(1451–1506), Spanish explorer; born in Italy; Italian name Cristoforo Colombo; Spanish name Cristóbal Colón. Columbus persuaded the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, to sponsor an expedition to sail across the Atlantic in search of Asia and to prove that the world was round. In 1492, he set sail with three small ships (the Niña, the Pinta, the Santa Maria) and discovered the New World (in fact, various Caribbean islands). He made three further voyages between 1493 and 1504, landing on the South American mainland in 1498.
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