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Colombian Exchange Analytical Essay

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Updated: May 7th, 2019

Colombian Exchange

The Colombian exchange named after the pioneer Christopher Columbus occurred in the late 14th century. It involved the exchange of various goods and services between the European and the American community and also the rest of the world. The exchange had both positive and negative impact on the communities that were involved. This paper discusses the effects of trade to Europe and India.

Colombian Exchange Significance

To European Community

Colombian exchange had a positive impact on the European community. Through the Colombian exchange, the European community benefited in many ways. The major benefit was an economic benefit as goods for trade increased. Nunn and Qian (2010) were quoted claiming that “discoveries of new supplies of metal are perhaps the best known.

But the Old world also gained new staple crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize, and cassava.”[1] It is highly claimed that the exchange could have contributed to the origin of capitalism in Europe. The exchange opened doors for increased trade in Europe whereby many traders acquired lots of riches, and in turn, they were able to invest more in businesses in Europe.[2]

To Indian Community

The Colombian exchange was both advantageous and disadvantageous to the Indian community. The negative impact included the spread of diseases to the Indians. A report by Boyer (2009) is quoted claiming that “from the first years of contact with the Europeans, terrible epidemics decimated Indian communities.

In the West Indies, the native population vanished within a half-century, and the disease opened the mainland for conquest as well.”[3] As the exchange introduced diseases to the Indians the population decreased and this could have made it simpler for the European community to conquer them and make them their colonies. The reduction in the number of the Indians communities can be argued to have enhanced their colonization.

The exchange had a social impact on the Indian community due to the mixing and interaction of people from different parts of the world. During the Columbus exchange intermarriage happened to bring about racial mixing. Boyer (2010) reported that “from 1500 to 1600 about 300,000 Spaniards immigrated to the new world, 90 percent of them male. A racially mixed population developed particularly in towns, Spaniards fathered numerous children with Africans or Indian mothers.”[4]

The exchange also had an impact on the population of Europe. A report by Soman (2008) best explained how the Europeans found opportunities in the Indian lands:

The more profound effect was felt in Europe as suddenly new lands were made available for those adventurers and those seeking fortunes to venture out into. This led to more room for population growth in Europe and new lands being made available for the young European aristocrats to seek their fortunes abroad.[5]

Urbanization in Europe is believed to have been an impact of the Columbus exchange. The populations are said to have significantly increased in town due to the attraction of the trade which took place.[6]

Conclusion

Columbus exchange brought about both positive and negative impact on both India and Europe. It brought about urbanization in Europe, increased the population, economic growth, and also brought about capitalism. The Indian gained in terms of economic growth due to increased trade but also were affected negatively through the infection of diseases and cultural erosion through intermarriage.

Bibliography

Boyer, Sam. The Enduring Vision. New York: Cengage Learning, 2009.

Calloway, Colin. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History. Boston MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

Nunn, Nathan, and Qian, Nancy. “The Columbian Exchange.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 24(2010): 163-188. Web.

Soman, Ebey. “The Colombian Exchange, Population Growth, and the Industrial Revolution.” Socyberty, 2008. Web.

Footnotes

  1. Nunn Nathan and Qian Nancy “The Columbian Exchange.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 24(2010): 163-188.
  2. Calloway Colin, First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History, (Boston MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008).
  3. Boyer Sam, The Enduring Vision (New York: Cengage Learning, 2009), 29.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Soman Ebey, “The Colombian Exchange, Population Growth, and the Industrial Revolution.” Socyberty, 2008.
  6. Soman Ebey, “The Colombian Exchange, Population Growth, and the Industrial Revolution.” Socyberty, 2008.
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IvyPanda. 2019. "Colombian Exchange." May 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/colombian-exchange/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Colombian Exchange'. 7 May.

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