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1. Write an essay on one unintended consequence of theColumbian Exchange. To begin, read the examples of actions and consequencesbelow, and note how each consequence was intended or unintended.
Some European sailors and conquistadors have smallpox.
Sailors come in contact with NativeAmericans, who contract the disease and die after infecting their relativesand neighbors, who continue to spread the disease.
Unintended: Europeans didnot intentionally infect Native Americans with diseases.
Europeans bring rice and wheat with them and plant the crops inthe New World.
Rice and wheat become important crops in many parts of NorthAmerica.
Intended: Europeansintended to grow rice and wheat in the New World to supplement the nativecrops.
Europeans take potatoes from the New World back to Europe.
Potatoes become an important crop, so much so that some Europeancountries begin to depend on them as their main food source.
Intended: Europeansintended to grow potatoes in Europe to supplement the native crops.
Unintended: Some Europeancountries became overly dependent on the potato as a food source.
Affluent Europeans buy sugar from merchants in European cities.
Millions of people in Africa are kidnapped by African slavetraders and sold to European sugar cane planters in the Caribbean.
Unintended: The demandfor sugar in Europe became so great that sugar cane growers needed moreworkers to tend crops. They expanded the slave trade that had started inAfrica and brought slaves to the Americas to tend the crops.
Spanishconquistadors bring horses with them to the New World.
Somehorses escape. Native Americans catch the horses and learn to ride and trainthem. They become expert horsemen.
Unintended: At firstNative Americans were afraid of horses, but they soon saw their value andlearned to use them to their benefit.
Europeansbring cattle with them to the New World.
Cattleranches become a profitable business and beef becomes a major American foodsource.
Intended: Europeansintended to raise cattle in the New World to supplement native sources ofmeat.
Conduct Research, Choose a Topic, and Write a ThesisStatement
Conductsome online exploration to find more consequences of the Columbian Exchange,and decide whether they are intended or unintended. Choose one unintendedconsequence that you found or one of the examples listed above and do in-depthresearch on it. Gather details such aslocations or countries, key people, populations involved, and ways in which theunintended consequence can be seen many years or even centuries later. Then,write the consequence in the form of a question, such as, “How did theintroduction of the horse to the New World change the lives of NativeAmericans?”
Usethe question to formulate a thesis statement for your essay. The thesisshould answer the question. Using the sample question above, the thesis wouldbe, “Plains Indians domesticated horses from Europe. They became famous fortheir skill in hunting and fighting from horseback.” Write your thesis statement in one or two clearsentences.
Write Your Essay
Writean essay that supports your thesis statement. Include details such as locationsor countries, key people, populations involved, and ways in which theunintended consequence can be seen many years or even centuries later.
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