40. Columbian Exchange

40 Days.  960 Hours.  57,600 Minutes.

(Fun historical side note: 950 Hours is how long General Schlieffen hypothesized it would take the Russians to mobilize and invade Germany before WWI. You have as long to study for the the AP World exam as it took to mobilize the largest army on the planet in 1914...)

OK.  So, you’ve seen the explorers and their impact.  But, we’ve overlooked a major event.  Arguably, the MAJOR EVENT of all time.  There are three major things that have happened since the Big Bang.

  1. Neolithic Revolution (Farming)

  2. Columbian Exchange (Trade)

  3. Industrial Revolution (Industry)

Let’s look at the one that dominates the Early Modern Era… The Columbian Exchange.


When I say its super important, I’m not just saying it because I think so (and I do).  The Columbian Exchange has been featured or cameo-ed in multiple AP World History essays.  Here are some common misconceptions:

  1. The Columbian Exchange was a trade route.

No.  It wasn’t.  The phrase “Columbian Exchange” wasn’t even coined until the 20th century.  It simply refers to the opening up of new ideas, raw materials, and disease that followed the European arrival in the New World. That’s all. 

     2. It all happened at once.

It’s not an it.  There is no it.  There is no thing.  It just refers to the gradual introduction of products, disease, and avacados.

    3. It only affected the 15th Century.

The impact of this thing is immense.  Why do Italians use tomatoes? The Columbian Exchange.  Why do Irish people eat potatoes? The Columbian Exchange.  Why are there so many Chinese people? The Columbian Exchange.  It’s kind of a big deal.

Argh. Enough boats. Tomorrow’s all about culture.  

Posted on April 6, 2019 .