Discuss exchange in the New World. How do you think the exchange of ideas, people, and artifacts affected the cultures of the Americas? What were some limitations to the exchanges? Do we see the continuation of Pre-Hispanic New World cultural influences today? How is exchange today similar or different from exchange in the past?
The Columbian Exchange
In the fifteenth century, the Europeans embarked on adventure far away from the coast of Old World Europe. During this era, people believed that only Europe, Africa, and Asia continents existed. This travel around led to the discovery of America; new world was the name that was branded America by the Europeans, who even decided to colonize it (“New World.” n.p).
Exchange is the art of giving out something with an intention of receiving something else out of it. In this era of discovery of the new world, there emerged a great exchange known as the Columbian Exchange. Columbian Exchange refers to the massive exchange that occurred when Europeans interacted with the Americans. It included exchange of diseases, ideas, technology, people, culture, plants, and animals. Columbian Exchange is credited to the voyage that was made to America by Christopher Columbus that occurred in 1492. The rest of the Old World also joined in the journeying to the New World. This saw the exchange and spread of food species from one corner of the globe to the other (Nunn & Qian 163). 60659220
Columbian Exchange came loaded with both benefits and non benefits to both the Europeans and the New World. The direct contact that occurred from the interaction of the reserved New World people and the outgoing Old World population led to outbreak and spread of diseases. The New World was contaminated by the Europeans with toxic viruses and germs of smallpox, measles, and cholera of, which they had no protection to. The Europeans were not on the secure side since they were contaminated with syphilis. The sailors who contracted syphilis spread it across Europe. This disease caused a major social disruption in the Old World (Nunn & Qian 163). This exchange opened both worlds to new ventures and at the same time, brought a great challenge of tackling and adapting to the outcomes of this exchange.
The exchange of ideas, people and artifacts affected and changed at a higher rate the culture of the Native Americans. The Native Americans had their own way of lifestyle and doing things before the invasion of the foreigners. The contact with Europeans brought a complete turnaround of the lively hood of the Native Americans. The Indians had their way of administering their land. Invasion of Europeans saw the disrespect and destructions of the self-rule that prevailed among the Indians. The Europeans had their own selfish interests of colonizing the new world and take total control. Hence, they did not consult or respect the already set administration; they did away with the existing administrations. This brought a significant change in the way rules were set and administered, the people who were the heads of the community, lost their mandate. The Indians were taxed with learning and practicing the European rules forcefully.
Most of the Native Americans were nomadic. The Europeans introduced forced labour in the New World. The introduction of forced labor caused people to look for alternative means of survival. They ran away, left behind their families and melted into the forest to find new livelihood means. This disrupted the culture the natives had since they had to adapt to culture dictated by the environment they have moved in (“The New World Encounters the Old” 15). When both worlds had not merged, they had adapted and had developed resistance to diseases that were prevalent in their regions. The interaction brought about new diseases, which weakened the already existing immunity that existed. This was a disaster to the Native Americans since it was not their wish to bring such misery on themselves. Diseases were something brought by foreigners and it caused instability in the society, such that many people died, and people started living in fear of each other.
The interaction of both worlds saw borrowing of cultures between the two as they intermarried. The culture of the Native Americans was eroded as they copied some things from the Europeans, and discarded some of what they owned. There were limitations that hindered exchange like the harsh attitude the Europeans had on the natives, and the great distance that was between the continents since there was no better means of crossing the sea.
The prehistoric cultural influences are there to date, as believes in religion are rooted from way back in the Prehispanic culture. Today’s exchange is different from the exchange in the past. Nowadays for an exchange to occur one needs not move from one geographical region to another. Technology and social media has greatly influenced and enhanced how people relate and interact with one another. Today there is not much discovery, but there is modification of the already existing things and trying to understand the origin of things.
Archeology has emerged to be a best fortune for me, in the past I had no interest in the past of the people how they lived and developed as time went by. This class has created a new thing in me a new interest and something that I have come to love and adore. Unfortunately I did not make to attend to all classes since I had to seek medical attention due to my migraine and tension headaches conditions. I had to take the class again I would put an attendance record of a hundred percent attendance. I would suggest that everything remain the same, from the interesting readings, extensive research and the assignments. Archeology has become an interest, career and hobby that I will continue practicing.
“New world.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 06 Dec. 2014. <Dictionary.comhttp://dictionary.reference.com/browse/new world>.
Nunn N. and Qian N. Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 24, Number 2—Spring 2010—Pages 163–188. http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.24.2.163
“The New World Encounters the Old” Native Americans. 06 Dec. 2014. Retrieved from www.pearsonhighered.com/assets/hip/us/hip_us_pearsonhighered/samplechapter/0205790798.pdf