Colombian exchange

Spanish colonization Video transcript - [Instructor] Although we tend to think about Christopher Columbus' first voyage intransforming the history of the Americas, it actually transformed a great deal more than that, and in this video I want to talk about the larger world historical process that Columbus' voyage opened up, that transformed not only the Americas, but also Europe and Africa, and this was called the Columbian Exchange. So what was the Columbian Exchange? This was a process of transferring plants, animals, microbes and people across the Atlantic in both directions. And not just trading these goods, but transplanting them from Europe and Africa into the Americas and the other way around.

Colombian exchange

Overview Mercantilism, an economic theory that rejected free trade and promoted government regulation of the economy for the purpose of enhancing state power, defined the economic policy of European colonizing countries.

Christopher Columbus introduced horses, sugar plants, and disease to the New World, while facilitating the introduction of New World commodities like sugar, tobacco, chocolate, and potatoes to the Old World. The process by which commodities, people, and diseases crossed the Atlantic is known as the Columbian Exchange.


The philosophy of mercantilism shaped European perceptions of wealth from the s to the late s. Mercantilism held that only a limited amount of wealth, as measured in gold and silver bullion, existed in the world.

In order to gain power, nations had to amass wealth by mining these precious raw materials from their colonial possessions. Mercantilists did not believe in free trade, arguing instead that the nation should control trade to create wealth and to enhance state power.

In this view, colonies existed to strengthen the colonizing nation. Colonial mercantilism, a set of protectionist policies designed to benefit the colonizing nation, relied on several factors: Colonies rich in raw materials Cheap labor Colonial loyalty to the home government Control of the shipping trade Under this system, the colonies sent their raw materials—harvested by enslaved people or native workers—to Europe.

European industry then produced and sent finished materials—like textiles, tools, manufactured goods, and clothing—back to the colonies.

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Colonists were forbidden from trading with other countries. Commodification quickly affected production in the New World. American silver, tobacco, and other items—which were used by native peoples for ritual purposes—became European commodities with monetary value.

Before the arrival of the Spanish, for example, the Inca people of the Andes consumed chicha, a corn beer, for ritual purposes only.

When the Spanish discovered chicha, they bought and traded for it, detracting from its spiritual significance for market gain. This process disrupted native economies and spurred early commercial capitalism.


Claude Lorrain, a seaport at the height of mercantilism. Wikimedia Commons The Columbian Exchange: Of all the commodities in the Atlantic World, sugar proved to be the most important. Indeed, in the colonial era, sugar carried the same economic importance as oil does today.

European rivals raced to create sugar plantations in the Americas and fought wars for control of production. Columbus brought sugar to Hispaniola inand the new crop thrived.

Over the next century of colonization, Caribbean islands and most other tropical areas became centers of sugar production, which in turn fueled the demand to enslave Africans for labor. Slavery in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean.The Columbian exchange moved commodities, people, and diseases across the Atlantic.

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Colombian exchange

Buy The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of , 30th Anniversary Edition on FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders/5(39). The Columbian exchange started to connect the New and Old Worlds with the transmission of ideas, plants, animals, and diseases.

Two worlds that had grown apart with very different organisms started to become homogeneous (Crosby, ).

Colombian exchange

Jan 01,  · A close reading lesson with interactives exploring the Columbian Exchange, based upon " Uncovering the New World Columbus Created" by Charles Mann/5(11). The Columbian Exchange Learning Guide. The Columbian Exchange analysis by PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley.

The Columbian Exchange: An Overview | Scholastic Crops[ edit ] Portuguese trading animals in Japan; detail of Nanban panel — Several plants native to the Americas have spread around the world, including potatomaizetomatoand tobacco. By the 19th century they were found in nearly every cookpot in Europe and had conquered India and North America.
What is the Columbian Exchange? (with pictures) Crops[ edit ] Portuguese trading animals in Japan; detail of Nanban panel — Several plants native to the Americas have spread around the world, including potatomaizetomatoand tobacco. By the s, Ireland was so dependent on the potato that the proximate cause of the Great Famine was a potato disease.
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The Columbian Exchange: An Overview | Scholastic