Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange was one of the most important events in modern world history. The Columbian Exchange was the exchange of plans, animals, diseases, and technologies between the Americas and the rest of the world following Columbus's voyages. When the New World was discovered, the explorers from the Old World unknowingly brought with them many diseases with them. The Amerindians lacked the immunities to the newly introduced diseases.

Death rates among Amerindians increased during the epidemics of the early colonial period. It is estimated that the population in Central Mexico dropped from more than 13 million to about 700,000. The Inca Empire decreased from about 9 million to less than 600,000 and the Mayan population decreased by nearly 75 percent. Also, is estimated that the population of Brazil decreased from 2 1/2 million to less than 1 million. The diseases, viruses, and infections that caused this dramatic decrease in population were smallpox, measles, diphtheria, typhus, influenza, and pulmonary plague.

\"world History\"

The different kingdoms in Europe established colonies throughout North and South America. The English and French established colonies in North America while Spain and Portugal established colonies in South and Latin America. They were all very similar in their hopes and policies of the New World. They each had great hopes for the amount of wealth that would be easily obtainable from the indigenous cultures. They all had mixed policies of diplomacy and violence toward the native people. They also relied heavily on slaves from Africa.

Some differences of the North and South American colonies were the times in which they were settled. The South and Latin American colonies were settled nearly one hundred years before the English and French colonies of North America. The timing was crucial to the outcome of establishing colonies in the New World. Because the Spanish and Portuguese colonies were settled earlier, they were not able to take advantage of the Protestant Reformation that was taking place in Europe. There was significant economic and demographic growth in Europe. This led to private companies being more involved in the development of English colonies.

The Catholic Church had a very important role in the Spanish Colonies. The missionaries were converting thousands of native people to Christianity. But because of the small number of missionaries, they were not able to hold sermons for the native people more than once a year. They tried to train some of the native people to become priests in Mexico. Some of the new priests still practiced old rituals and beliefs. This led the governments to punish them. The Catholic Church sometimes tried to protect them but was mostly unsuccessful. This should not have happened. Christianity should not have ever been forced on the native people. If they wanted to convert then they would have, but it should not have been mandatory and subject to punishment.

Columbian Exchange

By: Joseph Silvia --

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