Voyages of Christopher Columbus
In his 1492 transatlantic maritime expedition, Christopher Columbus became the first Christian European to make landfall in the Americas. Columbus, an Italian navigator sailing for the Spanish Crown, sought a westward route to Asia, which led him to coin the misnomer ""West Indies"" for the Antilles, where he made landfall. The newly discovered landmass came to be known in Europe as the New World. Ultimately, the two continents and collection of islands of the Western Hemisphere became known as the Americas, after Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci, an Italian navigator, is credited with recognizing the Americas as newly discovered, previously unknown territory, as opposed to islands associated with Asia, as Columbus originally surmised. Over four voyages to the Americas between 1492 and 1502, Columbus set the stage for the European exploration and colonization of the Americas, ultimately leading to the Columbian Exchange. Considered an indicator of the start of Modern history, the great significance of his voyages to the History of the world is uncontested.At the time of the voyages, the Americas were inhabited by natives considered to be the descendants of Asians who crossed the Bering Strait to North America in prehistoric times. Vikings were the first Europeans to reach the Americas, establishing a short-lived settlement in Newfoundland circa 1000. Columbus' voyages led to the widespread knowledge that a new continent existed west of Europe and east of Asia. This breakthrough in geographical science led to the exploration and colonization of the New World by major European sea powers, and is sometimes cited as the start of the modern era.Spain, Portugal and other European kingdoms sent expeditions and established colonies throughout the New World, converted the native inhabitants to Christianity, and built large trade networks across the Atlantic, which introduced new plants, animals, and food crops in both continents. The search for a westward route to Asia continued in 1513 when Nuñez de Balboa crossed Central America, he became the first European to sight the Pacific Ocean. The search was completed in 1521, when the Spanish Magellan-Elcano expedition sailed across the Pacific and reached Southeast Asia. Christopher Columbus had 2 children. One was Diego Columbus and the other was Ferdinand Columbus.