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Christopher Columbus’s voyages that led him and his sailors to discover the Americas can be discussed from the perspective of the impact this discovery had on innovation. It is important to understand how Columbus’s activities changed the life of many Europeans in terms of their focus on science and economy. From this, it can be concluded that the Columbian discovery led to great innovation, with particular reference to stimulating the progress of philosophical thought, science, and both national and world economies, as well as trade relations between continents.
Columbus’s voyages meant that new lands, plants, and animals typical of the Americas were discovered by the Europeans. As a result of the new discoveries, according to Crosby, Europeans began to concentrate on exploring these new objects, while at the same time developing their science. Furthermore, they were also interested in examining Amerindians and their behaviors, cultures, and customs (152). As such, the introduction of the New World to Europeans can be seen to have initiated the development of innovative thought in terms of anthropology, philosophy, social sciences, as well as biology, and geography.
What is more important is that the Columbian discovery contributed to changing Europeans’ approaches to planning their national economies and organizing trade. Crosby noted that new lands, with their available gold and silver, as well as other raw materials, stimulated Europeans to change their strategy in manufacturing and trade (152-153). One can state that the increased availability of many land resources, minerals, human resources, animals, and plants helped Europeans find new ways of using these resources in the most productive manner, leading to innovation.
The development of the world market and the opening of new trade routes were also associated with innovation. Europeans tried to use the New World colonies as efficiently as possible while discovering new horizons for economic growth. Thus, it was necessary for Europeans to maintain work with raw materials in the Americas and manufacturing processes in the United Kingdom and other European countries (Crosby 152-153). As a result, these activities led to the development of scientific knowledge and innovation.
Moreover, the necessity of developing the New World and building trade routes led to the creation of new infrastructures, numerous roads, bridges, and canals, which was an important step associated with the process of innovation. Indeed, according to Crosby, the Columbian discovery can be seen as one of the key causes that led to the Industrial Revolution (154). It is possible to agree with the author’s opinion and arguments as it can be shown that the influx of wealth from the New World to Europe provides a clear demonstration of how to transform economic processes into a new effective model. They also learned how to adapt manufacturing processes, agriculture, social relations, and technologies in order to design new approaches and strategies that now can be clearly seen as highly innovative for that period of time.
It is possible to state that Columbus’s voyages contributed significantly to the technological progress and innovations that were later realized with reference to the Industrial Revolution. The examination of the New World, along with the possibilities of using newly available resources, made Europeans shift to more efficient economic models, covering agriculture, trade, and manufacturing.
From this perspective, Europeans gained opportunities to improve their knowledge and their way of living through the new ideas they found when examining the Americas, and through discovering how to utilize the new range of valuable resources. Thus, the discovery of the New World, with the focus on the development of European colonies, added to civilization and paved the way to significant innovation processes around the globe.
Crosby, Alfred W. “The Heirs of Columbus.” Islamic and European Expansion: The Forging of a Global Order, edited by Michael Adas, Temple University Press, 1993, pp. 151-161.