Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Effects of European Colonialism in South America

In 1492, Spanish sailor Christopher Columbus set out to reach India but he sailed west and discovered the “Islands of Indies”. He was out in search of spices gold, forest resources and other precious metals. Spain was the first European Country to set up its colonies in the Caribbean. Due to widespread war and excessive use of domestic resources there was need of extra resource base and colonies with which trade relations could be established.

Its effects are as follows –

1. Europeans brought with them chronic diseases like cholera, plague and smallpox with them. European had been dealing with these diseases for a long time and have developed immunity to them and had medicines to cure them but tribal population of South America was not used to these deadly diseases and died in huge number due to their contraction.

2. The European onset in South America was followed by a war between the indigenous tribal people and Europeans in which the former were defeated and ruthless destruction of men and material including indigenous manuscripts and monuments followed. There was rampant exploitation of forest resources. 

3. Industrialisation  was established and expanded in South America. Discovery of iron ore assisted in the process. In Brazil a useful resource exploited was timber. Using the local resources of South America, European sold and produced tobacco, potatoes, rubber, cane sugar etc. in international markets. Increased industrialization enslaved the local Americans in mines and industries.

4. The native culture of South America got diluted due to introduction of European traits. Even the European language made their way in the local culture and were adopted by many locals.

5. Racial discrimination and slave trade was rampant.

6. The Inca and Aztec civilization were destroyed.

7. Subsistence culture was replaced by commercial plantation culture.

8. Propagation of Christianity through Christian missionaries.

9. Europeans eg. Spain, France etc. fought among themselves for supremacy at the expense of local resources.

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