Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. He lived by the Mediterranean Sea and longed to be a sailor. He began sailing on Italian ships at the age of 14.
Columbus opened a shop that sold maps and books for sailors. There he became a map maker and began reading books. Columbus was sure he could reach the Indies by traveling west. He wanted to go to the Indies to get jewels and spices.
Columbus tried going to kings in France and England, but they would not give him the ships needed for his voyage. Finally Columbus went to the king and queen of Spain; King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He asked them for money to try out his idea of traveling west to reach the East. Queen Isabella refused Columbus at first. Later King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gave Columbus three ships, a crew of about ninety men, and some money. The three ships were the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María.
On August 2, 1492 the voyage began. Some thought the world was flat, and that their ships were sailing too far from the shore and would fall off the end of the earth. On October 12 after 71 days at sea land was sighted. Columbus and his men rowed ashore and planted a flag in the sand. They claimed the island which they named San Salvador for Spain. Since Columbus believed he was in the Indies he called the natives Indians. Columbus had really landed on an island southeast of what is now Florida.
In March 1493 Columbus sailed back to Spain with a few Indians. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella named him Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Columbus sailed to American three more times in 1493, 1498, and 1502. He found San Salvador and then Cuba which he called Juana, but he found few riches on his voyages. He died a man of average wealth on May 20, 1506 in