On the way to India, Christopher Columbus discovered America, but thought he had arrived at his goal. Until his death, he never found out his mistake.
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Columbus* was born in 1451, probably in Genoa, Italy. At first he worked – like his father – as a wool weaver. But Columbus was an adventurer by nature and eager to learn, and the sea fascinated him greatly. So he decided to go to sea as a trader instead. At the time, India was the country of gold and spices. Columbus resolved that the route Portugal-
India was to be his “way to work”. To get to India, people had to sail past Africa towards the east. Columbus wanted to shorten this route. He already knew that the world was round, and wanted to try sailing westwards instead. The Portuguese court was not willing to back this idea – but the Spanish court was. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella provided Columbus with three ships and crews. On August 3, 1492, everything was ready. Columbus set out to sea and touched land 516 years ago today. He thought he had reached India. That is why he called the inhabitants “Indians”. But in fact, Columbus had discovered a new continent: America. He had landed on an island in the Bahamas. Columbus undertook three more big voyages to his “India”. The discoverer of America died on May 20, 1506.
*In Italian he is called Cristoforo Colombo.