The comedy podcast that takes history seriously. Greg Jenner brings together the best names in comedy and history to learn and laugh about the past.
Fri, 17 Mar 2023 07:00
Greg Jenner is joined by Dr Caroline Dodds Pennock and comedian Desiree Burch in the 15th century to learn all about the Columbian Exchange which is often described as the start of globalisation. We go beyond the expeditions of Christopher Columbus to share the bigger story of a monumental exchange of plants, foods, animals, materials, people and culture across the continents. It’s also a life lesson on why you shouldn't set sail with a couple of cougars aboard your ship! Research by Roxy Moore Written by Emma Nagouse and Greg Jenner Produced by Emma Nagouse and Greg Jenner Assistant Producer: Emmie Rose Price-Goodfellow Project Management: Isla Matthews Audio Producer: Steve Hankey You’re Dead To Me is a production by The Athletic for BBC Radio 4.
This is the BBC. This podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK. All plans come with unlimited talk and text plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. Cut your wireless build at 15 bucks a month at MintMobile.com slash save. That's MintMobile.com slash save. Hurry, offer hints January 15th. Out of the turmoil of Victorian London, seven men emerged from the shadows. They each have the same target, the most famous woman in the world. She threw herself into the arms of those in the carriage and was horribly frightened by this attack. A Flintlock pistol has every chance of killing someone. Whether she was a young bride or an elderly widow, Queen Victoria was a target. But little is known about these would-be assassins and why they did it. Listen to Killing Victoria. Hello and welcome to Your Dead To Me, a Radio 4 comedy podcast that takes history seriously. My name is Greg Jenner, I'm a public historian author and broadcaster. And today we are journeying all the way back to 15th century America and Europe. And Africa and Asia for that matter. Because we are getting to grips with the Colombian exchange. It's an epoch making moment in history which has been described by some historians as the birth of globalization. Not all historians but some. And joining me to spin our big old globe are two very special guests. In history corner, she's senior lecturer in international history at the University of Sheffield. Not only is she a leading historian of the Aztecs, she has branched out across the Atlantic to explore how the indigenous peoples of the Americas travel to and discovered in the 1500s. You can read all about it in her brand new fascinating book on savage shores, which reverses the meaning of savage to talk about these shores in the UK. And of course you will remember her from our Aztecs episode. It's Dr Caroline Dodd's penneck. Welcome back Caroline. Hello, thank you for having me back. Pleasure, we're very excited to have you back. And in comedy corner, it wouldn't be a proper your dept to me series without our star alumna. She's a comedian, actor, writer and host. You've seen her all over the TV on Taskmaster, Franky Ball's New World Order, The Horn Section, and Neil Gaiman's Sandman. As a murderer. And you'll know her from multiple episodes of this very podcast, including recent highlights, history of timekeeping and Paul Robes and two of my faves. It's Desiree Birch. Welcome back Desiree. Thank you so much. First of all, can you please inform Yale that I'm a star alumna because all they do is send me requests for money. And nothing else. And also I want as a murderer to be in all of my interests from now on. All right. Well, what do you know of the Colombian exchange? Is it a phrase you've heard before? No, it sounds very sexy. But I, if it's about Columbus, like not sexy at all, complete boner killer. You know, as an American, you learn, it's like in 1400-192, Columbus, El Chandelier. And you find out that he actually landed in the Caribbean and called it India because he got real mixed up somewhere. About what direction he was heading. But like, he's a Italian. Right? Yeah. So how did he get... How did he... How did he... I'm going to leave my nation, go rock up in some other one and be like, hey, I'm going to do all of this like bad stuff for you and bring back a lot of gold. And you're going to love me. And I'm going to do it in your name. You're welcome. I'm out. He was a freelancer. He was a jumping freelancer. He was, you know, okay. He was working his hustle. So for that, we can give him credit. But for everything else, we just give him booze and, you know, broken glass. I'm resisting the temptation to answer all your questions. Because I have so many answers. I want all of them. All right. All right. So what do you know? This is where I guess what our listener might know about today's subject. And I do not think the Colombian exchange is a phrase people are knowing. But even if the phrase is unfamiliar, you will recognize the stuff that we're talking about today. Because the consequences of 1492 shaped the modern world. And that's no understatement. We're talking people, animals, foods, plants, even microbes. We're all introduced to new lands where they are now considered so normal that we don't even realize they are imports. So it's a massive moment in world history. And in terms of pop culture, the key player is Christopher Columbus himself, who you might recall from the night of the museum movie, which ironically was produced by a man called Chris Columbus. But what do we need to know about the Colombian exchange? And the important question is, what the heck is a love apple? Well, let's find out, shall we? Dr. Caroline, let's start with the basics. Who was this Columbus fella? And why was he Italian? I think Deseret has already told us a lot about him. He was Genoese. He was Italian. And he leads expeditions funded by the Spanish crown that in history have been credited with discovering America, even though he actually arrived in the Bahamas. He has four expeditions in 1492, 1493, 1498, and 1502. And in the beginning, he certainly thinks he's discovered India, which is why we call it the Indies, or they called it the Indies. And the term the Colombian exchange is invented in the 1970s by a scholar called Alfred Crosby to describe this big exchange as Greg said. And it's a really Eurocentric term because of course it puts all the emphasis on Columbus as usual and white men going out and exploring things as opposed to the exchange. But it's really important to realize that this is a reciprocal exchange, things are going both ways. Some historians would say 1492 is the beginning of globalization. Some would say it starts earlier. Deseret, out of curiosity, how would you define the word globalization? The way I think of globalization is that, I mean, I hate to say one big happy family because loads of people are not happy about it. But that essentially, we're no longer smaller, distinct cultures, countries where all sort of bleeding into one imperialism exported a lot of language and other stuff and then they were goods taken. But then suddenly Europe gets, I don't know, a banana or a pineapple or something and everyone's like, woo, I don't know, Moshpit. It's global Moshpit. Global Moshpit is a lovely line. I mean, Caroline, in a sentence, is global Moshpit a useful summary? It's not the one I would have gone for. But yeah, it's pretty fair. I think globalization is to do with the beginnings of global networks. And so some people located earlier with things like the Silk Roads, but if you look at 1492, networks tend to be within continents, even if they're quite big or within Africa and Asia, and by the time you get to 100 years later, the trade networks absolutely span the entire world. Columbus is a very controversial figure and we're not going to dwell on him today. But actually, the phrase Colombian exchange suggests it's all to do with him, but really we're talking here about a generation of navigators, explorers, invertecomas, sailors, merchants. Who else is sort of folded into that story, Caroline? We tend to focus on these European explorers, don't we? So as well as Columbus, you have people like Juan de La Cosa, Amarigo Vespucci, who America is named after. Ferdinand Magellan is perhaps the biggest. Magellan is famous for supposedly being the first to circumnavigate the globe in 1519, sailing from the Atlantic to the Pacific, actually though Magellan doesn't circumnavigate the globe, he dies. And so one of the ships of his expedition circumnavigates the globe, but it is important because it gives people a much clearer sense of what global geography looks like. Are there like a bunch of insane maps that exist from that time where they attach things to other things where you're like, that's not how it looks at all. There's an awful lot of stuff that's rooted in classical geography because they're very wedded, what with the Renaissance and everything, to the classical ideas. And so you have tons of these guys who sit down and do their maths and work out how big the world is. So Columbus is absolutely convinced that the world is shaped like a pair with a nipple on top of it. And then, you know, depending which way you go, it will take you longer or shorter, so there's actually some quite good map making in this period, it comes on really fast, but yeah, there's some pretty... I mean, if one looks like a boob then yeah. How pure alcatas man be, it's a big boob, guys, trust me, and it just gives and gives. Yeah, I mean, he thought he was sailing uphill as well. I mean, he does his own calculations. And when he lands in Cuba, I think he thinks he's in Japan, we think, so he's quite lost early on. So today, I mean, we are a comedy show and we're looking here for laughs and a little bit of energy. Obviously, this story has a huge amount of cruelty and horror when you look at the kind of grand scale of it. We're talking here about tens of millions of indigenous Americans dying into the story of colonial violence, of genocide, of devastating pandemics. It is not fun, it is not laugh out loud stuff. So we're deciding today not to focus on that. We're going to look instead on how the wide world was changed by the Colombian exchange, this sort of two-way spread of animals, foods, plants coming in and out of the Americas. We're going to start with the cutest of all, which is the animals. Desiree, are you an animal lover? You're a cat owner? I do. I have a cat. She's amazing. And I know that like, we got them because they were rats on boats. And then they took cats everywhere and like cats, they just get everywhere. It's like, you can't take a cat someplace and then you're like, where's that cat? That cat is gone. That cat has already made three other cats. If you were running your own ethical zoo and we were going to call it Desiree's Menashery, what lovely animals would you have in your little zoo? Oh my goodness. That would be great. Okay. All the cats, giraffes, because I love giraffes. A bunch of different birds, just as many birds as we could get to stick around all of the different colors. I love birds. I mean, what else? I don't know. You want like a rhino there. You want all the animals that probably come from the places that were colonized. And you want like random things that you forget or animals. Like the art bark and the cap of barra. Caroline, Desiree's Menashery sounds quite tricky to source. But in 1492 or rather pre-1492 in the Americas, how many of those animals are available on that landmass? I mean, birds and guessing giraffes, no. Definitely birds. As Desiree said, a lot of these are from colonized places, but not from the Americas. So like the whole safari is very much an African origin. Can I get a goat? Can I get a goat? No, not in the Americas. Sting! Lots of colorful birds, though, loads of lovely birds. What are the kind of animals that are indigenous to the Americas then that would be roaming around freely, either intermesticated or wild? Well, if you think of the area that the Spanish arrive in, the Caribbean lands controlled by the Aztec Meshiko, what's now Mexico, there are very few large animals that you would put in a zoo. You're talking about mostly small animals like dogs, guinea pigs, turkeys and parrots being domesticated. There's some wild games, some deer. There's bison in the north. Okay, they're pretty big. What's going to do with the American buffalo, which is pretty big. But apart from that, it's mostly small animal small dogs like the Chihuahua, for example. Lovely. You have little dogs, but not big dogs. Alpacas, are they indigenous to South America? Yeah, Alpacas in the Andes. But then, of course, things like jaguars. You do have, I'd completely eat. Guinea pigs, voles and then a jaguar. Terrifying jungle cats. I was focusing on things you could eat and things that were kind of domesticated and consumed, but then there are some wild animals like jaguars. And you have enough of you can hunt it and chase it and come at it from all sides. Well, the Essex definitely did, because they wore the jaguar skins, you know, for the warriors wore the jaguar skin. So somebody must have managed it. And in terms of agriculture, what animals are pulling the plows? You talked about small animals, so I'm guessing Chihuahua and guinea pigs are not the ones pulling the plackles. They don't have plows. They use digging stick, is what would be the English translation. So you have mixed agriculture where you have beans and corn and squash things like that together in one field. So instead, you have a human digging round them. You use manpower, essentially. And if you want to move something, you don't use a large animal, you use water or people. There's a funny thing after the Spanish arrival where they hate the idea of humans as beasts of burden, but they don't mind the indigenous people carrying them around in litters. Well, because if we just make them not human, then we can get them to do all the work. Yeah, don't get me started. Taylor's over time. Yeah, okay. When we talk about indigenous peoples, you've talked about the Meshika who we might call the Aztecs, and then there's the Inca in Peru. Obviously, there are many indigenous peoples in what we might call North America, who would also say Native Americans is a phrase sometimes used. They're all different from each other. It's not like this one great big body of people who agree on stuff. Absolutely. I mean, it's a vast number of peoples with infinite different kinds of beliefs and attitudes. In Mexico alone, you still have more than 60 indigenous languages spoken today. Wow. And hundreds of languages have been wiped out. Hundreds of tribes in North America and Canada. It's an infinite variety of people. But even though they're very different, they do tend to share a slightly different attitude to nature, than Europeans do. They see themselves as more interdependent with nature, more alongside animals and other natural forces, rather than simply owning them and exploiting them. So we do have to Spanish introducing new animals though. So we're talking today about an exchange. So we have the Spanish arriving in the early 1500s, I suppose, after Columbus, and they're bringing animals with them. Desiree, do you want to guess what animals those might have been? I don't know the Margarita panda and the Sangria cow. I imagine like being Europe, are they bringing cattle? Are they bringing like donkeys? It feels like they bring animals that either like pull things or animals that could be eaten or would make edible, edible, edible products. Caroline, is that Desiree on the money there? Yeah, that's absolutely right. So what you have is most of the large animals that we think of as things like cattle. So cows, sheep, goats, pigs, also big dogs, which they use for war, donkeys, as you said, all of these domestic animals that are seen as essential to European society were imported really early on. The Spanish do bring horses with them. I know there's this sort of interesting discourse happening at the moment about where the horses are indigenous, but the Spanish do bring horses with them, don't they? That's right. The Spanish are often said to have introduced horses, the Americas, but indigenous peoples have really argued that their connection to horses predates the Colombian exchange. They've argued that for a long time. We don't have a conclusive answer to it. What we do know is that the Spanish introduce a lot of new breeds of horse and many, many more horses. And within about eight years, you already have quite a large animal populations of most of the domestic animals we now think of. And there's a lack of predators. There's a lot of grasses, roots, things to eat. And so the animal populations increase really rapidly. Sheep don't do very well in Mexico because it's too hot, but once they get into the andes, they boom really quickly. And cows are really key. And they make big changes to what happens in the landscape. You have reports as early as the 1520s of herds of like 500 cows on places like his panola, maybe even 8,000, then you have cattle ranches in Mexico from immediately after the conquest in 1521. And this has devastating effects on the landscape. Well, of course, because they were putting all their cowfarts into the air already. And they're eating on there. They're sort of, I guess, if you're grazing cattle, they're going to change the landscape and the ecology of an area. And the other thing of course is when you get that many cattle and you get ranches, what happens when you get ranches, Desiree, who shows up then? I mean, people to rob the ranch. Like once you're there and you're stuck, you're sitting duck. Well, this is the arrival of, I guess, chaps in chaps by which I mean cowboys. And so by the late 1500s, so I guess the era of England, that would be the era of Elizabeth I, we're talking here about enormous cattle ranches all over southern North America, if you will, and Central America. How big would a small herd have been in terms of cattle numbers, Desiree, by this point? I mean, if you had said that there were like thousands of them before, right? Yeah. A thousand isn't a small amount of anything. I'm guessing a thousand cows is what you need to like have a working farm if you're making products. Is that a small one or is that too small? That's a micro herd. No, a small herd would be 20,000. That's too many cows, y'all. That's, this is out of control. There's a number at which any kind of animal becomes fraying. Well, some ranches had 150,000 cattle. What does that even look like? Or smell like, yeah. I just basically struggle and how do you name them? They can't all be called Daisy at that point. Surely. So by the late 1500s, we have enormous ranches of cattle farming happening. An explosion in cow numbers means you soon get heard of wandering wild cattle who will later become Texas Longhorn. Caroline, why would you have 150,000 cattle? Is it as a food source or is there something else you can do with cattle? They are partly for food. Europeans are very wedded to the idea that they should have meat. So yeah, there's partly food, but also cow leather become the hides are really important. They become a big export back to Spain, in fact. And they also produce vast quantities of tallowacks which can then be used in candles. So it means that candles become cheaply available across the Americas. They say that the wider availability of candles means you can make people work longer hours basically. So in digitus and enslaved, black people are required then to work even longer hours because there's cheap tallow candles available. I was hoping everyone was going to get a really relaxing bath. That would be so much nicer. Yeah. Yeah, they will get a spa day. Unfortunately, no, it's a terrific slavery. Unfortunately, but it's the pigs who seem to do particularly best of all Caroline. The maize, they kind of eat anything. They gain weight very fast pigs, but we don't wear pig leather. I don't wear pig leather. I may be people do, but I don't wear pig leather. We don't milk pigs. We just love bacon so much that it's worth it. I mean, so Caroline, what's the piggy boom all about? Is it just food this time? It's mostly food. Pigs are a perfect food source because you can keep them in your house. They help keep you warm. So they're the European animal that most quickly becomes part of indigenous food chains. Indigenous people don't have the land for grazing these large animals. Like I say, you can keep a pig in your house. And then when it has pig babies, you can slaughter the pig and grow the piglets. You know, it's a really easy food source. So pork becomes the primary meat for the poor. You've mentioned how Europeans and indigenous peoples are treating animals differently. There's a sort of a different level of respect for indigenous peoples as there is in the Spanish. And we know of an indigenous Tyno man. So when we say Tyno, is that an indigenous community that we're using a new word there, Caroline? Tyno is a word that incorporates lots of indigenous communities in the Caribbean. We don't think it was a word that was used at the time, but it's the word their descendants prefer. And so because we've lost most of their original names for themselves, we tend to use the word Tyno for many of the Caribbean people including people like the Kalinago. And so this gentleman was living on his banyola and he fell on hard times and he ends up with his own three little pig story. And it's sort of quite charming initially and then it's quite sad in the end. Do you want to tell us the tale, Caroline? So the Spanish conquisted all a naturalist Gonzalo Fernández de Obviero Valdez wrote this story down in 1543. This man apparently flees to the mountains to escape being part of a forced labor system called the Encomienda. And he lives in the mountains for about 12 years with the help of three tame pigs, which he supposedly trained to hunt like dogs. And so he and his little posse of pigs would go hunting for wild pigs. One pig does the tracking, one pig seizes them and one pig assists according to the story. I'm not sure exactly what that consists of. And then the man spears the prey, he eats the meat and the pigs get the awful because of course pigs will eat anything including humans. You can use them to dispose of a dead body if you like. And obviously they'd also forage for root some plants and things and the pigs are useful helping with that. The problem is what happens is apparently some Spanish soldiers mistake his pigs for wild pigs and they kill them and the man is devastated. And he apparently says those pigs gave me life and maintained me as I maintained them. They were my friends and good company. So having heard about our pig fella now let's hear about pig a fetter. A lovely segue they don't worry sorry that's a funky writing for me there but I've an issue man by the name Antonio Pigafetta who accompanied Magellan on his global circumnavigation in 1519 to 1522. As we heard Magellan died halfway round which doesn't count but senior pigafetta got himself a bit of a muddle when he was describing an animal he'd never seen before. So he said it had the head and ears of a mule the neck and body of a camel the legs of a deer and the tail of a horse. What had the Venetian pigafetta seen? It sounds like it's either a llama or an alpaca because of the camel body because they're like really cuddly camels. Yeah good guess absolutely these were native to South America and llamas were sort of quadruple threat in the eyes of Europeans because they produce wool and milk and meat and of course they provide you handy haulage services. They're very strong and they can carry stuff up the mountains and yet while pigs and cows were being bred like rabbits sorry weird analogy under the Spanish 16th century colonial empire. Lama's nearly go extinct Caroline how have the Spanish managed to nearly kill off an entire species of animal. What they essentially catastrophically mismanage overkill overbreed they just don't know how to deal with this new species. So although we know from some sources that we have llamas coming to Europe as early as 1558 in South America you have a catastrophic decline in numbers about 90% llamas nearly die out under the careful stewardship of the Europeans. Right okay so we've had animals arriving into the Americas here so the pigs and the sheep and the cattle perhaps the horses but following our intrepid seafaring llamas I love the idea of a llama on a boat. I have an amazing animal on a boat story they bring two jankuers back to Spain in the 1520s and one of the jankuers gets out on the boat and starts eating people and they're jumping over board. In the end they killed the jankuer and managed to confine the other one but it's a very dramatic story. Oh my god. We've taken animals out into the Americas from Europe and now let's do the reverse. So what other species does array are crossing back to Europe from the Americas. Interesting maybe the bison if there's anything else that we have it named that plows like the llama or that like we'll pull something probably that I can't imagine why you'd be like let's get all these guinea pigs on a boat like that is the weirdest version of Noah's Ark. I can't down them. I mean Caroline the most obvious one that that's why he's already mentioned early in the episode is birds right very keen I guess because birds are small you put them in cages but birds of a real hit in Europe aren't they? That's right a lot of the things that you mentioned is there a do get brought back just as curiosity is really because they want to see these new animals and it's it's a period of scientific interest and one of the things that's most appealing in terms of its appearance is birds you you mentioned liking birds and they have birds of amazing colors. They're thought really beautiful and vibrant and clever you often see parrots in particular train parrots. Parrots are also a big thing and other kinds of bird like the Ketzel among indigenous people who use their feathers for clothing and for ritual decorations. Is this how pirates got parrots? I cannot pretend to be an expert in the pirate kind of conjunction. But but yeah I imagine so because parents have been trained really early on and brought across the Atlantic so they're among the first things to be traded Columbus has parrots in October 1492 on his first voyage. You they start appearing on maps in the 16th century and they start appearing in Renaissance paintings in 1532 a friendship seized by the Portuguese had a cargo that supposedly included all these monkeys and jaguar skins and 600 parrots that supposedly could all speak French. I mean worse than having the French Machu is having French carrots not you because they'll just keep at it. So parents too can't would be another one as well coming across so as you say there are obviously various species coming through because of their curiosity but birds have really prized for their feathers and their colourfulness and their ability to speak and but they're showing up in Renaissance paintings as well aren't they we're seeing them in art as well. So let the second is supposedly woken up on one occasion by all the birds that have been brought over by a particular embassies and actually they become so associated with the Americas that pretty much every indigenous person starts being depicted with feathers on them in European art. Oh interesting. But let's move to a much smaller animal. Have you heard of the humble coach a neal? No but I can't wait to. It makes a big impact or rather a bug impact because it's a little it's a little insect sometimes called a beetle. I don't think it is a beetle but Caroline what's the coach a neal for? Well coach a neal is a tiny insect that lives on a kind of cactus and it's native to the Americas and if you squish it it creates a red dye, a really vibrant red dye. My people and Aztec Meshika people have been using that from at least as early as the second century BCE that we know of. It colours ceremonial textiles things for special events. It's the colors maps Aztec paintings the people who draw them are called the painters in red and black because of the red is such a big color in the paintings. And the Spanish really admire it and so they start copying the usage. It's also known as car mine in Europe people some so you might have heard it called car mine dye and it sets really well on wool. So those two things together and coach a neal becomes such a huge thing that dies are actually the second most valuable export from the Americas after silver. And it's a very light easy to transport you can make a lot of money with them and it transforms indigenous ways of life again because they start growing cacti rather than food stuff. So we have records of indigenous councils complaining about this basically newvo rich class of ordinary people who've started making a lot of money and why aren't they growing the maze like they're supposed to. The coming of the dies is really important obviously and also famously in 1776 our guys fought your guys deseret and unfortunately you guys won but the British army wore red coats and the red coat uniform was died with caution. Oh, okay, so I know we won but like you can see us now how much did we win. Yes, well, you know the American uniform is a diet of course with pure freedom. Let's talk now about plants deseret. What do you think is the kind of number one plant exports for me and my diet. I would say it's got to be the banana. I am fairly certain that that Europe I didn't have bananas because they're very to me associated with like Costa Rica Central America, whatever. Imagine that's where they came from but in my head that would be it because I find them so yummy but I bet you had something a lot more practical like rice maybe. Did that come from China? I don't know. I just want it to be bananas. I don't think I don't think bananas are from the Americas. I think they're from Indonesian and Malay kind of. Okay, make sense. Make sense. In terms of plant exports, probably the most important is particular kinds of wood especially Brazil wood in the early period and then rubber later. So Brazil wood, the fact is called Brazil wood, tells you where it comes from and it is exported partly because it's a very hard wood but also it makes amazing red dye again. We are really addicted to red dye. I know. So the Spanish export, Cochignal and the French export, Brazil wood and then later on you get rubber which is of course amazing. People like to credit the introduction of rubber to Europe talk I call condomin in the 18th century but actually the first accounts of rubber in Europe are indigenous people playing with rubber balls in 1528 brought over by Columbus and you have the... There may be even earlier there are some accounts of them playing the traditional ball game with something they call bouncy wood and that is rubber. There was a type of chewing gum, wasn't there? There was a sort of rubbery chewing gum. So there's a former chewing gum called Chiquelet which comes from a tree and according to the Ashek sources it's chewed by effeminate men. This is one of the few accounts we have of possibly people who aren't straight in indigenous culture. They rarely appear but in public apparently the only men who chew it are effeminate. That's so crazy that that was like sort of signaling. There's not all these things in the queer community about how you signal and they're just like sitting there chewing some gum if you know what I mean. Exactly. It's in a source that's all homosexuality is completely illegal in Ashek culture. You can't do it, you'll be burned alive and then in the same source it says and the effeminate men. They chew chickly in the marketplace and you're like oh there's a hint there at something going on. Would they be trans or would they be you know when they say effeminate men are they saying or do we just not have enough information to really know what they were. There isn't enough information to know. The history of rubber becomes very important later on in the 1700s it's called Kout Chouk. And then in the 19th century rubber becomes super important because of the vulcanization process of heating which makes it auto-proof and gives you you know rubber Wellington boots and Charles Macintosh's lovely coats. And I mean condoms condoms absolutely sure and but also tires for motor vehicles and bicycles a huge huge important thing what happens is that the Colombian exchange starts off as being transatlantic and then it becomes a global issue across all these colonies and so demand for rubber grows massively. And so what happens is they start to plant rubber trees in Sri Lanka Singapore and the Belgian control Congo. And here we have King Leopold II of Belgium who pretends to be a good guy and says hey I'm anti-slovery I'm all about there being a good guy but actually uses that as a basically a shield to run his own horrific enslavement society in Congo. 10 million people are thought to have died in this genocide where he forced people to work in the rubber industry. It's absolutely horrific but let's move on from a product that unfortunately resulted in the deaths of 10 millions of people let's talk about the product that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. What product is named after the 17th century French diplomat in scholar Jean Niko. I have no idea. NICOT. NICOTN. NICOTN. NICOTN. NICOTN. NICOTN. NICOTN. So tobacco. So it's a huge part of indigenous life in the Americas and after the Colombian exchange it is farmed and grown in the Virginia colony and it becomes one of the most consumed substances in the world, Caroline, doesn't it? That's absolutely right and people I think forget that whenever anybody is smoking or chewing tobacco or pipe cigarettes it's an indigenous practice that's been exported around the world. Tobacco in the Americas is seen by various indigenous cultures as essential to a physical social, spiritual well-being. The earliest archaeological evidence for the use of tobacco seeds is around 2500 to 1800 BCE in Peru and it's used in really different ways by different indigenous communities. So in Mesoamerica in ceremonial practice and in elite practice you tended to inhale smoke through pipes and cigars, workers chewed tobacco laced with lime which alleviated tiredness and thirst and hunger supposedly. And then in other parts of the Caribbean and in the Highlands of South America people would sniff dry tobacco and it's supposedly alleviated headaches and also lesions on the skin. You can use it in symbolic ceremonies. Europeans arriving were often made part of tobacco ceremonies and it's one of the first indigenous things that Columbus encounters. He's presented with dried tobacco leaves in 1492 on the 12th of October I think it is and there are ceremonial gift and then he throws them away which is pretty typical. Really and of course famously in North America smudging and using tobacco is often used for ceremonial purposes as well so it's really widespread. And we have the story of Rodrigo de Heres who is one of Columbus's crew and he takes up smoking after seeing indigenous people using a pipe to drink smoke as he described it. At the time he was on a scouting mission in Cuba. Do you know who he was trying to find in Cuba, Desiree? I have no who is he trying to find in Cuba. The Emperor of China. Wait what? What? Obviously. Oh why was I trying to be logical about this? I'm so sorry that doesn't make any sense. And according to legend and it's a very dubious story we can't really stand it up when Rodrigo de Heres returned to Spain. He became apparently the first ever European to smoke in Europe and what do you think the locals allegedly made of this site of him drinking smoke? I'm sure they thought he was some kind of mystical dragon at this point and he should be worshipped as a god. Bear in mind this is during the Inquisition. Oh well then they definitely burn him at the stake. Story goes Caroline. Do we think this is reliable? Lots of places on the internet say that he was reported to the Inquisition because they thought he was sociating with the devil somehow because of the smoke. The Inquisition put him in prison and when he gets out everybody's smoking. That's how the story goes. And he's like damn you! It's one of those things though again where we're focusing on the Europeans but probably indigenous people are smoking in Europe before that. And we have accounts of enslaved people smoking in Seville for example because people complain that they're sneaking off for a smoke break essentially to alleviate and using tobacco to alleviate their tiredness. We've also got the diplomacy history gift giving which is already an important part of this story. The exchange element and we do know of as you said the Maya people coming to the Spanish court. What is that moment like? How are they speaking to the Spanish King? This is in 1544 when a group of Maya lords led by a man who's become a great community hero among the Maya in his area. He leads an expedition to the Spanish court and several Maya lords come along with Spanish priest to a local and community elders and they bring all these gifts on this long crossing and with this amazing record where they all sit down and they record exactly who gave what? So we can be sure which community contributes what? And this has all been recorded in all traditions as well as in community held documents. And they bring with them though in relation to the Columbia and Exchange all this amazing stuff. So they bring whisked chocolate, clay pot, chilies, beans, maize, ketzel feathers, loads of ketzel feathers. And these gifts have really symbolic meanings as well as practical ones. They're not just showing the riches of where they come from but also the fact they're making cocoa and they're the first people to make drinking chocolate in Europe that we know of. There's an earlier record of someone bringing beans but this is the first record of drinking chocolate and it's brought by indigenous people made at the Spanish court. And presumably that means there were women who aren't mentioned in the party because women are usually the people who make the chocolate. Ah, so women have been written out of this because we did an episode on the history of chocolate with Richard Osmond if listeners want to check that out but women here are an important part of this story because they're the ones preparing the chocolate for the Spanish courtiers and royal family. I'm speculating but it would be very unusual for chocolate being made by men in this context and so you kind of have to read between the lines to see some of the practicalities of what's going on. The feathers are very, very obvious. So these are the things that are recorded most prominently. These incredible ketzel feathers that are very rare. You're not allowed to kill the bird. You pluck the feathers and let them go. The birds are sacred. They're really associated with my identity and with divine beings. They have this very successful expedition and in return the Spanish king gifted the delegation these huge silver bells for their church as well as all these other objects, crosses and cloth and religious objects to spread Catholicism in the Americas. This is like when Homer gives March the bowling ball. We gave you all this stuff that's important to us and useful and chocolate and you're like, here's some Jesus stuff so we can wipe out your religion and your practices. There's a little bit more going on to it than that because actually our pop bats is supposedly the first Maya chief to voluntarily convert to Catholicism. And he does that because he's seen what happens to other communities around. Is that voluntarily? Well, that's the thing recorded as voluntarily is a careful phrasing, but it does seem like he deliberately realizes that if he acts in this particular way, it will protect his community. Is this amazing story of this incredible journey where they bring them and the bells are so heavy they sink into the ground on the way back and one of them supposedly you can still hear ringing under the ground during storms and things because they can't recover it. It's this amazing community history about that first connection. Just a little mini quiz for you, Desirek, is your such a quiz champion? We thought you'd give you two quizzes in the episode. Great. I don't do well under pressure. Well, here's the first of two pressure situations because many mini quiz, which of these foods were not in European or Asian or African cuisine prior to 1492? So I'm going to list lots of foods here and you tell me which of them was not available. So tomatoes, squashes, chilies, avocados, pumpkins, papaya, potatoes, blueberries, peanuts, which of those not available? I want to say chilies because we've talked about them or did they get chilies before? That's the only one that we've mentioned so far. Do you want to give me the list again? I'm going to put you out your misery instead. We've basically cheated you here. Every single one of them is from the Americas. I was going to say, where the heck did you get the papaya? Absolutely everything there and more is foods. So we think about tomatoes in Italian cuisine. We think about the importance of squash in African cooking. We think about avocados. What were Italians eating before tomatoes? Yes, potatoes. Imagine European food with appetizers or Indian food with appetizers or peanuts. These are all from the new world as the Spanish are calling it. These are all from the Americas. So the colonialism is so woven into their identity that they wouldn't even have the foods we consider to be Italian without that? Exactly that. So in Caroline, do you want to talk us through some of these and are there any ones I've missed out? Well, there are so many that I could just list huge numbers, but some of the ones that we're less aware of are actually the most valuable in terms of contemporary global trade. So peanut oil and sunflower oil are two of the biggest things to come out of the Colombian exchange massively used in terms of modern value. Chile is our introduced to South Asian cooking by the Portuguese and that's the beginning of a network that leads it then all across Africa and Asia. All beans except soybeans come from the Americas. You have these three plants that are so central, don't you to indigenous cuisine, maze beans and squash called the three sisters that are grown together. Europeans are really, really skeptical of this kind of growing, but you remember it's only a hundred years or so later they realize that you need to do crop rotation because of the land becoming deprived of nutrients where the beans are putting the nutrients back into the soil. The indigenous people are doing an amazing job of farming. Tomatoes are really, really popular, of course. They are getting all across Italy and Spain and places by the end of the 16th century. The word tomato is from the Nahuatl language, which is the Aztec language. They become really popular. Potatoes are variably introduced. What we have is this suspicion of indigenous foodstuffs and people like to say that potatoes can't be a good foodstuff because they look like they've got these marks on the skin that might give you leprosy. But what they mean is elite people aren't really eating them where ordinary people are eating them quite early on. They recognize their potential. Plus, they're not listed as one of the things you might get taxed on. So of course these new things start being eaten more widely because they're not in the list of things where people come and say give me one tenth of your corn or whatever it is. I will say from personal experience that poverty really will diversify your diet. The Swiss naturalist Gaspar Buhar thought that potatoes caused leprosy, lust and flatulence, which is the perfect combination for a great night out. They weren't wrong at all. And then the tomato, so from the Noir Hatel language spoken by the Aztecs, but in Europe it was nicknamed the love apple or the pom de moure in French, which is very sexy. I mean, is that because it looks a bit sexy? Caroline, look at the shape of it. Yeah, King Philip, the second stock, anandis de Toulet, though, he called it venereal enlessibius because he thought it looked like a vulver. Oh. Wait, what are we talking about? Tomatoes. And when you cut it in half, he thought it looked like a vulver. You really aren't looking at a lot of them, but sure, sure, sure. I mean, a lot of fruits look like vulvas when you cut them open. It's down to him for over sexualizing tomato. Oh, he went even further. He said that it was a kind of cold moist fruit, which meant it was feminine in the galenic tradition of the humus. And of course, anything that might be female is bad implicitly. The galenic system is the four humus, which is how the body was understood to operate. And if you want to check that out, we've got an episode on ancient medicine where we talk about the four humus. So go listen to that and then come back, listen to this again. Let's get onto one of my favourite foods, the fanciest of all the foodstuffs, the humble or rather not humble pineapple. Caroline, why is the pineapple so exciting for Europeans? And can you tell us about the history of the pineapple? It just seems really, really exotic, I think. And also it's very difficult to grow in Europe, which means that it's usually an import at the beginning. So it means you're rich enough to have one of them. In the Americas, pineapples are either eaten as food, not just raw, but also sometimes roasted or dried. People drink them as wine. They take them as medicine. They use the fibers for netting. They even use poison from them on their arrowheads. By the time Columbus saw pineapple on his second voyage in 1493, it's all across South America really. And he brought quite a few back to Spain in 1493 as part of his gifts to the crown, but only one of them actually survives the journey. He presents it to King Ferdinand II and Ferdinand says it's better than all other fruit and it was really delicious. Basically, it's really, really tasty and unusual for Europeans. Walter Rally says, no man can express in words the excellence of that fruit. So far, does it exceed all others? He says they were always very understated. But as I say, it was very hard to grow. So it remains a luxury. And then so you get these amazing surviving things in European houses where they sculpted pineapples in the banisters and things. And it's a symbol of wealth and of luxury and also a conversation starter you put it on your table and people go, ooh, what's that? Yeah, I mean, Desiree, you could actually rent a pineapple for your dinner party. Well, I've heard about this. I wasn't until I moved to the UK because I'm from California. There's pineapples. People will be having pineapples. It's just a sweet fruit. But like that when the pineapple came, there were parties, like regal parties and people would be like, yo, Claire got a pineapple at our house. And people would all just be like, we got to go and look at it. And I was just like, I mean, before TV happened, entertainment was sparse. Was it not? Yeah. In the 18th century in Jane Austen's time, you might, is exactly that. So I might rent the pineapple for the party, pop it on the middle table and everyone would be like, ooh, look at me. You're a good pineapple. How long can you rent a pineapple before it starts being a little soft and scuzzy? Not that long, I imagine. I imagine they last a bit and then probably not so long. Just to reverse up, I want to talk a little bit about some of the foods that came into the Americas, because we've been talking about foods that are arriving into the Europe and Asia and Africa. But what about the reversal? Cows and goats, presumably. Cows and goats, yeah, we've talked about the meat, absolutely. Yeah. Anything else though that you haven't talked about that maybe went the other way? Okay. Well, we have the meat. What about plants? What have gone there? I can't think of it. I mean, I'm going to be definitely offensive being here. I'm just like, what, like the cauliflower or something. Like, it's one of those things, like a sweet parsnip, like all of those things that I think of that I never ate or even thought about before I moved to this country. But when I think about things that I eat a lot here, they're like, root some Rudy things maybe. You're bang on with cauliflower. Yeah, in Carolina, there's a raise, correct with that one. Actually, it's a long list, isn't it? You want to race us through the list? You've got wheat, olives, sugar, which becomes huge in the Caribbean, of course. Onions, citrus fruits from Spain, rice, coffee, peaches, pears, turnips, grapes. Of course, the Spanish introduce olives, grapes for olive oil and wine and then wheat for white bread. Really quickly, those things are really important. Color flowers, as you said, and cabbages and radishes and lettuce, all that sort of thing. Figs and oranges and lemons and those sorts of plants all did prosper really, really quickly. But there are others that don't grow quite as well. So wheat takes a while for them to work out where to grow it. So it remains white bread remains a luxury for a while, for example. So that's a sort of huge global exchange. That's why it's called the Columbia and Exchange. Stuff comes in, stuff goes out and all these foods and all these plants and all these animals that are now everywhere in the world. They are being seeded into new lands, into new fields, into new cultures and societies. It's an enormous transition. I mean, it's a really fascinating history, isn't it, does it? I mean, it's delicious, for sure. It's tragedy plus yummy food, which I think is the story of like all cultures. The New Ones Window! This is where our expert Dr Caroline talks to us for two whole uninterrupted minutes. And without much further ado, can we have the New Ones Window please, Caroline. It's really easy thinking about this topic to end up creating this picture of a jolly cosmopolitan world. A place where Europeans and Indigenous peoples exchange thoughts and goods and where they're cultures and ideas entangled and where we get the roots of all the tasty things that make up our modern world. But what often gets forgotten, I think, is the human dimension in all of this. And when we do history about the people involved, they're nearly always white men, Columbus, Magellan, Walter Rally with his tobacco and potatoes, even though he wasn't the first to bring either of those things to Europe. But Indigenous people, as we've heard, also crossed the Atlantic from the very moment of First Encounter. We heard about the Maya Lords at the Spanish Court. And it's really tempting to think of them as an exception. But what I want to point out is that in reality tens of thousands of Indigenous people came to Europe after 1492. These are the people who were smoking in the streets of Seville and preparing chocolate in family homes. They helped create the first Indigenous alphabet. They demonstrated how to use Brazil wood canoes and hammocks. They've transformed European languages and cultures. Some of these people, like the Maya Lords, were elite ambassadors. Others were interpreters, traders, sailors, family members, servants. But the majority, and those people who most often get forgotten, were the tens of thousands of enslaved people who were sold into the slave markets of Europe after 1492. Close to 5 million Indigenous people were enslaved before 1900. And many of them were shipped to Europe across the Atlantic in appalling conditions. Like many African and African-descended peoples, Indigenous peoples too were dragged into the brutal transatlantic slave trade. They're not always easily visible to us in these stories, but they are part of this global history and part of the Colombian exchange. And so I want people to remember to look for them when they're thinking about this story. Thank you so much. I mean, that's a really important, final thought in it, in Caroline. It's huge. Thank you so much. Because I think we tend to oversimplify our history, obviously, as you well know as a historian. But you don't think about Indigenous people being on all of those boats, Indigenous people working themselves into all of these European cultures as well. We don't hear about how important, not just the goods and the products, but the people have been to the formation of global culture and European cultures. So thank you. Absolutely. Tens of thousands of people. That's a huge number of people. So it's a really interesting history. So what do you know now? It's time for the so what do you know now? Desiree, you are our all-time quiz champion. Oh, man. If a guest gets full marks, we now officially in the office say that they've birched it. So... Thank you for making my surname a very cool verb. To birch it means to absolutely nail it beyond exception. That's amazing because it used to just mean to walk into a room and eat sand. So I'm really happy that I'm growing in stature and reputation. Thank you. So here we go. Ten questions. And we'll start with an easy one. Question number one. In what year did the Columbian Exchange begin? Oh, in 1492. Very good. Okay, question two. We're off. Name three things the Columbus initially got wrong about the discovery of the Americas. Okay, three things that he got. Dear, well, I mean, obviously the main one is the location. He thought he was going to India and that never happened. But initially, oh my goodness. What else did he... Shape of the world? Oh, I mean, that's so stupid. But yeah, he thought it was boob-shaped. It was... sorry. It was pear-shaped, but with a nipple. And think of a certain plant that we eat now in spicy foods? Oh, obviously. So he called like chili peppers. He thought it was a pepper plant. And so he called them peppers, but they're something else. Very good. Question three. Which robust animal introduced in the Americas by Europeans adapted best of its new surroundings and provided warmth as well as meat? Oh, yes. Those toasty pigs. Oh, my, those yummy toasty pigs. Question four. Name three of the gifts that Maya Lord delegates brought to the Spanish Court of King Philip the second. Okay, so they brought chocolate. They brought the ketzel feather, which was sacred. One more. Fruit? Yep, fruit. They brought the fruits. Question five. Which food whose name comes from the Norhatal language of the Aztec Empire was nicknamed the love apple? Tomato. Yes. Tomato. This is volvic, yonic tomato that's turning all of the men on and turning them to Satan. Absolutely. Question six. According to very dodgy legend that we cannot stand up on the internet. What happened to tobacco smoke or Rodrigo de Heres when he returned to Spain? He got, got imprisoned for like associating with the devil. That's right. And then everyone started smoke at the betrayal. I'm still mad. I'm so mad. Correct. Question seven. Besides food products. What else did cattle farming contribute to the economy in the Spanish Americas? I mean, so much environmental damage. Yeah. Sure. Is the main takeaway that I got from that? Think about artificial light. Oh, of course. Obviously, because they could get the tallow from the cow. That's right. And then make candles and make slavery even more productive. Question eight. It's made from the heavier tree. What was Chicklay? Oh, it's gum. Chewing gum. Yes. That's right. Question nine. Name three ways that pineapples were used by indigenous peoples back in the Americas. Do you remember this bit? Oh, okay. So yes, they were used, I mean, obviously as food that were used as drink. Yep. You could eat them by smoking them. You could juice them. You could also use, there's apparently a pineapple poison. Yes. They can have a good tip of an arrow. I didn't know that pineapples were poisoned. If they are also medicinal, obviously anti-inflammatory and all these other things too. And a netting as well. Very good. And this for a perfect score. There's a very birch. Is she gonna birch it again? What animal native to the Americas did it confused, unbamused, and Tonya pick a feta, describe as a mashup of a mule camel deer and horse? Oh, the llama. Yes. Oh, my God. I'm so glad that we ended with the llama. They're the cutest in the world. And they do jump like deer. They're so big. It's a camel size. And you see them and they leap over a fence and you're like, how is that physically possible? They are the Steve McQueen of the animal kingdom, aren't they? They're always kind of a skate concaptor. You can see him on a motorbike. They eat 50 eggs. Yeah, totally. Amazing. It's an out of 10, Desiree Birch. I've flawless performance once again. Never in the house. Yes, yes, yes. Listen up. If you want to hear more from Dr. Caroline Dors Penock, you can check out our episode on the Aztecs. Way back in series one. Or if you're desperate for more Desiree, of course you are. Then you've got plenty to choose from my personal fav, history of timekeeping because we had a lovely nerdy time and I think you slightly lost your mind at one point about how timekeeping rules the world. Yeah, it's overwhelming when you realise it. That's a good episode. But if you've enjoyed today's episode, please leave a review online, tell your pals about the podcast, share it around, subscribe to your day to me on BBC Sound so you never miss any future episodes. But I'd like to say a huge thank you to our guests in history corner. We had the brilliant Dr. Caroline Dors Penock from the University of Sheffield. Thank you, Caroline. Thank you for having me on again and listening to me ramble about all of these fascinating things. And in comedy corner, the birch queen herself, the inimitable quiz machine, it is Desiree Birch. Thank you, Desiree. I mean, it is always a pleasure I've learned so, so much. So thank you. Absolutely. It's fascinating stuff and global history is everyone's history. So, you know, it's all interconnected. But to you, lovely listener, join us next time as we sink our teeth into more tasty historical treats. Now, I'm off to go and see how much this pineapple is worth on eBay because I reckon I can rent it out. Bye! You're dead to me was a production by the Athletic for BBC Radio 4. The research was by Roxie Moore. The episode was written and produced by MNGUS and me. The assistant producer was Emie Rose Price Goodfellow. The project manager was Eila Matthews and the audio producer was Steve Hanford. Hello, I'm Nayo and I am so pleased to be back for series two of the Music and Meditation podcast. When I'm lying down, my eyes are closed and my hands on my heart, that's kind of who I am. I feel like I could speak to you all day. That's what I'm saying. If you're curious about meditation and how it can help you, then this is the podcast for you. Allow your body to relax. Notice your breath in this moment. Tune into my series, The Music and Meditation podcast on BBC Sounds. Hit subscribe now to get new episodes as soon as they're released. I'm glad you knew you just listened to that every single day, every morning. There's no way your life couldn't change. Yeah, of course. Seven years ago, I was filming East London Mosque. When the story broke, the three schoolgirls from the area had gone missing. They were heading to Syria to join the Islamic State Group. Shamima Begum was the only one of the girls to emerge from the ashes of the so-called caliphate. I've retraced her steps to investigate the truth of her story. What do you think people think of you? As a danger or as a risk? The Shamima Begum story, series two of I'm Not A Monster. Listen, wherever you get your podcasts.