What are the social, political, and economic effects of European expansion?

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pholland14's profile pic

pholland14 | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The social affects of European expansion into the New World, Asia, and Africa are quite important.  Europeans received new vegetables from the Columbian Exchange and this allowed them to increase their longevity and birth rate.  Europeans introduced new consumer goods such as guns and steel into the New World and sub-Saharan Africa.  Europeans are also responsible for introducing chattel slavery to Africa and the New World.  

Politically, European expansion created the possibility of having world wars.  Britain and France, longtime enemies in Europe, now fought over conflicting territorial gains in the New World in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  The Spanish Empire was once the strongest empire in the world in the sixteenth century but it realized too late that maintaining an empire was quite expensive.  French expansion partially set off the French Revolution because it had to spend money to maintain the empire.  

Economically, European expansion into the New World, Africa, and Asia helped to create world markets for goods.  Nations practiced mercantilism to become self-sufficient and new land for empires became a way of creating national wealth and prestige.  Europeans brought about monoculture and thus plantations to the New World and created markets for cotton and tobacco products.  Spanish gold was very popular for coinage in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  

chickflik999's profile pic

chickflik999 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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The European expansion had many effects. In terms of social effects, areas were affected because there was movement of plants and animals between areas. The New World, Africa, and Europe were most impacted by this. Some effects were positive, such as the use of horses for transport in the New World, but most effect were negative. The transportation of plants and animals caused many diseases to be shared between different parts of the world.

Politics was affected because there was a change in the relationships between rulers and the people they were ruling. Individuals who were ruling became quite suspicious of the people they were ruling. This created two unique classes that came together for only major issues, such as the persecution of witches.

There were also many effects in the area of economics. The European economy grew with expansion. This is because traditional farms changed to include more technology, which increased productivity and profitability. The Europeans also became leaders in mercantile capitalism, which strengthened their economy.