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Old Worlds Collide Blake Johnson Laney College
QUESTIONS 1.What were the first encounters between indigenous Americans and Europeans like? 2.What is the “Columbian Exchange” and what happened to America and its indigenous inhabitants as a result? 3.How did African slavery in the Atlantic develop?
I. First Encounters A. “Discovery” of a “New World” •Intending to discover an oceanic passage to Asia, in 1492 Christopher Columbus instead mistakenly discovered the Americas. •Not realizing that he is not in India (or any part of Asia) the native people that Columbus encounters are deemed “Indians.” •Judged to be less advanced and “civilized” the native peoples are quickly determined to be a “lesser” people (if a “people” at all) by the explorers and treated accordingly.
I. First Encounters B. Exploration and Conquest •The Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 divides the “New World” into two parts for Spain and Portugal to share. •Within a single generation after the death of Columbus, Spain had conquered most of the New World. •Spain was motivated by religion, nationalist pride, and dreams of personal enrichment.
II. The “Columbian Exchange”
II. The “Columbian Exchange” B. “Ecological Imperialism” •Imported animals from Europe (cattle, goats, pigs, etc.) devastated the fragile environment of the New World. •Various plants (especially weeds) imported accidentally from Europe caused significant damage to the ecosystem. •At the same time there was an exchange of products. To Europe to America: corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, tobacco, and cotton. To America from Europe: wheat, rice, sugar cane, horses, cattle, pigs, and sheep.
II. The “Columbian Exchange” C. Making the “New World” Profitable •Silver was found abundantly in the New World, especially in South America. •Native labor was coerced into mining the metal for the Spanish. •Wild influx of silver nearly destroyed the financial markets of Europe. •