Christopher Columbus's voyage to the New World was quite possibly the most influential event for the whole world in the last millennium. It opened up a whole new world for exploration, commerce, and exploitation for Europe which in turn affected the whole world, from the Americas to Africa. African and Native American slaves were needed to help unearth the potential from this exciting new land. In addition to Europe changing the New World, the Americas also affected Europe by foods such as the potato and corn, and resources such as gold and crops such as sugarcane. As you will see, these effects were both good and bad. Some helped the Europeans while hurting the Americans, while others were mutually beneficiary.
It all started from a desire to find efficient travel routes to China and the Near East. Asia had been a trade partner with Europe for years, since Europe craved the extravagant spices that the Chinese possessed.
However, it was quite inefficient to travel there, because one needed to go all the way around Africa and across the Indian Ocean. It was a journey of several months, so people began to think about other potential routes that were shorter. One way was to sail all the way around the world across the Atlantic until you hit Asia. Columbus took it upon himself to figure out a way to do this. His first step was to find out the distance across the ocean, given the circumference of the Earth. However, he made a crucial mistake in his calculation, for his estimate of the size of the Earth was incorrect. Therefore, he underestimated the length of the journey by what would have been several months. Although, it did not matter much, since he never made it to his destination.
Instead of arriving...