The Columbian Exchange
The near accidental discovery of an almost unknown continent by a Genoese merchant-explorer in the later years of the 1400s led to the greatest colonial migration and cultural exchange ever known. Though he was not the first explorer to set foot there, nor did he ever come to understand the dimensions of his discovery, it was Christopher Columbus who first published an account of his findings. This began the intense interest in and subsequent conquest of the "New World," that area we now know as America. The consequences of this contact created profound global change.