Columbus’ Famous First Journey


Columbus’ Famous First Journey

1492 – Columbus’ Famous First Journey

Columbus’ Famous First Journey

The fourteenth and fifteenth century in Europe were times of expansion and explosion of technology. Sailors found new sea-routes to India and China, although the routes were fraught with danger. In an effort to find an expedited way to India, a young Italian named Christopher Columbus convinced the Spanish Crown to finance an expedition west. Columbus believed that the Orient could be reached in this way, and, in accordance with the predominant geographical arithmetic of the time, he believed that the world was too small to hold a landmass west of Europe but east of Asia.

Columbus left Europe with three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. On October 12, 1492, the Columbian voyage reached an island that Columbus named San Salvador. Due to the errors in his arithmetic, he falsely believed that he had reached India, and therefore named the natives he encountered “Indians.” On October 28 of that year, Columbus reached and began exploring what is today the island of Cuba. Columbus returned to Spain as a hero and prepared for another voyage to the New World, this time with settlement in mind. Although Columbus never found a direct water-route westward to India, his exploits spurred further exploration of North America and eventually led to its settlement by Europeans.

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