The consequences of European contact with the Native Americans had grave consequences surpassing the expectations of both sides. However, while the Europeans were able to overcome most of the initial problems surrounding the contact, the Native Americans endured the effects for much longer which led to the decline of Native American power in North America. Both biological effects such as the impact of diseases, and cultural effects including the formation of new societies and the European influence, had devastating effects on the lives the Native Americans had formerly known. While some of the effects of contact could be seen as positive, overall the negative effects from Native American contact with the Europeans proved to outweigh the
Illnesses such as smallpox killed the majority of Native American populations significantly weakening the Naive Americans allowing for Europeans to more easily conquer them. The transfer of crops from the Americas to Europe allowed for a more population growth and shaped their cuisine to this day. Potatoes and native to the Americas yet they are and were a staple of European diets, most notably the Irish. European discovery of resources in the Americas led to millions of African slaves being shipped to the Americas to work in mines or plantations. This widespread slave trade has influences race relations to this day.
Did Europeans purposefully infect the Native Americans? That question will never be answered. Whether intentional or accidental, the truth remains that disease was indeed brought to the early Native American culture due to European expansion. The true question is in Taking Sides, issue 2, Was Disease the Key Factor in the Depopulation of Native Americans in the Americas? In this particular issue two sides are represented; yes by Collin G. Calloway, and no by David S. Jones. Let’s take a look at Calloway’s perspective towards the issue.
Culture wasn’t the only thing that the Europeans brought over to the Americas. Along with their customs and rules, came the diseases that the Native American’s have never been exposed to. The Europeans brought many communicable diseases such as small pox and measles which were transmitted to the Native Americans through trade goods or someone infected with them. This quickly annihilated most of the Native American population.
We as a world together have been through a lot of changes and made a lot of advances over the past couple of centuries. Many have argued about the outcome of the European expansion on the Americas. Some people feel that the Europeans had both a positive and negative impact on the expansion; however, the negative impact gave a devastating result, which would continue to change history for almost four hundred years. The Europeans were manipulative towards to indigenous people of the Americas. They exploited them, using them as their personal slaves. Most importantly, they silently murdered the Natives by introducing them to diseases such as the measles and smallpox. Consequently, a small pox epidemic was caused, which resulted in the
The Europeans were said to be thoroughly diseased by the time Columbus set sail on his first voyage (Cowley, 1991). Through the domestication of such animals as pigs, horses, sheep, and cattle, the Europeans exposed themselves to a vast array of pathogens which continued to be spread through wars, explorations, and city-building. Thus any European who crossed the Atlantic was immune to such diseases as measles and smallpox because of battling them as a child.
One consequence of the exchange was mass death. In the search for new routes for trade, people of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas came in contact with each other, causing the spread of disease. Columbus's colonization brought a host of new diseases to the populations of the Americas. Europeans exported their diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis and smallpox. In return, European traders and colonizers returned the Europe with syphilis and typhus from the Americas. The slave trade caused the spread of malaria and yellow fever from Africa to the Caribbean and North America, and yellow fever to Europe.
The European conquest of the new world was most commonly attributed to the superiority of the Europeans in all the facets of their confrontation. They had the superior weaponry, and were thought to have a superior intellect. After all, they were just bringing "civilization" to the new world, right? It sounds nice when you are learning about Columbus in grade school, but the traditional story is pretty far from the truth. The truth is that the Europeans, when they discovered this was a brand new world and not the spice islands, sought to rape the land for its gold and natural resources and enslave the Amerindians (native Americans), who were regarded to
Microbes, (diseases) were a definite negative in terms of the Columbian Exchange. A majority of the native people had once response to the arrival of Europeans and that was “death”. It is estimate that more than 50% and as high as 90 % . Some people
In the Americas, European settlers and conquistadors brought disease that devastated Native American communities. They also forced many Native Americans off their land to build settlements. Many native cultures were almost completely destroyed because of Europeans coming to America.
The Old World brought along diseases and forced labor, the deadly causes that took the lives of millions of Native Americans, however, the Spanish and Portuguese can only take responsibility for one of these deadly causes. The spreading of smallpox, measles, bubonic plague, etc., were not intentional. The europeans, immuned to most of the diseases that spread throughout the Native American communities, were unaware of the germs that they had carried over to the New World. The diseases allowed the conquistadores to quickly conquer various areas in the Americas, but left 90% of the Native population dead. On the other hand, the Spanish and Portuguese are responsible for enforcing labor unto the Native Americans. Native Americans worked as sex slaves or forced to mine for precious metals to feed Europe’s economy. Besides that, the plantations in which African slaves worked on occupied the Native American’s territory, causing disruption to their land.
However, the Native Americans didn’t just use these resources they garnered solely for food - they used the resources in several aspects of their lives, specifically for health. The Native Americans were dependant on the use of plants and other resources found in nature to use for curatives. Historians often attest that these curatives were far superior to the ones that Europeans used, and thus the span of life for Native Americans was often longer than that of the European people (The People). However, upon Native American and European contact, the Europeans introduced new, foreign diseases that were deadly because the Native Americans had never been exposed to these diseases, and thus did not have natural immunities to them. This was the same for other infectious diseases introduced to the Europeans, namely syphilis. Although, the amount of Europeans affected by syphilis was not even near the amount of Native Americans killed by some of the European diseases brought over in the Columbian exchange. Bartolomé de Las Casas commented on the epidemic of European viruses that killed thousands of Native Americans: “Who of those in
Europeans brought diseases to the Americas, such as smallpox and measles. The original descendants did not bring the diseases because they traveled through the cold and they had no domesticated animals. Many of these diseases were caused by domesticated animals. At
The problem of epidemics like smallpox, measles, and other European, Asian, and African diseases negatively affected the abilities of Native Americans to resist the invasions by Europeans. These sicknesses made native peoples too weak to resist. This pattern was no different in North, South, and Central America. As Europeans entered the lands, so did the diseases and they spread, causing the natives to become weak enough for the Europeans to easily invade.
Diamond goes into incredible detail, especially in his chapter “The Lethal Gift of Livestock” of his proposed history of germs in relation to humans. He considers the difference in domesticated animals in the old world and new world, attributes their power to the downfall of the Incan and Aztec empires when he writes, “...the most advanced native societies of North America...their destruction was accomplished largely by germs alone.”(373-373, Diamond) It is fact that populations