The Columbian Exchange of plants caused the landscape of America to change drastically. It also changed the global market as well. According to excerpts from Christopher Columbus’s logs, he was extremely awestruck at the beauty of the landscape in the Americas after landing there. He enjoyed every bit of it, from its forests to its singing birds to its fruits (doc. 1).
He wrote about the cultivation of the land around the villages and also about their irrigation systems. Hernan Cortez, another explorer and conquistador, talked about the diet of the inhabitants of islands off the Yucatan. This diet included maize, chili peppers, and patata yuca along with breeding turkeys (doc. 2). Hernan Cortex had first-hand experience with these Native American productions and wanted to relay his eyewitness records to people who financed his voyages which led to them lending him further support and justification for his endeavor.
Other world nations brought their own fruit and vegetables along with them as they settled into the New World. During this time, maize, potatoes, tobacco, beans, squash, peppers, and cocoa were being shipped to Europe and Africa, and wheat, rye, sugar, and rice were being brought to the Americas (doc. 4). A statement developed by the National Council for the Social Studies states that this trade boosted the global economy and also increased the diversity of both people and crops in the Americas (doc. 7).
This institution was a detached institution that had no first-hand experience or timely connection to the Columbian Exchange, so the document tries to take a detached tone that any institution representing historical phenomenon would take so that they can maintain their scholarly stance. This trade also introduced some weeds that the Americans had never seen before. In historian Alfred Crosby’s description of plant exchange, he describes these weeds as weeds that “exhaust the land, hinder and ratify the Crop” (doc. 3). The Native Americans even called these weeds “English-Man’s Foot”.
The ecological effect of the Columbian Exchange benefited the trade of new crops around the world while also introducing the new destructive force of weeds into the Americas.
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