Christopher Columbus & the Columbian Exchange

Christopher Columbus, a experienced sailor, obsessed with obtaining support for his scheme to sail west across the Atlantic Ocean to reach China and Japan, convinced that it was possible to reach riches of the east by sailing west. On October 12, 1492 Columbus landed on a tiny Caribbean island about three hundred miles north of the eastern tip of Cuba. There he confronted natives called Tainos; this was a tremendous discovery, this event ignited a spark of exploration. In spite of finding a completely new continent he went to his grave believing he had found a new way to Asia, but in actuality he did not. Despite Columbus’s lack of success in locating the Asian mainland by sailing west, by initiating the Columbian exchange, his arrival in the Caribbean had profound and lasting impact on both the Old and New Worlds. The effects from Columbus’s arrival in the Caribbean islands can be cited in the following, the importance of his Columbian exchange, the Old and New Worlds gains and losses because of his exchange, and the true frontrunner of the exchange.

      By definition, the term “Columbian Exchange” refers to the transfer of peoples, animals, plants, and disease between the Old and New Worlds. The Columbian Exchange implemented many new things that have forever changed both the culture of the American Indians and the Europeans. This exchange was initiated by Christopher Columbus and his voyages but was continued by virtually every explorer thereafter.   The major areas that the Exchange influenced are the areas of animals, plants, and disease. These products changed the social and the way of life for the Indian and European world eternally.

      The Columbian exchange was both mutually beneficial and detrimental to the Europeans and the Native Americans and their homelands. The exchange of indigenous crops was one example. The Indians shared their maize, potatoes, legumes, chocolate, squash and ways of farming and agriculture. The introduction of European...