Christopher Columbus changed the world by bringing colonization to the New World, which in turn led to the annihilation of many of the native peoples and cultures of North and South America. Due to his expeditions, a world-changing transfer of plants, animals and diseases occurred, and there was an unprecedented mixing of cultures.
After Columbus, the Spanish, Portuguese, French, English and Dutch discovered the vast natural resources of the New World. These resources created a period of intense colonization and competition for territory in the Americas.
The native population was skeptical of the newcomers and many times violently fought against giving up land to the Europeans, but diseases like smallpox ravaged the indigenous peoples to such an extent that European conquest was relatively easy.
The introduction of new crops such as coffee from Africa, sugar cane from Asia and wheat from Europe changed the landscape of the New World and in many ways benefited the Native Americans, becoming cash crops and dietary staples. In turn, the Americas gave Europe crops such as potatoes, tomatoes and corn, which helped feed an ever-growing population.
Europe also introduced the horse to the Native American population, changing their lifestyle drastically. Native Americans were originally nomadic; however, with the horse they became more effective hunters - able to travel larger distances in less time instead of simply following herds.