The Columbian Exchange Chart

The phrase “Columbian Exchange” was popularized by University of Texas historian Alfred W. Crosby, Jr. in 1972. It refers to the flow of organisms among the continents of the Eastern and Western Hemisphere after European contact. Below is a chart summarizing some of the main organisms which were transplanted and shared as a result of the interaction between east and west.

From the Americas:
corn (maize)
tobacco
potato
tomato
squash
turkey
avocado
bell and hot peppers
pineapple
cassava
cacao bean
peanut
beans
vanilla
manioc (tapioca)
persimmon
pumpkin
sweet potato
wild rice
blueberry
cranberry
syphilis

From Europe, Africa, Asia:
onion
citrus fruits
grapes
banana
turnip
coffee bean
sugar cane
peach
pear
cucumber
apple
cabbage
olive
grains (wheat, barley, oats, rice)
honeybee
cattle (sheep, pig, horse)
smallpox
influenza
typhus
measles
malaria
diphtheria
whooping cough

Situations of Interaction to consider:
•Dependence on one New World crop exacerbates to Irish potato famine, which leads to massive Irish immigration to America
•Increased caloric intake from New World foods introduced to Africa fuels population boom, increasing opportunities for slavery’s expansion
•Note the high number of diseases which were introduced into the Americas through contact with Eureopeans—although European settlement in what is now New England did not begin until the early 17th century, fisherman from Europe and Norse explorers had had contact with Natives in that area since the late 1100s for the Norse and 1500s in the case of fishermen. It is believed that European diseases began making their way through Native populations from at least that time in the area, and due to trading networks, spread rapidly ahead of the European line of settlement. This is why the Pilgrims settled in an area that was already cleared of trees and why they felt that God had provided them with a deserted village—the Natives were wiped out with possibly a 95% mortality rate. On the other side of the ledger, syphilis was introduced to the Eastern Hemisphere from the Americas, probably as conquistadores and others who did not seek to permanently settle returned to their countries of origin. Perhaps we could call this “Montezuma’s second revenge.”

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One response to this post.

  1. what are the 2 changes that efected the eastern hemishprere

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