Columbian Exchange

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Perhaps one of the most prominent features of global
expansion and exploration that occurred during the
path of recorded history was the many exchanges that
occurred among civilizations, where anything ranging
form religious ideals, technology, to various forms of
cultural diffusion occurred. Unlike previous global
exchanges that occurred among civilizations before the
16th and 17th centuries, the “Columbian Exchange” as
it became to be known set the standard for further
consequences of exchanges that were to follow on a
totally new global scale never seen before. The
demographic, economic, and geographic factors present
in the Columbian exchange were on another level that
In the process of the heyday of the imperialist
western expansion that boomed during the 16th and 17th
centuries, the process known as the “Columbian
Exchange” began to take place. What made this
seemingly harmless western outreach so important in
the influence of further history is the truly global
scale that the exchange took place. For example, one
of the primary “items” that was exchanged, albeit
harmlessly, was the European diseases that came with
the explorers to the New Land. Although this would
seem on the exterior harmless enough, this transaction
of disease would wreak havoc on the Native population,
as they had no form of immunity against the diseases
to the likes of smallpox, etc. Because of the
introduction of these diseases, whole flourishing
civilizations were wiped out. This is similar to what
happened to Europe when the Mongols, through the trade
networks established by them, began the spread of the
bubonic plague through out Europe. Some estimations
placed the destruction as that as high as 80 percent
of the population was wiped out. With the beginning of
the Columbian exchange as well, there existed a
fundamental change in the way that the indigenous


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