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Columbian Exchange

Columbian Exchange exhibit at the Museum of the Coastal Bend in Victoria, TX

What is Columbian Exchange? How did it impact the New World?

When Europeans arrived in the Americas, they brought their stuff with them, and later took some stuff from the Americas back to Europe as well. In that manner there was an exchange of goods and ideas, which came to be known as the Columbian Exchange.

The Columbian Exchange was a widespread transfer of animals, plants, culture, technologies, diseases, people, and ideas between the Old World (Europe, Africa, and Asia) and the New World (the Americas) in the decades following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. This exchange devastated the population of the Americas and led to widespread slavery of Africans. And as a result of the Columbian Exchange, while fewer people have starved since 1492, the diversity of life on earth has diminished dramatically, and planting crops where they don’t belong has hurt the environment.