Christopher Columbus (c. 31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer from Genoa, Italy,whose voyages across the Atlantic Ocean led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere
Columbus's initial 1492 voyage came at a critical time of growing national imperialism and economic competition between developing nation states seeking wealth from the establishment of trade routes and colonies. In this sociopolitical climate, Columbus's far-fetched scheme won the attention of Isabella I of Castile. Severely underestimating the circumference of the Earth, he estimated that a westward route from Iberia to the Indies would be shorter than the overland trade route through Arabia. If true, this would allow Spain entry into the lucrative spice trade — heretofore commanded by the Arabs and Italians. Following his plotted course, he instead landed within the Bahamas Archipelago at a locale he named San Salvador. Mistaking the lands he encountered for the East Indies, he referred to the inhabitants as "indios"
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