The Columbian Exchange Quiz

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is the Columbian exchange?

What was the impact of the communicable diseases brought by the Europeans to the Americas?

Which of the following crops originated in the Americas and became important around the world?

What was the role of enslaved Africans in the New World?

What was the impact of the horse on Native American tribes?

Which animals were transferred from the New World to Europe?

What was the impact of quinine in the New World?

What are archaeophytes and neophytes?

Which of the following animals are considered problematic in Florida?


The Columbian exchange was a widespread transfer of plants, animals, commodities, culture, human populations, technology, diseases, and ideas between the New World and the Old World in the late 15th and following centuries. The exchange was named after Christopher Columbus and is related to the European colonization and global trade following his 1492 voyage. Some exchanges were purposeful, while others were accidental or unintended. The communicable diseases of Old World origin resulted in an 80 to 95 percent reduction in the number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas from the 15th century onwards. The cultures of both hemispheres were significantly impacted by the migration of people from the Old World to the New. European colonists and African slaves replaced Indigenous populations across the Americas, to varying degrees. The number of Africans taken to the New World was far greater than the number of Europeans moving to the New World in the first three centuries after Columbus.

American crops such as maize, potatoes, tomatoes, tobacco, cassava, sweet potatoes, and chili peppers became important crops around the world. Old World rice, wheat, sugar cane, and livestock, among other crops, became important in the New World. American-produced silver flooded the world and became the standard metal used in coinage, especially in Imperial China. The term was first used in 1972 by the American historian and professor Alfred W. Crosby in his environmental history book The Columbian Exchange.

The New World produced 80 percent or more of the world's silver in the 16th and 17th centuries, most of it at Potosí in Bolivia, but also in Mexico. The Atlantic slave trade consisted of the involuntary immigration of 11.7 million Africans, primarily from West Africa, to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Africans had greater immunities to Old World diseases than the New World peoples and were less likely to die from disease. Enslaved Africans helped shape an emerging African-American culture in the New World. They participated in both skilled and unskilled labor. Their descendants gradually developed an ethnicity that drew from the numerous African tribes as well as European nationalities.

Many plants native to the Americas have spread around the world, including potatoes, maize, tomatoes, and tobacco. Before 1500, potatoes were not grown outside of South America. By the 18th century, they were cultivated and consumed widely in Europe and had become important crops in both India and North America. Citrus fruits and grapes were brought to the Americas from the Mediterranean. Bananas were introduced into the Americas in the 16th century by Portuguese sailors who came across the fruits in West Africa. The U.S. did not see major increases in banana consumption until large plantations were established in the Caribbean.The Columbian Exchange: The Transfer of Plants, Livestock, and Medicines


  • Tomatoes were introduced to Europe from the New World but took three centuries to become a commonly accepted food item.
  • Tobacco, potatoes, chili peppers, tomatillos, and tomatoes are all members of the nightshade family.
  • Physicians in the 16th century suspected that tomatoes were poisonous and generated "melancholic humours".
  • The first Italian cookbook to include tomato sauce was written by Italian chef Antonio Latini in 1692.
  • Today around 32,000 acres (13,000 ha) of tomatoes are cultivated in Italy.


  • Initially, the Columbian exchange of animals largely went from Europe to the New World, as the Eurasian regions had domesticated many more animals.
  • Horses, donkeys, mules, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, large dogs, cats, and bees were rapidly adopted by native peoples for transport, food, and other uses.
  • The horse changed the lives of many Native American tribes, which shifted to a nomadic lifestyle based on hunting bison on horseback.
  • The Mapuche of Araucanía were fast to adopt the horse from the Spanish and improve their military capabilities as they fought the Arauco War against Spanish colonizers.
  • The turkey, guinea pig, and Muscovy duck were New World animals that were transferred to Europe.


  • Quinine, the first effective treatment for malaria, was discovered in the New World and helped Europeans to explore tropical areas.
  • Yellow fever, which was endemic in Africa, was thought to have been brought to the Americas from Africa via the Atlantic slave trade.
  • The spread of Catholicism was a major objective of colonization in the Spanish and Portuguese dominions.
  • Indigenous religions declined in the centuries following the European settlement of the Americas.

Later History:

  • Plants that arrived by land, sea, or air in the times before 1492 are called archaeophytes, and plants introduced to Europe after those times are called neophytes.
  • Some plants introduced intentionally, such as the kudzu vine introduced in 1894 from Japan to the United States to help control soil erosion, have since been found to be invasive pests in the new environment.
  • Populations of feral European cats, pigs, horses, and cattle are common in the New World, and the Burmese python and green iguana are considered problematic in Florida.


Test your knowledge of the Columbian Exchange with this informative quiz! Learn about the transfer of plants, animals, commodities, culture, human populations, technology, diseases, and ideas between the New World and the Old World in the late 15th and following centuries. Challenge yourself to remember important facts about the impact of the exchange on both hemispheres, the role of European colonization and global trade, and the migration of people from the Old World to the New. Explore the transfer of plants, livestock

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