European Exploration and Effects on Native Americans

After the end of the fourteenth century, many European world powers began to explore and discover new regions. This practice became a critical factor and redefined the culture and history of Europe forever. Several motivators made it possible for such powers to focus on the Americas. The first one was the desire to support and expand their economic strengths. This would be achieved after acquiring numerous resources, including gold, spices, and silver (Kahoe, 2017). Another objective was to find shorter routes to different countries, regions, and islands in Asia. Additionally, the spread of Christianity was a major motivator throughout the Age of Exploration.

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The term, “Columbian exchange” refers to the unprecedented transfer of human populations, technologies, ideas, cultural practices, domesticated animals, plants, and diseases that took place between the Africans, the Europeans, and the Americans from the 15th to the 16th century. It indicates that human exploration can trigger economic growth, promote new practices, and encourage people to engage in superior activities for pursuing their objectives (Kahoe, 2017). However, it can result in new challenges that have the potential to disorient income-generating activities, such as diseases and foreign cultural behaviors. Many Native Americans experienced numerous changes throughout the exploration period. For instance, they acquired new plants and animals that became additional sources of food. They learned new ideas and technologies from these foreigners. Unfortunately, most of them succumbed to various Old World diseases that were introduced by the Europeans, including whooping cough, smallpox, measles, and influenza. From the completed research, it would be unfair for the Europeans to be held accountable for transmitting Old World diseases to different people in the Western Hemisphere. This is true since their main aim was to grow their economies. Similarly, the Europeans were at risk of contracting unknown diseases from such Native Americas.


Kahoe, A. B. (2017). North America before the European invasions (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

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