#EnvironmentalHistory Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Before 1492, the Irish had never seen a potato; the Italians had never seen a tomato, and neither cows nor horses had ever stepped foot in North America. For that matter, Blue Grass remained in Europe, not in what is today’s Kentucky. Europeans also brought dandelions. Pathogens came, too, which spelled disaster for the indigenous population (Native Americans); disease killed 80-95% of Native Americans within 150 years after 1492. Those are only a few of the numerous lessons provided in Alfred Crosby’s 1972 seminal work: The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. As we observe Columbus Day, it’s time to crack open a good beer and revisit the groundbreaking book that changed how we thought about 1492.