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The Columbian Exchange
The Columbian exchange was the eruption of great diseases that affected and also destroyed the lives of many in around 1520's a time when Cortes penetrated the city of Aztec after getting a notice that Narvaez had reached Veracruz port. Cortes moved very fast with a small number of men and defeated Narvaez easily this made the Aztecs to prepare themselves for combat but there efforts were silenced by the commander who was incharege during the absence of Cortes and claimed the lives of many Aztecs (Ruvalcaba 44). The attack left the city, streets and houses full of dead Indian bodies that caused a very foul smell that could not be endured (Cowley 54). The Columbian exchange comprised outbreak of endemic diseases like small pox, plague and measles that led to suffering of many and yet still there was faster spread of germs that continued to claim the lives of many for instance the population of native Mexicans reduced from thirty million by in 1519 going down to only three million in 1568 (Cowley 55).
Columbian exchange led to explosion of new types of foods which made the menus broader and changed the cultures of many worldwide because the new ingredients were shared across the entire world for example beef, chilies and corn were used differently in various parts of the world (Schwartz 59). Food increased national identity as this was commonly witnessed in France. Cacao plants became the most adored in the new world for it enabled the manufacturing of chocolate. France for instance developed a great desire in it and massively engaged in its production in early 1880 (Schwartz 60).
The exchange was also accompanied with a number of benefits to Europe. For many years the peasant families had eaten very undesirable meals such as cabbage soup, dark bread for quite long. The wealthier class also ate the same but they were lucky because they took it in plenty. The Columbus helped provide nice dish for example the arrival of novelty greatly changed European menu. American for example begun producing crops like potatoes, corn which was greatly welcomed alongside peanuts, vanilla, turkey among others broadened there menu. Later there was inception of tomato in Spain and other European countries like Italy which had an ideal climate to support its growth. Many food species came into existence afterward and this included meat, cheeses, vegetables, chickens wheat among others (Schwartz 62). Although Europeans welcomed new and very delicious food in there menus they often took long time to accept them.
The most harmful part of Columbian exchange was the outbreak of endemic diseases like small pox and measles in 1507 that caused deaths of many and long term illness. It was believed that every European that crossed Atlantic in 16th century was a victim of small pox or measles in his or her childhood (Cowley 56). There was also an increased rate of germ migration which crossed boundaries of many countries a good example was syphilis which moved from America to Spain through shipping. Small pox is also said to have wrecked the lives of many in Peru and Ecuador. Other diseases like AIDS were also spread in 20th century in equatorial Africa through mechanisms like jet plane, growth of cities and war. Later it moved into developed countries in 1970's through blood transfusion (Stuart, Stearns et al). Research also indicates that many other dangerous diseases evolved around the world which was unknown in 1960's and the outbreak of such diseases was attributed to social changes (Cowley 56).
Many communities suffered from the Columbian exchange this includes the Spaniards, Mexicans, Indians and Africans. The exchange shows that many Indians died making appropriate partners for marriage limited as there were no options to choose from this forced them to break there cultures and customs. On the other side Africans were other victims of the Columbian exchange as they were eventually used as slave. The Columbus also points out that half of the indigenous population was claimed after hitting Caribbean island, the effect of the Columbus stretched further to Spaniard where many of them were easily killed by eruptive fevers in conjunction with small pox (Cowley 54). Mexican community also suffered greatly from the Columbian exchange, it's reported that the epidemic destroyed the Guatemaltecos and Mayas for five consecutive years and everyone will agree that the Columbian exchange was a great monster that caused sufferings and deaths to many communities of the world (Ruvalcaba 45).
Africans played a great role in the Columbian exchange most especially in the exchange of food. A number of crop species were introduces in the new world as a result of African involvement, this comprised of sweet potatoes, green beans and maize as well. All this crops were easily transported into the new world by the help of slave ships of which still Africans were the majority of the slaves. Although some people can undermine the role played by Africa towards Columbian exchange, it is pertinent to point out that there role was quite vital because without them slave trade may not have been possible (Schwartz 62).
In general terms it can be argued that the impact of Colombian exchange was felt globally but most of its effects were on two main players that is America where there was remarkable civilization and there counterparts in Western Europe (Stuart, Stearns et al). It led to exchange of many ideas that resulted in technological advancement. Many communities benefited a lot from the Columbian exchange at the same time many communities were greatly affected by the exchange. In Europe for instance there menu was greatly improved with the arrival of main dishes like chicken, goats, sugarcane, pig, vegetables among many others. It is even said that discovery of crops like potatoes led to the rise of Germany industries. Similarly this food also helped change the cultures of many European countries and some served as a symbol of national identity and this was particularly in France where chocolate was adored as the only drink on 1880's. Tomato also became another important crop in Italy given the supportive ecological factors for its growth, it later penetrated into the entire European culture and became one of there best food (Schwartz 59).
The Americans crops provided higher levels of calories and led to growth of population in Western Europe and greater civilization in eastern Hemisphere yet another group that benefited greatly from the Columbian exchange (Stuart, Stearns et al). It's also pointed out that as the rest of Europe was still celebrating the coming of tomato, the Mexicans on the other hand were heavily feasting on maize porridge mixed with honey daily, beans dish in the afternoon and other foodstuffs like vanilla, potatoes and many others.
On contrary some communities were extensively affected for instance the use of Africans as slaves and the dying of Mexicans, Spaniards, Peru, Ecuador and other indigenous populations due to outbreak of dangerous diseases like plague, small pox, measles among others.