Directions: Read the short passage and watch the video Did Columbus "Discover" The Americas. Then, examine the Columbian Exchange graphic and answer the following questions:
- Describe the "Columbian Exchange" in one sentence.
- What do you think was the most valuable resource that Europeans got from the Americas and why?
- Of the things that the Europeans brought to the New World, what do you think had the biggest impact and why?
Did Columbus Discover America?: The short answer to that is a resounding "NO!" There is a good amount of evidence suggesting that Christopher Columbus was not the first person to stumble upon the Americas. Clearly, Native Americans were there long before Christopher Columbus even had a thought of sailing west. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that Christopher Columbus wasn't even the first European to reach the "New World". So the question then becomes, why do we study him? If Columbus didn't "discover" America, why does he get so much credit?
Columbus' Legacy - The Columbian Exchange: Columbus died believing he had actually made it to Asia, but the explorers that followed soon realized they had reached a world largely unknown to Europe. Europeans came in droves, searching for gold, God, and glory; hoping for a better life. As more and more people traveled between the "Old World" and the "New World", the exchange of goods and people increased between the two hemispheres. This is why Columbus' accidental "discovery" is such an important event in the history of America: The exchange of goods that followed Columbus's voyages connected the two worlds. This exchange is known as the Columbian Exchange.
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