The first voyage

The fleet sailed on August 3, 1492. By chance, Christopher Columbus found the best possible Atlantic route to the New World and the weather was good. Still, the voyage took weeks. Finally, on October 11, signs of land bécame apparent—branches with green leaves and flowers floating in the water. Very early on the morning of October 12, the lookout on the Pinta saw land.
The grateful crew landed on a small island in the present-day Bahamas. Columbus named the island San Salvador (Holy Savior).
Columbus stayed on the island for two days, meeting with its inhabitants, members of the peaceful Arawak-speaking Taino tribe. Not knowing where he was, and always assuming that he had reached the Indies, he called these people Indians.
Columbus spent several days exploring the Bahamas, but the Taino told him about another much larger island named Colba (Cuba), and he set off for it, thinking it must be part of China or Japan. He landed on Cuba on October 28, 1492, and for the next month sailed along its north coast. After leaving Cuba on December 5, 1492, Columbus sailed to another large island, which he named Hispaniola because it reminded him of Spain.

See also: Enterprise of the Indies


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