The Columbian Exchange Question: Analyze the effects of the Columbian Exchange on both the Old World and the New World.
Document 1: Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, 1517 – 1521.
When we got on shore we found three Caciques, one of them the governor appointed by Montezuma, who had many of the Indians of his household with him. They brought many of the fowls of the country and maize bread such as they always eat, and fruits such as pineapples and zapotes, which in other parts are called mameies, and they were seated under the shade of the trees, and had spread mats on the ground, and they invited us to be seated, all by signs…They they brought pottery braziers with live coals, and fumigated us with a sort of resin.
Document 2:Hernandez Arana, descendant of the last ruler of the Guatemalan Maya Cakchiquels, wrote this in his Annals of the Cakchiquels in the second half of the 16th century.
[During 1519] the plague began, oh my sons!...It was truly terrible, the number of dead there were in that period…[In 1521] the plague began to spread…The people could not in any way control the sickness…Great was the stench of the dead…The dogs and the vultures devoured the bodies. The mortality was terrible. Your grandfathers died, and with them died the son of the king and his brothers and kinsmen…[In 1560] the plague which had lashed the people long ago began [again] here…[A] fearful death fell on our heads…Now the people were overcome by intense cold and fever…Then came a cough growing worse and worse…and small and large sores broke out on them. The disease attacked everyone here…Truly it was impossible to count the number of men, women, and children who died this year. My mother, my father, my younger brother and my sister all died…
Document 3:The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, 1632
I have already described the manner of their [Aztec’s] sacrifices. They strike open the wretched Indian’s chest with flint knives and hastily tear out the palpitating heart which, with the blood, they present to the Gods in whose name they have performed the sacrifice. Then, they cut off the arms, thighs, and head, eating the arms and thighs at their ceremonial banquets. The head they hang upon a beam, and the body of the sacrificed man is not eaten but given to the beasts of prey.
Note: Bernal Diaz del Castillo was a Spanish conquistador writing his observations of Aztecs in Mexico.
Document 5: Excerpt from the book A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Carribean, taking Indians as captives…[T]he Spaniards ‘grew more conceited every day’ and after a while refused to walk any distance. They ‘rode the backs of Indians if they were in a hurry’ or were carried on hammocks by Indians running in relays. ‘In this case they also had Indians carry large leaves to shade them from the sun and others to fan them with goose wings.’ Total control led to total cruelty. The Spaniards ‘thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades…The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide.
Document 6:Map created by Robert Prom. Adapted from map in Philip D. Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (1969)
Source: Excerpt from the book 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles Mann
Before the potato (and maize)…on average European peasants ate less per day than hunting and gathering societies in Africa…In the century after the potato’s introduction, Europe’s numbers [population] roughly doubled. The Irish, who ate more potatoes than anyone else had the biggest boom…[from] 1.5 million in the 17th century to more than 6 million two centires later…because more children survived…potatoes prevented death from famine…better-nourished people were less likely to die of infectious disease.