Blindfold or No Blindfold?September 11, 2011
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations (including slaves), communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres (Old World and New World). It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history. Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas in 1492 launched the era of large-scale contact between the Old and the New Worlds that resulted in this ecological revolution, hence the name “Columbian” Exchange. The term was coined by Alfred W. Crosby, a historian, professor and author, in his 1972 book The Columbian Exchange.
Before the Columbian Exchange, there were no oranges in Florida,
no bananas in Ecuador, no paprika in Hungary,
no tomatoes in Italy, no coffee in Colombia, no pineapples in Hawaii,
no rubber trees in Africa, no cattle in Texas, no donkeys in Mexico,
no chili peppers in Thailand and India, no cigarettes in France,
………….. and no chocolate in Switzerland.