04_Ch20: The Columbian Exchange and Global Trade=>The American Encounter

FQ: What did European explorers bring to the Americas? What did they bring back?
Timeline: 15th - 17th C.

Main Idea: The young Nation-States of Europe carried their distinct world view's with them on the voyages of exploration. Their
early success can only be explained if you consider several issues. Motivated explorers, the Columbian Exchange, and a system to
harness the wealth of a vast area aided the European colonizers and helped them overcome unfavorable odds. This period of
‘Encounter’ witnessed the introduction of new items into the Eastern and Western hemispheres.


I. Vocabulary: Refer to Crossword Puzzle
II. The American Encounter & Impact on "The Other"(Case Study: Spain in the Americas)
A. Shaping the Spanish World View: Rise of the Spanish Nation-State
1. The Expulsion 
2. The Inquisition 
3. Charles I of Spain (Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire)
4. Exploration of Christopher Columbus 
5. Conquests of Hernan Cortes & Francisco Pizarro  
6. Jesuit Missionaries
B. Conquest & Colonization
1.#Conquistadores and their Character
A vague notion of the true expanse of the Western hemisphere would not be
known to Europeans until the data of Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe (1519 -
1522) could be compiled and disseminated.
In the meantime, what appeared to be limitless land fostered a 'Wild West'
environment where the rule of law and European norms had limited affect. This
environment was inviting for a group of Europeans who found the opportunity (though at
high risk) more suitable than anything Europe had to offer.
Among the opportunity seekers from other European nation-states we could
include state-sponsored Privateers like Francis Drake of England, the Puritans (Pilgrims),
and convicted law breakers, among others. In this case study, we will focus on the
Conquistadores of Spain.

2. Technology
The Spaniards were the first to introduce certain technology into the Americas.
That technology was carried by Europeans to other parts of the world where the
Encounter occurred. Among the samples of technology, we must include the undeniable
impact of:
a. Firearms
b. Metallurgy 
c. Maritime Instruments & Innovations
! Astrolabe [Quadrant]
! Square Rigged Sails
! Lateen Sails
Conqueror of the Mexica/ Aztecs in 1521 and conqueror of the Inca in 1538, respectively.
It was customary for the early Spanish Conquistadores and colonizers to have within their administrative staff an accountant/
secretary. This person was responsible for recording the amount of treasure (usually in the form of specie) that came into the
possession of the representatives of the Spanish crown (Catholic Monarchs- Catolicos). Customarily, 20% would be set aside for the
privy purse of the crown. This became generically known as 'the Royal Fifth'. The remaining 80% would be used to cover the
expenses incurred by the colonization efforts and to pay for the services of the participants. Many of the Conquistadores only
received income if they acquired the treasures from which they would get paid and the crown received the royal fifth. This was an
added incentive for colonizers to acquire wealth from the native peoples of the Americas and/ or extract it from the land using
coerced labor.
04_Ch20: The Columbian Exchange and Global Trade=>The American Encounter
3. Colonial Social Hierarchy
Reflects the superior social, political and economic position of Europeans. Where
one stood in the hierarchy was reflective of the degree of miscegenation ("mixing of blood
lines"). The purer European lineage resided near the top. The more diluted lineage was
relegated to the bottom. Categorical labels were given to numerous degrees of
miscegenation. Among these labels we can include Mestizo, Coyote, and Sambo.
C. The 'Columbian Exchange'
The Eastern and Western hemispheres have been separated for nearly 15,000 years by
large bodies of water and harsh arctic climate. When the people, fauna, and flora of one came in
contact with the people, fauna, and flora of the other the results were of global importance.
1. Animals (Fauna)
### In this category, the Old World had a decided advantage. These animals, and
others not listed here, contributed decisively to the settlement of the Americas, as well as
other places (eg. Australia), by Europeans and their descendants.
a.The Horse
b.The Dog
2. Plants (Flora)
### In this category, we see a nearly complete reversal in the exchange. The New
World contributes products that have meant the difference between life and death for
European, Asian, and African societies. Global food production is the emphasis here (and
limited to three incredible examples), but the pharmacopoeia is similarly important.
c.Yuca/ Cassava/ Manioc
3. Disease
### There is no doubt that the Old World's Smallpox claimed countless lives
among native peoples. I offer the following for your consideration: The island of Española
in 1500 had ~1 million Native Americans. By 1548 that population dropped to ~500 Native

III. Summary: Why It Matters Now.
Read some of the latest research on the impact of this animal on Native American cultures during and after The Encounter. Elliott
West’s “The Impact of Horse Culture”
Ireland had a 5 lb per capita consumption rate of potatoes just prior to 'The Blight'.
04_Ch20: The Columbian Exchange and Global Trade=>The American Encounter
This global exchange of goods permanently changed Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Time Permitting
• Respond to and discuss film questions.
• Ponder: Were these activities an extension of nation-building endeavors like the Reconquista?
• Case Study: Rabbits in Porto Santo in the 1300-1400s (& Australia), and pigs in the Caribbean (&

Materials/Sources:#Refer to the course calendar for additional assignments and pertinent due dates.
! World History: Patterns of Interaction
! Assorted materials

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