geological, geographical, & biotic setting: of the Columbian Exchange
The European invasions
associated with the Columbian expeditions between 1492 ans 1517, caused the ethnic identity of Caribbean & Latin American peoples to
be a mixture of distant --but nonetheless similar Asians, Africans and
Europeans with Indigenous island peoples-- who are called, mistakenly, Indians.
A. Crosby, Germs, Seeds and
Animals. Biological amalgamation was the greatest revolution of
| Biological | Social
of the depopulation and repopulation of the Antilles create a context.
Physical -- defining
the shape of the Indies: a New World Mediterranean Sea.
Intertropical convergences annual motion north & south brings
geo-morphology of the greater & lesser Antilles, Caribbean & Nazca
transverse faults form the greater Antilles mountains (catch rainfall)
subduction zone generated volcanic mountain chains of the lesser Antilles.
cordilleran boundary versus coastal plains produced a variety of ecological
the Andean Cordillera (gold and silver): altitudinal zonation.
Valleys, Tenochtitlan, (chinampa) Aztecs as a trail to the NA Southwest.
Ciboney & Taino, inland and maritime cultural diversity.
Lesser Antilles: Taino & Carib, maritime cultures from South
geography as destiny, nature is a harsh task-master
as it sets rigid conditions.
Coasts as boundaries or bridges?
Pump of the Gulf
Stream: North Atlantic gyre (clockwise currents).
Turtles, sea turtles,
Indies as the doorway, to the Americas; a staging ground, incubator.
acclimation of Euro-fauna and flora required seasoning in
sugar islands as a source of investment wealth fed the industrial revolution.
-- The study pf living things, life sciences, the life cycle.
soil diseases & the apparent absence of communities of settled farmers.
Whales & Marine Turtles, Mangroves, & fisheries from the Canary
Isles to W.I.
Manioc, corn, & vegetable staples fed invaders with immunity to Eurasian
and exotic introductions, not religion explains Euro-successes.
for the development of biological diversity and suppressed immune response
to otherwise common and now less virulent sickness.
today, explains the outcomes of the Columbian
Exchange, as the mixture of European and American flora &
The biological elements of culture are evident in the character of and quality of outcomes from the Columbian Exchange
Health and security.
- food, subsistence and production
- fuel, water and human power versus wind and animal power
- fiber, fabrics from vegetation versus hides & tallow
- forage, variety and life cycles of domestic animals
Psychological and ideological, impact of disease on beliefs and ritual behavior, such as civic and religious obligations, observances, and labor.
Social -- European cultural dominance (language)
& Amerindians staple foods.
Sugar, Encomienda system, communal water rights, cattle, horses, swine,
wheat & oats.
European Feudalism as transplanted to the America's favored:
- Royal families
- Granted rights
to the eldest male heirs
- Encouraged absentee
- granted special
status to clergy and church lands
- operated monopoly
enterprises for the sole benefit of the state.
Indian labor after a precipitous decline was insufficient to meet the
African slaves, 25 million transported in 250 years.(conservative est.)
Divergence in attitudes about land, vegetal and animal life and peoples' well being:
- Indigenistas were largely vegetarian, worshipped corn, sun and storm deities
- Europeans were cattle and stock owners, land was inanimate property, believed in the trinity as a mystery and saints as mortal yet transcendent beings.
Context of settling the Americas
with forced migration from west & southern Africa
land grants to lesser nobility in exchange for service and a percentage
trade monopolies (mercantilism) given to merchant adventurers (companies).
Antilles are an island arc and transverse faulted group of archipelagos
forming the core and the periphery of the Spanish borderlands of North
ground or proving ground for the European mastery of the
Arawaks & Columbus: Two worlds collided, partly fused to enrich
& commerce for export all emerged within 50 years.
Cortez & Pizarro, domestic animals & diseases helped conquests.
African slavery was based on Portuguese trade on gold & ivory