The extent of the impact of European explorers' contact is absolutely astonishing. Their actions have shaped not only the present day lives of people in Europe and the Americas, but the entire world. The migration of peoples from Europe to the New World resulted in tremendous biological changes in the natural world. European contact with the Americas also resulted in many economic, social, and political changes that both benefited and harmed the lives of all Europeans.
Settlers in the New World launched an agricultural revolution that dramatically affected the European economy. Migrants wanted to turn the New World into the Old. They wished to feel comfortable in their new surroundings, by recreating the foods they that they were familiar with. Everywhere Iberian migrants settled, they raised wheat and olive trees. Christopher Columbus introduced sugar plants on his second voyage to the New World, and the Spaniards introduced rice and bananas.
The explorers also brought over domesticated and herding animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, pigs, and chickens. In return, the Europeans brought back the main American crops--maize, potatoes, beans, squash, pumpkins, avocados, and tomatoes. Maize proved to be an extremely important crop for Europeans. It gradually spread across the continent and became a major European crop in and of itself. Thanks to this agricultural revolution, Europe experienced a population explosion, which is a sign of economic growth. There were more consumers and producers than ever.
The European economy also prospered because of the African slave trade, unfortunately. There was a tremendous need for able laborers to maintain the agricultural lands in the New World. Because of the Indian holocaust brought on by the Spaniards, the conquistadors needed other slaves to work the fiends. The African slave trade began in 1518. Many European nations participated, including Spain, Portugal, and...