The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas. Nathan Nunn, Spring 2010, Paper. "The Columbian Exchange refers to the exchange of diseases, ideas, food, crops, and populations between the New World and the Old World following the voyage to the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The Old World -- by which we mean not just Europe, but the entire Eastern Hemisphere -- gained from the Columbian Exchange in a number of ways. Discoveries of new supplies of metals are perhaps the best known. But the Old World also gained new staple crops, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize and cassava..." Link