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Important American History: Who Found America?

Though the American continent is now one of the most important continents in the world when it comes to natural resources, geopolitical power, culture and more, it was once a land that was left wholly undiscovered by the Western World. 

Of course, the men and women who called the Americas home before the arrival of Christopher Columbus have beautiful culture, incredible technology and powerful beliefs. However, the path of the continent was completely changed due to his arrival onto the continent. 

Let’s break down the major moments in Columbus’ life that led to him becoming the first European to ever step foot on the American continent. Now your family has the answer to the question, “Who found America?

Early life

In the year 1451, Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. While little is known about his early life, he began his career on the seas as a seaman in the Portuguese merchant marines. After surviving a shipwreck in the year 1476, he settled down in Lisbon, Portugal.

Leading to his first voyage

Between the years 1482 and 1485, Columbus continued his career on the open ocean, working on a trade ship along the coasts of West Africa. It is during this time that he begins to learn the trade wings of the Atlantic ocean and begins to seek support to reach the Eastern world by sailing westward over what was – at the time – believed to be open sea.

After being rejected by King John II of Portugal, Columbus sought royal patronage from the Spanish crown. 

First voyage

Finally, Columbus gained financial backing from the Spanish crown and set sail heading west across the Atlantic in the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa Maríaon ships. On August 3, 1492, Columbus touched grown on the Bahamas.

He continued sailing along the coasts of Cuba and modern-day Haiti and Dominican Republic. The riches he brought back to Spain in January 1493 promptly convinced the crown that another voyage was necessary. 

Second voyage

Columbus departed with a massive fleet of 17 ships in September 1493 and return to the Caribbean to erect several cities. What is most fascinating about this time is that Columbus was still sure he had reached the Far East in his voyages. In 1494, Spain and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, spilling the Western Hemisphere between them.

Third and Fourth Voyages

The third and final voyages of Columbus’ life were not as successful as his first two. He antagonized native chiefs and even Spanish settlers and was once returned to Spain in chains. In his final voyage, he managed to sail all the way to Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. He failed on his final promise to find a straight across the continue to India. He returned to Spain for the final time in 1504 and passed away in Valladolid, Spain in 1506.


Columbus had an incredible life that was filled with great achievement and horrible wrongdoing. Whatever way you split it, there is no doubt that he was one of the most impactful men of his time.

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