Columbian Exchange Analysis

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During the period of 1450 to 1750, both the New World and the Old World were transformed. The transformation of the New World, which consisted of the Americas, and the Old World that included Europe, Asia, and Africa, resulted from the exchange of plants, animals, diseases, and ideas. Christopher Columbus brought upon this process of exchange, which would come to be known as the “Columbian Exchange”, during the Renaissance period of Europe. Although his original objective, which was to the reach the East Indies, was never achieved, his discovery of the Americas became of great value to the Europeans. Europe’s discovery of the New World allowed for previously unavailable commodities to be delivered to both participating regions of the exchange.…show more content…
Approximately two thousand years before Columbus had reached the New World, these Mesoamerican civilizations were already cultivating cacao beans. The Toltec myth of Quetzalcoatl, the revered feathered serpent god, explains how he is the one who planted cacao trees on Earth. Quetzalcoatl was considered the, “god of light, the giver of the drink of gods, chocolate” (Rozin 195). By the 8th century, the Mayans were even craving images of a cacao god on their ceremonial bowls (Chocolate: Food of the Gods). In July of 1502, the first encounter of the Spanish and cacao took place. At this time, the areas of Southern Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador were the regions that produced the greatest amounts of cacao (Bergmann 85). Although Columbus was the first to discover chocolate in the New World, in 1519, Hernan Cortes was the first to recognize its value in commerce. Cortes was initially exposed to cacao as the national drink of the Aztecs and saw how the emperor Montezuma would only drink the beverage called chocolatl, made from the cacao beans (Knapp 7). Cortes recalls this encounter and explains the preparation of the drink made from cacao, “These seeds which are called… cacao are ground and made into powder... and then they put water on it and mix it with a spoon… This drink is the healthiest thing, and the…show more content…
Once the Spanish embraced cacao as a product and the drink made with it, they assimilated to its pungent taste by replacing the chili pepper with sugar (Spadaccini 4). This change, brought on by merging Mesoamerican and European culture, accounted for chocolates rapid increased in popularity (Chocolate: Food of the Gods). The reason for this change is because Europeans wanted to recreate the native chocolate drink in their own country by adding ingredients they were familiar with, in this case sugar. An additional social change that chocolate caused was a cross-cultural transference of taste (Norton 660). Therefore, the Europeans incorporated new ingredients, such as vanilla, pepper and foamy froth, to their foods. Soon thereafter, chocolate traveled to countries such as Italy, France, and England. As chocolate traveled, it evolved as a product and adopted various roles in these different societies. Early on, the Spaniards attempted to keep the preparation of the chocolate drink a secret and to create a monopoly on cacao production. Nevertheless, the Italian, Carletti, introduced the food and its manufacture to his homeland. Spanish monks were responsible for its arrival to Germany and France. The Spanish infanta, Maria Theresa, further boosted its popularity in 1660, when she made introduced chocolate to the Court of France. Later in England, the

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