Columbian Exchange

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The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange influenced technological advances in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Europe was an economic and technological power compared to the Native Americans they encountered in the New World. Yet, they still benefited from the exchange of ideas and cultures. Native Americans were impacted profoundly by the technological transition. When Europeans crossed the Atlantic and colonized the New World they sparked a flow of changes in Native American culture.
The most notable of these changes were:

  • A Written Alphabet
  • New Farming Capabilities
  • New Firearm and Weapon Capabilities
  • Architectural Ingenuity
  • Animals
Europe to America America to Europe
The written alphabet Corn, Potatoes, Tomato, Cocoa,
Plow –>technological movement
Weapons (Guns, knives)
Wheel (transportation, construction)
On Columbus’s second voyage in 1493 he brought horses, dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, sheep, and goats Explorers brought back turkeys, llamas, alpacas, and guinea pigs to Europe


Explorers brought their horses across the ocean

Explorers brought horses from Europe to America

The difference between the animals on the different sides of the Atlantic was extraordinary. The natives only had a few animal servants. They had the dog, two kinds of South American Camels, the guinea pig, and several kinds of fowls. Before the Columbian Exchange the natives had no beast of burden and did their hard labor entirely on their own.

On Columbus’s second voyage in 1493 he brought horses, dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, sheep, and goats. When the explorers brought the new animals across the ocean it introduced a whole new means of transportation, a new labor form, and a new food source. The animals were rarely troubled by the diseases (small pox) the humans were. So while the humans died off, the animals were thriving on the rich wildlife.

The pigs reproduced the fastest and served as meat for the explorers.  Swine herds were found everywhere.  In 1514, pigs had multiplied to about 30,000 in Cuba.  The pig of this time was a little different then today’s pig, it was more like a speedy wild boar.  Pizarro brought pigs with him to Peru in 1531.  Also De Soto brought them with him to Florida, and the thirteen that he brought multiplied to seven hundred three years later.  This just shows us how rapid they were reproducing. .


  1. Columbian Exchange

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