On August 3, 1492, Columbus and his crew of ninety men along with two other ships set sail from Spain out across the ocean in search of a spice trail to the East. On the morning of October 12, 1492 they landed on the shore of what is now Cuba. It wasn't until 300 years later in 1792 that Columbus was actually honored in America. But every second Monday in October is met with a series of celebrations and protests regarding this man who is said to have discovered America. .
Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. He received very little formal schooling, but taught himself Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin. He never learned to read or write Italian. As a teenager he took particular interest in the sea, and believed he could reach the East Indies in a few weeks, although at this time the world was believed to be flat, and to risk sailing out to the horizon meant you would fall off the edge of the earth. Columbus went to England and Portugual, and Italy in search of financial support for his voyage, but he was rejected. It was Queen Isabella of Spain who agreed to support Columbus, but not until after he spent years trying to convince her of the benefits Spain would gain of his discovering a trade route to the Indies. For his first, and most famous voyage he received three fully equipped ships, the governorship of any lands he discovered, a large share in trade, and the title of admiral and a noble rank. He wanted so much for himself even though he was poor because he didn't want his children to grow up to be poor. .
When he first landed he thought he was in the Indies, so he called the first people he saw "Indians", and even though today that is obviously incorrect, natives of the continent are still called Indians. Columbus christened the land San Salvador and claimed it for Spain. When they landed on what is now present day Cuba, they believed they were in Japan. Columbus had 3 other trips to the New World after that, and died a rich and famous man, still believing the area he had landed on was the East Indies.