Positive and Negative Effects of European Expansion in N.America

Essay by omedHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2007

download word file, 3 pages 2.0

The news of a New World spread like a forest fire throughout Europe and the race for colonies between Portugal and Spain began. Each country started to conquer the ancient civilizations and exploit the continent’s raw material. This collision deeply affected all of the Atlantic societies. The conquistadors had a powerful effect that began to create a truly new world in Latin America; the New World would never then be the same after 1492.

When Columbus waded shore two ecosystems amalgamated and clashed. When the Europeans arrived, they brought diseases that the Native Americans were not immune to including small pox, measles, bubonic plague, influenza, typhus, diphtheria, yellow fever, malaria and the scarlet fever. Devoid of natural resistance to these diseases, the Native Americans died in great masses. Within fifty years of the Spanish arrival, the population of the Taino natives in Hispaniola dwindled from 1 million people to about 200.

In return, the Europeans were infected with syphilis, which they acquired from the Native Americans. Other than disease, the Europeans introduced new crops and plants such as wheat, sugar, rice, coffee, dandelions, daisies, and Kentucky bluegrass. The Europeans also introduced new domestic animals such as horses, cows, and pigs. The introduction of horses caused North American tribes like the Apaches, Sioux, and Blackfoot to adopt these animals, transforming their cultures into highly mobile societies. On the other hand, the Europeans acquired gold and silver as one Aztec described them: “They thirsted mightily for gold; they stuffed themselves with it; they starved for it; they lusted for it like pigs.” The Europeans were also introduced to new crops such as corn, potatoes, pineapples, tomatoes, tobacco, beans, vanilla, chocolate, and sweet potatoes. Other than material things and disease, the Europeans and the Natives created a new race. This happened when...