cross-posted from Indian Country
By Devon G. Peña, Ph.D.
One of the consequences of the conquest and settlement of North and South America by Europeans was the displacement and destruction of native biological and cultural diversity. The environmental historian Alfred Crosby has called the European invasion of the Americas [sic] a biological conquest and a form of “ecological imperialism.”
No space or native habitat touched by colonialism was spared the effects of this bio-invasion. Indigenous plants and animals were diminished by the violence and displacement associated with the arrival of European colonizers and their biotic baggage. Cattle displaced bison; sheep replaced native deer; wheat displaced maize and amaranth.
Europeans and others benefited from the arrival of the crops of Native America including amaranth, agave, avocado, bean, bell pepper, cashew, cassava, chili, cocoa (for chocolate) corn, guava, peanut, potato, pumpkin, tomato, vanilla, wild rice, and many more.
A demographic catastrophe resulted…
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