Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who is credited with discovering America, although he never actually set foot on the mainland of what is now the United States. Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451 and worked as a sailor and merchant before becoming an explorer.
In 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, on a voyage to find a westward route to Asia. After a long and difficult journey, Columbus and his crew landed on an island in the Bahamas in the Caribbean on October 12, 1492. Columbus and his men encountered native peoples and explored several islands in the Caribbean before returning to Spain.
Although Columbus is often credited with «discovering» America, he was not the first European to visit the Americas. Other explorers, such as Leif Erikson and the Vikings, had already visited North America before Columbus. Columbus’s voyages did, however, lead to the widespread exploration and colonization of the Americas by Europeans. Columbus made three more voyages to the New World, but he died in 1506 before he knew the full extent of his discoveries.