Voyages of Christopher Columbus  

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In 1492 a Spanish transatlantic maritime expedition led by Christopher Columbus led to the Discovery of America, a new continent previously unknown in Europe. Columbus and his crew became the first Christian Europeans to make landfall in the Americas. Columbus was an Italian navigator sailing for the Spanish Crown. He sought a westward route to Asia, which led to the discovery of a New World. Over four voyages to the Americas between 1492 and 1498, 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, now considered to be the descendants of Asians who crossed the Bering Strait to North America in prehistoric times. Columbus's 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 Lavina boa 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.

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