European Expansion

INTR 2012

Food, Frontiers and International Relations

Semester 1, 2011

First Essay Question

What do you understand by the ‘Columbian exchange’? Why do authors like Crosby and Diamond argue that it was a fundamental or underlying cause of the economic and military ascendancy of Europeans (and Europeans overseas) over the rest of the world which peaked around the 19th century? What are the major strengths and limitations of this line of argument?

Columbian Exchange can be defined in as many ways as people possibly can in relation to an exchange of non-native plants, animals and diseases between Europe, Africa, and the Americas from 1492 through to modernity. Colombian exchange is the leading event amongst the most significant events in the history of the modern world. It is some times cited as the cause of Atlantic slavery and at the same times gave rise to American colonies which eventually led to the creation of the United States of America. This essay is going to talk about the interaction of Europeans and indigenous of the new worlds and how this interaction has transformed both worlds. In particular, it will investigate the consequences of biological and ecological exchange in the decline of indigenous cultures and natural populations. Many people including authors like Crosby and Diamond believe that, this revolutionary phenomenon has its role in the economic and military ascendancy of Europeans either within their continent or abroad. The paper will touch on the long term impacts of the Columbian Exchange on Americas and Africa through trade and imperialism. The first part of the essay will try to explain what Colombian exchange actually means and how it happened, it will identify some of the crops and animals exchanged between Europe the old world, and Americas one of the new worlds. The subsequent paragraphs will dwell on how Colombian exchange paved the way for colonisation, dispossession, mercantilism, slavery, pandemic and many other...