PEDRO: Do you have the money?
MAN IN BLACK: Yes. Do you have the goods?
PEDRO: Si! Give me the money. I give you the goods.
MAN IN BLACK: Here it is (handing over a black briefcase).
Pedro picks up the case and grunts.
PEDRO: What you have in here man?
MAN IN BLACK: Just open it. I want my goods.
PEDRO: Ok. Ok.
Pedro cracks open the case and gasps.
PEDRO: What’s this man?! I asked for cash.
MAN IN BLACK: What? You don’t like silver?
PEDRO: No good for you. I wanted cash! This is Bogata and I’m king here!
MAN IN BLACK pulls out a large caliber revolver and fires 3 shots into Pedro. Pedro slumps over bleeding, the life pouring out of the large holes in his chest and back.
PEDRO: Why man? why?
MAN IN BLACK: I take what I want! Ha HA HA HA HA!
I recently finished the book 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann. And an interesting read it was.
We always hear and read about what the Europeans brought to the new world but rarely about the reverse. Mann posits that the world changed and become a true global market.
What did the New World get? Diseases, which decimated the local populations, horses, religion and metal technology.
What about the Old World? Various crops, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn (maize) and silver. Lots of silver.
Mann goes into detail about the exchanges. I thought one of the most interesting was the potato. He basically writes that the potato helped spur the growth of the European population. A farmer can get more nutrients from a potato dug out of the ground than from wheat and other cereal grains. At one time the average Irish male was subsisting on over 12 pounds of potatoes per day. Spud love.
The Irish potato famine is an early warning shot of what happens when a mono-culture of crops is created. One fungus virtually wiped out the entire potato crop in Europe and spawned the Irish migrations. Today, Ireland has fewer people than it did before the famine.
There are many more interesting tidbits of information and theory, but the other one that caught my attention is the little Ice Age from around 1550 to 1850. What caused it, one may ask? many theories abound, but the one Mann throws out there is the decimation of the native American population after the founding of Jamestown and other North American colonies.
The native Americans use to burn the forests. It would reduce the undergrowth creating space for them to plant native crops. The Europeans showed up with all their diseases for which the natives had no immunity. Fairly common knowledge.
No longer were the forests being burned so there was an explosion of growth and green. The trees sucked in massive quantities of CO2. Lower CO2 means colder weather. Thus the little Ice Age.
Interesting theory, right?
It’s a really good read. It’s not dry and boring and presents some interesting theories. make sure you fully read the close association between malaria and African slaves.
Think about it. Is the Columbian Exchange still happening today?