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Columbus Christopher 1451-1506 Italian-Spanish navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia but landed on islands in the Caribbean Sea Columbus was born in Genoa Italy In the mid-1470s he made his first trading voyage in the Aegean Sea Believing that the earth was smaller than was previously thought and that it was composed mostly of land Columbus eventually decided that Asia could be reached quickly by sailing west His request to the king of Portugal to finance his expedition was rejected and Columbus moved to Spain where his plans won the support of several influential people In April 1492 King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I agreed to sponsor the expedition Columbuss expedition consisted of the Santa Mara under his personal command and the Pinta and the Nia two smaller ships The fleet sailed from Palos de la Frontera Spain on August 3 1492 Land was sighted before dawn on October 12 and early in the morning the expedition landed on Guanahani an island in the Bahamas Columbus claimed the island for Spain and renamed it San Salvador He also landed on other islands including Cuba and Espaola later called Hispaniola now the Dominican Republic and Haiti In early 1493 Columbus returned to Spain where he was enthusiastically received by Ferdinand and Isabella Columbus set sail with a second expedition in September 1493 He landed on the islands of Dominica Guadeloupe and Antigua Columbus established the colony of Isabella near what is now Cape Isabella Dominican Republic it became the first European settlement in the Americas In the spring of 1494 he surveyed the coast of Cuba In 1495 Columbus established a new capital on Espaola named Santo Domingo and sailed back to Spain IV Third and Fourth Voyages Columbus set sail on his third voyage in May 1498 His first landing was on the island of Trinidad He then sighted
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