Although Columbus was not the first explorer to reachthe Americas from Europe (being preceded by the Norse led by Leif Ericson), the voyages of Columbus molded the future of European colonization and encouraged European exploration of foreign lands forcenturies to come.
The term "pre-Columbian" is usually used to refer to the peoples and cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus and his European successors.
Columbus's initial 1492voyage came at a critical time of emerging modern western imperialism and economic competition between developing kingdoms seeking wealth from the establishment of trade routes and colonies. Inthis sociopolitical climate, Columbus's far-fetched scheme won the attention of Isabella I of Castile. Severely underestimating the circumference of the Earth, he estimated that a westward routefrom Iberia to the Indies would be shorter than the overlandtrade route through Arabia. If true, this would allow Spain entry into the lucrative spice trade heretofore commanded by the Arabs and Italians. Followinghis plotted course, he instead landed within the Bahamas Archipelago at a locale he named San Salvador.
The anniversary of Columbus's 1492 landing in the Americas is usually observed as ColumbusDay on 12 October in Spain and throughout the Americas, except Canada. In the United States it is observed annually on the second Monday in October.
It is generally accepted among...