Columbus sailed from Spain in September 1492, looking for gold. Native Americans greeted him, offering gifts of corn. Columbus found little gold on that trip, but he collected many plants, including corn, to bring back to Spain.
Columbus didn't know it. But the corn was much more valuable than gold. Farmers from Europe to Asia accepted it immediately. They grew it on cold mountainsides and in tropical forest. Today it feeds millions of people all over the world.
On his second trip, Columbus brought back a few chocolate beans to make chocolate. Europeans and Asians loved this new drink, and soon they were paying a great deal of money for the beans. Chocolate beans became so valuable in Central America that they were used as cash for 200 years.
Tomatoes and potatoes took some time to become popular. Eventually, however, they became the basis of a lot of popular foods. It is hard to imagine life without fried potatoes or chocolate. Thanks to native American cultures, many people are able to enjoy lots of tasty food.