, that brought us to this entirely connected world that we live in today. At the same time it has many interesting facts in the columbian exchange, it is sorta sad how a lot of it was done just for the advantage that the other group would gain. One of the things I learned was about the alphabet, it is so interesting to think that teachers already existed so long ago, after all indians had to learn it from someone, the teachings also included religious doctrines (which is something still exists nowadays). In contrast there was the losse of many, indians and colonists, due to diseases, such as smallpox and syphilis, from the Old and New Worlds. The exchanges were endless, sometimes good sometimes bad. But what is sad is that due to some of them, cultures were taken away from natives, and a lot of our origins disappeared or were replaced/ changed.

  15. Shawn Lu says:

    The Columbian Exchange started at 1492 when Columbia arrived North America. I already learned this last year. It is the exchange of plants, animals, diseases, and technology between the old world to the new world. What interesting is that the European teach the native Americans and it actually improves the native’s intellect. One of the biggest things is the potato. It is easy to grow and it can raise a lot of people. Therefore, when potato gets into Europe, there is a population explosion happened in Europe. Guns also had a huge impact on the native people. It can help the native people hunt faster and more efficient. In the article, it said:“Weapons had such a profound impact on the Native American culture that they soon became the most widely traded goods between Europeans and Natives.  Natives cherished weapons because of the hunter gatherer society they lived in.” I remember in the movie “The Revenant” the European explorer exchange trade their guns and materials with the native for horses. One reason that a lot of native Americans died is that the diseases that brought here by the Europeans. The Europeans already have antibody but the native Americans do not have it so they lost a lot of people. The Columbia brought good things but it also brought bad things to the new world.

  16. Stella Maaa says:

    The Columbian Exchange is a double-edged for both new world and old world. When Europeans brought new technology, animals, and plants to the new world, it impacted America enormously. New world people brought their advanced weapons like guns and spears to America, the natives discovered that it can hunt larger animals quickly and precisely, they desired it because they did not have that technology. These weapons helped Europeans to explore the New Land and trade with Indians for crops and labors. Europeans also benefited from maize and potatoes that originated in America, they can plant on cold soil and solved the problem of diets in Europe. However, as Europeans brought domesticated animals from Europeans and getting money in America, animals took deadly diseases to the New Land. People transported pigs, cattle, and sheep to new farms in America, disease spread really fast by air. Since Natives were isolated for a long time, they did not have the immune system for diseases from Europe, which caused fifty to ninety percent of Indians died and labor force shortage in America. This is not happened in the first time, around the 14th century, there was a trade road called the Silk Road that connected Asia with Europe, Europe can get silk and porcelain from Asia. But the plague came with goods, plenty people were infected and the population decreased sharply. It takes Europe near a hundred years to recover from that devastating disaster.

  17. Tyler says:

    After Columbus’ discoveries in 1402 and all the news outbreaks, the Columbian exchange took place right after. There were many recognizable advancements in these few articles such as machinery, farming techniques, written alphabet and more. All these advancements add up to a more civil and progressive society. Slowly but surely, every one of these great advancements will be then evolved to bigger and better, making it a great future. In detail, they could hunt better, they could hunt in groups and also have larger, more harmful weaponry to take down the largest of animals. Another huge part of the articles worth recognizing are all the diseases. This was such a huge part because it was the main reason people were dying off left and right. Not only were there farming techniques vital but the actual crops they grew and the success of them were even more important. These Europeans and natives found ways to preserve the crops which also was just another advancement. The primary message I got out of all these articles were the advancements which took places, such as the innovations for farming, cropping and the use of the cash crop, sugar cane. All of which made the lifestyle easier. All of which we utilize and built off of for modern day use.

  18. Rebecca yao says:

    Columbian Exchange is a global transfer of culture, technology, organisms, people and diseases between American and the old world. Although the huge declination of the Indian population that caused by the diseases came from the old world could not be denied, American gained more than they lost, such as the written alphabet, guns, horses, sheep, etc. These new matters played an important role in American development. For instance, the arrival of horses changed the way how people lived and increased the life quality of the native people. Before the Columbian exchange, there was only a few animal in the new land and people did their hard labor on their own entirely. Therefore, after horses had been exchanged to the new world, it was more efficient for Americans to hunt and transport goods. The efficiency went up and people were able to live better. Furthermore, the Columbian Exchange tied two world closer. One example for this was the spread of written alphabet. Before I read this article, I never know the native people did not have any writing culture. I think writing is an essential tool for human culture. It represents that people are going to an upper level in the spiritual aspect. When European taught native people writing skill, they actually added their culture to American culture. The same thing happened in Chinese history as well. In Tang Dynasty, when a Chinese monk Zheng Jian traveled to Japan to spread culture, Buddhism, technology and so on, he successfully influenced the culture of Japan. For example, there are many Japanese words come from Chinese characters. Therefore, by teaching native people writing culture and bringing new materials, European were actually creating a better environment for them to live both in the spiritual and material way and connected two worlds together.

  19. Thomas-Louis Deshaies says:

    Thomas Deshaies

    Blog about Columbian exchange

    The two sides of the Columbian exchange

    You know the Columbian exchange is about a big exchange between the old and the new world during the colonisation of the America , this two world exchange a lot of things, rice , grape, bananas, a lot of potatoes , sugar , some rum and a lot of more stuffs . The exchange was very useful for the two worlds . The empires fulfilled their chests of cash , the native Americans discovers the horses for hunting . But it has not just positives stuffs with this exchange , we can says it is a terrible mistake . Star with the disease , malaria , typhus, smallpox are just a part of the diseases was propagate every where in the two worlds. A lot of peoples died of this diseases and it is the principal cause of the extinction of the native nation during the 15and 16 century . All that to say many people tells “the Columbian exchange of awesome . I rectify the Columbian exchange can’t not be awesome when people died in thousands .

  20. AAAmily says:

    In regards to the Columbian Exchange, people usually emphasize about all the positive things gained through importing and exporting goods between the New World and the Old World. However, few actually speak of the negative effects of the exchange, such as diseases that caused huge decrease in population. When the Europeans brought diseases like smallpox to the New World, the Natives suffered a great lost. Having never been exposed to these germs, the Natives were extremely prone to extract a disease. Upon reading the article, I was surprised most that Natives often became infected even without direct contact, because as far as I know, most diseases were communicable by air and touch.
    Without the Columbian Exchange we might not be anywhere near as technologically advanced as we currently are. The Europeans brought things such as guns, and knives, which improved hunting and the plow which helped to improve farming for the Native Americans. Nevertheless, thanks to the Europeans for starting teaching languages, although it was not their native language, it still counted for their credits.

  21. Tariq says:

    The Colombian exchange lead an era to have one of the most technological advanced periods of the time however the overwhelming negatives that it brought seemed to not be talked about as much such as the viruses and diseases like measles and small pox the English brought as well as the slaughter of many tribes that were already there which initially brought anger until the English introduced things of value to the Indians, the English brought with them their agricultural skillset which was unmatched compared to the Indians as later when connections started to be made with the natives this helped grow this bond, ultimately leading to a better bonding. The best of this was made with horses as because of this the Indians could now travel at much faster rates and work more efficiently providing them with an easier way of life when doing anything from farming to hunting to meeting with other fellow tribes. The new alphabet also provided them with better intellectual knowledge which was great however all of these pluses came at the cost of death and monopolisation which can be seen as unfair.

  22. Jack M says:

    The columbian exchange is the major exchange between the old world and the new world during the colonization of America. The two worlds exchanged a lot of things such as pigs, cattle, horses, rice, indigo, potatoes, and diseases. These exchanges between the two worlds helped out both parties. Both worlds received what they wanted and the natives found new ways to use the animals. On the other side, many could say the Columbian exchange was a mistake. The diseases were a major killer in this exchange, smallpox, malaria and many more. The people nowadays believe the Columbian exchange was one of the best events during the 15th and 16th century which I agree but also on the other hand, it could not have been that great with all the deaths that pile up throughout this time period from the diseases brought over.

  23. Rebecca yao says:

    Columbian Exchange is a global transfer of culture, technology, organisms, people and diseases between American and the old world. Although the huge declination of the Indian population that caused by the diseases came from the old world could not be denied, American gained more than they lost, such as the written alphabet, guns, horses, sheep, etc. These new matters played an important role in American development. For instance, the arrival of horses changed the way how people lived and increased the life quality of the native people. Before the Columbian Exchange, there was only a few animal in the new land and people did their hard labor on their own entirely. Therefore, after horses had been exchanged to the new world, it was more efficient for Americans to hunt and transport goods. The efficiency went up and people were able to live better. Furthermore, the Columbian Exchange tied two world closer. One example for this was the spread of written alphabet. Before I read this article, I never know the native people did not have any writing culture. I think writing is an essential tool for human culture. It represents that people are going to an upper level in the spiritual aspect. When European taught native people writing skill, they actually added their culture to American culture. The same thing happened in Chinese history as well. In Tang Dynasty, when a Chinese monk Zheng Jian traveled to Japan to spread culture, Buddhism, technology and so on, he successfully influenced the culture of Japan. For example, there are many Japanese words come from Chinese characters. Therefore, by teaching native people writing culture and bringing new materials, European were actually creating a better environment for them to live both in the spiritual and material way and connected two worlds together.

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