Change Over Time 1492-1750 Essay

The social and Economic transformations that occurred in the Atlantic world as a result of new contacts among Western Europe, Africa, and the Americas from 1492 to 1750 increased and decreased populations of the Atlantic world due to the slave trade and flourishing economy. Also in the Americas, European colonists stopped mining for silver, and moved on to agriculture. Due to the new contacts within the Atlantic world, economies flourished as new crops and food spread around.

The sole reason for the spread of such goods was due to the triangular trade system and the slave trade systems, in which Europeans carried voyages over the three continents of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. As the Atlantic world came into contact with Europe, Africa, and the Americas, it was affected socially in many ways such as class separation in the Americas. As the European colonists wanted to maintain power in their colonies they were able to create new social groups in South America such as peninsulares, criolles, mestizos, and other classes.

Social structure also changed in Africa as its people were being enslaved. For example most of the men in some societies were not present. The sex ratio changed drastically as the women had to adapt and do many of the usual “man’s” role. Diseases, such as syphilis brought mostly by Europeans also helped to create more demographic instability within the Southern American societies. 2/3 of the native and mixed population died of disease in South America. The only thing that seemed to continue within the Atlantic world was the social structure of Europe.

It remained decentralized as each area became and independent country. For example the explorers such as Christopher Columbus (Spanish), James Cook (English), and Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese), all had different nationalities. The economic impact within the Atlantic world was mostly due to the triangular trade and the slave trade. In the Americas the European colonists started using slaves coming from Africa in their mines and plantations. Though the settlers wanted the African slaves to live and produce crops and riches, they treated them very harshly, but enough to keep them living and working.

As more slaves worked on plantations, they were able to provide more food and crops to send back to the European Countries. For example there are many plantations that still exist today in parts of Jamaica, and some Caribbean islands. Another economical impact was the increased supply of silver which decreased its value, which also ultimately forced the European colonists to build more plantations and focus on agriculture. The focus of agriculture brought prosperity to the economies of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

In Europe, the people’s diet grew richer which lead to an increase of population. In Africa, the demand of more slaves brought wealth and prosperity to the kings and slave merchants, while it destroyed other societies which had lost most of its men. In exchange for America bound slaves, the Africans received many European riches, such as gunpowder and metals. But since Europe made those three legged voyages, they continued to dominate the triangular trade system and the Atlantic Ocean.

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