Global Impact of the Columbian Exchange

The voyage of Christopher Columbus led to the exchange of new institutions, animals, plants, disease pathogens, and human populations between independent biological zones. In particular, there was the introduction of maize, beans, potatoes among others to Europe, Africa, and Asia by the Americans. On the other hand, animals such as horses, chicken, cattle, and pigs entered the American continent from Europe (Bentley and Ziegler). Therefore, it is important to note that introduction of foods and crops during the Columbian Exchange assisted in increasing supply. Besides, the climate in Europe which favoured the growth of potatoes meant that this region had received an important source of nutrition. Similarly, it was during this period when the exchange of foods such as wheat, rice, and coffee from the Old World to the New World.

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Regarding adverse impacts of the Columbian exchange, there was the spread of deadly diseases. In particular, there was the exposure of individuals living in the Western hemisphere to measles, influenza, diphtheria, whooping cough among others. It is important to note that people in these areas did not have acquired or inherited immunities and this led to a significant decline in the populations. For example, the population in Aztec Empire in 1519 dropped from 17 million to 1.3 million following the smallpox epidemic (Bentley and Ziegler). Additionally, there was the exploitation of laborers through the slavery practice. The Europeans entered Africa with the intention of enslaving workers to assist in the production of tobacco, sugar, rice, and coffee. The Native Americans also helped in the mining of gold by the Europeans. For this reason, the Columbian Exchange had both positive and negative impacts.


Work Cited

Bentley, Jerry H, and Herbert F Ziegler. Traditions & Encounters. 2015. Print.