The Columbian Exchange was a giant step towards globalization. This trade route connected the world and introduced world changing concepts to both sides. Disease, religion, and a new government were shipped to the New World. Europe, however, was better affected by the exchange of goods. New crops that were able to better feed the population were imported. These population booms were able to set up the environment for the Industrial Revolution. The Columbian Exchange gave Europe the assets needed to prosper into the nations that it has become through the importing of new crops, changes in population, and Old World nation's desire to control more of the trade routes.
When corn was introduced to Spain in the 18th century, it helped to feed a rapidly growing population. The crop quickly spread throughout the European and Asian continents, reaching all the way to China within a century. The Russians used it for cornmeal and mamaliga, which is a type of porridge. Corn was also more filling than the previous staples like wheat and rice meaning that more people could be healthily fed with less money. The crop utilized fields that would have been deemed as useless in growing any other crop besides the potato. However, feeding a rapidly increasing population was not corn's only role in European history. It was also fed to livestock. The crop's multiple uses led to a higher demand that people like William Cobbett met. In his Cottage Economy of 1821 it read, "I, last April sent parcels if the seed into several countries, to be given away to working men, this corn is the very best hog-fattening in the world." Some Europeans developed pellagra, which is caused by a lack of niacin from eating too much corn. "Nevertheless, the golden grain was lucrative--the more you brew, the more you profited. (Laws, 215)
“The chili pepper transformed world cuisine.” (accessexcellence.org) It was discovered completely on accident. The conquistadors were searching black pepper when they were directed towards these plants. The crop arrived in Europe in the 1540s and 400s years later, began to replace other spices in Asian and European kitchen. Some Europeans were fascinated by the chili peppers. Nicholas Culpeper conducted experiments that the Guinea pepper was under the influence of the planet Mars. He said that it could even kill a person but “when the evil qualities were corrected, they are of considerable service.” So the chili wasn’t just a flavorful spice, it was also a miracle cure.
Another very important crop that was brought from the Americas was the potato. As Mann summed it up, the potato fueled the rise of the West. (smithsonianmag.com) The tuber plant is much more caloric than the grains of Europeans prior to the potato. Allowing it to feed the rising population to the point that some researchers believed that the potato was the key to the end of famine in Europe. This however, is not entirely true. The Irish people were a culture whose food choices became...