Columbian Exchange Cultural Effects

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The Columbian Exchange is a crucial part of history without which the world as we know it today would be a very different place. Its effects were rapid, global, dramatic, and permanent. It caused the entire world’s biographic, demographic, cultural, and economic standards to change, though whether that change was for better or worse is debatable. In 1453, Constantinople had fallen to the Ottoman Turks, leaving European countries to try to find an Atlantic route by which they could trade with the orient. Columbus, a Spanish sailor, sought to find that route. He believed he was successful, but in actuality he had stumbled upon a “new” continent. Though already inhabited by multiple native populations, Columbus claimed the lands he found for Spain,…show more content…
When Spain conquered the native populations in America, it brought with it the Roman Catholic religion, hoping to spread it through the new colonies. In northern America, Calvinism (A.K.A. Puritanism) was established along with other, less strict forms of Protestantism. As the protestant religion spread, so did the so-called “protestant work ethic”. This idea that one must work hard to establish personal success and to live a Godly life helped to encourage the development of capitalism as an economic structure. Meanwhile, in the Middle East and India, religious conflict was everywhere. After the Islamic leader, Muhammad, died, there formed a huge divide around who was to take his place. This divide ended up in the formation of two opposing groups within Islam – the Sunni and the Shi’ites. War broke out between the Sunni and Shi’ites after a Shi’ite leader claimed the title of Imam and began to establish Shia rule throughout the Middle East. Unfortunately, the conflict between the Sunni and the Shi’ite is one that still goes on today. When Europeans were brought into the Middle East as advisors and trade partners to the Ottomans, the culture in that region changed further. European military tactics and weapons were adopted, direct trade was established, and modernization became the goal of Ottoman society. In India, there was also religious turmoil. Hindus and Muslims, both key religious groups, were at odds with each other. A ruler named Akbar attempted to fix the religious state of his country by establishing a new religion known as the Divine Faith – a mixture of Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. It also promoted tolerance among citizens. With this newfound tolerance came a state of cultural syncretism that resulted in, among other things, the production of art and architecture. In Africa, a similar blending of religions occurred. When Portugal brought
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