• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The discovery of the Americas greatly influenced world history

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The discovery of the Americas greatly influenced world history, and in particular the history of Europe. The development of it's lands and peoples as the beginnings of the new Atlantic World made a great impact on the world system. Of course, this is obvious considering that most countries from Western Europe were involved - "Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, France, the Dutch Republic, Russia, and Denmark."1 The shift in economic centres (particularly for Spain and Portugal), "represents one of the most profound transformations in human history."2 The questions are, what exactly was it's impact, and what effects did it have on the world system? This essay discusses the demographic and economic effects of the Americas on the world system, focussing primarily on population figures since the European settlement of the Americas and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Americas, discovered accidentally by Columbus in 1492, became an object of interest for European explorers in about 1500 when Amerigo Vespucci "concluded that the so-called Indies were not part of eastern Asia but were in fact a new continent."3 The Spanish began conquering and settling the Caribbean Islands, and soon after in 1519, Hernan Cortez commanded an expedition into the Mexican mainland, conquering the capital of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) ...read more.

Middle

Between the middle of the fifteenth century and the end of the nineteenth century, slaves were taken from the west coast of Africa "with the full and active co-operation of African kings and merchants."11 In return for their assistance, these kings and merchants received a variety of goods - mainly beads, cowrie shells (which were used as money), textiles, brandy, horses, and most importantly, guns. So then, what did the economic benefits for Europe, provided by the slave trade, mean for the world system? In Africa, guns were introduced and this helped the kings to expand their borders and obtain more slaves for the trading. Also, slave traders actively encouraged wars in Africa, resulting in the death or enslavement of millions more Africans on that continent than ended up in the Americas. Scholars of African history believe the total number of Africans killed or abducted in Africa and the Americas could be between 50 and 100 million. Whatever the figure, the slave trade brought death and dislocation on an unimaginable scale. The extent of it's impact will never be fully known. For Spain, the introduction of the Americas into the world system meant a growth in their economic power - for a time anyway. ...read more.

Conclusion

The populations of the new world and other foreign continents were effected dramatically from disease, conquest, slavery and warfare, so much so that entire cultures disappeared and some new ones were formed. Suffice to say that the impact of the Americas on the world system was so profound for both demographic and economic reasons, that those studying world history cannot possibly deny it. 1 Peripheries, Centers, and the construction of Early modern American Empires, edited by Christine Daniels & Michael V. Kennedy, London, Routledge, 2002, p1. 2 Daniels & Kennedy, p1. 3 Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Latin America., Accessed September 7, 2005. 4 Daniels & Kennedy, p1. 5 5 Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Latin America., Accessed September 7, 2005. 6 A. Laugesen, The Making of the Atlantic World, slide 18, Accessed September 7, 2005. 7 Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, Latin America., Accessed September 7, 2005. 8 H. Thomas, The Slave Trade, London, Simon and Schuster, 1997 p.105 9 About.com, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Accessed September 7th 2005. 10 Annenberg: Bridging World History Online, The Americas and the Globalization of Labor: Slavery and Resistance, Accessed September 7, 2005. 11 H. Thomas, p.112 12 Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Ottoman Empire, Accessed 7th September 2005. 13 Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Ottoman Empire, Accessed 7th September 2005. 14 H. Blackwell, The Americas, London, Routledge, 2003, p.42 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level UK, European & Global Economics essays

  1. Where does the World Trade Organisation fit in the overall scheme of international public ...

    Special and Differential Treatment "Old-style" special and differential treatment (SDT), as expressed in Part IV of the GATT and the Enabling Clause of the Tokyo Round, largely exempted developing countries from GATT rules and obligations. They were granted sweeping carve-outs from GATT disciplines; and they received developed country preferences but were not obliged to reciprocate.

  2. Will trading fairly reduce world poverty?

    Sunday he explains is generally a continuation of Saturday except on harvest weeks when these Sundays are spent erecting his boxes in preparation of course, for the harvest. (Source: www.Sainsburys.co.uk) These are just some of many farmers benefitting from Fairtrade.

  1. European background to the scramble for Africa (1850 to 1900)

    became no more than a puppet for the British] * During the 1870s they got directly involved in interior by exploring the network of lakes and rivers there * Europeans began to explore the north of Africa during this time as well * When restrictions against foreign business interest dropped

  2. Is Mexico better off with NAFTA

    Having assessed NAFTA's impact on Mexican economy and society, how does the future look like for Mexico? As other Latin American countries also are gaining market shares in the US through FTAA and CAFTA the competition will only grow stronger.

  1. Why did it take until 1833 for the British government to illegalise the transatlantic ...

    question to ask is if the leader of the British government called it an "incurable injustice", then why did it take until 1833 for the British government to illegalise the trade? Religion was one of the reasons why it took until 1807 for the British government to abolish the slave trade.

  2. Peoples' republic of China

    In a costly manner, the errors of Maoism prepared the way for a new revolution" (Scalapino, 1995, p. 18). With respect to Hong Kong, a major question remains to be answered: Will China honor the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration or will the PRC introduce regulation into Hong Kong's Western-style economy?

  1. Telecommunications in Latin America "The dawn of a new economy"

    in accordance with the mandates of the Concession Agreement, and the regulation of tariffs. The latter was further refined to an examination of long distance and international versus local exchange service, monthly recurring charges, per minute usage charges, installation charges, and commercial versus residential charges.

  2. By the mid nineteenth century, Britain had been the world's strongest economic power for ...

    judgement against that of the herd", engaging in "creative destruction".3 Alternatively, we can view innovation in another way. Fritz Redlich's notion of 'derivative innovation', broadens Schumpeter's view, to mean bringing something not seen before to a particular industry or region, not just doing something that has not been done before.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work