Impact of Colonialism

  • Columbian Exchange: The term Columbian Exchange refers to the widespread exchange of plants, animals, culture, human populations, technology, and ideas that occurred between the new world (Americas) and the Old World (Eurasia) in the 15th and 16th centuries, as a result of European colonization and trade.
  • Slave Trade: To effectively utilize the resources, colonizers needed immense amount of labour. During the initial years, the European settlers met labour requirements by enslaving the native populations. However, the decline in the native population led to importing slaves from Africa which emerged as a lucrative alternative.
  • Boost to Mercantilism: Mercantilism, in a way, was both the cause as well as the effect of colonialism. Mercantile economic policies were definitely an impetus for the start of colonization. But subsequently, the benefits due to colonial exploitation further reinforced the ideology of mercantile capitalism and augmented its spread across Europe.
  • Military innovation: Conquering forces have throughout history applied innovation in order to gain an advantage over the armies of the people they aim to conquer. Greeks developed the phalanx system, which enabled their military units to present themselves to their enemies as a wall, with foot soldiers using shields to cover one another during their advance on the battlefield.
  • Introduced diseases: Encounters between explorers and populations in the rest of the world often introduced new diseases, which sometimes caused local epidemics of extraordinary virulence. For example, smallpox, measles, malaria, yellow fever, and others were unknown in pre-Columbian America.

Impact of Colonialism