Columbian Exchange Facts

Columbian Exchange Facts
The Columbian Exchange was a transfer of ideas, humans, culture, plants and various technologies, that occurred in the 1400s and 1500s between the Old World and the Americas. It took place following the 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus as part of European colonization, and brought with it diseases and invasive species that had an initial negative impact. Many indigenous populations suffered losses because of communicable diseases brought over by the Europeans. Some crops, such as potatoes, and tomatoes, had never been grown anywhere other than South America, and became staples in the diets of many European cultures as well.
Interesting Columbian Exchange Facts:
While Europeans had never seen tomatoes or potatoes in the Old World, Native Americans had never seen apples, or cows.
Crops that were introduced to the Old World as a result of the Columbian Exchange included tomatoes, potatoes, cacao, maize, and tobacco.
Crops that were introduced to the New World as a result of the Columbian Exchange included coffee, bananas, apples, wheat, and rice.
Switzerland would not have become known for chocolate without the Columbian Exchange as cacao had never been head of in Europe before.
Hawaii was pineapple-free prior to the Columbian Exchange.
Animals that were introduced to the Old World as a result of the Columbian Exchange included llamas and turkeys.
Animals that were introduced to the New World as a result of the Columbian Exchange included pigs, donkeys, chickens, cows, and horses.
Thanks to the large areas of land suitable for cultivation, those in the New World rarely experienced a shortage of food. The food abundance in the New World also helped fuel the Europeans' desire to move to the New World.
Prior to the introduction of the horse in the Americas, most tribes used llamas for transporting goods. The horse made it possible for Native Americans to hunt on horseback and lead a more nomadic lifestyle.
Within 150 years of the Europeans arriving in the New World, approximately 80% to 95% of the Native Americans had perished. Most of the deaths were due to disease, although the brutality of European explorers was also a factor in many deaths. Some indigenous populations were completely wiped out.
Many of the disease brought to the Americas by the Europeans were no longer deadly to the Europeans due to centuries of building immunity. The Native Americans had no immunity to these diseases and were quick to die once a disease was contracted.
Some of the diseases brought to the New World included yellow fever, chicken pox, typhus, malaria, measles, and smallpox.
Because of the introduction of crops to the Old World from the New World, the population grew. Many of the foods introduced in the Old World had higher calorie content than they were used to, and it is estimated that the world's population doubled between 1650 and 1850 as a result.
Potatoes become such a staple in the diet of the Irish that the average person in Ireland consumed 10 pounds of potatoes each day. The Great Potato Famine, which occurred in the 1840s due to a disease affecting potato plants, reduced Ireland's population by over 20%.


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