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Uncovering the New World

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The account provided in Mann, 1493:  Uncovering the New World Columbus created display of the effect of discovery of America by Columbus had in Europe and the whole world in general. It takes a good look at how the world began to experience change inexorably, in terms of wealth upon Europe discovery of wealth in America. The account provides basis for the understanding of a process called the Columbian exchange, which explains the transfer of animals, plants, germs and people around the globe for the last 500 years.  This is where we make sense on contemporary globalization.  Based on history, Mann attempts to argue that globalization as a result of Columbian exchange brought economic gains but at the same time brought enormous social and ecological tumult, which threatened to offset the economic gains.

Following Columbus voyage, more Spaniards moved in to America bringing with them plants and animal life’s, which altered ecosystem and took a major role in transformation of the landscape. Spaniards brought with themselves barley, wheat, oats and more European grains and fruits. All this were unknown to the American continent. They also brought with them cattle, pigs,  burros and sheep.

On the history of how Spaniards arrived in Peru around 1530, detailed by Titu Cusi, the then son of Munca Inca, who was the king of the southern territory of Peru. Upon arrival of the Spaniards, Munca Inca was in a civil war with his half-brother Atahualpa, who ruled the northern territory of Peru. The story begins with the arrival of Spaniards at the Coast of Inca Empire. The Spaniards first arrived in Cajamarca; they were well armed and rode on horses.  Atahualpa resisted the Spaniards but after a short battle he was captured by Franscisco Pizzaro and put to death, thus forming the defining moment of Spanish conquest in Peru. Most people view this encounter as the central event, leading to Spanish conquest. His half-brother Munca Inca reacted differently, and Titu Cusi gives us a detailed account of how Munco also lost Peru to Spaniards. At first Munco was friendly and welcoming to the new visitors, giving them silver, gold and other jewelries. He even refused them to go back to their Emperor Charles V and they stayed in Munco for many days receiving gold and silver. Due to greed, the Spaniards came in large numbers to visit Munca, but turned against him claiming he will rebel against them and kill as did with his half-brother Atahualpa. They captured and imprisoned Munca, thus leading to Spanish domination in Peru.

These two accounts challenge previous understandings of the interactions between Europeans and natives in the years following Columbus’ first landfall in the America.  At first, the Spaniards were very friendly and kind. They brought a lot of benefits to the Amerindians people, but they turned against them and started exploiting them, taking colonies, killing their leaders and taking them as slaves. The discovery of America by Columbus and Spaniards arrival in Peru brought a lot in terms of economic benefits with introduction of new crops and new animals, it led to more trade interactions between continents. In the years following Columbus first landing in America, Europeans had a hostile interaction with the Amerindian people when they established colonies and forced them to work as slaves.  For example, they were forced to work in mining fields in Mexico and Peru, forming the main force for colonial economy. Interactions between them led to erosion of Amerindian people cultures and infusion of European culture into their lives. This also led to spread of diseases like malaria, measles and polio.

The linking of western and the eastern hemispheres marked the historical beginning of a truly global and interconnected human history. It involved much positive and beneficial exchange of goods and services, through trade but also included other devastating transfer such as diseases and colonialism. These complex accounts and processes have unfold over many years under  varied and unpredictable condition which has seen power shift between Africans, Native Americans and Europeans.

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