Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in Italy during the Renaissance. His father was a wool merchant. The Columbus family hoped to get rich by trade so Columbus learned how to sail a wooden ship with sails, he learned about the winds and tides and he learned to navigate by looking at the Sun and stars. Life at sea was exciting, but dangerous.
Columbus tried to get help from many rich people but they had all laughed at him and turned him down. He finally went to the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. They gave him money to explore in return for new lands, spices, gold and new people to rule.
Columbus set sail on 3 August 1492. He had three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. They were wooden ships with sails. There were about 90 men in the ships.
The voyage had taken longer than Columbus had expected. His men were running out of food and were scared. Finally, After 36 days, A sailor on the Pinta spotted an island. On 12 October 1492 the explorers went ashore. Columbus called the island San Salvador.
Columbus went on to many other islands. He explored a world new to Europeans. People later called it the New World. He met the Native Americans on the Island who he called Indians because he thought he was in Asia. He claimed the lands for Spain and took a few prisoners back.
Columbus and his sailors sailed bravely into the unknown. He didn't give up when people laughed at him. The explorers brought home gold, new foods and new knowledge. Even though they did so much for Spain, they brought misery to many Native Americans. The Europeans took their land. Many Native Americans were killed in wars with the Europeans, or died from European diseases.