When Christopher Columbus and his men came to the Americas over 500 years ago, they brought horses, chickens, and wheat bread from Europe. The Native Americans had never seen any of those things before. The Europeans had never seen the potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, cocoa, or corn grown by the Native Americans. But it did not take long for Europeans to start growing American foods, and for Native Americans to start growing foods that came from Europe. Native Americans also raised European horses and chickens.
This introduction of new plants and animals to Europe and America is called the Columbian Exchange. It's called Columbian because it started with Columbus, and exchange because people traded, or exchanged, things with each other. In this lesson, you will learn about the Columbian Exchange and how it changed life on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.