Columbus discovered America in 1492 and how it impacted the history of America Report

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

When Christopher Columbus discovered America towards the end of the 15th century, the historical significance of this discovery could not be established immediately. However, historians postulate that the 1492 discovery left behind significant trails of historical impacts in America. As a matter of fact, the history of America was greatly shaped after the exploration by Columbus. This essay offers a brief account of how the American history has been modeled by the discovery.

To begin with, it is profound to note the contemporary civilization being experienced in America was mainly triggered by the Columbus’ discovery of 1492.[1] While some historians may argue that the American civilization was bound to take place even in the absence of Columbus’ discovery, it is definite that the discovery of America gave a major impetus to the rate of growth in civilization that the continent has enjoyed up to date.

The history of American civilization since the classical era was a product of the Columbus’ discovery. Some of the major areas of civilization included politics, social life and economic empowerment. It should be understood that America (especially North America) was opened up to the rest of the world. Therefore, it created an open platform through which other explorers could visit America and spread their influence.[2]

The geographical knowledge of America was also expanded as a result of the Columbus’ discovery. Initially, American land was a secluded continent that the rest of the world did not understand. The fact that the disciplines of history and geography are closely interrelated; the geography of America has been an integral part of its historical past.

For instance, the colonization of North America was made possible by its geographical knowledge.[3] Moreover, the presence of trains, valleys, mountains and landmark water bodies in the American continent are significant when exploring the history of this continent. Historians are also quite categorical that solutions related to challenges of geography in America were obtained as a result of the discovery of the continent.

When America was known to the rest of the world, it facilitated the growth and development of commerce. Traders from distant lands travelled to America in search for markets for their products. On the same note, the colonial powers scrambled for raw materials and markets for their industrial products.

Some of the products included phonograph, telephone, electric generation, electric lighting, telegraph, metallurgy, steel mills, printing press, road building, canals, sewing machine, cotton gin, textile mills, locomotive, steam boat, and steam engines. Such activities culminated into massive entrepreneurial spirit that is still being used in America today.[4] The emergence of the early American urban centers was also witnessed during the same era.

In spite of the positive impacts of the 1492 discovery by Christopher Columbus, it is also worth to appreciate that some native tribes suffered immensely on the hands of the foreigners. A case in point was the Indians.

Historians believe that their small population in North America was occasioned by oppression and myriads of infections from foreigners after America was discovered. Europeans brought major infections in America when they came to colonize the region. Some of the maladies included whooping cough, pneumonia, small pox, measles, malaria, and yellow fever.

The Europeans were already immune to most of these diseases. However, the infections turned out to be major pandemics to Indians. The same Indians were sold as slaves.[5] In any case, slave trade started when Columbus forcefully took some slaves to Spain. The history of slave trade is indeed a broad subject of the American past. The practice of buying and selling slaves was widespread during the pre-independence era of America and as such, it cannot be erased from the face of this continent.

The spread of the European culture and goods took place after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. There is a significant cultural mix between that of the Europeans and Americans. This was occasioned by the exploration and subsequent colonization of America. Some of the foreign crops that were introduced in America by foreigners include rubber, sugar and tobacco.

The current system of agriculture that is practiced in America is believed to have been largely borrowed from the visiting foreigners.[6] America was not the only beneficiary in this process. Some of the dominant North American crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, beans, cocoa, cayenne, and corn were exported to other continents such as Europe and Asia.

A section of historians still contend that death, exploitation and conquest were the major attributes of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus contrary to the popular belief that there was great accomplishment on the part of America. Nonetheless, it is profound to note that the American history borrows a lot from the history of Christopher Columbus. The cultural identity of the Native Americans before the 1492 discovery changed almost completely due to the influence brought about by the foreigners.[7]

In some instances, the Americans were compelled to conform to the European standards especially when the process of colonization was in full force. It is believed that thousands of Americans suffered as a result of colonization. It is against this backdrop that the American and European powers became foes to each other even after the dark ages. This was also manifested during the First and Second World Wars as well as during the Cold War era.

Bibliography

Fiske, John. The Discovery of America, Volume 1. New York: The Echo Library, 2009.

Hume, Robert. Christopher Columbus and the European discovery of America. Herefordshire: Fowler Wright Books, 1992.

Footnotes

  1. John Fiske, The Discovery of America, Volume 1. (New York: The Echo Library, 2009), 9.
  2. Ibid, 13
  3. Ibid, 18
  4. Robert Hume, Christopher Columbus and the European discovery of America. (Herefordshire: Fowler Wright Books, 1992), 49
  5. Ibid, 87
  6. Ibid, 106
  7. John Fiske, The Discovery of America, Volume 1. (New York: The Echo Library, 2009), 54.
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