Write an essay on one unintended consequence of the Columbian Exchange. To begin, read the examples of actions and consequences below, and note how each consequence was unintended.

Some European sailors have smallpox. They come in contact with Native Americans and pass the disease on to them. The disease devastates whole cultures.

Europeans take potatoes back to the New World. Some European countries become overly dependent on the potato as a main food source.

Affluent Europeans buy sugar from the New World. The slave trade burgeons as European colonists buy slaves to work on sugar cane plantations.

Conquistadors bring horses with them to the New World. Plains Indians and other Native Americans become expert horsemen.

Conduct Research, Choose a Topic, and Write a Thesis Statement

Conduct some online exploration to find more consequences of the Columbian Exchange, and decide whether they are intended or unintended. Choose one unintended consequence and do in-depth research on it. Gather details such as locations or countries, key people, populations involved, and ways in which the unintended consequence can be seen many years or even centuries later. Then, write the consequence in the form of a question, such as, “How did the introduction of the horse to the New World change the lives of Native Americans?”

Use the question to formulate a thesis statement for your essay. The thesis should answer the question. Using the sample question above, the thesis would be, “Plains Indians domesticated horses from Europe. They became famous for their skill in hunting and fighting from horseback.” Write your thesis statement in one or two clear sentences.

Thesis Statement:

Write Your Essay

Write an essay that supports your thesis statement. Include details such as locations or countries, key people, populations involved, and ways in which the unintended consequence can be seen many years or even centuries later.

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