© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange

 Table of Contents

The Columbian Exchange Images

Smallpox vs. the Aztec

Aztec drawings of smallpox victims.

Prehistoric Bioengineering

Teosinte (on the left) was the inedible native grass which the people of central Mexico successfully bioengineered into edible primitive maize (on the right), one of the ancient world's greatest technological accomplishments.

Potato Eaters

Vincent Van Gogh intended his painting The Potato Eaters as a tribute to Dutch peasants, saying "it speaks of manual labor, of how they have honestly earned their food." The food they honestly earned was the potato—native to South America—which provided the cheap calories needed to sustain Europe's working class for centuries.

Smallpox Virus

Smallpox, the greatest conquistador of all.

Columbus At Sea

The ships of Columbus became the first vessels of the Columbian Exchange, reconnecting the ecosystems of the New and Old Worlds.

Pangaea

Pangaea, the original supercontinent. 180 million years ago the Americas began drifting away, beginning a process of divergent evolution that would only be reversed through the intervention of humans after 1492.

Cortés

Hernán Cortés, conqueror of the Aztecs.

Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Inca.

Conquering the Inca

A sixteenth century drawing by half-Spanish, half-Indian historian Waman Puma captured the violence of the Spanish conquest of the Inca.

Mississippi Valley Civilization

When Hernando De Soto wandered the Mississippi Valley from 1539-42, he encountered the dense settlements of Mississsippian peoples. The landscape may have looked like this, with fortified, mounded urban centers surrounded by carefully tended fields of corn. When Europeans returned to the area a century later, they found few people in a wilderness overrun by buffalo.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement