During the early years of colonization and exploration in North America and Africa, many New World “collided” and brought to each other many new things, both good and bad. There were exchanges of ideas, products and crops that greatly advanced the cultures of all involved, but on the other hand, new diseases, and harsh treatment of one another were also present. Before the arrival of the Europeans to present day United States, the Native Americans treated their homeland with respect and with spiritual properties.
Occasionally they burned sections of land in the wilderness for better hunting area, but other than that they provided no threat to its well being. This all changed when the European settlers arrived. The Europeans believed that humans had domination over the land. By building huge colonies, extensive road systems and for other technological advances, the colonizers greatly changed the face of our nation. Another impact on both the Native Americans and the Europeans was the sharing of native crops to each other.
The Europeans brought back from the New World, tobacco, maize, beans, tomatoes, and potatoes, which provided food for the now greatly populated Europe. Other crops that were brought to Europe included blueberry, cranberry, papaya, wild rice, and pumpkin. In exchange for these great new crops the Europeans brought massive amounts of pigs, cattle, and horses. The horse highly effected the lives of the Native Americans by improving their hunting abilities. Another crop that did exceptionally well in the tropical climate of the Caribbean was the sugar cane brought over by Columbus.
Not all things exchanged were beneficial, however. Europeans unknowingly brought with them many diseases that eventually plagues the Native Americans. Small pox, yellow fever, and malaria were some of the devastating diseases carried into the New World. Native Americans did also transfer the sexually transmitted disease of syphilis to the Europeans who had never experienced this before. Also, the ill treatment of the Native Americans by the land hungry Europeans virtually wiped out their civilization.
Although at times they waged wars that would temporarily halt the European colonization, for the most part their voice in North America was forever muzzled. During the European exploration of Africa, similar events occurred. Europeans brought the crops of maize, manioc, and sweet potatoes, which they had received, from the Native Americans, to Africa. These crops fed the great increase of population that was occurring in Africa at the time. What the Europeans took from Africa was something that would last through out the majority of the world until fairly recently, slavery.
The Africans themselves had traded slaves for centuries prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The Portuguese set up trading posts along the shored of Africa, trading gold and slaves. They set up a huge traffic of slaves to work in their native sugar plantations. This huge boost in the slave economy was a significant change to that of the pre European, African-Arab slave trade. During this era of discovery, many cultures were impacted in a myriad of ways, changing it forever.