How did Christopher Columbus' voyages change the world of exploration?

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One way that the voyages of Christopher Columbus changed European exploration of the world was by creating interest in further voyages of exploration. Following Columbus's voyages, and upon receiving his descriptions of the lands and people that he encountered, the monarchs of Spain sponsored further voyages, including by Columbus himself. While he never discovered the water route to Asia that he sought, his voyages were primarily significant to the process of exploration because others followed him.

Unfortunately for the people who inhabited the lands that Columbus encountered, his voyages also established a pattern of conquest that would be emulated by many future expeditions. Abetted by disease, armed with superior weapons, and cynically exploiting local rivalries and alliances, European conquerors, especially in what would become Latin America, conquered and enslaved thousands of Indian people. They exploited them for their labor and extracted silver and other precious metals as well as cash crops. This was a process that changed little in form from what Columbus had done on the island of Hispanola and in his other conquests.

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