Discussion Post- The Colombian Exchange

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The Issue:

Christopher Columbus’ encounter with the New World in 1492 set in motion an inevitable series of events that can never be reversed. Alfred Crosby, in his classic book, The Columbian Exchange, suggests that the “trend toward biological homogeneity is one of the most important aspects of the history of life on this planet since the retreat of the continental glaciers.”


Below is a small selection of web sites that address this topic; there are many more that can be found with a quick Google search. You will use these to inform yourself about the meaning, the nature of and the consequences of the Columbian Exchange.

Alfred Crosby: The Columbian Exchange – Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492This will allow you to read several pages from the beginning of this classic book, recently reissued as a 30th anniversary printing.
Palomar College – Course Page
Native Americans and the Land – short version of Crosby’s work
The List – from Georgetown University
Plagues and Peoples – another classic from which the Amazon.com page allows you to read the several pages
The Crimes of Christopher Columbus – if you are determined not to like him, this will support you.
BBC Series – good stuff; don’t miss a word.

Your Assignment:

  • Post an informal summary of your findings and your thoughts—somewhere between 300 and 350 words


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