The Great Exchange

The Great Exchange
The economic interactions that took place when people from
different continents met changed the world forever.
The Columbian Exchange is the name given to the huge exchange - some good, and
some terrible- of plants, animals foods, humans, diseases, and ideas that began after
Columbus arrived in 1492.
Many of these exchanges were good. When explorers brought the potato back to
Europe from America it became a food staple in Europe. In the Americas, European cows
gave milk and European chickens laid eggs - new, easily-raised protein sources that did not
have to be hunted first.
Plagues and Poxes
A Human Exchange
One exchange was terrible.
The worst result of the Columbian
Exchange was the spread of
diseases from Europe to the
Americas. At first the spread of
plague was simply a tragic accident,
but in time, some explorers
deliberately infected Indian villages
in order to claim territories for their
kings and queens.
The climate in large areas of the
Americas, especially the Caribbean and South
America , was perfect for the growing of sugar
cane. Huge sugar plantations spread across the
islands of the Caribbean, and with them, the
need for more workers.
At first the Spanish made the Indians
slaves. In 1542, the Spanish government
forbade making slaves of the Indians.
A new exchange began - the taking by
force, of millions of people from Africa to toil in
America's fields.