“Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.” This was a quote from none other than Christopher Columbus, the “first” person who discovered America. This quote sums up the greatest interest of the Europeans of the time. Over the course of history, it shows that any two regions have their own similarities and differences. The Americas and East Asia are no exception. Both have their own similarities and differences no matter how you put it. The Americas and East Asia were two very different regions, but they share some similarities. The first similarity they share is that both had trade with the Europeans, which is economical. The second similarity is that both were being targeted by the Europeans to convert to Christianity, which is cultural. The first difference they had was the colonization, which is environmental. The second difference is one’s population drop, which is also environmental. The Europeans impacted both the Americas and East Asia economically was through trade. One piece of evidence that showed trade happened in the Americas was the Columbian Exchange. The Columbian Exchange was a huge trade route between the New World and the Old World.
It brought a bunch of new things into both worlds such as goods, animals, and diseases. (Crosby) Trade occurred between the New World and Old World because the Old World wanted to bring in their old stuff into the New World that didn’t exist there. They brought in new animals such as horses, cattle, and sheep. Along with that, the Europeans brought new crops such wheat and rice. But with that came diseases that the Natives had never faced before. In exchange, the New World gave them new crops such as corn (maize), potatoes, and different squashes. They wanted to bring their old stuff into the New World because they were used to that environment that they already had lived in, and they were not willing to part ways with that. (Crosby) In East Asia, trade was also taking place with the Europeans. The Europeans wanted to trade with them because of spices, which is why this was called the Spice Trade. (Speilvogel, 2005) The Europeans wanted spices because they were only found in that part of the world.
The spices were seen as a sign of great wealth to whoever had possession of them. Traders would risk their lives finding a route to Asia just for spices. The spices were extremely expensive; only the upper class could afford them. That is why they were seen as a sign of wealth. (Spielvogel, 2005) The Americas and East Asia were both points of great trade to the Europeans. Without them, the course of European history could have changed massively than it is today. The Europeans impacted the Americas and East Asia culturally through the influence of Christianity. When the Europeans first came to America, the Natives followed their own religion. The Europeans did not like this, so they forced the Native Americans to follow Christianity by conquering them and sending out missionaries from Europe to teach and convert them. (Lu, 1997) The spread of Christianity happened to the Native Americans because the Europeans wanted to convert everyone to the religion. One of the reasons why the Europeans started exploring the world was because they wanted to spread their Christian religion. They did everything for the glory of God. (Lu, 1997)
The influence of Christianity also happened to the East Asians. The Europeans sent missionaries to the region just like in the Americas. They even built churches in Asia to have their worship services. At first, the kings allowed this to happen. (Halsall, 1997) But over time, they did not let them follow Christianity anymore. The reason why it got banned was because of the issue of worshipping the dead. Chinese culture calls for it to be mandatory, but the Pope and Christianity deemed it otherwise. The Emperor did not agree with the pope, so he banned the religion. The Europeans wanted to spread Christianity the same reason why they wanted to spread it to the Native Americans. They wanted everyone to be Christian. But as you can tell, it didn’t go so well. But today, there are still Christians that live in East Asia. As now you can see, East Asia and the Americas were both targeted by the Europeans to convert to Christianity. The Europeans made it a mission to convert anyone they see or find to the religion. But as you read above, the results were mixed.
Environmentally, the first difference between East Asia and the Americas was that one got completely conquered, while the other barely got hit. The Americas were the ones that got conquered completely, while the East Asians were the ones who withstood the Europeans. The Europeans completely conquered the Americas because they started building colonies and moved the Native Americans out of their homeland. They accomplished this through nothing other than gunpowder. The Native Americans have never seen or faced gunpowder in their entire lives so they were no match for the incoming settlers. (Spielvogel, 2005) The Europeans wanted to colonize the region because they wanted to start new lives in America. They wanted to practice their religion freely without getting interruptions from anybody. Again, they accomplished their colonization through gunpowder. Unlike the Americas, the Europeans barely got into East Asia. The people in the region had too strong of bond with each other that the Europeans couldn’t have possibly overcome. (Spielvogel, 2005) The fact that the Europeans did not build colonies or settle in the region is evidence by itself that East Asia was not conquered by the Europeans. Again, the Europeans were not able to conquer the East Asians because they were so sophisticated; they had a unity with one another. It would have been really difficult for the Europeans to overcome what the Asians had.
Environmentally, the second difference between East Asia and America was the population drop in America, while there wasn’t any significant drop in East Asia.(Speilvogel, 2005) As the Europeans conquered America, they had to kill massive amounts of people in order for them to settle in. But the Europeans brought diseases into the region that the Natives had never faced before. The diseases did the majority of the damage to the population. As a result of European exploration, the East Asians did not face a massive population drop. The Europeans couldn’t get into the land; therefore they could not kill the natives that lived there through weaponry or disease. The East Asians were able to resist the population drop because of their ability to withstand the Europeans. As a result of gunpowder and disease, the American population dropped. But the same thing cannot be said about the East Asians.
Christopher Columbus. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved December 18, 2012, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/christophe100795.html Crosby, A. (n.d.). The gilder lehrman institute of american history. Retrieved from http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/american-indians/essays/columbian-exchange Spielvogel, J. J. (2005). Glencoe world history. New York, N.Y.: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. Lu, D. J. (1997). Japan: A documentary history. (pp. 196-197). (Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe. Retrieved from