history_chapter_17_18.doc - Chapter 17 Outline The...

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Chapter 17 Outline The Diversity of American Colonial Societies (1530-1770) I. The Columbian Exchange A. Demographic Changes -Because of the New world’s isolation from the rest of the world, the peoples of the Americas did not have the toughened immunities like the rest of the world did. Therefore when the Europeans, French, and Spanish came to the New World they brought deadly diseases that the Amerindians had no immunity to. The settlers brought diseases like smallpox, the plague, influenza, typhus, and other very deadly diseases. However the Native Americans had very weak immunity to these diseases, causing a huge spike in the mortality rate. An estimated 50 percent of the Amerindians died when the first settlers came-which is roughly equivalent to about 40 million people. The more settlers who came to America, the more the Native Americans suffered from disease. -Even more disease was spread when the explorers began to import African slaves; not only did they bring the slaves, but also a deadly form of malaria -As the explorers and European settlers began to spread out, so did the diseases. The French fur traders who traded in Northern areas affected present-day New England, while the Spanish conquistadors in the south spread diseases through the Incan, Aztec, and Mexican populations. -The same thing happened in reverse too, though on a much smaller scale. It is believed that the Amerindians were the ones who spread syphilis to the Europeans. -Though there is no evidence, some historians believe that the Europeans may have used disease to help subdue the native populations and build up their own empire, and while there is nothing that proves this, the diseases spread certainly killed off a large portion of the natives. B. Transfer of Plants and Animals -Diseases weren’t the only things transferred in these new contacts. New plants traded and transferred between continents helped to revolutionize diets all over the world. The Amerindians received European and Asian plants like wheat, olives, grapes, rice, banana, coconuts, sugar, and garden fruits and vegetables. They incorporated these staples into their diets, while at the same time keeping their original diet staples. -In return, the Native Americans gave the Europeans new staple crops, causing a dietary revolution. Things like maize, potatoes, and squash had more calories per acre grown, and became an instant hit with the Europeans, Africans, and Asians. Other foods like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, chilies, and chocolate became highly demanded foods in the “Old World”. Also, the Amerindians gave the Old World many dyes that were used widespread in textile industries after the transfer. -The transfer of livestock was very beneficial to the New World, yet at the same time it was very destructive. Cattle, pigs, horses, and sheep were transferred as well as smaller animals that stowed away on the ships, like rats and rabbits.

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