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What are the consequences of the Age of Exploration ?

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ciankiely | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 27, 2011 at 7:08 AM via web

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What are the consequences of the Age of Exploration ?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 27, 2011 at 7:20 AM (Answer #1)

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The most important consequence of the Age of Exploration was European dominance of the world.  After the Age of Exploration was over, Europe had colonies in every corner of the world.

European domination of the world has consequences that continue to be felt today.  One can argue that the "developing world" is less developed exactly because it was colonized by the Europeans.  Europeans used those areas for their own benefit and so those countries have weak economies and governments today.

Another consequence was the Columbian Exchange.  This benefitted Europe in a number of ways and hurt the Americas.  Europe got new sources of food like potatoes.  The Americas got diseases that killed huge percentages of their people.  (They did also get horses and some technology, of course.)

These are two of the most important consequences of the Age of Exploration.

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askteacherz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 28, 2011 at 5:46 AM (Answer #2)

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Perhaps another aspect or consequence that needs to be mentioned is that of "slavery." As a result of European exploration slavery spread throughout the new world. Each and every one of the Empires of Europe employed slave labor in the new lands they conquered; either by enslaving the Natives or bringing foreign slave laborers. While it is easily realized that slave labor in North America became prominent due to tobacco plantations at the hands of the Empire of England; they were actually the last to use slave labor in the new world as a result of exploration. The Portuguese can actually gain the most credit for starting this trend. Their conquering of the continent of Africa developed the trade of human beings into a lucrative market. African tribes traded technology, such as guns, iron product/s, etc. with the Portuguese in return for African prisoners of war; thus creating the lure of a tremendous world market in human trade. Christopher Columbus can be credited for developing slavery in Central America upon his conquest of the region. Even the Scandinavians or Vikings were involved in such exploits of others. Only the French can argue that they were more "humane" upon their discoveries of North America having attempted to convert the Natives rather than enslave; but they are not void of the practice, only more humane... or not. Catholic conversion methods many times were far worse than enslavement. In summary, Slavery should very much receive mention on this topic as a "consequence" of European Exploration.

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