P The impact of the Columbian Exchange

Columbian Exchange

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Columbian Exchange

Every event in the history of the humanity may change people’s lives in different ways. The Columbian Exchange, without any doubts, is not an exception. After the discovery of the American continent in the 15th century, Europeans as well as Native Americans got both benefits and disadvantages. This paper focuses on the positive and negative aspects of the Exchange. On the one hand, due to the exchange of goods between the two continents, people were introduced to the new products that became and still are the integral part of the menu both of the Europeans and Native Americans. On the other hand, the migration between Europe and America led to the exchange of the diseases that at that time were mostly incurable. 


As to the gain for the Europeans and Indians, first of all, it is the fact that by the new trade roots the two continents received new products from each other. The list of this products is rather long and sometimes even hard to believe in. Native Americans took from Europe and Asia such fruits as apple, orange, lemon, apricot, pomegranate, banana, pear, mango, peach, watermelon; such vegetables as onion, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, eggplant, celery, carrot, garlic, olive, asparagus, etc. This list cannot be full without wheat, tea, rice, rye, mustard, ginger, coffee, black pepper, basil, almond, barley, that also were brought by the Europeans to America. In turn, Europeans received from the American continent tomato, potato, tobacco, vanilla, avocado, sunflower, pumpkin, cocoa, pineapple, peanut, corn, chilli peppers, cashew and some other things. In addition to the products, animals were also the things of exchange. Europe introduced to America domestic pigs, rabbits, sheep, cats, cows, donkeys, horses, geese, chickens, goats and even honey bees. The result of the grocery exchange is observed even now since it is impossible to imagine life of Americans without coffee. beef or wheat bread as well as bananas and oranges, since these food became the part of their daily diet. At same time Europeans get used to tomatoes in a variety of sauses for pizza and pasta, to chocolate in desserts and to smoking tobacco. Together with food exchange, the positive impact of the Columbian Exchange can be seen in the interchange of different kinds of technologies, for example, of growing plants or breeding livestock. 

The Columbian Exchange gave a push to the transfer of the cultures due to the transmigration, which became the reason of some negative effects of the Exchange. Europeans brought to the American continent many diseases which were unknown to the native Americans. Probably, one of the most devastating diseases, which killed the large number of the people on the American continent, was smallpox. Together with it, Europeans brought to America cholera, measles, yellow fever and some other diseases that also caused many deaths. However, they took back to Europe some American diseases, for instance, syphilis. Because of the fact that there was no effective treatment for most of diseases at that time, the Exchange became the reason of the large death tolls both among Europeans and Americans. 

All the above mentioned facts indicate, that the Columbian Exchange had both advantages and disadvantages for Europeans and Native Americans. Such beneficial impact as food exchange that successfully assimilated into the menu of people from the two continents, more than balance the negative impact connected with diseases, which led to a high death rate. The main conclusion is that everyone, no matter from America or Europe, should owe the eating habits to the impacts of the Columbian Exchange. 

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