In 1492, a Spanish-based transatlantic maritime expedition led by Christopher Columbus encountered the Americas, a continent which was largely unknown in Europe and outside the Old World political and economic system. The five voyages of Columbus began the Spanish colonization of the Americas.Known as 'the man who discovered America', Columbus was in fact trying to find a westward sea passage to the Orient when he landed in the New World in 1492. This unintentional discovery was to change the course of world history.Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa between August and October 1451. His father was a weaver and small-time merchant. As a teenager, Christopher went to sea, travelled extensively and eventually made Portugal his base. It was here that he initially attempted to gain royal patronage for a westward voyage to the Orient - his 'enterprise of the Indies'.When this failed, and appeals to the French and English courts were also rejected, Columbus found himself in Spain, still struggling to win backing for his project. Finally, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor the expedition, and on 3 August 1492, Columbus and his fleet of three ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Niña, set sail across the Atlantic.Ten weeks later, land was sighted. On 12 October, Columbus and a group of his men set foot on an island in what later became known as the Bahamas. Believing that they had reached the Indies, the newcomers dubbed the natives 'Indians'. Initial encounters were friendly, but indigenous populations all over the New World were soon to be devastated by their contact with Europeans. Columbus landed on a number of other islands in the Caribbean, including Cuba and Hispaniola, and returned to Spain in triumph. He was made 'admiral of the Seven Seas' and viceroy of the Indies, and within a few months, set off on a second and larger voyage. More territory was covered, but the Asian lands that Columbus was aiming for remained elusive. Indeed, others began to dispute whether this was in fact the Orient or a completely 'new' world.Columbus made two further voyages to the newfound territories, but suffered defeat and humiliation along the way. A great navigator, Columbus was less successful as an administrator and was accused of mismanagement. He died on 20 May 1506 a wealthy but disappointed man.

Early European settlers had many motives for coming to America. The newcomers were looking to expand trade, gain wealth or seek religious freedom. Settlers from Spain chose the lands around Florida, the Dutch and the Swedes were drawn to the Mid-Atlantic region for the burgeoning trade, and the Pilgrims.The naming of the Americas, or America occurred shortly after Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492. It is generally accepted that the name derives from Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer, who explored the new continents in the following years.

European Colonization of the Americas was a process that drastically changed the face of the continent and impacted not just American History, but world history, in a way that is truly incalculable. It’s impossible to quantify the effects that colonization had on civilization, cultures and ecosystems of the “new world” and the process of colonization is fraught with gross injustice and pain as much as it has led to the formation of the world we know today.

Columbus was overcame by the joy of discovery, by the feeling of victory, by the satisfaction one has from reaching his goals. It was the beginning of major deeds, of a glorious life and carrier.Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. His parents were Susanna and Domenico Colombo. As a young boy, Columbus dreamed of going to sea. As he grew into a young man, he followed his dreams and he became a sailor. In 1476, when he was twenty-five, Columbus was on a ship sailing for England, when his ship was attacked by French pirates. He was thrown into the sea, and he made his way to the nearest shore. He came ashore in Lagos, Portugal, and he stayed there until he was well. After, he went to live with his brother Bartholomew in Lisbon, Portugal. Together, they ran a shop where they sold maps to sailors and books. In Lisbon, Columbus married Dona Felipa Moniz de Perestrello, they had a son, named Diego.

Columbus asked the king of Portugal, the king of France, the king of England, and the king and queen of Spain for three ships to make the voyage. They all refused him. In 1492, after three years of waiting, the king and queen of Spain finally agreed to help him. They gave him three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, and about ninety men to sail with him. On August 3, 1492 the voyage began. On October 12, 1492, Columbus had reached an island to the southeast of Florida, they rowed ashore and claimed this island for Spain. They named the island San Salvador. There were native people already living on this island, and Columbus greeting them by giving them red caps and glass bead necklaces. He named the native people "indians" since he thought he had reached the Indies. Christopher Columbus had not reached the Indies at all, he had landed in America, the New World.

The indigenous people he encountered in their homelands were peaceful and friendly. At the time of the European discovery of most of the islands of the Caribbean, three major indigenous peoples lived on the islands: the Taíno in the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and the Leeward Islands; the Island Caribs (Kalina) and Galibi in the Windward Islands and Guadeloupe; and the Ciboney (a Taíno people).

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