Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and colonizer who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that opened the New World for conquest and permanent European colonization of the Americas.
European colonization of the Americas began as early as the 10th–11th century, when West Norse sailors explored and briefly settled limited areas on the shores of present-day Canada.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers.
The New World is one of the names used for the Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas.
10 Things People Get Wrong About Christopher Columbus by TFP Student Action
Columbus had embarked with intent to find and develop a westward route to the Far East, but instead discovered a route to the Americas, which were then unknown to the Old World.
The Old World consists of Africa, Europe, and Asia, regarded collectively as the part of the world known to Europeans before contact with the Americas.
The Far East is an alternate geographical term in English, that usually refers to East Asia, the Russian Far East, and Southeast Asia.
Christopher Columbus Biography: Bad Explorer, Great Conman by Biographics
Columbus's voyages were the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
South America is a continent located in the western hemisphere, mostly in the southern hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the northern hemisphere.
Central America is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with the South American continent on the southeast.
The Caribbean is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts.
His Spanish-based expeditions and governance of the colonies he founded were sponsored by Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs of the budding Spanish Empire.
The Spanish Empire was one of the largest empires in the world and became one of the first global empires in world history.
Aragon is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon.
Isabella I reigned as Queen of Castile from 1474 until her death.
Columbus never clearly renounced his belief that he had reached the Far East.
Columbus's early life is somewhat obscure, but scholars generally agree that he was born in the Republic of Genoa and spoke a dialect of Ligurian as his first language.
The Republic of Genoa was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, incorporating Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean.
Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy.
He went to sea at a young age and travelled widely, as far north as the British Isles and as far south as what is now Ghana.
Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa.
He married Portuguese noblewoman Filipa Moniz Perestrelo and was based in Lisbon for several years, but later took a Castilian mistress; he had one son with each woman.
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km².
Filipa Moniz Perestrelo was a Portuguese noblewoman from Porto Santo Island, in Madeira, Portugal.
Though largely self-educated, Columbus was widely read in geography, astronomy, and history.
He formulated a plan to seek a western sea passage to the East Indies, hoping to profit from the lucrative spice trade.
The spice trade refers to the trade between historical civilizations in Asia, Northeast Africa and Europe.
The East Indies or the Indies are the lands of South and Southeast Asia.
After Columbus lobbied them for years, Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to sponsor a journey west, in the name of the Crown of Castile.
The Crown of Castile was a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne.
Columbus left Castile in August 1492 with three ships, and after a stopover in the Canary Islands made landfall in the Americas on 12 October.
The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago and the southernmost autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres west of Morocco at the closest point.
His landing place was an island in the Bahamas, known by its native inhabitants as Guanahani; its exact location is uncertain.
Guanahani is an island in the Bahamas that was the first land in the New World sighted and visited by Christopher Columbus' first voyage, on October 12, 1492.
Columbus subsequently visited the islands now known as Cuba and Hispaniola, establishing a colony in what is now Haiti—the first European settlement in the Americas since the Norse colonies nearly 500 years earlier.
Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a unitary sovereign state comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos.
Hispaniola is the 22nd-largest island in the world, located in the Caribbean island group, the Greater Antilles.
He arrived back in Castile in early 1493, bringing a number of captive natives with him.
Word of his discoveries soon spread throughout Europe.
Columbus made three further voyages to the New World, exploring the Lesser Antilles in 1493, Trinidad and the northern coast of South America in 1498, and the eastern coast of Central America in 1502.
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands of Trinidad and Tobago.
Many of the names he gave to geographical features—particularly islands—are still in use.
He continued to seek a passage to the East Indies, and the extent to which he was aware that the Americas were a wholly separate landmass is uncertain; he gave the name indios to the indigenous peoples he encountered.
Columbus's strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and removal from Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits that he and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.