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In 1492, Columbus landed upon the New World, now known as the Americas, which established a linkage to the Old World. Historian Alfred W. Crosby wrote The Colombian Exchange which provides us with an inside look as to what actually occurred due to this linkage between the New and Old World. One of the most emphasized concepts he shared was how disease, specifically smallpox, decimated the indigenous population. He states, “…Antonio de Herrera wrote… as one of the main differences between the Old and New Worlds the extreme susceptibility of the natives of the latter to diseases, especially smallpox… rarely infected anyone of European birth. The Indians became so enraged by the invulnerability of the Spaniards to epidemic disease…” (Crosby 38). The Spanish not only had advantages of technology, such as ships and high-quality weapons, but they also had stronger immunity and the “animal advantage”. The indigenous peoples had far less domesticated animals and prior exposure to disease. Thus, Ecological Imperialism, migrating humans taking plants and animals with them, homogenized the world’s biota and had a large impact on the indigenous. When pathogens migrate, which came from the exchange of native plants and animals, disease ultimately became a big part of annihilating the indigenous society.
Furthermore, Crosby also demonstrates how there was a shift in power structure due to this exchange of living organisms. He declares, “Not only the Inca but many others in key positions in Incan society died in the epidemic. The deaths of these important persons must have robbed the empire of much resiliency” (Crosby 55). By way of disease, nearly every person exposed got sick which led to a very high death rate and very few people well enough to care for the ill. Thus, through disease, the power structure of the indigenous people was assaulted by Europeans: disease was the component which truly allowed the Europeans to have control over the region. The indigenous were surrounded by piles of bodies and structure was lost which means that their society was no longer capable of functioning how it was accustomed to. Ultimately, disease led to the demise of the indigenous people’s cultural makeup causing a reconstruction of new societies and different groupings, which leads us to how the structure of economic, political, and social power came to be today. 

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