Christopher Columbus s First Voyage to America Christopher Columbus commanded, in 1492, the first recorded European expedition to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach the Americas. Nevertheless, he was not the first European to land in that part of the world. Adventurers from Norway, Iceland, and Greenland had almost certainly settled briefly in Newfoundland and may have landed elsewhere on the coast of North America (Christopher Columbus). There is also some evidence to the effect that fishermen from western part of England may have sighted some part of North America (Christopher Columbus). Columbus s expedition, however, is distinguished from the earlier adventures by its consequences.

The early voyages were without significant result, but Columbus s discoveries in the West Indies were followed by rapid, widespread, and permanent settlement. No voyage before or since has changed the world as much as Columbus s first voyage to America. In Europe of the 1400 s, there was a large and growing sea trade with the Indies India and China. The centers of this trade were Spain and Portugal.

Ships sailed east from Spanish and Portuguese ports around Africa to India and China. A growing number of people, however, began to think that sailing west might actually be a more direct way to reach the Indies. Among the strongest advocates of this western route was Columbus (Fateful Voyage of Cristo foro Colombo 2 a-2 d). Based on information acquired during his travels, and by reading and studying charts and maps, Christopher concluded that the earth was composed mostly of land (Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia). He decided that by sailing west Asia would be reached very quickly. In 1484, Columbus submitted his theories to John II, king of Portugal, petitioning him to finance a westward crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

His proposal was rejected by a royal maritime commission because Portuguese ships wer already rounding Africa (Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia). In 1485, Columbus went to Spain. Two wealthy Spanish aristocrats offered to give him some ships. But to do they needed the permission of Spain s King Ferdinand ad Queen Isabella. In 1486, Columbus gained an interview with the monarchs, but they were in no position to finance an expedition. Columbus refused to give up and sent his brother Bartholomew to seek support English and French courts, but the attempts were unsuccessful.

Finally Columbus s chance came when Spain conquered Granada in January 1492. In the aftermath of the victory, Luis de Sant angel, a royal treasurer, convinced Isabella that she was missing a great opportunity (Lunenfeld 858). Thus, April 1492, Columbus s plan suddenly received royal approval. Columbus s supporters provided the funds for the expedition.