Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) was a navigator and
maritime explorer credited as the discoverer of the
Americas. He had noted in his lifetime that he was born in
Genoa. His birth name was Cristoforo Colombo.
The name Christopher Columbus is the Anglicization of the
Latin Christophorus Columbus. Also well known are his
name's rendering in modern Italian as Cristoforo Colombo
and in Castilian Spanish as Cristóbal Colón.
Columbus' voyages across the Atlantic Ocean began a
European effort at exploration and colonization of the
Western Hemisphere. While history places great
significance on his first voyage of 1492, he did not
actually reach the mainland until his third voyage in
Likewise, he was not the earliest European explorer to
reach the Americas, as there are accounts of European
transatlantic contact prior to 1492. Nevertheless,
Columbus's voyage came at a critical time of growing
national imperialism and economic competition between
developing nation states seeking wealth from the
establishment of trade routes and colonies.
There fore, the period before 1492 is known as
The anniversary of the 1492 voyage (Columbus Day) is
observed throughout the Americas and in Spain.
Columbus has always been a divisive figure - contemporary
perceptions of him at various royal courts, among the
people living in the lands that he claimed for Spain, and
even among his own followers and colleagues evidenced
extreme disagreements about his actions and intentions.
Competing historical interpretations of his life and
legacy continue this tradition of discord.