The World Economy and The Columbian Exchange

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The world economy which was established by Europeans by the 16th century; it supported on control of Atlantic and Pacific oceans to create an international trade for foods, diseases, and manufactured products. It’s development and the rise of European trade was not great for everyone. It cost the lives of many natives of the Americas and forced labor to African slaves.

Silver quickly became the power of the new world economy that emerged after 1500s. Europeans had been the ones to discover it in the Americas. Silver became a huge trade to Asia and in return for silk and porcelain. The Spanish crown kept fifth of the silver its colonies produced. It allows Spain to build massive armies and grand new public buildings. Silver also allowed economic growth for China and India, who were the largest recipients of the New World Silver. Silver help sustain standard living of China well into the 19th century. This was superior to that of Europe.

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During the 15th century there were improvements to technology. Europeans developed deep draft, round hulled sailing shifts for Atlantic that was capable of carrying heavy ornaments. They also improved the use of the compass, mapmaking, and other navigational devices. They didn’t only now have regular trips along the Atlantic and Pacific but also more speed and flexibility even in the Indian Ocean. The other new technology was gunnery. Their knowledge of explosives, which were an invention of China, was adapted into gunnery. Also the improvement of metalwork in Western Europe also went into creating the first guns and cannons. This gave their military advantage over other civilizations with the extraordinary ability to kill and intimidate from a distance.

The Columbian exchange of foods, diseases, and people; this was from Europe’s new trade patterns. The victims were mostly Native Americans which had never been exposed to Afro-Eurasian diseases such as small pox and measles, which means that they had no natural immunity to it. The slave trade also developed with Africa. Which involved forcibly shipped people across the Atlantic for force labor. Other exchanges were less grim. New World crops were quickly traded by Westerns merchants. American corn and sweet potatoes were widely sent to China. But, with the diseases, Europeans were short of workers in the Americas which made Europeans sought for alternatives. The alternative is what encouraged the slave trade in Africa. The Columbian Exchange played a major role in the increase of human labor during the Early Modern period.

Dependent economies relied on cheap production of unprocessed goods, which built the system of force labor that would cost little even when overall labor supply was uncertain. The Americas with a population loss from diseases, this led to the massive importation of African slaves as well as the limited use of indentured servants.

The impact of world trade is what helped developed the new technology, import of new goods, and wealth of various nations. It also disrupts other nation’s lives. Like those in Africa that were forcefully put on a boat and sent across the Atlantic and force to do free labor that would go on for 150 year. Also, the natives of Americas that the majority was wiped out from European diseases but the few that did survived also were forced to do labor. Although this free labor is what helped European settlers that resided in what was later called The United States, prosper and gain wealth. It always has baffled me that these people that promoted slavery and wars were also very outspoken about being Christians. “Thou shall love our neighbor” “Thou Shall not Kill” seems to not promote to take innocent people and force them to labor or kill/intimidate others for the good of your own nation. None of that promotes love. Just my opinion.

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The World Economy and The Columbian Exchange. (2021, Nov 13). Retrieved from

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