7) Exploration And Its Effects


A painting of the landing of Columbus in America by John Vanderlyn. (Public Domain photo. Info can be found here)

This chapter covers starts out with the European Age of Exploration and why this was the time period for this explosion of interest in other places. This is not just a simple explanation of what Columbus did, but a long list of explorers (before and after Columbus) and why they had an impact on the later world. With that information in hand we move on to the immediate cultural impact of Columbus, which is known by historians as the Colombian Exchange. The final aspect of this chapter focuses on the less clear consequences of exploration, such as the inhumane treatment of Native Americans and the decision to bring Africans to America for work. We spend a great deal of time covering the truth of slavery and dispelling the many rumors that are found in pop culture but are not up for debate among actual historians. As usual, pop culture is wrong on a ton of aspects of this time period.

This chapter is one that I am still in the process of developing from the content I have in other formats. Until I am able to make this a Web-based content structure (like that of Ch. 11) I have provided a link below to my class notes. This is only accessible to students in my course, but this will change soon.

Essential Questions

  1. In what way is the Columbian Exchange one of the biggest accomplishments/changes in the history of the world?
  2. How were the Spanish Conquistadors able to conquer some of the largest and most powerful empires on Earth with so few people?
  3. Why were Native populations of the Americas so susceptible to diseases from the Old World?
  4. In what ways was slavery in the Americas harsher than other forms of slavery in history? Was there a better location to go to than others?

Chapter Resources

Chapter Notes

Review Assignment

Review Material