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Demographic and Environmental Changes

Early Modern Period

  1. Demographic and Environmental Changes
    1. Diseases
      1. Unintended part of global exchange
      2. Similar to transportation of bubonic plague from Asia to Europe on ships
        1. yellow fever, malaria, smallpox, measles to Americas/syphilis to Europe
      3. Impact on Europe minimal
      4. Impact of European/African diseases on Americas significant/drastic
        1. Wiped out populations on initial islands
        2. In Spanish claimed lands, population dropped from 50 million to 4 million
    2. Animals
      1. Types of animals
        1. Horse
          1. New method of labor
          2. New method of transportation
            1. Changed lives of Native Americans – especially on plains
          3. Led to depleted herds due to hunting – think buffalo
        2. Domestic animals – cattle, goats, and chickens
          1. Source of protein for Native Americans
          2. Destruction of natural grasses due to grazing
    3. New Crops
      1. Americas
        1. Spanish organized huge estates – haciendas
          1. Allowed for growing of large quantities of single crop – monoculture
            1. Labor system – Indians or slaves
        2. Negatives of monoculture farming
          1. Environmentally damaging
          2. Also damaging to economic system – reliance on one crop
        3. Crops
          1. Coffee, bananas, tomatoes, corn, potatoes
          2. Corn/potatoes most significant
            1. High calorie yield per acre grown
          3. Sugar – most crucial cash crop
            1. Primarily on Caribbean Islands – grown, processed, refined
            2. Exceptionally labor intensive – stimulated growth of African slave trade
      2. Effects of food exchange
        1. Led to population increase due to balanced diet
        2. Led to increased slavery due to need for labor
    4. Comparative Population Trends
      1. Columbian Exchange – by 1750 continents looked totally different than in 1450
        1. Indigenous people wiped out
          1. Incas/Aztecs gone
          2. Huge cities destroyed
        2. Europeans moved by hundreds of thousands
        3. Forced migration of Africans
        4. Cities in Europe swelled
          1. Merchants getting richer from trade
      2. 1400 -1700 – Population of world from 350 million to 610 million
        1. Longest period of uninterrupted and rapid population growth
        2. Due mainly to improvements in agricultural techniques
        3. general warming of the climate
        4. Asia/Europe grew fastest
      3. Growth in China
        1. 80 million in 1400 to 160 million in 1600
      4. Causes of improved population growth
        1. Bringing more land under cultivation
        2. New strands of rice
        3. Improved farming methods
        4. Cessation of frequent conflicts/invasions
        5. lack of widespread outbreaks of disease
        6. new crops improve nutrition
      5. Growth of urban populations
        1. always magnets for people from the countryside wanting better, more exciting life
        2. new start for people driven off land
          1. Famine (French farmers late 1700s)
          2. Enclosure movement (English farmers 1500s)
          3. Too little productive land for too many people (English farmers 1500s)
      6. African Slave Trade
        1. Causes massive demographic shifts
          1. Brutal separation from family/culture
          2. Even if survived, absorbed into foreign culture that considered them property
            1. Many Christianized, but…
            2. Maintained parts of their language and culture
            3. Unique cultural synthesis – African music, dress, and mannerisms mixed with Spanish and indigenous cultures in the Americas
        2. forever alters racial and genetic make-up of the world
    5. Environmental
      1. Americas
        1. Chief goal – exploitation of natural resources
          1. Precious metals
            1. 185,000 kilograms (400,000 pounds) of gold
            2. 16 million kilograms (45 million pounds) of silver
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