On the morning of October 12, 1492, as Columbus and his fleet of three ships approached the majestic shores of the new world, it marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. Until this historic moment, the two continents had lived separately from each other, unaware of the other's existence. However, as Columbus and his crew set foot upon the New World, the flood gates were suddenly opened as the country now known as America, fell into the hands of its European discoverers. With their arrival to the virgin lands, the Europeans encountered a world different from their own and quickly sought to "Europeanize" it as soon as possible. In essence, this meant transforming it into something which more closely resembled their home lands (Crosby 64). By manipulating the new environment to better reflect the surrounding of their home country, the explorers and later the settlers, began to break down the fragile ecosystem of the New World. With little regard for their impact on the environment, the progressive destruction of the natural habitat continued at an unprecedented rate. The mass devastation of the virgin forests and woodlands shattered the natural balance which had been in place for centuries. Little was spared from the invasive methods of Columbus and his fellow Europeans, including animals. As if the destruction of the native land was not drastic enough, the introduction of Old World species into the New World environment added another factor into the story of the conquest of the New World and its inhabitants. In the years following 1492, an onslaught of European species were introduced into the New World in an attempt to Europeanize the newly discovered ...
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... played a part in building what is the environment of present day America. Though these changes took place over four centuries ago, the results can see be seen for the outcome is in front of us every day - a unique and diverse biota composed of species from two worlds meshed together into one living environment.
Bedini, Silvio A. Editor in Chief. The Christopher Columbus Encyclopedia. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
Crosby, Jr., Alfred. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. West Port, Connecticut, 1972.
Gause, as quoted in Krebs, Charles J. Ecology 4th ed. California: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 1994.
Jones, Jr., Malcom. "When Worlds Collide", Newsweek. Fall/Winter 1991.
Sale, Kirkpatrick. The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy. New York, Penguin Books, 1990.
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