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Change and Continuity Essay

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Change/Continuity Essay

In 1942 the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, evoked the age of exploration and slave trade when Christopher Columbus had "discovered" America. This discovery led to exploration, slave trade, and colonization from the years 1492 to1750. America becomes greatly affected by the incoming Europeans, and most of these transformations were social and not beneficial. During 1492 to 1750, as the contact developed among Western Europe, Africa, and the Americas it transformed the Atlantic world socially and economically, but not everything was changed; some traditions were continued.

The Columbian exchange is one of the most important social transformations that occurred in Europe and America. The Columbian exchange was the global transfer of goods, animals, culture, and diseases. When the Spanish arrived in the New World, they transmitted diseases that Indians- Native Americans- have never been exposed to. The foreign diseases decreased the population of the Indians greatly, since the Native Americans have no immunity to them. The decrease in population made it easier for the Spanish to seize their empire and gain control of their territory. Once the Spanish conquered the Indians, most of them became slaves due the encomienda system. The Columbian Exchange also brought some changes to Europe, though they were beneficial. Many new foods shipped to the Old World. These foods were highly nutritious and easy to grow, which helped with the population increase.

In the Spanish colonies a new social hierarchy developed. The European born- creoles- were at the top, and then comes the mix bloods and slaves at the very bottom. Most of the Native Americans were slaves until the Africans came along and replaced them. This new source of coercive labor was better, for the Native Americans were not as useful as the Africans, since they lack skill with metals and other advanced tools. Almost everything took a turn America, but one thing that continued was the religion. When the Spanish came over, there were conversions made, but for the most part the native religion was the one most widely believed in. Another continuity in America is that most of the land in the West remained untouched even by 1750.

The Slave trade had an enormous effect on Africa. Most of the time, for the Atlantic slave trade, traders took mostly men, since they made better workers that women. This led to a decrease and an imbalance of population in Africa, where a majority of them are women and children. Lots of families were broken up in the process of obtaining slaves. In addition, in Africa, there have also been attempt conversions, but not everyone lived along the coastal lines, so majority of Africans kept with their native religion- animism.



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