Alfred W. Crosby

Alfred W. Crosby (/ˈkrɔːzbiˌ ˈkrɑːz-/; born January 15, 1931, Boston, Massachusetts) is a Professor Emeritus of History, Geography, and American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of such books as The Columbian Exchange (1972) and Ecological Imperialism (1986). In these works, he provides biological and geographical explanations for why Europeans were able to succeed with relative ease in what he refers to as the Neo-Europes of Australasia, North America, and southern South America.


Recognizing the majority of modern-day wealth is located in Europe and the Neo-Europes, Crosby set out to investigate what historical causes are behind the disparity. According to Hal Rothman, a Professor of History at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Crosby “added biology to the process of human exploration, coming up with explanations for events as diverse as Cortez’s conquest of Mexico and the fall of the Inca empire that made vital use of the physical essence of humanity.”[1]

In 1972 he created the term Columbian Exchange in his book of the same name.[2] The term has become popular among historians and journalists, such as Charles C. Mann, whose 2011 book 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created expands and updates Crosby's original work.[3]

He has taught at Washington State University, Yale University, the Alexander Turnbull Library in New Zealand, and the University of Helsinki. He was appointed an academician by Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari. He is currently Professor Emeritus of History, Geography, and American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.


See also


  1. Rothman, Hal. "Conceptualizing the Real." American Quarterly 54.3 (2002): 485–497. ProQuest. University of Washington, Lynnwood. November 1, 2006.
  2. Crosby, Alfred W. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972
  3. de Vorsey, Louis (2001). "The Tragedy of the Columbian Exchange". In McIlwraith, Thomas F; Muller, Edward K. North America: The Historical Geography of a Changing Continent. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 27. Thanks to…Crosby's work, the term 'Columbian exchange' is now widely used…


External links

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