In what ways did the come of europeans to America bring around unforeseen and unintended after-effects for the people and environments that both the new World and also the Old?


The Columbian Exchange — the interchange of plants, animals, disease, and an innovation sparked through Columbus’s trips to the brand-new World — significant a an essential point in history. It permitted ecologies and also cultures that had actually previously to be separated by seas to mix in new and unpredictable ways. It to be an interconnected web of events with immediate and also extended results that could neither be predicted nor controlled.



Charles C. Mann, 1493: Uncovering the brand-new World Columbus Created

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Text Complexity

Grade 9–10 complexity band.

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In the Text analysis section, Tier 2 vocabulary indigenous are defined in pop-ups, and also Tier 3 native are described in brackets.

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Common main point State Standards

ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1 (cite evidence to analyze specifically and also by inference)ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2 (determine a main idea and also its development)

Advanced Placement us History

Key principle 1.2 (IIA) (introduction that crops and animals not discovered in the Americas)

Teacher’s Note

In this great students will discover a summary of the Columbian Exchange composed by Charles C. Mann as part of the arrival to his book, 1493: Uncovering the brand-new World Columbus Created. In three excerpts students will examine aspects of the Exchange — an overview, a specific biological instance of unintentional consequences, and finally an instance of unintended human prices of the Columbian Exchange. Each excerpt is add by near reading concerns for students to complete. The text analysis is attach by 3 interactive exercises to help in student understanding. The very first interactive enables students to explore vocabulary in context; the second encourages students to evaluation the textual analysis; and also the third explores the usage of diction, simile, and appeal come authority.

This lesson focuses upon the Columbian Exchange together an interwoven procedure with unforeseen consequences. Charles Mann broadens upon the earlier theories that Alfred W. Crosby, who explored the idea of the Columbian Exchange in 1972 (for a general essay ~ above the Columbian Exchange created by Crosby, including suggestions for class discussions, click here). Return Mann details the impacts of tobacco, the potato, corn, malaria, yellow fever, the rubber industry, and also other aspects of the Exchange in both the Eastern and also Western hemispheres fully in 1493, this lesson focuses specifically upon some impacts of the Exchange in Hispaniola. The follow-up assignment permits students to extend the impacts of the Exchange into the African servant trade. The writer uses Colon, the Spanish spelling for Columbus, throughout, and that spelling has been preserved in the excerpts for this lesson.

This lesson is separated into 2 parts, both accessible below. The teacher’s guide includes a elevator note, the text evaluation with responses to the close analysis questions, accessibility to the interaction exercises, and a follow-up assignment. The student’s version, an interaction worksheet that can be e-mailed, contains all of the above except the responses come the close reading questions, and also the follow-up assignment.

Teacher’s guide (continues below)Background noteText evaluation and near reading concerns with prize keyInteractive exercisesFollow-up assignmentStudent version (click come open)Interactive PDFBackground noteText analysis and close reading questionsInteractive exercises

Background QuestionsWhat kind of text room we handle with?When to be it written?Who wrote it?For what audience to be it intended?For what purpose was that written?

When Columbus arrived on the island that Hispaniola (the island consisting of the contemporary countries the Haiti and the Dominican Republic) during his an initial voyage in 1492, he and his men did not realize the lasting results their trip would have actually on both the brand-new World and also the Old at the time and in the years to come. The Columbian Exchange is the term provided to the transport of plants, animals, disease, and modern technology between the Old world from i beg your pardon Columbus came and also the new World which he found. Some exchanges to be purposeful — the explorers intentionally carried animals and also food — yet others were accidental. In this class you will read about this Exchange from a summary written by Charles C. Mann, a writer specializing in clinical topics. This lesson offers excerpts from a book entitled 1493: Uncovering the new World Columbus Created in i m sorry Mann describes the effects, both intended and unintended, the the Columbian Exchange. Mann composed 1493 to explore the Columbian Exchange together a procedure which is tho going top top today.

This great draws indigenous the arrival in Mann’s book. There room three excerpts, each through close analysis questions. The first excerpt is a basic overview the the Exchange — while the does not encompass all parts of the Exchange, you will certainly see examples of just how animals and plants from one part of the human being replaced those in another component of the world. In excerpt two you will discover a certain example that unintended consequences of the Columbian Exchange, once settlers assumed they were just bringing in an enjoyable food, however they wound up through an invasive pest. Finally, in excerpt three you can see the devastating effects the the Columbian Exchange upon the Taino Indians, the inhabitants of Hispaniola prior to Columbus arrived. In several of the excerpts friend will view Columbus spelled as Colon — this is the Spanish spelling and is provided by the author.

Text Analysis

Excerpt 1
Activity: VocabularyLearn definitions by experimenting how indigenous are provided in context.

1. Why do you think Columbus carried cattle, lamb or horses with him?They were part of the europe culture. Lock would assist in agriculture (cattle and sheep) and also communication, transportation, and war (horses). The Spanish to plan to start a colony and also would need the animals.

2. What would certainly the Taino culture have been prefer without cattle or horses?There would have been communication only by human being messenger and fields planted by hand. Over there would have been no quick communication (by horse) or plowed areas or pastures (no cattle, therefore they to be not possible or necessary) and only a few, small paths, no actual roads (the just transportation to be by foot).

3. What is the thesis explain of paragraph 1? exactly how does Mann build that thesis? mention evidence from the text.The thesis is “Colon and also his crew go not voyage alone.” Mann establishes that thesis by giving instances to prove his point, including earthworms, cockroaches, african Grasses, rats, and also other animals and also plants.

4. How did the arrival of cattle and also sheep impact plant life ~ above Hispaniola?New grasses for grazing choked out indigenous species.

5. Why is it important that alien grasses, trees, and also other tree choked out aboriginal vegetation in Hispaniola?Choking out indigenous grasses reduced the biodiversity (the number of distinct life forms) the Hispaniola. Ecosystems the are an ext biodiverse (they have an ext distinct life forms) are an ext productive and are an ext resistant to diseases.

6. What have the right to be the effect of presenting a brand-new predator right into an environment, such together the Indian mongoose in Hispaniola? provide an example.It deserve to render another species extinct, which may itself have unintended consequences. For instance, the food resource for the Dominican snake may have increased in populace which may have actually led to various other effects.

7. Just how does Mann display that the Columbian Exchange is tho ongoing?He relates how, in 2004, the orange groves have end up being prey the the lime swallowtail butterflies.

8. In the 2nd paragraph of this excerpt, Mann implies his thesis yet does not actually state it. What is the include thesis of i 2? how does he indicate the thesis?Mann implies that the Columbian Exchange have the right to have negative results. He provides examples, citing grasses that were choked out, trees that were replaced with other species of trees, and also animals propelled toward extinction.
In this excerpt, Mann offers an overview of the Columbian Exchange with examples.

…Colon and also his crew go not voyage alone. They to be accompanied by a menagerie of insects, plants, mammals, and microorganisms. Beginning with La Isabela , europe expeditions lugged cattle, sheep, and also horses, together with crops choose sugar cane (originally from brand-new Guinea), wheat (from the center East), bananas (from Africa), and also coffee (also from Africa). Equally important, creatures the homesteaders knew nothing around hitchhiked follow me for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and also African grasses; rats of every summary — all of them poured indigenous the hulls the Colon’s vessels and those the followed, rushing like eager tourists into lands that had never watched their favor before.

Movqvites (Mosquito), “Histoire Naturelledes Indes,” ca. 1586

Cattle and sheep soil the American vegetation in between their flat teeth, staying clear of the regrowth of aboriginal shrubs and also trees. Beneath your hooves would sprout grasses from Africa, possibly presented from servant ship bedding; splay-leaved and also dense top top the ground, they choked out native vegetation. (Alien grasses might withstand grazing much better than Caribbean groundcover plants due to the fact that grasses prosper from the base of the leaf, unlike many other species, which grow from the tip. Grazing consumes the growth zones the the latter yet has little impact ~ above those in the former.) over the years forests of Caribbean palm, mahogany, and also ceiba came to be forest that Australian acacia , Ethiopian shrubs, and the main American logwood. Scurrying below, mongooses indigenous India eagerly journey Dominican snakes towards extinction. The transforms continue come this day. Orange groves, presented to Hispaniola from Spain, have recently started to autumn to the depredation of lime swallowtail butterflies, a citrus insect from southeast Asia that most likely came over in 2004. This day Hispaniola has actually only small fragments the its initial forest.
Activity: Diction, Simile and Appeal to AuthorityExamine 3 language devices Mann offers to make a complicated subject conveniently understood.

9. According to the author and also his sources, what unintentional import came in come Hispaniola through plantains?With the plantains came scale insects.

10. Exactly how does the author define range insects?They are small creatures v tough, waxy coats the suck the juices from plant roots and stems.

11. Define “ecological release.”Ecological release is as soon as an invasive types is introduced into an environment with no herbal predators and also subsequently the population explodes.

12. Utilizing the instance of range insects together evidence, why are organic predators vital to an ecosystem?They aid to regulate the populace of a varieties and store an ecosystem in balance.

13. What to be the unintended result of this import, range insects, according to Wilson? Why did they have actually this effect?The scale insects suck juices indigenous plants and also stems. They had no herbal enemies, so their populations prospered greatly. The range insects ended up being a food source for fire ants. Through a virtually unlimited food source, the fire ant population grew greatly. The fire ants got into settlers’ homes. This showed to it is in dangerous to the settlers.

14. Mann starts the 2nd paragraph in this excerpt v “So far this is informed speculation.” What result does this admission have on our perception that Mann as an author?It reminds the leader that Mann is approaching his topic from a scientific perspective, being mindful to alert reader to what is proven and also what is not. This helps to develop him as a writer we have the right to trust.

15. What file from the 1500s appears to check this unintended effect?Bartolome de ras Casas wrote of a suddenly infestation that fire ants in 1518 and 1519.

16. What was the unintended result to inhabitants of the development of plantains to Hispaniola?Although they had actually plantains come eat, they likewise had to address fire ants. As a result, castle abandoned their homes.

17. Just how does Mann incorporate 16th and 20th century evidence?He supplies 20th century scientific research to describe a 16th century eye-witness account.
Here Mann provides a specific example of unintended consequences.

Natives and also newcomers connected in unexpected ways, creating organic bedlam. When Spanish colonists imported african plantains in 1516, the Harvard entomologist Edward O. Wilson has proposed, they additionally imported scale insects, small creatures v tough, waxy coats the suck the juices from tree roots and also stems. Around a dozen banana-infesting range insects are known in Africa. In Hispaniola, Wilson argued, these insects had actually no natural enemies. In consequence, your numbers must have exploded — a phenomenon known to science as “ecological release.” This spread of range insects would have dismayed the island’s european banana farmers but delighted one of its indigenous species: the tropical fire ant Solenopsis geminata. S. Geminata is fond the dining on range insects’ sugary excrement; to ensure the flow, the ants will strike anything the disturbs them. A big increase in scale insects would have actually led to a huge increase in fire ants.

So far this is educated speculation. What occurred in 1518 and also 1519 is not. In those years, according to Bartolome de las Casas, a missionary priest that lived with the incident, Spanish orange, pomegranate, and cassia plantations were destroyed “from the roots up.” thousands of acres that orchards to be “all scorched and also dried out, as though flames had actually fallen indigenous the sky and burned them.” The yes, really culprit, Wilson argued, to be the sap-sucking range insects. Yet what the Spaniards saw to be S. Geminata — “an infinite number of ants,” ras Casas reported, their stings bring about “greater pains than wasps that bite and hurt men.” The hordes the ants swarmed with houses, blackening roofs “as if they had actually been sprayed through charcoal dust,” covering floors in such numbers that colonists could sleep only by put the legs of your beds in bowls that water. They “could no be quit in any means nor by any type of human means.”… Overwhelmed and terrified, Spaniards abandoned their dwellings to the insects….
Close analysis Questions18. What is the thesis that this excerpt?Mann asserts that “the most dramatic impact of the Columbian Exchange was on humanity itself.”

19. What proof does Mann use to build this thesis?He uses Columbus’s original account, 16th century main Spanish documents, and estimates by modern historians.

20. Why go the Spanish command a census that the ind on Hispaniola in 1514? What did the census find concerning the Taino population?The Spanish conducted a census in order to counting the Taino so that they could be assigned to Spanish settlers as laborers. This was component of the encomienda system, through which a Spanish settler was offered a plantation and also the labor of every the Indians who lived on the plantation. The census-takers uncovered that over there were few Taino left, possibly only around 26,000.

21. Follow to the author, what two determinants caused this adjust in population? Which cause was the many influential?The two reasons were Spanish cruelty and also the arrival of diseases by the Columbian Exchange. The most influential was the arrival of disease.

22. The third sentence in i 2 the this excerpt uses a rhetorical device called asyndeton. Asyndeton is a perform of items v conjunctions omitted and can be supplied to imply that there are an ext items that could be included to the list. What varieties of items does the writer list utilizing asyndeton? What is the effect?The writer lists diseases, both viruses and bacteria. The impact is a “piling up”, implying that an ext diseases were lugged to Hispaniola as well, however the writer may not have actually the an are in the sentence to perform them. In fact, other diseases were presented by the Columbian Exchange, consisting of malaria, yellow fever, whooping cough, chicken pox, the bubonic plague, and also leprosy.

23. Why to be the introduction of these diseases so damaging for the Taino and not the Spanish explorers?The Taino had never to be exposed come these illness before and also therefore had actually no herbal immunity to protect against or regulate the spread out of the disease. The Spanish did have some natural immunity, since the diseases were current in Europe at that time.

24. What is the impact of Mann consisting of the information around the very first recorded epidemic, which emerged within one year that Columbus’s arrival?He reminds the reader that the destructive effects that diseases lugged by the Exchange happened almost immediately because that the Taino. This conveys the seriousness of the Exchange and the strength of the illness in a populace with no herbal immunity.

Activity: ReviewReview the main points the the textual analysis.
Mann describes the most “dramatic influence of the Columbian Exchange.”

From the human being perspective, the most dramatic impact of the Columbian Exchange to be on humankind itself. Spanish accounts imply that Hispaniola had actually a large native population: Colón, for instance, casually defined the Taino as “innumerable, because that I think there to be millions upon countless them.” ras Casas asserted the populace to be “more than three million.” modern-day researchers have actually not nailed down the number; estimates range from 60,000 to almost 8,000,000. A cautious study in 2003 suggested that the true figure was “a couple of hundred thousand.” No issue what the initial number, though, the European affect was horrific. In 1514, twenty-two year after Colon’s an initial voyage, the Spanish government counted up the indians on Hispaniola because that the objective of allocation them among colonists together laborers. Census agents fans the across the island yet found just 26,000 Taino. Thirty-four years later, according to one academic Spanish resident, fewer than 500 Taino to be alive….

Spanish cruelty play its component in the calamity, yet its larger reason was the Columbian Exchange. Prior to Colon nobody of the epidemic diseases usual in Europe and also Asia exist in the Americas. The viruses that reason smallpox, influenza, hepatitis, measles, encephalitis, and also viral pneumonia; the bacteria that reason tuberculosis, diphtheria, cholera, typhus, scarlet fever, and also bacterial meningitis — through a quirk of evolutionary history, every were unknown in the west Hemisphere. Shipped throughout the ocean from Europe these maladies consumed Hispaniola’s native population with stunning rapacity. The an initial recorded epidemic, perhaps as result of swine flu, remained in 1493….

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Joan Vinckeboons, “Map the the islands of Hispaniola and also Puerto Rico,” 1639(?)

Follow-Up Assignment

Mann describes in excerpt three a significant change in Taino populace on Hispaniola and also the impacts of this adjust on the Taino population and the Spanish. But an additional group to be also influenced — enslaved Africans. The Spanish offered the encomienda system in Hispaniola, by which conquistadors to be given big plantations as well as the Indian servant labor the all that lived top top the plantation. With this system the Spanish moved quickly to enslave Indians, even though the official mission that the Spanish was to Christianize them. In solution to push from the Catholic Church, in 1542 King Carlos V prohibition Indian slavery, opened the means for african slaves. Mann writes,

By 1501, 7 years ~ La Isabella’s founding, so plenty of Africans had pertained to Hispaniola that the alarm Spanish king and also queen instructed the island’s governor not to permit any an ext to floor …the colonists saw that the Africans appeared immune to disease, didn’t have local social networks the would help them escape, and possessed useful an abilities — many African societies were well known for your ironworking and also horsemanship. Servant ships bellied up to the docks that Santo Domingo in ever-greater numbers. The servants were no as easily managed as the homesteaders had hope …. No much longer were afri slipped into the americas by the handful. The increase of sugar manufacturing in Mexico and the concurrent rise in Brazil opened the floodgates. In between 1550 and 1650…slave ships ferried across around 650,000 Africans, with the complete split an ext or less equally between Spanish and Portuguese America…. Quickly they were an ext ubiquitous in the Americas than Europeans, with outcomes the last never expected. (Mann, p.387–388)

What perform you believe might have been some of the “results the last never expected”? In what methods can new World slavery be stated to be pertained to the Columbian Exchange? comment on the feasible unintended consequences with her classmates. Use details examples together evidence.

Vocabulary Pop-Ups

menagerie: arsenal of wild or inexplicable animalsalien: foreign, hostiledepredation: ravagesbedlam: wild confusionentomologist: insect expertphenomenon: observable event or factdismayed: alarmedspeculation: thoughtful opinionculprit: villainhorrific: causing horrorfanned: spread out outcalamity: great disasterquirk: strange actionmaladies: chronic diseasesrapacity: fierce hunger


Charles C. Mann, 1493: Uncovering the new World Columbus Created (New York: Vintage Books, 2012).