World Exploration Merrisa schwartz; Mr. Meninga 2B; 17 March 2017

Ancient Picture of Americas

The Discovery of the Americas wasn't something that was realized overnight. In the year of 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus told the king of Spain that he knew a 'shortcut' to the spice islands along the coast of the Indies. With the financial help from Spain, he was able to sail across the ocean on his way to Asia. Although he thought that he had landed in the East Indies, his ships had actually stopped at the Bahamas.

Christopher Columbus speaking with the Spanish King

The reality of America's Discovery is that it's caused by someone giving the wrong directions and some spices. During the time of Christopher Columbus, spice was a commodity which was sought after to extremes; the cost can be compared to that of modern-day cocaine. In the year of 1453, the Ottoman Turks cut off European access to the Silk Road. This restricted Europe's access to the largest trade system of the time. Europe was left frantically searching for their beloved spices. After Columbus read Marco Polo's book, The Travels of Marco Polo, he believed that the space between Asia and Spain was smaller than Asia itself, and that there was nothing between the two. He called this route to Asia a 'shortcut'. Since Columbus asked Spain for funds shortly after the Reconquista of Spain, they no longer had to pay for the Army and had an excess of money and were able to give him money to go find Spain a cheap source of spices.

Columbus' First Landing

Some of the obvious effects of the discovery of the Americas is the modern-day countries of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, as well as the many smaller countries of South America. However, some effects of this are less known, yet still important. Christopher Columbus is the reason that Native Americas were/are called 'Indians'. When he landed, he believed he was in islands of India, leading him to assume these people were of Indian descent. Aside from this, these voyages are what started the normality of sugar like we have today. Before the Bahamas, sugar was a delicacy and usually only nobles had access to it. However, the Bahamas had the perfect climate for growing sugar. With a larger access to sugar, it became affordable for all. Once it was affordable, the European population became addicted to it. High demand along with the desired climate lead to the islands of the Bahamas to be turned into large sugar plantations, or large areas of land dedicated to growing a specific crop. Along with the plantations came the Encomienda System, in which Spanish conquistadors were granted plantations and had the legal right to force Natives to work for them. Effects like these may not be well known but they still have impact on the modern day.

First African Slaves in America

African slavery is part of America's dark history, and has changed society forever. The very first African slaves were brought to American colonies, specifically Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Shortly following this, slaves had become nothing more than a piece of property to own. They were sought after so much due to the amount of hard work one could get so cheaply.

Slaves Working on a Plantation

Back in the days of early America, one had to have good reasons to go all the way across the sea. The main reasons behind travelling to Africa for slaves were Europe's newfound sugar addiction, large-scale farming, and a letter. While these things are very different from each other in multiple aspects, they all had a part in the start of what would later be called the Slave Trade. When Europeans first arrived in the New World, they fought the Natives. Between fighting them and forcing them to do hard labor, the Europeans had killed off a majority of the Native population. A letter from a priest in the Americas to the Spanish royalty insisted that the Europeans/Spaniards should not be treating the Natives as they are. After receiving the letter, Spain began importing slaves as labor workers. However, at the time, sugar was just being introduced to lower European classes, and when something is new everyone wants it. The newness and easy access to sugar lead people to become addicted. When a certain commodity is in high demand, producers try to find easier, cheaper ways to make the product. This is why Americans turned the islands of the Bahamas into sugar plantations, or large farms used for only sugar. Well, when there's more land you need more workers. The Spanish resolved this by granting their leaders large areas of land and allowing them to legally force people to work for them. Because they were already forcing Natives to work for them, there was no argument against forcing the imported Africans to work for them.

Diagram of Middle Passage

A large reason the Native population is so small is due to slavery. However, this is only one effect of the beginnings of slavery. When Africans were shipped to the America's, they were stacked into ships as tight as possible. They spent the whole trip lying down side by side, squished together. This resulted in many diseases from the feces and other body fluids which were surrounding them. Many of the slaves died from these diseases, resulting in a large loss in the African population which was brought to the colonies. Africans were brought to the America's on a route called the Middle Passage. This was a shipping route which went directly from the African ports to the ports in the New World. This specific route was called the Middle Passage. However, ships would actually sail in a triangle from Africa to the Americas then raw material would be brought from the Americas to Europe. The African Slave Trade was where the idea of discrimination fully arose. While it may not have been called that, the idea that one was less than another due to race was very present. This small detail is what to lead to the large problems surrounding discrimination in the United State's past and can still be found today.

Triangular Trade

Triangular Trade is a system of trade in which goods would be passed from Africa to the Americas to Europe. Slaves would be taken from Africa and brought to America for cheap labor. Raw materials would then be taken from the Americas to Europe to be processed. Processed goods would be taken from Europe to Africa. This system was used as it was the quickest and most effective way to trade between these three countries.

Sugar Plantation

While an obvious cause for Triangular Trade would be demand for product, there is more that goes into this system of trading, starting with the American colonies. Once Europeans had entered the Americas, they saw the large amount of profit that was to be made by the raw materials which could be exported. This was a key factor in providing the route from the Americas to Europe. While the colonies had a lot to export, they needed workers to put hard labor into the fields and harvest said raw materials. These workers were the slaves brought from Africa to the Americas, hence producing the path from Africa to the Americas. With plenty of workers and an abundance of raw materials, Europe began focusing on mercantilism, or exporting more than the country imports. Europe did this by taking the raw materials from America, processing them into products, and exporting them to other countries. If Europe bought a small amount of raw materials (which were cheaper due to the easy accessibility), they could make even more products out of it and sell the products at a higher price. Europe's mercantilism created the third and last route of the Triangular Trade.

Europeans in Africa

Trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas effected cultures all around the world from then on. One example is the Columbian Exchange. This was a period of time when plants, animals, diseases and technology were spread across the world through trade. The reason this is so important is because through the Columbian Exchange, diseases such as the Black Death were passed and killed those who weren't exposed to those diseases. Along with all of this, there was a large spread of cultures. The Africans brought their cultures to the Americas and vise versa. Despite the spread of diseases and cultures, Triangular Trade was a large advantage to Europe. They were able to take power in both the Americas and Africa, both places which are large and have potential for expansion.

Works Cited

"Mercantilism". N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

"The Atlantic Slave Trade: Crash Course World History #24". YouTube. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

America, Origins, and Origins America. "Origins Of Slavery In America Video - Slavery In America - HISTORY.Com". N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

"Schingoethe Center Of Aurora University". N.p., 2017. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.