The Columbian Exchange

May 21, 2019

The Potato, The staple of most European diets in the 18th and 19th centuries did in fact originate in South America
and only made it to Europe in the 17th century during what was dubbed The 'Columbian Exchange'  by Alfred w. Crosby in honour of Christopher Columbus the first European to land in america. 

The Columbian Exchange occurred during the 15th and 16th centuries during which the diets of almost everyone in the new and old world changed as they both saw the advantages of the other types of food. Dispite this though the columbian exchange also introduced new diseases such as smallpox and measles which the natives to the Americas had no immunity to so many died in fact some accounts put the death rate up at around 80-95% of the natives loosing their lives.

The foods that came from the new world to Europe and India included Maize (corn), Tomato, Potato, Vanilla, Cacao and Tobacco. These where swapped with these foods from the old world such as Citrus, Apple, Banana, Mango, Onion, Coffee, Wheat, Sugar-Cane and Rice. 

For the old world the Potato was probably the most important trades as it provided the biggest source of food in Europe and Asia Minor for hundreds of years as it was easy to grow relatively cheap and didn't taste horrible. The potato also provided Europe the food it needed to grow and is responsible for the rapid growth spurt in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Potato was also cultivated for the production of alcohol, especially in Russia where it became very popular in the creation of Vodka and other beverages. The Potato is also used as fodder for livestock though some farmers steam the potatoes first instead of serving them raw.



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  • May 21, 2019 - 10:10pm (Now Viewing)

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