What effects did the conquest have on the native people of America and the Europeans?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In my mind, the basic premise of your question has to do with the idea of something called the Columbian Exchange.  This concept states that both the Europeans and the indigenous people received something in return for their interactions with one another in the Age of Exploration.  The impact that conquest had on the Europeans was to be able to develop more wealth, discover new areas to colonize and control, and to be able to develop the idea of enslaving indigenous people for their benefit.  The effect that conquest had on the indigeneous people, accordingly, was one of being controlled, finding their lives disrupted, and being exposed to new diseases and elements in their environments that they could not control.  There were some minor exceptions to this, in that European contact with some indigenous culture resulted in new harvesting techniques or new crops introduced.  Yet, when including religion into this equation, it becomes abundantly clear that the conquest of indigenous people on Europeans became a one sided affair, for the most part, whereby Europeans vastly benefited from an cultural exchange over the indigenous people who soon became "the conquered" people.

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