The Moral Effects Of The Columbian Exchange

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Historians differ on what they think about the net result of the European arrival in the New World. Considering that the Columbian Exchange, which refers to “exchange of plants, animals, people, disease, and culture between Afro-Eurasia and the Americas after Columbus sailed to the Americas in 1492,” led to possibly tens of millions of deaths on the side of the American Indians, but also enabled agricultural and technological trade (Henretta et al. 42), I cannot help but reflect on whether the effects should be addressed as a historical or a moral question. The impact that European contact had on the indigenous populations of North America should be understood as a moral question because first, treating it as a historical question is difficult due to lack of reliable historical evidence; second, the meaning of compelling historical claims is contestable as the academic historian perspective tends to view the American Indian oral history as invalid; and finally, what happened to the native Indians is morally repulsive and must be discussed as such. The consequences of European contact should be answered as a moral question because historically, it is hard to be historically objective in the absence of valid and dependable historical evidence. Particularly, one of the most important historical questions that cannot be sufficiently answered is this: How many indigenous peoples died as a result of the Columbian Exchange? I am not only referring to deaths from disease but also

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