IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 3. Global Interaction Networks > b. The Exchange of New Products
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
b. The Exchange of New Products
 
An important part of the growing global integration of the early modern era was the exchange of many new goods and products both interregionally and globally (called the “Columbian exchange”). Agricultural goods from the Western Hemisphere had a profound impact on societies throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. The introduction of maize and potatoes aided in the rapid growth of population in China, Africa, and western Europe, and tobacco changed lifestyles around the globe. In the Western Hemisphere the introduction of new domesticated animals like horses and cattle transformed indigenous societies in many areas even before their conquest by Europeans. A special case of product exchange that had a major impact on global economies was the rapid increase in the available quantities of precious metals used for money, especially SILVER from the Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere. In some areas of Europe the growing money supply increased demand and encouraged productivity, thereby strengthening the economy. This was an important part of the economic growth in England, France, and Holland and may have played a role in the decline of Spain. It had a negative impact in those areas where the power of ruling elites was associated more with ownership or control of land. Outside western Europe, the influx of American silver appears to have bolstered commercial elements and to have aided the growing European economic dominance.  1
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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