New world meet old

Columbian Exchange - The Old World Meets The New World -

new world meet old

Pros and Cons of Meeting With Old World. There were not many positive outcomes for the New World when colonizers met the indigenous peoples. Although the. The discovery of America opened a new world, full of new things and new possibilities for those with eyes to see them. But the New World did not erase the Old. As a result, we are much more aware of the effect of the Discovery of the New World, as the Europeans conceived it, upon the Americas, than the effect that the .

Columbian Exchange - The Old World Meets The New World

How, the learned man asked them, did they know that the ferocious animal was a tiger? They answered "that they knewe it by the spottes, fiercenesse, agilitie, and such other markes and tokens whereby auncient writers have described the Tyger.

Men, confronted with things they do not recognize, turn to the writings of those who have had a wider experience. And in it was still assumed that the ancient writers had had a wider experience than those who came after them.

new world meet old

Columbus himself had made that assumption. His discoveries posed for him, as for others, a problem of identification. It seemed to be a question not so much of giving names to new lands as of finding the proper old names, and the same was true of the things that the new lands contained. Cruising through the Caribbean, enchanted by the beauty and variety of what he saw, Columbus assumed that the strange plants and trees were strange only because he was insufficiently versed in the writings of men who did know them.

Only idiots escape entirely from the world that the past bequeaths. The discovery of America opened a new world, full of new things and new possibilities for those with eyes to see them. But the New World did not erase the Old. Rather, the Old World determined what men saw in the New and what they did with it.

What America became after depended both on what men found there and on what they expected to find, both on what America actually was and on what old writers and old experience led men to think it was, or ought to be or could be made to be.

During the decade beforeas Columbus nursed a growing urge to sail west to the Indies—as the lands of China, Japan and India were then known in Europe—he was studying the old writers to find out what the world and its people were like. Columbus was not a scholarly man. Yet he studied these books, made hundreds of marginal notations in them and came out with ideas about the world that were characteristically simple and strong and sometimes wrong, the kind of ideas that the self-educated person gains from independent reading and clings to in defiance of what anyone else tries to tell him.

The strongest one was a wrong one—namely, that the distance between Europe and the eastern shore of Asia was short, indeed, that Spain was closer to China westward than eastward. Columbus never abandoned this conviction. And before he set out to prove it by sailing west from Spain, he studied his books to find out all he could about the lands that he would be visiting. From Marco Polo he learned that the Indies were rich in gold, silver, pearls, jewels and spices. The Great Khan, whose empire stretched from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean, had displayed to Polo a wealth and majesty that dwarfed the splendors of the courts of Europe.

Polo also had things to say about the ordinary people of the Far East. Those in the province of Mangi, where they grew ginger, were averse to war and so had fallen an easy prey to the khan. On Nangama, an island off the coast, described as having "great plentie of spices," the people were far from averse to war: There were, in fact, man-eating people in several of the offshore islands, and in many islands both men and women dressed themselves with only a small scrap of cloth over their genitals.

On the island of Discorsia, in spite of the fact that they made fine cotton cloth, the people went entirely naked. In one place there were two islands where men and women were segregated, the women on one island, the men on the other. Marco Polo occasionally slipped into fables like this last one, but most of what he had to say about the Indies was the result of actual observation. Sir John Mandeville's travels, on the other hand, were a hoax—there was no such man—and the places he claimed to have visited in the s were fantastically filled with one-eyed men and one-footed men, dog-faced men and men with two faces or no faces.

But the author of the hoax did draw on the reports of enough genuine travelers to make some of his stories plausible, and he also drew on a legend as old as human dreams, the legend of a golden age when men were good. He told of an island where the people lived without malice or guile, without covetousness or lechery or gluttony, wishing for none of the riches of this world. They were not Christians, but they lived by the golden rule.

new world meet old

A man who planned to see the Indies for himself could hardly fail to be stirred by the thought of finding such a people. Columbus surely expected to bring back some of the gold that was supposed to be so plentiful. The spice trade was one of the most lucrative in Europe, and he expected to bring back spices.

But what did he propose to do about the people in possession of these treasures? When he set out, he carried with him a commission from the king and queen of Spain, empowering him "to discover and acquire certain islands and mainland in the ocean sea" and to be "Admiral and Viceroy and Governor therein.

new world meet old

What had they to offer that would make their dominion welcome? Or if they proposed to impose their rule by force, how could they justify such a step, let alone carry it out? The answer is that they had two things: Christianity has meant many things to many men, and its role in the European conquest and occupation of America was varied.

But in to Columbus there was probably nothing very complicated about it. He would have reduced it to a matter of corrupt human beings, destined for eternal damnation, redeemed by a merciful savior.

Christ saved those who believed in him, and it was the duty of Christians to spread his gospel and thus rescue the heathens from the fate that would otherwise await them. Although Christianity was in itself a sufficient justification for dominion, Columbus would also carry civilization to the Indies; and this, too, was a gift that he and his contemporaries considered adequate recompense for anything they might take.

When people talked about civilization—or civility, as they usually called it—they seldom specified precisely what they meant. Civility was closely associated with Christianity, but the two were not identical. Whereas Christianity was always accompanied by civility, the Greeks and Romans had had civility without Christianity. One way to define civility was by its opposite, barbarism.

Originally the word "barbarian" had simply meant "foreigner"—to a Greek someone who was not Greek, to a Roman someone who was not Roman. By the 15th or 16th century, it meant someone not only foreign but with manners and customs of which civil persons disapproved. North Africa became known as Barbary, a 16th-century geographer explained, "because the people be barbarous, not onely in language, but in manners and customs. Whatever civility meant, it meant clothes. But there was a little more to it than that, and there still is.

Civil people distinguished themselves by the pains they took to order their lives. They organized their society to produce the elaborate food, clothing, buildings and other equipment characteristic of their manner of living.

They had strong governments to protect property, to protect good persons from evil ones, to protect the manners and customs that differentiated civil people from barbarians.

new world meet old

The superior clothing, housing, food and protection that attached to civilization made it seem to the European a gift worth giving to the ill-clothed, ill-housed and ungoverned barbarians of the world. Slavery was an ancient instrument of civilization, and in the 15th century it had been revived as a way to deal with barbarians who refused to accept Christianity and the rule of civilized government.

Through slavery they could be made to abandon their bad habits, put on clothes and reward their instructors with a lifetime of work. Throughout the 15th century, as the Portuguese explored the coast of Africa, large numbers of well-clothed sea captains brought civilization to naked savages by carrying them off to the slave markets of Seville and Lisbon. Since Columbus had lived in Lisbon and sailed in Portuguese vessels to the Gold Coast of Africa, he was not unfamiliar with barbarians.

He had seen for himself that the Torrid Zone could support human life, and he had observed how pleased barbarians were with trinkets on which civilized Europeans set small value, such as the little bells that falconers placed on hawks.

Before setting off on his voyage, he laid in a store of hawk's bells. If the barbarous people he expected to find in the Indies should think civilization and Christianity an insufficient reward for submission to Spain, perhaps hawk's bells would help.

Columbus' Confusion About the New World | Travel | Smithsonian

Columbus sailed from Palos de la Frontera on Friday, August 3,reached the Canary Islands six days later and stayed there for a month to finish outfitting his ships. He left on September 6, and five weeks later, in about the place he expected, he found the Indies. What else could it be but the Indies? There on the shore were the naked people. With hawk's bells and beads he made their acquaintance and found some of them wearing gold nose plugs.

It all added up. He had found the Indies. And not only that. He had found a land over which he would have no difficulty in establishing Spanish dominion, for the people showed him an immediate veneration.

new world meet old

He had been there only two days, coasting along the shores of the islands, when he was able to hear the natives crying in loud voices, "Come and see the men who have come from heaven; bring them food and drink. Columbus made four voyages to America, during which he explored an astonishingly large area of the Caribbean and a part of the northern coast of South America. At every island the first thing he inquired about was gold, taking heart from every trace of it he found.

And at Haiti he found enough to convince him that this was Ophir, the country to which Solomon and Jehosophat had sent for gold and silver. From aboard ship it was possible to make out rich fields waving with grass. There were good harbors, lovely sand beaches and fruit-laden trees. The people were shy and fled whenever the caravels approached the shore, but Columbus gave orders "that they should take some, treat them well and make them lose their fear, that some gain might be made, since, considering the beauty of the land, it could not be but that there was gain to be got.

Although the amount of gold worn by the natives was even less than the amount of clothing, it gradually became apparent that there was gold to be had.

One man possessed some that had been pounded into gold leaf. Commodification quickly affected production in the New World. American silver, tobacco, and other items—which were used by native peoples for ritual purposes—became European commodities with monetary value.

Before the arrival of the Spanish, for example, the Inca people of the Andes consumed chicha, a corn beer, for ritual purposes only. When the Spanish discovered chicha, they bought and traded for it, detracting from its spiritual significance for market gain. This process disrupted native economies and spurred early commercial capitalism.

Claude Lorrain, a seaport at the height of mercantilism. Wikimedia Commons The Columbian Exchange: Of all the commodities in the Atlantic World, sugar proved to be the most important.

Indeed, in the colonial era, sugar carried the same economic importance as oil does today. European rivals raced to create sugar plantations in the Americas and fought wars for control of production. Columbus brought sugar to Hispaniola inand the new crop thrived. Over the next century of colonization, Caribbean islands and most other tropical areas became centers of sugar production, which in turn fueled the demand to enslave Africans for labor.

Slavery in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. Native Americans had been growing tobacco for medicinal and ritual purposes for centuries before European contact, believing tobacco could improve concentration and enhance wisdom. To some, its use meant achieving an entranced, altered, or divine state. Tobacco was unknown in Europe beforeand it carried a negative stigma at first. The early Spanish explorers considered native people's use of tobacco to be proof of their savagery.

However, European colonists then took up the habit of smoking, and they brought it across the Atlantic. Europeans ascribed medicinal properties to tobacco, claiming that it could cure headaches and skin irritations.

Even so, Europeans did not import tobacco in great quantities until the s. At that time, it became the first truly global commodity; English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese colonists all grew it for the world market. Native peoples also introduced Europeans to chocolate, made from cacao seeds and used by the Aztec in Mesoamerica as currency.

Mesoamerican Indians consumed unsweetened chocolate in a drink with chili peppers, vanilla, and a spice called achiote. This chocolate drink—xocolatl—was part of ritual ceremonies like marriage. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant, which may be why native people believed it brought them closer to the sacred world.

Triangular trade of the Columbian Exchange.