The term "the Columbian exchange" was first used by author Alfred W. Crosby in his 1972 book called The Columbian Exchange. It refers to the transfer between the Old World and the New World of people, animals, plants, ideas, technologies, and diseases. Obviously many of the effects of the Columbian exchange were negative, such as diseases, slavery, warfare, and the eradication of cultures. However, the Columbian exchange also had some positive consequences, sometimes for one side, sometimes for the other, and sometimes for both.
The introduction of various types of domestic animals from the Old World mainly benefited the inhabitants of the New World. For instance, horses helped the Indigenous peoples of the Americas in numerous ways. They helped on farms with plowing, and along with donkeys and mules served as efficient pack animals. Moreover, they radically changed the methods of hunting and warfare of the Native Americans of the Great Plains, leading to an entirely new and more prosperous way of life, at least until white pioneers intruded. Other Old World animals that provided food, hides, wool, and labor to inhabitants of the New World included oxen, cattle, sheep, and pigs.
The exchange of crops between the Old World and the New World benefited both sides. Among the many food plants imported to the Old World from the Americas were corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, squashes, pumpkins, peanuts, and tomatoes. Food plants that made their way from the Old World to the New World included rice, wheat, barley, rye, sugar cane, coffee, bananas, grapes, oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits.
Among the benefits of the Columbian exchange to the Old World only were the transfer of mineral wealth and the opportunity for commerce with New World goods. Explorers, particularly from Spain, sent vast quantities of gold, silver, and precious gems back to their home country, making it a major power in Europe. In North America, tobacco became a lucrative cash crop that earned enormous revenues for its growers.