What are 3 good things about the Columbian Exchange? 

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garthman99's profile pic

garthman99 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The Columbian exchange was the exchange and trade of Old World items for New World items. The Old world was Europe, Africa and Asia and the New World was the Americas which Columbus discovered. In this exchange the Old World supplied livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs, horses), grains (rice, wheat, barley, oats) and other items such as coffee beans, turnips, olives and onions to the new world; whilst the new world, the Americas, gave squash, potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, cacao (chocolate) and maize and other fruits and vegetables to Europe (the Old World).

Although the Columbian exchange had some adverse consequences such as the exchange of European diseases and the adverse ecological consequences of introducing livestock from Europe, there were a number of notably good things about the Columbian exchange

Three "good" things that emerged from the Columbian exchange from a European perspective was that (1) the potato rich in vitamins and minerals and easy to cultivate became a staple of the European diet and helped to make Europe famine-proof and led to its population growing (2) manioc (bread) in Africa also touched off the growth of the population there (3) sugar cane and rice drove the growth of the slave plantation economies in North and South America  and this had tremendous effect on Europe's wealth and spawned capitalism.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When we talk about “good things about the Columbian Exchange” we have to ask from whose point of view we are looking at the issue.  Things that were good for the European settlers, for instance, might have been terrible for the Native Americans.  Let us look at three things that were good for one side or the other.

One good thing about the Columbian Exchange for Europeans is that it got them new kinds of foods.  Perhaps the most important of these were corn, tomatoes and potatoes.  By coming into contact with these foods, the Europeans were able to improve their diets.

A second thing that was good about the Exchange for the Europeans was the fact that their diseases killed off so many of the Native Americans.  It is terrible to say this, but the germs the Europeans carried with them helped to clear the way for them to take the land from the Native Americans, particularly in North America.

For the Native Americans, one possible good thing about the Columbian Exchange was the fact that they were introduced to horses.  This was a very good thing for many of the Plains Indians of North America.  Their lives became easier once they had been introduced to horses and had learned to use them.

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sellefsen1's profile pic

sellefsen1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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Food products, domesticated animals and plants, diseases, and cultural changes that were exchanged between the "Old" and "New Worlds" after Christopher Columbus made his voyage in 1492, are a part of what is known as the Columbian Exchange. Until that time, the two worlds developed biologically independent from one another. Some of these factors were positive, such as potatoes, tomatoes, and corn brought over from the "New World" to the "Old World" and helped to expand the food products in the "Old World." Another export from the "New World" was the cacao bean, which the Europeans eventually manufactured into chocolate. Domesticated cattle and horses from the "Old World" to the "New World" also helped broaden transportation sources and food sources in the Americas. However, pigs brought over from the "Old World" reeked havoc on the American landscape.

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terrirhea2013 | (Level 1) eNoter

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Prior to listing the great things about the Colombian Exchange, it is important to note that "great things" are many times characteristic to the reader's definition of "great." However, there were several advantageous effects from the Colombian Exchange.

First, the exchange provided many fruits and vegetables to people who otherwise did not have access. Specifically, those people who did not have access to fruit, vegetables, or even something as specific as cacao beans now were able to trade with those people who did have these things. Additionally, the same was true with animals. People who did not have access to animals were able to trade with those who did.

Secondly, another wonderful effect of the Colombian Exchange was that of people being able to learn about different fruits and vegetables that they never knew existed, and this was only possible through the exchange allowing the people to trade.

Thirdly, because the people were able to obtain things that either they had never known existed or that they had not had in a very long time, this created an aura of happiness among the people.

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