16 Jan 2023


The Colombian Exchange: A History of Cultural and Biological Exchange

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Academic level: College

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In the year 1492, an explorer known as Christopher Columbus became the first person to land on the shores of San Salvador. This whole discovery was just but the beginning of a revolutionary that was to affect the way man lived forever. The Columbus Exchange was the period that involved cultural and biological exchange between the old and the new world. It mainly involved the exchange plants, animals, diseases and technology from Europe to the Native Americans. This exchange had positive and negative outcomes (Christopher Columbus and Reiter Syndrome, 2015). The Colombian exchange brought about the change in the entire world leading to the civilization seen today. 

The Colombian Exchange brought about the following positive effects to both the Native Americans and the Europeans; there was introduction of corn to the old world (Native American land). Corn has grown into one of the most important foods in the entire world, from Europe to India across to China and other countries (Hoyos, n.d.). Furthermore, the new world also introduced new weaponry to the old world. They also introduced education systems to the old world. The introduction of new animals and crops like potatoes, sugarcane, bananas and many more crops led to the improvement of the diet of the people in both the old and the new world (Tibbetts, 2013 ). These factors led to the improvement of the lifestyle of both the native people and those from the new world. 

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However, there were also negative effects from the same period of exchange. Diseases which were very deadly started spreading out to the native lands. For instance, small pox and other deadly diseases spread out from Europe to the native lands highly affecting the people in these regions. Moreover, introduction of slavery and exploitation of individuals living in the native lands was evident. This majorly affected the culture of the people in the native regions and their freedom in general since they were forced to live as the people from the new world. 

In conclusion, even though the Colombian Period had negative effects to the people in the native areas not only in the Native American lands but all people in the world, it had a stronger positive influence to the world since it led to the growth of the civilization that has been seen over the years to what we see today. Thus, I view this period to be of a great advantage to the entire world. 


Christopher Columbus and Reiter Syndrome. (2015). American Journal of Ophthalmology , 159 (3), 469. doi:10.1016/s0002-9394(15)00031-8 

Hoyos, H. (n.d.). The Colombian essay. A History of Colombian Literature , 198-212. doi:10.1017/cbo9781139963060.011 

Tibbetts, G. G. (2013). Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of the “Indies”. How the Great Scientists Reasoned , 25-44. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-398498-2.00003-5 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). The Colombian Exchange: A History of Cultural and Biological Exchange.


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