Exploration and Settlement

Christopher Columbus

Besides the native peoples, what discoveries did the Europeans make in the New World?

The new lands of the Western Hemisphere yielded many plants unknown in Europe. On Christopher Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 he became the first European to discover maize (corn), sweet potatoes, capsicums (peppers), plantains, and pineapples. Subsequent expeditions found potatoes, wild rice, squash, tomatoes, cacao (chocolate beans), peanuts, cashews, and tobacco. These plants, many of which had been developed and cultivated by the American Indians, were carried back to Europe, and their cultivation spread to suitable climates throughout the world.


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