Europeans returned home with many food crops that became part of their diet.
Tomatoes, beans, squash, pumpkins, and peppers were some of the crops originated in the Americas.
Maize was one of the most important crops.
In Spain, Portugal, southern France, and Italy, maize became a staple food in the 17th century, and in the 18th century it was one of the top foods in southeastern Europe.
The white potato, which spread from west to east in the 17th century and contributed to a rise in population in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Russia in the 18th century, was even more valuable.
The introduction of European pathogens to the New World had a disastrous impact on the native population.
The Black Death in the 1300s was followed by a wave of catastrophic disease epidemics in the Western Hemisphere after 1492, and it can be seen as an extension of that.
The world was unified by disease and trade after Columbus.
Slaves were one of the first things Portuguese explorers sought when they began their voyages along the western coast of Africa.
The first ship with enslaved Africans returned to Lisbon in 1442.
While the first slaves were seized by smal raiding parties, Portuguese merchants soon found that it was easier to trade with African leaders, who were accustomed to dealing in slaves captured through warfare with neighboring powers.
Between three hundred and two thousand black slaves were brought to Lisbon from 1490 to 1530 by Portuguese traders.
The history of slavery was intertwined with the history of sugar in this stage of European expansion.
The population increases and greater prosperity of the fifteenth century led to creasing demand for original y sugar, a luxury that only the very affluent could afford.
In the fifteenth century, sugar plantations were established on the Canary and Madeira Is lands.
It was difficult to make money from sugar.
Sugarcane has a constant growing season and there was no time for workers to recuperate.
Roller mills were invented to crush the cane more efficiently.
If a sufficient labor force was found to supply the mil s, yields could be augmented.
The Europeans solved the labor problem by forcing native islanders to work.
The first slaves were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese around 1550.
The Dutch West India Company transported thousands of Africans to Brazil and the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations.
The English brought slaves to the Caribbean and North America with the help of the Royal African Company.
Poor-quality food and water was the most common cause of death.
There was a constant stream of new slaves from Africa because of the high death rates among slaves on sugar plantations.
The transatlantic slave trade reached its height in the 18th century due to rising de mands for sugar, cotton, tobacco, and other plantation crops.
For the first time in history, the entire world was linked by seaborne trade when Europeans discovered the Americas.
The Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Dutch became commercial empires after the opening of that trade.
Australia was the only part of the world that was linked by trade by the mid-seventeenth century.
The trade in slaves was not limited to the Atlantic but also involved other parts of the world.
The first traders were from Portugal.
They trolled the sea route to India in the 16th century.
The Portuguese settlement at Macao in the South China Sea can be reached by ships from their bases at Malacca on the Malay Peninsula.
Portuguese ships loaded with Chinese silks and porcelains traveled to Nagasaki and the Philippine port of Manila, where they were exchanged for Spanish silver.
The Portuguese traded in slaves throughout Asia.
Asian spices that had been purchased with textiles from India and East Africa were brought back to Portugal.
The sugar they shipped back from Brazil was produced by African slaves.
The Spanish were determined to claim their place in world trade after becoming an imperial power a few decades later than the Portuguese.
The discov ery of silver allowed this to happen.
Silver poured into Europe through the Spanish port of Sevil e.
Slaves were needed to work in the mines because of the demand for silver.
The Spanish Empire in the New World was land-based, but across the Pacific they built a seaborne empire.
Spanish traders used silver from American mines to purchase Chinese silk.
By the end of the century, the Dutch overtook the Spanish and Portuguese Em pires as the most powerful seaborne trading power.
The Dutch East India Com pany was founded in 1602 to capture the spice trade from the Portuguese.
The Dutch wanted to gain control of the Indonesian sources of spices.
The Dutch won commercial concessions in return for assisting Indonesian princes in local squabbles with the Portuguese.
There were factors that contributed to the archipelago.
Europeans' contacts with the rest of the world increased due to the age of overseas expansion.