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The Neo-Columbian Exchange: The Second Conquest of the Greater Caribbean, 1720-1930

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Title: The Neo-Columbian Exchange: The Second Conquest of the Greater Caribbean, 1720-1930
Author: McCook, Stuart
Abstract: The landscapes of the Greater Caribbean have been undergoing a process of ecological globalization since the arrival of European explorers and settlers in the late fifteenth century. The character of this ecological globalization has changed over time. Models of commodity-led economic development drove, directly or indirectly, the neo-Columbian exchanges of the long nineteenth century (roughly 1720-1930). The neo-Columbian exchanges differed from the Columbian exchanges of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in several key ways: They were increasingly mediated by imperial and transnational scientific institutions. The geographical scope of the exchanges grew, and the Greater Caribbean saw many new direct introductions of people, plants, and animals from Asia and the Pacific, as well as from the eastern part of the Atlantic World. A parallel movement of pathogens from Asia and the Pacific also introduced new epidemic diseases—especially crop diseases—to the Greater Caribbean. The neo-Columbian exchange drove the region's dramatic expansion in agricultural production, but this constructed abundance came at the expense of ecological impoverishment and fragility.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3161
Date: 2011
Citation: Stuart McCook. 2011. “The Neo-Columbian Exchange: The Second Conquest of the Greater Caribbean, 1720-1930.” Latin American Research Review 46 (S): 11-31.


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