The author carries the readers through a breathtaking geological scope and time span stretching from Spain, England, Americans ( north and south), Africa, hina, and Philippines and from the 15th through 21st centuries in a truly global and cosmic scale, providing an account of trade, diseases, ecological booms and busts, piracy, slavery, wars, and othe more subject.
The link Columbus established unknowingly around the world is called " the Columbus exchange " whereby not only goods and cultures were exchanged by trade and exploit but also micro organisms, plants, diseases, and host of other species that were exchanged wittingly or unwittingly not only between Americas and Europe but also with China and Philippines, Brazile, and Central America.
For better or for worse, the onsequences of the Columbus exchange, foreseen and unforeseen, were of biblical proportion: the indigenous Indian races first in the now-a-day Puerto Rico and soon thereafter the rest of the Americas were almost completely wipe out by malaria, small pox, hepatitis, and yellow fever; the introduction of corn and sweet potatoes to China deforested the country, causing unprecedented flood and famine, while also making China the world 's most populous nation.
All corners of the world were at once hooked in nicotine-a true globalization brought on by the Columbus exchange.
But the underlying thesis of the essa is that these ecological changes were revolutionary not only biologically but also economically, socially, and politically, giving the ultimate rise to the Western dominance in the modern age -- the dominance obtained at the ost of devastation of the Indians and by the African slave labor.
The alaria was transported from London but once it landed in the tropical climate of James Town, it took off like a wild fire, decimating both the American indians and the new comers alike.
As Mann puts it, the slave ships from Africa were riding on the win of malaria, providing much needed labor force for harvesting the tobacco in James Town, Virginia, North Carolina, and elsewhere.
The labor force had to be provided at all cost, which in turn ushered in a full blown slavery industry, the like of which was never seen in the whol history of slavery from ancient time to the present from Rome to Africa.
But with the elp of malaria and yellow fever cradled in the ideal Caribbean/Mid-Atlantic tropical conditions ( like James Town), these diseases made slavery of Africans viable and superior alternative to the indentured servants from Europe or to the native Indian slaves ( who could not be put to slavery if they were baptized as Christians).
Another example of the global impact of the Columbus exchange.African slaves were not docile laborers.
Many maroons were absorbed by the Indian communities ( which in turn were formed in the deep forests unreachable by the Europeans) and married Indian women, thus creating the present day latin American nations such as Mexico, Venezuel, and razil.
( They had no choice but to marry Indians, as only one third of the African slaves brought to America were women; and marrying to a Christianized Indian woman meant legal protection ( though only good on paper) from enslavement.) Haiti was the first nation of maroons to form an independent nation, which shocked the slave trading nations of Europe.
It must be underscored once again: That from silver extracted through devastation of Indian land and forced slavery arose the Spanish world power; and that from the equally devastating African slavery that cultivated tobacco and sugar came the Western commerce and imperialism.
( Charles Mann 's previous ook, 1491, offers the most up-to-date account of the perished but once dynamic and thriving Indian civilizations that once dominated in the American landscape.) The present demographic dominance of Caucasians in North America will be short lived; and the world will become increasingly " homogenescene. " And the ffects of the Columbus exchange will continue for better or for worse.
Structurally, there is no difference between the way in which the wealth of Las Vegas was obtained ( from the back of the poor) from how the wealth of the colonial imperialism of the Eas was won ( off the back of the wretched Indians and African slaves), thanks to the Columbus exchange.