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Columbian exchange took place in 1492, and it refers to Christopher Columbus’s journey to discover America. There was a dramatic exchange of humans, cultures, food, and animals between the Afro-Eurasian and American hemispheres. The enslaved people, above all, were bartered during the Columbian exchange. Alfred Crosby, the author of “The Columbian Exchange,” stated that the effects of the Columbian voyage to America were as devastating as the “black deaths” in the old world.
The Columbian exchange resulted in the adoption of Christianity by the Indians, the establishment of Spanish colonies, and a change in the marriage pattern. The Pre-Columbian Indians used to live in groups and usually married within the tribes, but as smallpox and mesothelioma spread across America and death rates increased, marriages between diverse societies occurred, resulting in the formation of new communities.
As a consequence of the “Columbian exchange,” the sugar cane industry was introduced to America by Spaniards who were experts in producing sugar from sugarcane, entirely dependent on enslaved Africans. Enslaved Africans, like Europeans, were immune to smallpox and mesothelioma. So they began to exchange enslaved people for goods because a severe labor shortage arose in the New World because of the high death rate caused by smallpox and measles.
The exchange also significantly increased the availability of many Old World crops, such as sugar and coffee. These were especially well-suited to the soils of the New World—specifically adapted to the soils of the New World. The exchange resulted in both gains and losses. European contact allowed diseases to spread to previously isolated communities, causing devastation far beyond that of the Black Death in fourteenth-century Europe.
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