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 How did the Columbian exchange lead to redistributions of power and population? In your response, examine a range of changes brought by the Columbian exchange.






Subject History Pages 2 Style APA


With the discovery of the New World in 1942, a new epoch began in the history of Europe, one that was described by what was named the Colombian Exchange. It began with a prosperous exchange between individuals’ cultures, ideas, and even animals. The exchange of animals, plants and other products between the inhabitants and Europeans led to changes in both the New and Old World in terms of population trends and power. Due exchange of several commodities which led to interaction of people from different regions and culture, the Columbian exchange had a significant effect the redistribution of populations and power.

The Columbia Exchange led to redistribution population mainly through introduction of diseases which affected the population of the world. The New World was known to be a home of Native Americans; however, with the emergence of Columbia, everything changed.  With the distribution and spread of diseases, population growth was offset somehow. Diseases brought by the Europeans to the Americas were fatal. Amerindians did not have any defense against these diseases as they had not been exposed to them before. (Smallpox specifically). Also, Amerindians returned the favor by sending the Spaniards back with a new disease themselves, syphilis. This disease spread wildly through Europe. It is estimated that in Mexico, the population fell from 25.3 million to 1 million. Also, in Peru, the population dropped from about 1.3 million to 600,000 “The Indians succumbed to epidemics of measles, smallpox, and respiratory illnesses. They had no immunity to these diseases because they had not been exposed to them before the arrival of Europeans” (Roark at al. 45). The advent of absolutely new viruses which were unknown to Old World society was not easily curable which caused serious epidemic among Europeans.

The columbium exchange not only interfered with population, but also influenced who took the power. As indicated by Roark et al., before the Spaniards occupied the New world, it was inhabited by Asians descendants and Native Americans (342). With the introduction of other people in the same region, power became an important instrument which was then being shared.

Lastly, the Columbian exchange was the main source of cultural diversity between people from different regions. This clatter of culture shifted European values to every indigenous culture. For instance, the appearance of private property in areas where there were no rights to lands, the conceptions of exclusivity and the nuclear families, the purpose of children and women in the family system, and the “superiority of free labor. These are some of the cultures that certain regions had not witnessed.

In conclusion, the Columbian Exchange had several negative and positive effects on both the New and the Old World. It influenced the population growth, and introduced certain diseases which affected the population. On the same note it shifted power from New World to Old world. Lastly, it acted a source of cultural exchange as Europeans values were transferred to the indigenous cultures.


Roark, James L., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, and Susan M. Hartmann. The American Promise, Volume I: To 1877: A History of the United States. Vol. 1. Macmillan, 2012.

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