Effects Of The Columbus Exchange

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There are only a few history-changing events that rocked history on to a much different route. One of these such events was when Columbus landed in America. This one event had many lasting effects, including the spread of diseases to the new world, enslavement of Africans for labor, and economic opportunity with the massive increase in silver.

The Columbus exchange was started when Columbus first sailed to America on accident looking for economic opportunity. He was looking for a way to sail and trade directly with Asia. After he realized that the place he landed wasn 't Asia he realized the natives had gold, so he took it back to Spain. One major effect of the Columbus Exchange was the spread of diseases. When Columbus and other explorers
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One effect of the Columbus Exchange was the slave trade, the diseases partially caused slavery. With the rise of cash crops like sugar, cotton, and tobacco; Spain and other European colonies needed labor workers. They used some natives for slave labor, but there wasn 't many left because of diseases, so they needed slaves to farm their plantations. Africa was the best place to get slaves because African people were immune to European diseases, so they wouldn’t all die. Slave traders would sail over to Africa and exchange goods for slaves. Robert W. Strayer explains in his book Ways of the World the economic side of slavery from Africa to the slave ships "In exchange for slaves, African sellers sought both European and Indian textiles, cowrie shells, European metal goods, fire-arms and gun powder, tobacco and alcohol, and various decorative items such as beads. Europeans purchased some of these items with silver mined from the Americas."2 (ways of the world p 691) The slave trade helped the Spanish economy by providing free labor for their cash crops especially sugar and cotton. The slave trade started the triangle trade between Europe, Africa, and the new world. Where slaves were transported from Africa to the Americas. Raw materials were transported from the Americas to Europe, and finished goods were transported from Europe to Africa to buy slaves. The slave trade had many negative effects, such as the death of over 15% of all slaves captured in the transporting them to the…show more content…
When the Spanish were in the Americas they discovered large silver deposits in modern-day Mexico, similarly the Portuguese found plentiful silver mines in modern-day Peru. The combination of these two mines produced 80% of all the world silver at that time. This huge discovery of silver started a lust for silver among the rich, and economic opportunity for Merchants. The merchants were the ones that profited the most in the silver trade. Spain didn’t have the ships to transport all the silver, so merchants would transport it and resell the silver for more. China wanted a lot of silver, so other merchants would trade with China. "most of the precious metal made its way to China, where a thriving domestic economy demanded increasing quantities of silver, the basis of Chinese currency."3 Merchants would exchange silver for gold in China, then they would trade gold for silver in Japan and would make a profit because silver was worth more in China than it was worth in Japan. Finding silver at first helped the Spanish economy because they accumulated a lot of wealth through the silver. But later the price of silver crashed in China due to inflation, and silver wasn 't worth as much, so it hurt all the silver owners greatly including Spain and
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