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Cultural and Biological Exchanges in the New World

  • Date Submitted: 03/29/2010 05:52 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 48.7 
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The cultural and biological exchanges between the Europeans and the native people can be categorized as some prosperous and some tragic.
The first positive exchange that occurred prior to the colonization of the New World was in the form of trade.   The early explorers who were looking for nautical paths to the Indies found trade opportunities with the natives of the Americas.   This trade benefited both sides with the exchange of goods and natural resources.   This also sparked the mercantile and shipping industries for the Europeans.   The next positive exchange between the two civilizations was that of domesticated animals.   The European introduction of animals such as pigs, sheep, and cattle help to establish colonies and farm lands as well as introduce Native Americans to the concept of livestock for their population to utilize.   The major domesticated animal of significant importance would have been the horse.   A long time symbol of Indian culture, the horse was practically extinct from the western hemisphere.   However with the arrival of the Spanish in the South American region the horse was re-introduced to the Americas.   In addition the exchange of crops and agricultural practices between the two cultures was a positive outcome for both civilizations.   The natives introduced the Europeans to crops that flourish and were able to be kept for longer periods of time after harvesting such as corn.   The Europeans introduced new crops such as sugar and bananas.   The Europeans learned agricultural management techniques that made the best use of their land without depleting the soil of its vital nutrients.
The positive exchanges between the Europeans and the natives were far more overshadowed by the negative results that still stain American history to this day.
Of these negative exchanges the most impactful was the introduction of new diseases from the Europeans to the Native Americans.   These new diseases were the major contributing factor in the subjugation and...


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